Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Is fiction DANGEROUS?




For some reason, at a stage in my life, I began to think I needed fixing. I devoured self help books. I listened to people who, ‘didn’t waste their time on fictional books’ and I spent my time hunting down motivational/self help books. But my dreamy, creative side was lacking. It was only on holidays that I dared to open a novel, and even then, all of my friends looked down on me reading, ‘fiction!’??

Ok, so perhaps I’m exaggerating. I have always had friends (sister/sister in law) who love to read a good novel. It was just a stage I went through. Years of hardly reading novels.

I often come across women (and men) who do not allow themselves the pleasure to read a novel, and every time I meet with one of these women, I encourage them to grab a book … I even hand them a book or two to get them started... but some do not accept my offer.

The lovely Anne Hamilton has written a post on Why its dangerous NOT to Read fiction. Pop on over, she has many great points.

As I’m nearly 40... I’m glad to say… I’m ok with me. I don’t get it right every time... but that’s ok – it doesn’t mean I need fixing – it just means I still have many lessons to learn. Lessons that can be learned through living life and reading novels.

Have you ever not read novels?







20 comments:

  1. I used to be a pharmaceutical sales rep. There was no time to read fiction (everything I read was work related). Just before I was laid off, I was sick with the flu. I spent the day reading a novel I hadn't read in years (historical romance). I hadn't realized until then how much I missed reading fiction. Being laid off was great. It meant I could finally read novels again. And better yet, I could finally follow a dream of mine and write them.

    Now I can't imagine NOT reading a novel everyday. Before I go to bed I have to read one, even if it's only for 15 minutes.

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  2. I'd be really sad if I didn't read fiction, I love the escapsim. There are dips when I lose time to read but when I do read, it's always fiction.

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  3. I almost started clapping when I read "I don’t get it right every time... but that’s ok – it doesn’t mean I need fixing – it just means I still have many lessons to learn. Lessons that can be learned through living life and reading novels." So true for everyone, I think. We all have lessons to learn and reading novels is one of the more pleasant ways of learning. Great post.

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  4. I didn't read novels until I met a friend who read them constantly. She introduced me to the joys reading, which in turn got me writing. I am deeply grateful to her.

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  5. Great blog. Reading improves your social skills. It is scientifically proven check out my post http://donalisahelsley.blogspot.com/2012/01/reading-fiction-improves-your-social.html

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    1. Great post Donalisa, thank you for sharing it here.

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  6. And I am one of your friends who is so happy to be borrowing from your library of fiction books. Thank you for gently and patiently showing me that's OK to 'waste time' reading fiction. I am loving it and a better person for it. I am so much more relaxed when I indulge in reading fiction.

    As for the self-help books? I think they have done more damage than good for me. Not all of them, some have been helpful..Here's to learning lessons "through living life and reading novels." xo

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  7. It's true. You can learn so much from fiction. Maybe the stories aren't real--although some are based on real events--but the characters' emotions are. They come from very real places and they touch the readers.

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  8. See, I'm the opposite. I have no interest in reading a self-help book (grammar and writing books don't count). It's all my husband reads, but I stay away from them.
    I bet there's a post out there for me: "Why it is dangerous to ONLY read fiction." Ha!

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  9. Sometimes life demands that I read less than I would like, but I never don't read any novels at all. (Wow, that sentence sounds clunky!).

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  10. I feel it is crucial to escape into fiction and other creative outlets (dance, music, art, film, etc.). Fiction is every bit as important as reading non-fiction and news, in my opinion, and adds a rich layer of joy to a well rounded life. :)

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  11. The only time I've not read novels was when I was studying & had all my time and energy consumed by boring crap I had to read for assignments. hehe. Well, in my undergrad degree it wasn't boring crap, for the most part. But still, in general I couldn't read what I wanted to read for most of those years.

    Self-help is boring, for me at least. And maybe that's because I don't need it. I feel great as I am, even if I do make mistakes & have my down times. :D

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  12. I think I've gone through dry spells, when I was too busy, too poor, etc. I've been reading more than ever. Reading makes me so happy.

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  13. Thanks so much for the link, Michelle.
    I love reading fiction - as you can guess - from the article; but I also love non-fiction. I came across a great quote from Noam Chomsky recently: 'It is quite possible - overwhelmingly probable, one might guess - that we will always learn more about human life and personality from novels than from scientific psychology.'
    Knowledge isn't just confined to non-fiction. It's to be found in fiction, too. This is something I've noticed increasingly. All of my non-fiction stems from discoveries I've made in my fiction and that of other people.

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  14. I've had periods in my life where I thought I was too busy. I now make time by listening to audiobooks during my commute (2 hrs. daily) and when exercising on the treadmill. Reading is a very important part of my life.

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  15. I've always been an avid reader - a "book worm" my mother called me. Funny thing is, when I was pregnant with my son, I completely lost interest in reading and writing for nine months. I think he sucked the bookworm out of me during that time, as he is now a book lover as well. I went back to reading within two weeks of giving birth. Weird!

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  16. If it were not for fiction, I would have had nothing to do for most of my childhood. It was a portal of escape then and has been right through to last night when I fell asleep with a book at my chin. Beside my Beloved who had his nose in a novel too. Bliss. :)

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  17. I used to read as a child and then as an adult. I don't think that reading fiction is dangerous, it really opens up the world to the average person, we begin to understand other, other culture. In fact, I would say it's important to read fiction. I think you're right though, I think you're okay just the way you are, we are never going to be perfect in this world so as long as you're happy with where you are, just keep going.

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  18. I read nonstop as a child, all the way through high school. College didn't allow me the time to read fiction, and then I got married and had my kids close together. Because it's hard for me to stop reading a novel once I start, I gave them up while my kids were small. Now I'm really enjoying the chance to read again, though it eats into my writing time!

    ~Debbie

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  19. Hey michelle, your blog is very interesting. It´s a piti don´t have enough time to read all you suggest. Greetings from Spain!

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