Reading Fiction

 

Fiction is not only a trip away from reality, and fiction books are not just for diversion; they are for teaching too, and those without lessons to teach are not worth reading. Good fiction makes the reader have a real-life experience without leaving their place, being "glued" to the book at hand, unable to escape yet able to think (something most life situations do not allow, and the best non-fiction books lack, as both can easily be "interrupted"). This is achieved when any reader with any background can see themselves in the character's shoes, not only those of the narrator, but also the hero, the villain, and every primary and secondary character, from the beginning to the end. As reader becomes "one" with characters, and characters one with each other, and all story events one with each other and with those in reader's life, there exists COHERENCE, without which many novels lose quality and readers lose interest to finish, where reading is easily interrupted, distracted and prematurely ended.

 

Benefits

Fiction SIMULATES REALITY, giving an in-place experience similar to the practical knowledge gained from real life experiences. Since it's impossible to go through all such experiences, we imagine as many as possible through fiction.

  It gives better illustration of science lessons than many science books do. A narrative is a series "applications" of the same rules nonfiction science books deal with usually directly, argumentatively, didactically, and frigidly. However, unlike nonfiction, fiction usually illustrates several rules simultaneously together, because that's how they happen in real life, where knowledge is indivisible. It also usually gives life examples quickly, because in real life time is unstoppable. Fiction has less arguments, explanations, rules or "direct" morals behind the story, leaving most for the reader to guess.

  It creates motivation to learn and apply what we learn, as we keep vividly imagining all the different scenarios we could face. So after we finish reading fiction, it's good to start arguing and asking questions, to learn properly and methodically, and prepare ourselves for all future possibilities to take into action.

  Reading fiction improves memorization of the moral and details of the narrative.

  • Throughout history, before the advance of data-saving technologies, people relied on memorization. They used different mediums to make memorization easier: proverbs, folk-tales, sayings, parables, etc. 
  • The poetic rhythm or even rhyme used in some fiction genres speeds up memorization.
  • The use of metaphors helps illustrate ideas, by creating analogies with images from life, which speeds up memorization too esp. when connecting tangible images with abstract thoughts.
  • As for the topics, we remember more concrete data than abstract data, the former being more common in fiction, esp. in fiction genres like nature, travel, history, culture, social/romantic fiction, mystery, horror, etc.

  It enriches vocabulary, esp. long descriptive physical fiction, rather than short analytical abstract one. In a narrative, the following "elements" urge us to read more, exposing us to maximum vocabulary meanwhile: diverse topics, relatedness to characters/settings; suspense--the desire to see how things end up; and the sense of achievement we generally get from finishing a whole book, sequel, author's full works, full selection/collection/section/shelve/library, etc. (whatever their quality is).

All the above can be abundantly found in the following fiction genres:

  • history/biography,
  • adventure/travel/nature,
  • horror/mystery/fantasy,
  • social fiction,
  • mosaic/vivid/tense pop & even low-quality fiction, being usually fast-read.

Conversely, the following fiction types don't improve vocabulary much:

  • Child/Simplified fiction.
  • Old/outdated-language fiction.
  • Foreign fiction translations, usually having foreign expressions/structure awkwardly/inaccurately translated, and plain language focusing on ideas while losing style in the process.
  • Abstract-language fiction: philosophical/psychological fiction, usually having less vocabulary as it focuses on meaning, which forces you to slow down reading.
  • Technical/Esoteric fiction may have specific unpopular vocabulary.
  • Vague/Absurd/Surreal fiction forces you to slow down reading, thus getting less vocabulary.

This doesn't mean that good fiction doesn't improve vocabulary. Contrarily, many famous classics combine both reading pleasure with value and moral together, or even having the moral implied. This is better than directly "educating" the reader, devolving the narrative into a mere lecture or article.

  Reading fiction is a good diversion. It's a relaxing pleasure, just like strolling or traveling, stretching imagination and taking you out. Once you get into a relaxed imaginative mood, it can fill long boring/waiting hours with a free useful pleasure. It has given company, lessons, and pleasure to people for ages, much more than modern multimedia does.

 

Tools

It's easier to tell a good article from a bad one, than a good story from a bad one. An article must present a useful lesson only; a story must present a good narrative and a useful lesson. Good fiction combines both diversity and unity, and vividness and depth. It has engaging language, descriptions, events, characters, problems, and solutions.

Selection: Choose the right subject, genre, style, and author. Choose what you love, know well and want to explore further, or feel curious about; all the above will help you effortlessly focus and imagine and follow events, to the end.

Orientation: Find your directions, to "get into" the story fast by trying to get the main outlines: the skeleton. Do this before and while reading, moving from the general to the specific, from outlines to details, while events speed up, tension builds up, climax approaches, and solution is found.

Imagination: Get into an imaginative state, by relaxing, letting go of your will and argumentative nature, which you can freely come back to after you finish reading, after you get the whole picture that needs full "immersion" in the story. Travel freely with your mind, while reading as fast as you can, without stopping and arguing much. Get a fully detailed description as if you live in the story.

Speed-Shift: Use the right reading mode and speed for the right work. According to work, or part of, whether argumentative or descriptive, do one of the following (repeat each to yourself when necessary).

  • Read & imagine fast.
  • Read, imagine & argue fast.
  • Read fast now & argue slowly later (taking pictures--mentally--to classify and edit later). Don't stop at the details till you get the whole picture. Don't stop at descriptive passages at all, whose only job is to make the background for the final problem-solution section of a narrative. Remember that life is too short, and you have other books to read and other things to do.
  • Read, imagine & argue slowly (usually near the end).


 

Reading Techniques

 

Home