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Why I Read Stories

Updated: Nov 27, 2019

Fictional narratives bring not just information, but also relatable perspectives.


For example: if you wanted to learn about ethical philosophy, you could read the texts of Plato, Kant or Nietzsche.


Or you could find a story focused on the topic that will not only educate but also entertain.


While pages of (often poorly written) philosophical musings will likely bore you within minutes, the same content can be delivered through characters, settings and an intricate plot-line that will keep pushing you through the text.


Perhaps even more beneficial to our educational efforts is the opportunity to experience “evil” from its own perspective. Relatable antagonists, prevalent amongst great works of literature, help us examine different points of view since every character believes that they’re the hero of the story.


Instead of comparing right and wrong on a purely theoretical basis, we are thrust into the psyches of zealots, serial killers and tyrants, each with their own perspective of what the good fight is.


Plus you get history, science, ethics, and many more fields of study woven into the fabric.


I’ve learned about The Manhattan Project, nanotechnology and origins of certain sects of the Catholic church, all because they were expertly entwined in a tantalizing plot.


That’s the job of an author, to document the human condition in a way that educates and entertains, so that the reader may come to a better understanding of the real world.


Reading Today

The fact is, reading (especially fiction) is one of the first things to disappear from our busy schedules.


After a taxing day of managing the office politics, relationships and extracurriculars that occupy the majority of your time, it’s so much easier to passively absorb information by watching or listening than to pick up a book and re-engage your brain muscles.


Audio-visual methods like videos and podcasts require you to engage a limited use of your senses and allow you to spectate information with less exertion.


I think it’s fantastic that alternative methods to reading now exist through which people can gain knowledge, I just don’t think anything will ever compare to hunkering down with a good story.


The propagation of non-fiction writing has also exploded as of late, with hoards of books and eBooks sharing tips on business, investing, and personal development. In reading non-fiction, however, there's rarely any room for differing opinions.


In contrast, stories immerse you in the spirits of conflicting views and push you to evaluate your own beliefs in the process. The author must synthesize a balance between the forces of good and evil, and give each side merit and strength, or the story won't work.


You as a reader have to engage, not just 5 senses, but also that 6th sense; the universal tingling which allows you to enjoy stories of romance and horror alike.


In the process of imagining such vivid and conflicting views, reading stories pushes your imagination to grow and develop in ways no other medium can compare to.


The Magic In Us

The written word has the unique ability to transcend space and time to guide you on an emotional journey.


This is what makes it so spectacular.


My recommendation is to set a 15-minute timer at least once a day, during which nothing can distract you from reading.


Try this for a week and see if you notice any extra magic in your life.

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