I'm a little bit of an oddball among writers, because I don't condemn the television set. To the contrary, I do believe everyone, especially serious writers, should watch a lot of TV, including TV comedies and dramas, since the audio/visual format gives a perspective that you just can't get from reading the sunday paper. This flies facing the normal rant, that TV is really a scourge that needs to be eliminated in the entertainment landscape.
On the other hand, the current trend has been to watch more TV plus more movies and read less, and when one reads, you just read non-fiction instead of fiction. The reason why given cover anything from "Reading is hard" to "Novels are uninformative." What a lot of people don't get is that the written word, and fiction especially, provides benefits you cannot get from other media. By way of example:
Reading fiction will help you increase your communication skills. A 2008 study by Raymond Mar discovered that people that continue reading fiction score higher on tests of empathy and social acumen, and that individuals who learn more non-fiction score lower. Perhaps because through fiction, you feel the characters' social interactions and relationships in such a way impossible with a lot of non-fiction.
Reading fiction stimulates the imagination. While reading fiction, your brain reconstructs each scene in a lot more detail as opposed to author described it. It can so by visualizing the non-existent people and places with the story, often basing these visualizations on actual people and places you have often seen. This is the human ability to imagine, to daydream, to speculate, to ponder. To be able to imagine separates us off their animals. It helps us to strategize, to plan, to reason, to master, to produce a better world than existed before.
Books are less costly hour-for-hour of entertainment than movies or DVD's. Especially in tight economic times, it seems sensible to foster the enjoyment of written fiction. For similar amount a 2-hour movie or DVD costs, you may get a book that may entertain you for many days, or weeks. Or borrow it out of your local library at no cost.
Reading relieves stress, and doesn't overstimulate like TV can. Most advanced television programming is designed to capture your attention by constantly pinging the human brain with abrupt sounds and transitions. This gears your head up and fosters stress. Research at the University of Sussex found out that reading is effective in reducing levels of stress by approximately 68 percent. Or as cognitive neuropsychologist Dr David Lewis put it, "Losing yourself in the book could be the ultimate relaxation."
Fiction allows us to get into the narrative, imagine ourselves there, in ways that non-fiction can't. A good biography is finished before starting reading it, as it's about a real person. Although you may don't know the specific good a certain biographical figure, biographies are seldom discussed losers, whereas the loser may be the staple of the fictional story. Or as you English teacher from Wichita, Kansas use it, "Fiction's unknowability can make it a great deal like Life once we go through it."
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