Novel-ty Learning: The Benefits of Reading Novels

Novel reading has always been a moment of escapism, discovery, and relaxation. The perpetual saying, “Reading makes you smarter,” remains the motor of our motivation to pick up a book and dive in. Here are some unique benefits of reading fiction novels!

Mental Stimulation. Reading every day for at least 30 minutes will give your mind the constant stimulation that slows down—or even prevents—cognitive decline during later years. A strong, stimulated mind has very little vacancy for Alzheimer’s disease or dementia! The brain is the body’s most powerful muscle (other than your heart); it requires exercise to stay strong and healthy. Our brain cells must be used by ways of stimulation; otherwise we will slowly begin to lose those cells eventually, and daily novel reading gives us that needed stimulation.

Knowledge. There’s a vast oasis of knowledge ready to be inhabited with thirsty minds. Reading novels serves as that oasis. Reading a novel can teach us about a certain region of the given setting of the story. For instance, novels can deeply inform us on metropolitan life, country life, or how schooling was back in the 16th century. We learn the ways of certain cities and how their locals speak (dialect) and also the highs and lows of certain regions. Novels embed us in different cultures and languages, giving us knowledge of their customs, traditions, and history. With each novel, regardless of setting, we learn about the sociological aspects surrounding the protagonists. Novels can tell us about the workforce, justice system, or what education is like in a certain culture. We also learn about different personalities and why people have certain habits.

Stronger Analytical Skills. When reading a novel, you pay attention to elements: setting, plot, character development, and climax. Learning the tricks of the trade in your English classes, you learn to pick up on symbolism and analyze how it connects with the story. You may predict the ending of The Time Machine or a Sherlock Holmes mystery novel by determining how the protagonist’s characteristics, setting, plot, and the antagonist’s characteristics are interwoven.  You can also make realistic connections from the novel to the real world, seeing that certain places, people, and situations do, in fact, exist. Perhaps solving problems and connecting dots while reading novels helps to put knowledge to use and find creative, yet practical solutions to real-life issues.

Improves Focus, Concentration, and Memory. Reading novels gives you a lot to remember subconsciously, such as different characters, their backstories, different settings, subplots, events, and so on. This puts the brain to work, which is a great thing, because an active mind is a stimulated mind, and a stimulated mind has strong focus and concentration. Remembering many elements of a story beefs up your memory. While you are reading, your mind is engaged in that single activity and disengaged by other distractions, such as your smartphone or that television! Reading lengthens your attention span and improves your short-term memory. With every new memory that forms, new brain pathways are being created, and old ones are being strengthened, making short-term recollection sharper!

Better Writing Skills. Any aspiring novelists out there? Even if you enjoy writing at all, reading helps to amplify your writing skills. Every great writer is a better reader. Reading novels gives you countless chances of studying how the author crafts his or her words, composes metaphors, describes characters, scenes, feelings, and senses, and how authors tie all their elements together. This will leak into your own writing, perhaps without your even noticing!

Empathy. With so many strong, sometimes realistic, characters to focus on in a novel, it is easy to become attached to them (yes, even if they are fictitious!). The novelist likely has such a vivid way of describing the character’s emotions that you can’t help but to feel them yourself. Whenever the character has a breakthrough and rises above heartbreak, you rejoice. Whenever they become stricken with poverty, you may cry with them. You can look at this as a “practice round” of empathizing, because it teaches you how to empathize with real people around you. It also helps with emotional intelligence when you recognize your emotions and those of others.

Enjoy some novel-ty learning!



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