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Reading Fiction: A Way to Happiness and Creativity?

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A lot of people opt to read fiction over other genres of literature. While it is primarily based on the author’s imagination, it allows the readers to be submerged onto the world that was created in between the pages of the book. As a reader, you also somehow become a part of the story that was unfolding with every chapter. You empathize with the characters, and sometimes even view them as friends you never had.

There are reasons why fiction is an appealing read to most audiences. For one, it becomes a creative escape from reality. It can range from mundane to mythical, which involves unicorns, dragon-slaying heroes, and other legendary elements— with the sky as the limit. It allows readers to explore other worlds even if these stories exist only in one’s imagination. Aside from that, there are also other reasons as to why reading fiction can be beneficial for you.

1. It expands our experiences and world view
The thing with fiction is that it allows us to experience adventures and situations which expands beyond the mundane life. Even if it exists only in our minds, we are able to visualize these mythical worlds accordingly. We get to experience other people’s lives (even if they are fictional) and with that, we also enrich the way we view the world.

2. We gain empathy
Since we put ourselves in the shoes of some characters when we read fiction, we grow our capacity for empathy in the process. We begin to understand why these characters have made various decisions in their lives and what pushed them to do so in the first place. A lot of factors come to play in analyzing each character which enables us to understand people better.

3. It makes us appreciate human experiences more
Fiction retells mundane life narratives in such a manner that makes us appreciate them better. Through beautiful, detailed descriptions, it gives depth to the things we usually take for granted and these images intensify the way we experience the world surrounding us.

4. Reading fiction effectively reduces stress
Even if we get carried away by the thrilling events unfolding in fiction books at times, reading fiction is actually an effective way to reduce stress levels. It is on par with other activities such as taking a brisk walk or listening to your favorite playlist. Reading fiction works wonders in easing the body’s stress because it diverts the mind to concentrate on another distraction.

5. Fiction improves our vocabulary and language
Because of the creative nature of fiction, it is not a surprise to find flowery expressions, literary devices, and metaphors embedded in these stories. The more we read them, the more we adapt a vocabulary and form of language which can help us express ourselves better. Learning a greater variety of words also allows us to connect with others more.


5 Book Series for the Jaded Fantasy Fan

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The success of the television adaptation of George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series – a.k.a. HBO’s Game of Thrones – has placed the high fantasy sub-genre in a spotlight. High fantasy is just one of the many specialized fantasy genres that exists. Other successful screen adaptations like The Lord of the Rings and the Harry Potter series have inspired others like them over the last decade.

Because of its popularity, it has become a tendency for some fantasy series to use the same themes and character tropes over and over again. With so many books to choose from, how do you pick those that have something new to offer? This list will guide you to some of the hidden gems in fantasy.

  1. Malazan Book of the Fallen series

Tired of the usual humans, dwarves, elves and orcs that have saturated the genre? This 10-book series by Steven Erikson, with a 6-book complementary series by Ian C. Esslemont, is a breath of fresh air. However, a word of caution: this is perhaps the most complex and ambitious series by far. But with huge battle scenes, a complicated world building and shape-shifting dragons, the reward will surely be worth the journey.

  1. A Land Fit for Heroes by Richard Morgan

This trilogy is unique for its lead character Ringil. Not your usual macho hero who embodies the chivalric, ideal warrior, Riingil has many enemies and always finds himself in trouble. The book also features an alien race and is an alternate world of another science fiction trilogy by the same author.

  1. Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson

Looking for a story that isn’t science fiction but includes an entire planet? Sanderson’s Mistborn will satisfy your needs for a post-apocalyptic empire filled with strange magic. The action scenes are a treat, the characters unforgettable, and the events leading to the ending are an emotional ride.

  1. The Black Company by Glen Cook

What makes this series so special is the limited point of view of the lead character and narrator. Cook managed to describe a complex society ravaged by wars and magic through a veteran soldier’s eyes. Unlike A Song of Ice and Fire, The Black Company is told from the POV not of a nobly-born character, but of an ordinary soldier with neither magical nor special physical abilities. He’s not even some destined hero like Harry Potter.

  1. The Bas-Lag novels by China Mieville

In the world of Bas-Lag, steampunk technology and magic co-exist. The three books, Perdido Street Station, The Scar and Iron Council, do not necessarily make one series, but are three different stories in the same world. While it may be considered more as science fiction with elements of horror than fantasy, the reader will find the same familiar elements in its magic and world building. Readers will enjoy the political and geographical complexity of Bas-Lag. It is unlike any reading experience.