Friday, April 10, 2015

Drop Everything and Read

Ten Reasons You Need to Read Fiction

Drop Everything and Read

This is the weekend we turn off our electronics and our television sets. What will I do with myself, you may ask. The answer is above.

Some historical data: To honor their author Beverly Cleary, who wrote about D.E.A.R. in Ramona Quimby, Age 8, Harper Collins established April 12th each year as Drop Everything and Read Day. Learn more.) Beverly Cleary is the perfect figurehead for this event, since fiction appealing to young readers is what she was all about.

What can be better than reading? It's a time-honored method of teaching. A skill that lets us obey stop signs and read the instructions on pill bottles. But something's has been lost in the endless noise of 21st century life. The value of reading fiction.  People get their news in snippets. Novels are becoming shorter, genres narrower. The art of reading and writing is being choked.. Never before has a Drop Everything and Read Day been needed more.

So, okay, why do you need to read fiction? Here are some really good reasons.

Your Poor Tired Brain
  1. Reading Fiction Stimulates the Imagination. The reader becomes a participant, taking the author's tidbits of information and creating mental scenarios that actively move the story forward.
  2. Your Mind is Forced to Slow Down. Which stimulates mental imagery as the brain translates descriptions of mood and environment into emotional and mental experiences. 
  3. Improves Memory. This slowing down of the mental process allows short term memory to more effectively convert to long term memory.
  4. Expands Your Vocabulary. Use an eReader with a dictionary and you can often also hear how the word is pronounced. 
  5. Deepens Concentration. Reading fiction strengthens the ability to lose yourself in the story experience.
  6.  Experience Events You Wouldn't Want in Your Real Life. Fiction lets you learn about and be part of horrendous or heartbreaking experiences you'd prefer to avoid, given your druthers. How much easier to experience them from the safety of your own living room.
  7. Expands Your Horizons. Reading expands your understanding of other places, other cultures, other points of view.
  8. They Make Good Movies. The very best were made from books. Think Gone With the Wind, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and The Hunger Games.
  9. Fiction Tells the Truth. More than any other form of personal writing, fiction shows it as it is.  The author has the advantage of exposing motives and reactions in fictional characters without the danger of offending living people.
  10. Fiction is Fun. Such a lovely way to relax on a Sunday. . . or Monday . . . or Wednesday.
  11. Economical Entertainment. A book is cheaper than movie admission and you can make your own popcorn. 
  12. You Look Busy. Reading creates the illusion that you're slaving away as  you flip through the pages, lost in the exciting world created by an author who had you in mind when they were writing it. Good luck getting away with that when you're watching TV.
  13. Soothes Your Worries. That the internet is screwing with our brains. The bombardment of facts, ads, alternate choices and the constant recovery from pop-up interruptions interferes with our concentration. Some say it is rewiring the way we think and remember. When you read fiction, the mind slows (see #2) and this rest lets your mind recover from the internet hub-bub.
Which is why the Fantasy Sci-Fi Network is throwing its combined weight behind the Drop Everything and Read Day. We're a collection of a hundred or so authors who write fantasy and science fiction and we understand the need to expose people to fiction. Not just so we can sell our books but so others can experience the true joy of reading fiction. I've known so many people who picked up their first work of fiction well into adulthood then got carried away by a majestic story and became lifelong fiction readers.

The sale starts today and run through Sunday, April 12, the precise Drop Everything and Read Day. But let's celebrate all weekend, snatch up these bargain books, and Drop Everything . . . the dishes, the laundry, the lawn, the kids (well, no, maybe not the kids, just everything else) and READ. READ. READ.

Here is the link that will take you to fantasy/science fiction Nirvana.

To Connie Flynn Site