Why Does Fiction Matter?

Why Does Fiction Matter?

Why does fiction matter? There are some strange folks out there who don’t like fiction. Or rather, they don’t understand the purpose of stories that aren’t true. In this post, we will explore why reading fiction matters.

What is Fiction?

Merriam-Webster defines fiction as something invented by the imagination or feigned specifically: an invented story.

So… fiction is a story.

The Value of Fiction

While everyone can agree that reading is an important part of developing a successful life, not everyone can agree on the value of fiction.

Some celebrities like Oprah and Reese Witherspoon have their own book clubs, while others like Barack Obama, Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk share their reading lists.

Still others like Kanye West and Meghan Trainor say they never read fiction because it isn’t true, so there is no point.

5 Reasons People Don’t Read

The following is a list of why people don’t read:

  1. Lack of time
  2. Reading is too much work
  3. I don’t see the point of reading
  4. I don’t know what to read
  5. Watching the movie is quicker

You can read more here.

I’ll Wait for the Movie

To any writer, this attitude that people don’t like to read is baffling. Unfortunately, it is also common. How many times have you heard the phrase ‘If it’s any good, they’ll make a movie out of it’?

The implication here is obvious; it’s not the writing that’s important. It’s the story. While great writing might profoundly impress you or me, most people just want the message, rather than the medium.

A map of Westeros and and a science fiction photo

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Why Fiction Matters?

People like stories for many reasons:

1. Different World

Fiction matters because it helps us enter a different world. It helps us imagine, and possibly understand, people to a greater extent. The power of fiction lies in its ability to make the world a more plausible place to live.

Fiction is an amazing medium for conveying important things to readers. It condenses events, juxtaposes them, and paints them with clarity.

2. Enlightenment

Stories can explain the complexities of relationships, wars, and even allow the exploration of different cultures and peoples. Fiction books can show us things we didn’t know about ourselves and others. We may gain valuable new perspectives to help us better understand our neighbours, foreigners, and even our enemies.

Unlike any other form of communication, fiction takes the reader into another character’s mind. Through their perspectives, they define the world. This allows them to see it in new ways and gain new insights.

3. Exploration

Fiction also allows the reader to experience a different culture and lifestyle. They can become an explorer, a scientist, an artist, or an orphan cabin boy. They can also experience the emotions of a person they may not have otherwise experienced.

The power of fiction lies in the ability to create believable characters who are more dramatic and interesting than real people. A talented writer can help a reader understand their own perspective.

4. Entertainment

Books divert our attention from the mundane and take us out of ourselves for a while. They allow us to get lost in the story and forget about reality for a while.

5. Validation

Finally, we need stories to help us make sense of life and the world. As a species, we need stories to make us feel better about ourselves—as human beings, as well as personalities. That’s why we like to identify with heroes and warriors—indeed, anyone who can show us how to overcome obstacles.

Stories ‘frame’ real life into manageable chunks that have tangibility, involvement and purpose, whether for us individually or as a race.

Final Thoughts

Fiction is an amazing way to send a message to readers, make a social statement or purely entertain. Why does fiction matter to you? Let me know in the comments.

 

Until next time
Frankie

Feature photo by Reimund Bertrams from Pixabay.

When Are You Too Old for Cartoons?

When Are You Too Old for Cartoons?

When are you too old for cartoon movies and TV shows? Is there an age limit where you can’t enjoy animation anymore? Or can both adults and children alike appreciate the art of cartoons?

Last week, when I was scrolling Disney Plus and the Lion King popped up. The original one with James Earl Jones as Mufasa, Jeremy Irons as Scar, and Matthew Broderick as the adult Simba. I sat and watched the entire movie. But while I was watching, my brain kept wondering if I was too old to enjoy cartoons or if cartoons were for everyone.

The Lion King

Do you remember the original Lion King that debuted in 1994? When it debuted, it was the greatest full-length animated Disney feature of all time. It even won the Academy Awards for original Score and original Song for Elton John’s hit Can You Feel The Love Tonight.

The Story

The Lion King takes place in Pride Rock, a serene jungle paradise on the African plain. In Pride Rock, every animal lives as part of a harmonious ecosystem ruled by King Mufasa. When King Mufasa and Sarabi welcome their son Simba to the family, the young heir’s Uncle Scar plots to overthrow his brother and take his kingdom by force.

A Conspiracy

Forming a conspiracy with a pack of wild hyenas, Scar plans to lure Simba and Mufasa into a valley where the hyenas stir up a herd of wildebeests. The wildebeests end up trampling Mufasa and leave him clinging to his life on the edge of a cliff. Scar seizes the opportunity to send his brother hurling to his death and send Simba into Exile.

With the king gone, Scar, and the hyenas ascend to power. They soon reduced pride Rock to a desolate wasteland as its newest rulers ravage the landscape.

Hakuna Matada

Fleeing to a faraway land, Simba befriends Pumbaa and Timon, a warthog and meerkat who live carefree lives feasting on grubs and insects. But as time passes, a chance encounter reunites Simba with his childhood destiny. Can Simba return to Pride Rock and reclaim his rightful position as king, or will he succumb to the temptations of a simple life, free from conflict and responsibility? If you don’t know the answer, go watch the movie and find out.

My Connection to The Lion King

The Lion King was the first movie that my two-year-old daughter sat still enough to watch. In fact, we still have the videotape… yes, I said videotape. Although she almost wore it out, playing it repeatedly. We even bought the soundtrack (cassette tape) which we listened to for a ten-hour car ride (fun times). I can still sing Hakuna Matata by heart. While I have watched the new Lion King (2019) my heart still loves the first one more.

If you shy away from animated films as childlike, I would well advise you to make an exception for The Lion King. It’s simply an extraordinary epic, with interesting characters, glorious music and top-notch animation.

Are Cartoons for Everyone?

Cartoons are a popular way to pass the time. Whether you are young or old, you can watch cartoons for fun or spend time with your family. It’s also a great way to relax and let your mind wander. With a wide range of cartoons available, you can easily find a cartoon to watch. In this section, we will explore the age ranges of cartoons.

Cartoons for Toddlers

Cartoons can be educational. Many cartoons have lessons that teach kids about social issues, history, and geography. They can also teach moral lessons. Although, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a policy statement in 2016 that stated that toddlers should not watch cartoons until they are 18-24 months old. And then for up to one hour or less a day.

Here are some educational cartoons for toddlers:

  • Dinosaur Train
  • Daniel Tigers Neighborhood
  • Wild Kratts
  • Sid the Science Kid
  • Ask the Storybots

Cartoons for Children

Watching cartoons with positive messages can boost your child’s brain development. However, you should be careful not to let your child watch cartoons for extended periods of time and choose cartoons with simple storylines.

Here are some educational cartoons for kids:

  • Arthur
  • Rhyme Time Town
  • Phineas and Ferb
  • Atomic Betty
  • Ducktales
  • The Magic School Bus

Cartoons for Adults

Disney and Pixar have further helped to establish the stereotype of these films as only for little kids. However, the age limit on cartoons should not prevent an adult from watching a cartoon alone. Some movies like Aladdin (1982 with Robin Williams – hilarious) have animation for the kids and humor for adults.

There are plenty of Adult only cartoons on the networks and streaming services. While some adults feel that watching cartoons is childish, and silly, research shows that adults can benefit from watching them. They help us exercise our imagination and allow us to relax and unwind.

Here are some cartoons for adults:

  • The Flintstones
  • The Jetsons
  • Rick & Morty
  • The Simpsons
  • South Park
  • Harley Quinn
  • Family Guy
  • Bob’s Burgers
  • Robot Chicken
  • King of the Hill

Final Thoughts

The answer to the question “When are you too old for cartoons?” appears to be never. Do you watch cartoons? Let me know if the comments.

 

Until next time

Frankie

 

Feature image by Janos Perian from Pixabay.

How to Discover New Books to Read

How to Discover New Books to Read

How do you discover new books to read? Maybe you have read every book on your bucket list or maybe you are looking at your pile of books, but nothing grabs your attention. Or maybe you have exhausted the book recommendation from your friends and family. Finding a new author or book to read can be a challenge. In this post, we will investigate alternative places to search for your next great read.

What Are You Looking For?

Before you look for new books, it is important to understand what you are searching for. Are you looking for a book that quickly pulls you into the story and doesn’t let go until you turn the last page? A book that will leave you wanting more. Maybe you are looking for a similar book to the one you just finished. Or an author who writes in a similar style.

The good news is that they published new books every day, so there is an endless supply of books to read.

Kids reading, library

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How to Discover New Books to Read

There are several ways you can discover new books worth reading.

1. Book Lists

There are tons of book lists on the Internet. You can Google ‘top 100 books of all time’ or
‘top romance books’ or ‘top science fiction books’ and multiple lists will pop up. Popular Websites include:

2. Online Websites

There are plenty of online platforms that will allow you to read book blurbs, see reviews and find similar books. Here are three of the best ones.

Goodreads
With a free Goodreads account, you can keep track of all the books you’ve read, the books you’re reading, and the books you want to read. You can also follow people to see what they’re reading, plus see reviews and comments written by other readers.

WhichBook
WhichBook uses a unique mood and emotion search to find great books that match what you’ve asked for.

Fantastic Fiction
Fantastic Fiction allows you to browse bestselling fiction authors, series, and books. Sign up to follow authors, keep track of your books, or discover new books.

3. The Library

Libraries can be a great place to find new books to read. Go to your local library and browse through the stack of books until something captures your attention. Or, better yet, talk to your librarian and have them point you in the right direction. If you can’t make it to your local library, you can scroll through online libraries. Here are a few.

4. Facebook Groups

Facebook has a book group for every genre under the sun. Post in the group exactly what you are looking for. For example: High Fantasy, with no romance, writes like George R.R. Martin. Book lovers love to talk about books and they are always generous in giving recommendations to help fellow readers. Just beware that some fandoms in Facebook Groups are toxic if you mention you don’t like an author or a certain book.

5. Podcasts

Just like there are Facebook groups for every genre, there are also podcasts. Podcasts for book reviews or book recommendations can be a great way to learn about new books. Here are a few good ones.

6. Reddit

Reddit is an online network where like-minded people can ask questions and receive answers. You can just browse the existing threads or you can use the subreddit dedicated to book suggestions to make a new thread. Tell them what you are looking for and add in past books and authors that you have enjoyed. Two big subreddits are

7. Book Clubs

Books clubs have been around for a long time and are pretty straightforward. They tell you which book to read, and then you discuss it as a group. The best part of a book group is getting book recommendations from other members who have similar tastes. If you can’t get to an in-person meeting, try an online book club. They have become more popular since the beginning of Covid.

Final Thoughts

These are some ways how I discover new books to add to my reading lists. How do you discover new books to read? Let me know in the comments.

 

Until next time
Frankie

Feature photo by Oli Götting from Pixabay.

15 Thought-Provoking Dystopian Quotes

15 Thought-Provoking Dystopian Quotes

Do you ever wonder if events from a dystopian movie or book could happen in real life? With some of the recent world events, reality is beginning to sound more like fiction. In this post, we will explore 15 thought-provoking dystopian quotes.

What is Dystopia?

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines dystopia as “An imagined world or society in which people lead wretched, dehumanized, fearful lives.” Dystopia is a speculated community or society that is undesirable or frightening. It usually involves people rebelling against the systemic and societal oppression it has forced them to live with. Authors write dystopian fiction as a cautionary tale of a future to avoid.

Dystopian Themes?

There are many types of dystopian novels, but most of the themes revolve around environmental disasters, government control, technological control, survival, and loss of individualism.

Environmental Disasters

Environmental disasters include events such as climate change, disease, asteroids, comets, droughts or famine. Books such as The Road by Cormac McCarthy and The Maze Runner by James Dashner would fall under this category.

Government Control

The government plays a big role or no role. There are usually different classes, oppression, dictatorships, war or overpopulation. There could also be religious control through cults, sects, and extremists.

Books that fall under this category include 1984 by George Orwell, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood.

Technological Control

Technology control explores the world of constant surveillance. Where technology has advanced to the point where everything you say or do is recorded. Where life and technology are so interwoven that you don’t know where one begins and the other ends. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley does an excellent job of exploring this theme.

Loss of Individualism

This theme happens when the collective becomes more important than the individual. When society values conformity above all else. The Giver by Lois Lowry is an incredible story using this theme.

Survival

People are left to fend for themselves after the world falls into chaos and destruction. The novel Lord of the Flies by William Golding is a great example of this theme.

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15 Thought-Provoking Dystopian Quotes

Science fiction can be frighteningly detailed at times, especially when depicting an imperfect future. Here are 15 quotes to get you thinking.

Hate looks like everybody else until it smiles.
― Tahereh Mafi (Shatter Me)

Every faction conditions it’s members to think and act a certain way. And most people do it. For most people, it’s not hard to learn, to find a pattern of thought that works and stay that way. But our minds move in a dozen different directions. We can’t be confined to one way of thinking, and that terrifies our leaders. It means we can’t be controlled. And it means that, no matter what they do, we will always cause trouble for them.
Veronica Roth, Divergent

Which is better–to have laws and agree, or to hunt and kill?
William Golding, Lord of the Flies

Did you ever feel, as though you had something inside you that was only waiting for you to give it a chance to come out? Some sort of extra power that you aren’t using – you know, like all the water that goes down the falls instead of through the turbines?
Aldous Huxley, Brave New World

We can destroy what we have written, but we cannot unwrite it.
Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange

That was when they suspended the Constitution. They said it would be temporary. There wasn’t even any rioting in the streets. People stayed home at night, watching television, looking for some direction. There wasn’t even an enemy you could put your finger on.
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale

Tell freedom I said hello.
Lauren DeStefano, Wither

I may be the last one, but I am the one still standing. I am the one turning to face the faceless hunter in the woods on an abandoned highway. I am the one not running, not staying, but facing. Because if I am the last one, then I am humanity. And if this is humanity’s last war, then I am the battlefield.
Rick Yancey, The 5th Wave

The life where nothing was ever unexpected. Or inconvenient. Or unusual. The life without colour, pain or past.
Lois Lowry, The Giver

Perhaps the logical conclusion of everyone looking the same is everyone thinking the same.
Scott Westerfeld, Uglies

You don’t forget the face of the person who was your last hope.
Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games

You get your name back in a day or two. It’s the one thing they let us keep.
James Dashner, The Maze Runner

Each day means a new twenty-four hours. Each day means everything’s possible again. You live in the moment, you die in the moment, you take it all one day at a time.”  He looks toward the railway car’s open door, where streaks of dark water blanket the world. “You try to walk in the light.”
Marie Lu, Legend

The problem, as I see it, is that you’ve been told and not told. You’ve been told, but none of you really understand, and I dare say, some people are quite happy to leave it that way.”
Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go

All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.
George Orwell, Animal Farm

Hollow Edge

It is possible for a story to combine themes. Hollow Edge tells the story of an environmental disaster that leads to government and technological control and a fight for survival. 

Hollow Edge Book Cover on a Park Bench

Final Thoughts

Do any of these quotes sound like something out of the news? Have you read any of these books? Let me know in the comments.

 

Until next time

Frankie

 

Feature image by brands amon from Pixabay.

What Would Life Be Like Without Movies?

What Would Life Be Like Without Movies?

What if movies didn’t exist? Have you ever thought about life without movies? Probably not, because we take them for granted. Years ago, when I was young, you had to go to a movie theater, to see a movie and if you didn’t see it there, you would have to wait until it came out on Network TV with commercials. But now you can watch movies any time on the Internet with new streaming services popping up all the time. Let’s discuss the good and bad parts of movies.

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3 Benefits of Movies

Here are three benefits of watching movies.

1. Escapism

Movies are one of the most common forms of entertainment. Especially with the explosion of streaming services and the two-year Covid shutdown. Movies allow us to escape into another world and forget our problems and worries for a bit. Movies engage our minds, allowing our worries to fade away.

They allow us to travel to new worlds and experience things we would have never thought about trying. Through movies, we can climb Mount Everest (Everest), crawl through caves (Sanctum), travel through space (Star Wars, Star Trek), drive fast (Fast and Furious) and scuba dive in the ocean (Into the Blue) all without leaving the comfort of our home.

2. Excitement and Emotion

Movies bring excitement and the intensity of emotion. Have you ever cried or been angry after watching a movie? Or experienced emotion that you wouldn’t have otherwise. These are the main reasons they are so popular. Movies like Top Gun and Indiana Jones are exciting. We leave the theatre happy and ready to take on the world. My Sisters Keeper, My Girl, The Fault in My Stars and Steel Magnolias will always draw tears and emotions.

3. Education

Films show us science, technology, history, culture and politics. Through movies, we learn about the past. We learn about people that have changed the world. Also, the visual medium of film allows us to retain information better. Movies such as First Man, Schindler’s List, Braveheart, Hidden Figures, Titanic and Apollo 13 educate us about the past while entertaining us at the same time. How many times have you watched a movie and then hit Google for more information?

Drawback of Movies

Here are three drawbacks to watching movies.

1. Unrealistic Expectations

Movies come with unrealistic expectations. They make us believe that anything is possible, but some things aren’t. Carrying around a hammer will not make you Thor. Wrapping a stethoscope around your neck will not make you a Doctor.

They make unhealthy lifestyles and choices look appealing.

2. Confusion

Special effects and computer animations are now so realistic that it is confusing for kids. You’ve heard stories in the news about a child being killed or seriously hurt because they were acting out something they saw in a movie. This is especially true for kids who have grown up in the technology age.

3. Violence

The other thing is that children are being exposed to hyper-intense scenes of violence. Researchers concluded in Developmental Psychology that, “Every violent TV show increases a little-bit the likelihood of a child growing up to behave more aggressively.” Movies like Saw, Hostel and the Godfather trilogy glorify blood and gore.

Final Thoughts

So are movies good or bad? Well, the answer is yes – to both. Now the question remains, does one outweigh the other? Write me a note in the comments and let me know your thoughts.

 

Until next time
Frankie

Feature photo by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay.

Why do People Read Books More Than Once?

Why do People Read Books More Than Once?

Do you ever read a book more than once? There are those that love to reread books and those that will only read a book once. Which category do you fall into?

Every year thousand of books are published, so it only makes sense to read a book once. If your to-be-read pile looks like mine, you may never finish reading every book that you own. So why do people re-read books?

Why do People Reread the Same Book?

Children ask their parents to reread the same stories repeatedly until they know the tale by heart, so why wouldn’t adults do the same? Here are some reasons to reread books:

1. A Sense of Familiarity

Sometimes starting a new book or reading a new author can be stressful. You wonder if the book is worth your time. Just like re-watching a movie, rereading your favourite story is comforting. There is a sense of familiarity and knowing how the story ends that releases the pressure of the unknown.

Rereading a book can also help with homesickness or loneliness. Reaching for a book you used to love can be like visiting an old friend. There is a guarantee that you know what will happen and nothing will change.

2. To Get Out of a Slump

Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you can’t get into a new book or series. Occasionally, the solution is to reread your favourite book because you know you love the story and characters. You know you won’t be disappointed by the ending.

3. The Next Book is Releasing

Readers like to go back and read the first books whenever a new book comes out in a series. It refreshes the story in their mind and reminds them of the major plot points and characters.

Sometimes when the last book of a series is released people like to go back and start the series all over again.

4. It’s Being Made into a Movie or TV Show

The television and movie industry has turned more and more to books to find new ideas. Sometimes people like to reread the book and compare it to the movie or vice versa.

5. Finding Something New

Every time you reread a book, you discover something new. Sometimes we miss things the first time because there’s so much to take in, and reading something again fills in those gaps.

It might be something a character says or a description you may have missed or an important detail that changes the way you perceive the story. Also, age changes the way you look at things so it can be like reading it for the first time.

Why Do I Reread the Same Books?

I am someone who re-reads books. Sometimes when I finish a book or series, I reread a favourite book as a palette cleanser. It’s a pleasure to rediscover familiar characters and the things I missed when I was rushing to find out all the secrets and mysteries of how the story ends.

The following are books I have read more than once.

1. The Road to Avalon by Joan Wolf

Perfect for lovers of historical fiction, this is a retelling of King Arthur. When Uther Pendragon discovers he is dying without an heir, he sends Merlin to find the son he set aside years before. With the threat of the Saxons looming Arthur must band the British tribes together.

This is the first of a trilogy which also includes Born of the Sun the story of Niniane, a Celtic princess, and Ceawlin, bastard son of the King of the West Saxons and The Edge of Light which features Alfred, the Great, as he succeeds to the king of Wessex on the death of his beloved brother, Ethelred. His haughty young wife, Elswyth, of the kingdom of Mercia, helps him in his struggle against the invading pagan Danes.

2. The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks

As the last heir of Shannara, Shea must save the humans, gnomes, trolls, dwarfs, and elves of the world from the Warlock Lord by reclaiming the wondrous sword.

The first story in a trilogy that includes The Elfstones of Shannara and The Wishsong of Shannara. This book introduced me to Fantasy writing and authors such as Robert Jordan, Terry Goodkind, Brandon Sanderson, and George R.R. Martin.

3. Ransom by Julie Garwood

Gillian finds the key to resolving her troubled past with the help of Scottish chieftain Brodick Buchanan, Ramsey Sinclair and Brigid MacPherson.

This is a historical romance that is so funny and cleverly written. The dialogue is so well done.

4. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

The story of the battle between the greasers (poor) and socs (rich) is seen through the eyes of Ponyboy a greaser being raised by his brother after his parents died in a car accident. After his friend Johnny kills a soc to protect Ponyboy they go on the run with the help of Dallas Winston.

As a teenager, I probably read this book three or four times a year and now I read it every few years.

Final Thoughts

There are plenty of reasons to revisit a favourite book. Why do you reread books? Let me know in the comments.

 

Until next time
Frankie

Feature photo by StockSnap from Pixabay.