Why Novels are so important?


Why Novels are so important?

للنسخة العربية

Lately, I joined an Arabic ‘Readers’ group on Facebook. Then, someday a member posted this question “Why novels are so important? And do they worth their price which sometimes is pretty high?”

Then, I was surprised by the many comments and other similar posts of people who are supposed to be book addicts and professional readers to express the thought of novels are unimportant and time-wasting. That was my motive to write this blog post to clarify the importance of novels as a genre of reading.

Novels are important for many reasons which I will try to simply explain them in the following points:

1- Novels are sources of indirect knowledge

Which in my opinion, is the most important benefit of novels. Novels have much information in different fields that are fed to your brain unconsciously even if you don’t want to learn them. I’ll mention a few examples to clear this point. 

Nabil Farouk‘s readers must be familiar with the information footer of his novels’ pages. Whenever there is a scientific, historic, political or social fact or term in the novel, you will always find detailed information about this fact in the page’s footer. I remember me and my friend in the elementary school making an agreement to get (each) an agenda (a big notebook with pages with a year’s days number) and write down each information we can find in Nabil Farouk’s novels. After about 50 books the agenda pages were filled with information in different knowledge fields owned and learnt by two kids in the elementary school. I’m not familiar with similar western authors who do like this but I’m sure there are.

A second example is, if you don’t like a certain knowledge field (let’s say politics -like me- for example) then how on earth are you supposed to get political information? I mean that because you don’t like politics then you will not read political books, you will not watch political TV shows and you will not – of course – read political articles from the web. Then, suppose you are reading a novel and came by a political information stated in the novel that serves the plot then you must read it even if you don’t like it to continue the story, right?

So, you learnt some new information that you would never learn (in a field you don’t like) while enjoying the novel.

2- Novel as a spark for creativity and discovery

We have to agree that novels are one of the best means to grow you imagination. Not only you, but the novels’ authors as well. We also have to agree that imagination is the most important element in creativity and scientific innovation. 

I’m not forcing you to agree with these two concepts, but I will mention some examples that will force you to: 

Tim Berners Lee is the creator of the WWW (World Wide Web) stated that the WWW idea (which is a network connecting a group of computers together) came from Dial F for Frankenstein by Arthur C. Clarke which is a short story Lee read in his childhood

Robert H. Goddard the inventor of the first liquid-fueled rocket had devoted his life for this invention after he read the god father of Sci-Fi H. G. Wells‘s “The War of The Worlds“. This rocket led eventually to the Apollo project and man walk on the moon.

The World Set Free” for the same author predicted the invention of a bomb that depend on a nuclear reaction with a destructive power that can last for days. The physicist Leo Szilard has read the novel at 1932 and in the next year he came up with the Nuclear Chain Reaction theory which led to the Manhattan Project to create the atomic bomb 8 years later.

Mary Shelley‘s 1817 “Frankenstein” gave the start signal to the launch of Synthetic Biology and Artificial Life sciences. Even when scientists create a new artificial life system they call it the “Frankenstein Moment“. 

Of course we cannot have this discussion without mentioning the genius author Jules Verne and his masterpiece (in my opinion) “20,000 Leagues Under The Sea” which contributed to the invention of Ocean-Spanning Submarine.

These were only some examples (not all of them) of the effect of novels on science. Of course novels didn’t only affect science but other fields as well such as politics.

If you want more examples about inventions and ideas inspired by novels and stories you can go to Technovelgy.

3- Novel is entertaining

What’s wrong with having fun? What’s wrong with entertaining without any benefit gained?

I mean let’s just suppose that the previous two points are invalid. Let’s suppose that novels don’t have any knowledge benefit. Novels are only entertaining with no knowledge gained anyway. So what? 

The wrong is to spend all your time studying, working and producing without any rest for yourself. You must have break-time. You must have a time when you can release all the stress your mind had from study and work. Those who consider rest and entertaining a time-waste are wasting their life in vain. I don’t think that you can go on through your lifetime working and working and working with no rest and some joy in the middle. 

4- Novel gives life experiences

There are too many novels that can give you personal life experience (I personally had this a lot). The novel’s main characters may face a situation and deal with it in some way, then you find that this very situation was or would be in your personal life and you had no idea how to deal with it. 

This article confirms my point. It states that while you’re reading a novel your mind is storing all the situations faced by the characters for future reference unconsciously. 

How – on earth – some people may come after all this and tell me the novels and stories are useless and time-wasting? 

I hope I could deliver the concept that people should balance between their fiction/non-fiction readings.


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