Whitlam Institute

What Matters 2019 Shortlist

What Matters 2019 Shortlist

Irreplaceable - Fiction Books

Irreplaceable - Fiction Books

Tram Nguyen

Year 9

Fiction books are invaluable and should never be wasted or disregarded! With their superior ability to expand our imagination and creativity, fiction books also provide the means to transport ourselves into a completely different world, whilst giving us the opportunity to walk in another's shoes.They are an important form of escapism: extricating ourselves from monotonous situations and enter into fantastical worlds where we can recharge our batteries, coping with everyday life. To many, fiction books represent moments of peace and tranquility in their hectic lives; they provide the necessary 'breathing' space, which allows people to embrace creativity and innovation.

  Fiction books shape our mindset and vision, playing a crucial role in the development of two vital skills: imagination and creativity. Fiction acts as a gateway to these skills, which could not be replaced by any other means. Imagination and creativity are the primary tools that have helped us to evolve as humans. It  brought mankind from the Dark Ages to our present civilisation; it led Christopher Columbus to discover America and guided Benjamin Franklin to the invention of electricity. Imagination has granted us the revolutionary steam engine, high-tech vehicles and talking technologies. These things were all imagined in books before they became a reality! Their contribution should never be underestimated.

   They hold onto the power of transporting ourselves into completely different worlds and perspectives. Multiple researchers from Washington University in St. Louis scanned the brains of fiction readers and concluded: “Readers brains reacted as if they were living the events they are reading about.” Comprehending fictional literature also requires the reader to place themselves in another's shoes, allowing them to develop skills of inclusivity and empathy. Fiction books enable us to engage our empathetic capacities as, while reading these narratives, we identify character's ulterior motives and encounter their experiences. An excellent example is 'Wonder' by R.J Palacio. After reading the book, readers could instantaneously empathise with August, the boy who was born with a facial malformation. 'Wonder', a fiction book, allowed readers to understand and expand their inclusivity skills, teaching them the importance of practising acceptance when meeting others. Of the need to shower the world with kindness.

 

    Not only can they transport us to different  worlds and lead mankind to revolutionary inventions, but fiction books also allow us to rest our cognitive capabilities through disengaging from reality, hence improving our mental health. Disengagement is a skill that is overlooked by many people, yet without it our chances of suffering from a mental overload will increase rapidly! Reading fiction books is proven to be the best way to disengage from our often overwhelming lives. The University of Sussex has articulated that: “Fiction readers sleep better, have lower stress levels, higher self-esteem and lower rates of depression.”

 Within just six minutes of silent reading fiction, our heart rate slows down and all the tension in our body is freed. Psychologists believe this is due to the fact that when reading, the mind's concentration generates a distraction that soothes the body into a tranquil state. Fiction books represent serenity and escape, preventing mental overburden.

    With their proven track record of revolutionising our world by stimulating the imaginations of readers, and their role in developing crucial empathy skills, fiction books are an indispensable part of the human experience. They have the potential to transport readers into fantastical worlds, allowing them to disengage from the stress of everyday life and develop a more relaxed state of mind, from which they can fully explore their creativity. Consequently, fiction books should never be denigrated, but must remain under our care and possession forever!