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Amgad Muhammad

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What's the point of novels?

All of us would agree that reading for facts and knowledge widens our perspective, but what does reading novels do?
Do we read novels for the sole purpose of entertaining ourselves or does it make us intelligent in some way?
How can one take lessons from a story that was made up and characters that do not exist?

Is reading novels just a waste of time? a sort of video game for those who like to read?


Topics: books

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    May 8 2013: Novels are a unique medium. Yes, they can be nothing more than rainy day entertainment and as a novelist, I indulge in that now and then. I could watch a stupid rom-com movie, but i am nothing more than a recipient and when I read the same silly rom-com novel, I am interacting and forming the scenes and action in my own mind. In my novel 'Cast the First Stone' I wanted to explore the internal conflict of a young professional cyclist who decided to go along with a team doping program. Why? I just wanted to know and what I found during my research frightened me to the point where i gave up writing it for two years and instead wrote another book "Open Your Heart with Bicycling..." The result is a book that made a lot of people very uncomfortable. I have finished writing a new novel that falls generally into the thriller genre, but more along the lines of John leCarre. I have been fascinated and disturbed by the expanding and vitriolic culture wars, and I experience them most in my own Catholic church. In this novel, both the liberal LGBT faction and the ultra militant conservative faction resort to violence as they fight over issues such as abortion, gay marriage, female ordination etc. I didn't want to take sides, but rather examine how far these culture wars could go and what the consequences might be. I would hope this will start a discussion on that very topic now before the violence happens. Ok, that's my humble contribution.
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      May 8 2013: Thanks for your participation Shawn, it really adds to the conversation.

      So I guess what you're trying to say is that novels can be a way of living a situation or experience that would otherwise not exist in real world. Interesting.
      Good luck with your writings.

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