The Discworld Effect
I’ve never entirely understood people that read but don’t read fiction.
I understand people who don’t read at all better. Ok, they don’t find value in reading. I disagree, but I at least understand them. But when those who read voraciously don’t read any fiction at all baffles me.
Of those that fall into this category that I’ve heard from, there seems to be a prevailing thought that they only read for self-improvement and some productivity.
This, to me, seems like it’s missing the point in many ways. Even if useless as far as practical information, fiction is a way to distract and rest. If you want to try the most effective productivity technique possible, it’s adequate rest.
Fiction in itself can be amazingly useful in packaging thoughts and ideas in an easier and more fun way to digest. It can be inspiring. It can have just as much practical information as any textbook.
I’m often thinking in these cases about science fiction (and in that, I include fantasy). Still, even in other types of fiction, characters may have exciting approaches or solutions that one could aspire to and emulate. Think of Sherlock Holmes deductive reasoning.
Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series inspires the title of the essay. I can think of no other body of work that holds such joyful escapism while being a mirror to our world in almost every aspect of life to such depth. It’s only dawned on me relatively recently just how deep it goes and how much there is to learn from it. Recently, a specific example was a proposal for a poverty index in the UK inspired by a Discworld character.
In fiction or non-fiction writing, I think of Terry Pratchett as a true genius and one of the greatest writers. I don’t use terms like that often or if at all.
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