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The designation novel covers a very wide spectrum of literature. It comprises the classic works of fiction of all countries. By definition, a novel is a prose piece of over 60,000 words. Many are much longer. Anything shorter is a novella ; if much shorter, a short story. The genre grew up independently in many countries, particularly those of Europe, though since this is an English General Paper it is the English (or British) tradition that will generally be referred to, with occasional references to countries which have produced fiction in some kind of English, such as the USA. Fiction of course is not limited to the classics, which form a relatively small part of it. For at least three centuries the bookshops have always been full of the more ephemeral kinds of prose; the American block-buster , the J Arthur Clarke type of space fiction, the ghost story, the detective whodunnit ?, the romantic novel, the psychological thriller, the historical novel, the adventure story, the war story. The list is endless. It is quite possible to become hooked on novel reading, and this has two dangers. To read novels when you should be doing something else, e.g. study, or practical chores, is indeed a waste of time. And it is never courteous to have one's nose in a novel when visitors arrive! Secondly, there are some people who find in a novel a means of escape from reality. This has other dangers. Too much relapse into fantasy may destroy one's ability to face facts. If reading novels can be a waste of time, reading bad novels is always a waste of time and can be positively harmful. A really bad novel is not easy to define, but for anybody with intellect it has some, or even all of the following features: unreality in characterization and situation, poor construction, concentration on sex and violence for the sake of it, bad sentence construction, a boring approach, expletives and bad language generally, a biased attitude to people, situations and issues, and stereotyping of characters. That said, to read anything is arguably better than read nothing, or sinking to the bottom line, mindless television watching. At least the capacity to read demonstrates that one is literate. In Britain today, there is an alarming number of school-leavers from the state system who can neither read nor write. The case for reading the classics need hardly be made. Their characters live, and are of their time. Descriptions of town and country engross the reader. Stories, and therefore plots, seem to grow out of the characters. Often, great national events, wars and revolutions provide the background, but are integral at the same time. Characters and great events affect each other. The same process is seen in the good political, maritime or war story. The classical novel provides a window on another world; good contemporary novels offer new insights into our own world. The reader will inevitably gain in knowledge and understanding from this class of literature. Such reading supplies valuable background material for other studies; history, sociology, politics, psychology and economics. However, life is not all self-improvement, or shouldn't be. Reading for pure relaxation can do the reader nothing but good. The poor, ugly girl may find a therapeutic escape in a romantic novel. Just such a person as she is may be picked up by a dark, handsome, rich, even aristocratic stranger and transported into new worlds of delight. Why not? It will never happen, but there is no harm in dreaming. And there is the comfortable, stately world of the country house murder , where death is relatively bloodless, and the 'culprit turns out to be the colonel, the butler, or a rogue vicar. Pitting one's wits against the author's is a good form of relaxation. So, to the English reader, are the novels of P G Wodehouse, which open windows on the life of the idle rich in England in the 20s, contain absolutely no social comment on the rigid class system of the time, are brilliantly constructed, and contain laughs on every page. Provisos have been mentioned, and given those, no sane person could say that reading novels is a waste of time.
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Reading novels is a waste of time
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Reading Novels Is A Waste Of Time

Words: 702    Pages: 3    Paragraphs: 7    Sentences: 44    Read Time: 02:33
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              The designation novel covers a very wide spectrum of literature. It comprises the classic works of fiction of all countries. By definition, a novel is a prose piece of over 60,000 words. Many are much longer. Anything shorter is a novella ; if much shorter, a short story. The genre grew up independently in many countries, particularly those of Europe, though since this is an English General Paper it is the English (or British) tradition that will generally be referred to, with occasional references to countries which have produced fiction in some kind of English, such as the USA.
              Fiction of course is not limited to the classics, which form a relatively small part of it. For at least three centuries the bookshops have always been full of the more ephemeral kinds of prose; the American block-buster , the J Arthur Clarke type of space fiction, the ghost story, the detective whodunnit ? , the romantic novel, the psychological thriller, the historical novel, the adventure story, the war story. The list is endless.
             
              It is quite possible to become hooked on novel reading, and this has two dangers. To read novels when you should be doing something else, e. g. study, or practical chores, is indeed a waste of time. And it is never courteous to have one's nose in a novel when visitors arrive! Secondly, there are some people who find in a novel a means of escape from reality. This has other dangers. Too much relapse into fantasy may destroy one's ability to face facts.
             
              If reading novels can be a waste of time, reading bad novels is always a waste of time and can be positively harmful. A really bad novel is not easy to define, but for anybody with intellect it has some, or even all of the following features: unreality in characterization and situation, poor construction, concentration on sex and violence for the sake of it, bad sentence construction, a boring approach, expletives and bad language generally, a biased attitude to people, situations and issues, and stereotyping of characters.
             
              That said, to read anything is arguably better than read nothing, or sinking to the bottom line, mindless television watching. At least the capacity to read demonstrates that one is literate. In Britain today, there is an alarming number of school-leavers from the state system who can neither read nor write.
             
              The case for reading the classics need hardly be made. Their characters live, and are of their time. Descriptions of town and country engross the reader. Stories, and therefore plots, seem to grow out of the characters. Often, great national events, wars and revolutions provide the background, but are integral at the same time. Characters and great events affect each other. The same process is seen in the good political, maritime or war story. The classical novel provides a window on another world; good contemporary novels offer new insights into our own world. The reader will inevitably gain in knowledge and understanding from this class of literature. Such reading supplies valuable background material for other studies; history, sociology, politics, psychology and economics.
             
              However, life is not all self-improvement, or shouldn't be. Reading for pure relaxation can do the reader nothing but good. The poor, ugly girl may find a therapeutic escape in a romantic novel. Just such a person as she is may be picked up by a dark, handsome, rich, even aristocratic stranger and transported into new worlds of delight. Why not? It will never happen, but there is no harm in dreaming. And there is the comfortable, stately world of the country house murder , where death is relatively bloodless, and the 'culprit turns out to be the colonel, the butler, or a rogue vicar. Pitting one's wits against the author's is a good form of relaxation. So, to the English reader, are the novels of P G Wodehouse, which open windows on the life of the idle rich in England in the 20s, contain absolutely no social comment on the rigid class system of the time, are brilliantly constructed, and contain laughs on every page.
             
              Provisos have been mentioned, and given those, no sane person could say that reading novels is a waste of time.
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