Thursday, August 21, 2014

Fiction that teaches

Can a book be average and also brilliant? The collection shared here proves it can be done. These are all novels, and as novels the very best of them are entertaining, but not notably so. And the worst of them are quite bad. But it would be more accurate to think of these as textbooks masquerading as novels, because their intention is very much to educate rather than entertain.

And as textbooks, they are brilliant! Teaching us by way of story is a great way to make learning a little less painful, and more memorable. Dry dusty facts are hard to memorizeInstead of dry dusty facts in column after column, we get these same ideas packaged in a story form

There is a tradeoff: the information isn't presented as systematically or concisely as it might be in a traditional textbook. However, if you want to being exploring a subject like philosophy or counseling, or the Christian perspective on euthanasia and abortion, these make for great, engaging introductions.

In the list below I've ordered them by their entertainment value, even though the strength of each of them lies in their educational value. The reason I've gone this route is because they are all excellent educationally, but vary widely as far as how entertaining they are, with the very last quite bad, and the first several quite good.

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