Reading the news vs. reading a book

Reading the news vs. reading a book

26 Jul 2020

Reading is reading, no? Why does reading the news seem so different from reading a novel? Here are a few thoughts:

Half-way there

The news, since it is often still happening (!) is unresolved. The story is never really over: you are always left in suspense, knowing that more will come.

In a novel, the author takes you on a whole narrative arc. Even an unresolved ending is deliberate: you aknow that the unresolution is as much as you’ll get, and you are free to go ponder the meaning of life…

Taking a next step

The news talks about events that have some effect on your life, but rarely give you enough context or detail for you to take any action. It raises your anxiety without positionning you to make decisions and take action.

Novels let you escape the day to day and yet give you outlooks and attitudes that help you make sense of the world and orient yourself when you return.


The news is produced on a brutally rapid schedule, and as result it’s emphasis is on sharing the raw information as quickly as possible.

Novels, being produced on a longer schedule, are just are just a little less hectic…