Most writing books advise that you attempt to involve the reader by 'showing' rather than merely 'telling' the events and people, but not all how-to books agree with that advice.
I like this attempt to distinguish the two modes, and explain how they both have their uses - from the Advanced Writing website...
- Please note how much more efficient “telling” is than “showing.”
- Please note how much more vivid “showing” is than “telling.”
- Now here’s an important point: You want to “show” the interesting parts of your story and “tell” the uninteresting parts.
That seems like a very useful distinction, to me. Follow the link for more detail.