Why Reading Fiction Matters

I would like to start with a quote from Nobel Prize Winner of Literature Nadine Gordimer.

                    – “Nothing factual that I write or say will be as truthful as my fiction.” 

SO WHY READ FICTION when there is so much to learn from history, studying human behavior or uncharted territories of science. Nonfiction consists of facts, facts that are limited. Fiction has none of these limitations. Moreover, certain kinds of facts simply do not exist. What are the facts for fear? Heartbreak? Loneliness? The facts on what it’s like to be a soldier or teenager or maybe a serial killer. What it’s like to fall in love or commit a murder.

First, let me talk to those who think you should only read nonfiction, and who think reading fiction is a waste of their time. Here are some of the benefits of reading fiction.

  1. Creates Empathy for others
  2. Among the very best way to relieve stress
  3. Reading fiction before bed, you will sleep better
  4. Helps you understand others mental states, crucial skill in developing relationships
  5. Reading fiction makes us more inclusive, tolerant an open-minded.
  6. It builds the readers vocabulary.

Now, back to fiction, it has a power no other form of communication does, the power to insert you fully and completely in someone else’s mind and good fiction runs deep into the realms of psychology and philosophy.

In my case, as a writer, I found a way to combine the benefits of both non-fiction and fiction, because I chose to write fiction based on fact. In The Serpent’s Disciple, accept for the characters and plot everything else is based on fact.

In doing research for the next book, I came across a group I’d never heard of and decided it was perfect to develop a story around and wasn’t disappointed as I continued to read more. It seemed impossible that what I was learning wasn’t made up and a world of untapped knowledge of things I never knew were being revealed to me.

It’s important to realize, we need to read a mix of fiction and nonfiction. So back to the discussion, why waste your time reading fiction. I think it’s evident; no one can exist only on facts that describes    a robot. We are human beings with a mind for learning and an imagination for creating and without both, we can never truly understand life.

So the next time you see somebody reading a book of fiction realize they are learning things you can never be taught by only reading non-fiction. The definition of Fiction: Something made up, but ultimately deals in truth.

Getting the next book ready for publication and again it is fiction based on fact. Some of the same characters return and the plot once again is fictional, but the events, places and groups mentioned in the book do exist.

I already have the idea for the third book, but before  that I seem to have this little voice telling me to write a book of non-fiction about a topic many people would be interested in learning a little more about. But, the little voice inside my head hasn’t told me yet what the topic should be. I know it will come to me, but I’m open for suggestions!

You can find my novel The Serpent’s Disciple on Amazon here

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Look forward to your comments and until the next blog post.

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