The Importance of Reading Fiction

Often in the world of reading there are wide amounts of controversy on what is valuable reading and what is “filler reading” – brain candy that has no value save to entertain. For this reason, non-fiction and informative, scholarly literature is more popular among educated adult audiences. However, research shows that reading fictional stories has a variety of benefits that reading other kinds of literature do not give.

        Here are a few reasons why you should consider adding a fictional book to your list of must-reads before summer ends:

1) Fiction Widens Your World

Fiction allows you to escape reality and instead find yourself in a different place with different emotional backgrounds behind the settings. This allows you to expand your own mindset and encourages you to make different positive changes in your own life. Neil Gaiman, a popular writer stated, “I’d like to say a few words about escapism. I hear the term brandied about as if it’s a bad thing. As if ‘escapist’ fiction is a cheap opiate used by the muddled and the foolish . . . and the only fiction that is worthy, for adults or for children, is mimetic fiction, mirroring the worst of the world the reader finds herself in.” He continues by saying, “fiction…opens a door, shows the sunlight outside, gives you a place to go…more importantly…books can also give you knowledge about the world and your predicament, give you weapons, give you armour, real things you can take back.” In short, fiction arms you with the power to deal with your everyday problems and struggles.

2) Fiction Makes You More Empathetic

Fiction has the power to make you empathetic. Research shows that reading about emotions of characters can actually help you feel those feelings and increase your ability to connect to others on an emotional level. Although non-fiction can have moments that evoke emotion, fiction is king when it comes to helping individuals learn how to better relate and understand to other people in an empathetic way.

3) Reading Fiction Removes Stress Effectively

Studies show that above going on walks, playing games, and listening music, reading fiction removes stress, loosens your muscles, and helps you sleep better. Often individuals go to movies or play video games to try and take the intensity out of their life, but reading fiction gives the same effect 600% more effectively.

Reading fiction improves quality of life, builds empathy, improves sleep, removes pressure, and helps build relationships. So before you pick up another non-fiction self help book, pick up something fictional and fun that you want to read.