Tuesday 18 February 2014

Reasons You Should Read Fiction

Be honest: when was the last time you read something purely for your own enjoyment? Where you weren't required to read it for work, and where you weren't trying to learn something specific? I'm not talking about social media updates, either. I'm talking about fiction.

I'll bet that, even though it wasn't your intention, you did learn something. I'll bet that you learnt how much fun it can be to immerse yourself in a fantasy world, to forget about all your worries and troubles and, like a child, imagine, again. I'll also bet that you found out that a book is infinitely better than a movie, because you're not being told by someone else what the characters and their surroundings are supposed to look like.

If my wager would be a winning one, then I'm happy to tell you that you are not alone; millions of people across the world are rediscovering reading for pleasure every day. But there are also some more practical reasons that you should read fiction, according to a recent study. Reading:

Improves Emotional Intelligence

The bottom line of the study is that you should read fiction, because reading fiction (granted, it talks about Literary Fiction) will improve your emotional intelligence levels. EQ is quite a buzzword these days, and with good reason: who doesn't want to understand other people better?

Increases Empathy

Similar to increasing your emotional intelligence, you should read fiction, because it helps to understand the motivations of others. This kind of makes sense, because reading fiction is naturally all about placing ourselves into the minds and lives of other people. What's more, this possibly obvious fact is scientifically confirmed by the study I mentioned above, as well as an earlier study.

What is surprising, though, is that the study found that reading non-fiction had the opposite effect!

Helps you deal with ambiguity

This is also somewhat related to the above, because fiction is full of characters with ambiguous personalities and motivations, dealing with ambiguous situations.

Still, it bears mentioning as a separate benefit, because one of the things that we struggle with most as human beings, is not knowing. And "not knowing" something is often a fact of life!

If you're the kind of person who has to have all the answers, all the time, and you can't handle situations where you're not sure, do yourself a favour and pick up a story with loads of conflict. See how those characters handle it, and you might learn a thing or two!

... And Finally

Well, I alluded to it in the opening paragraph of this post, but the number one reason I think you should read fiction, is because it's the most fun you can have with your clothes on. And, if you're reading alone, or in an environment where such things are acceptable, you don't even have to have your clothes on!

So whether you're a confirmed, avid reader, and you're looking for something new, or I've convinced you to re-kindle your love of stories, why not take a look at My Books? Grab one of them in either paperback, or your favourite ebook format, and get reading!

Are you a confirmed bibliophile? Did you used to love reading, but can't remember when last you read anything that you weren't required to read? Or, has the desire to read never entered your conscious mind? I'd love to hear from you. Let me know in the comments below!

[*] The image used in this blog post, of a woman reading a book, was taken off openclipart (Original image here).

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