Rachelle Gardner posed this question back on her blog back in August. Only she called it Fiction Readers Are Better People.
When I was young, very young, I read fiction to escape to other worlds. I gobbled up the Hardy Boys and Chip Hilton stories. Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke and Ray Bradbury took on bold adventures into science fiction. I fell in love with Walter Farley’s Black Stallion, which birthed a life-long passion for horses and great fiction.
I continue to read fiction voraciously, not only for escape and entertainment, but to learn. I learn values and morals, right and wrong, how to treat people, and that there are consequences for my behavior. I learn because I see the characters put these concepts into action. Novels, because they are so close to real life, make these more clear and understandable than any non-fiction book or article, with the possible exception of a well-done memoir.
How? Because, on the pages of the stories, I see people struggle with problems and dilemmas, I follow them as they make decisions and live with the results of those decisions in the real world of the story.
Fiction has a way of bringing truth alive in my heart in ways non-fiction can’t.
Fiction opens my eyes to see people of other races and cultures as real, with dreams and goals just like me. It helps me understand other worlds, either a foreign nation or a part of America I’d never seen. Fiction gives me a means to satisfy my curiosity about the world and people, about their stories, about what it was like to live in Europe under Nazism, or Israel at the founding of the nation in 1948, or historical America and Ireland, or what the future may be like.
I can enter dream worlds like Narnia and Middle Earth and see characters deal with the same issues we deal with every day. In the end, they show us how to use our moral compass to make decisions and solve problems.
What makes you turn to fiction as a reading choice?
Great post, Henry!! I totally agree with your comment “Fiction has a way of bringing truth alive in my heart in ways non-fiction can’t.”
Thank you, Darlene.