Why fiction?

I have a friend who won’t read fiction. He doesn’t eschew just the fun stuff that I enjoy and use to escape, but even the more difficult (though just as enjoyable) classics and serious fiction. He just doesn’t see the point. He’s not the only one. I run into a lot of people like that.

Now, granted, there are a lot of demands on our time. We’ve got jobs and careers (not necessarily the same thing), families, civic involvement, American Idol, and Facebook to worry about. The bills have to be paid, and the kids have to be fed.

But reading, and reading fiction, too, should never be neglected. There are few experiences like reading fiction to help access the inner man, use our imagination to learn empathy, view other perspectives, and expand our world view. I’m not saying that there aren’t other ways; just that reading fiction is a great way to do it.


Today, I ran across this simple statement from Isaac Asimov, and while it is just that: a simple statement, it is right to the point.

PS: I have not verified its authenticity.

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2 responses to “Why fiction?

  1. I love this quote!!! What a great way to explain the library and books. Thank you for keeping me going on reading and share great books with me…..Always your Sister!!!!
    (And by the way I do follow your blog and read every post.)

  2. Great post.

    In the past I have been the type of person you describe. Over the last two to three years or so, I’ve made a concerted effort to read more (read: some) fiction — both the escapist and more valuable varieties — and have enjoyed it very much.

    I love my non-fiction history, but have realized that fiction is also history, and more. A good novel captures much more of the entire human experience than a history ever can and gets its reader to think (and feel) hard about important questions from another’s view point. It puts you inside of someone, instead of always watching from the detached third person.

    So count me a fiction convert. Now I’ll just have to spend my coming years playing catch-up to everyone who figured this out long before me :)

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