Monday, February 18, 2019

DOES READING FICTION MAKE YOU A BETTER PERSON?

By Mary Kennedy
                                                                         

My trusty 8 ball says, "Signs point to yes." Book lovers will be happy to know that a new psychological study indicates that reading fiction really does raise our emotional IQ, makes us a little kinder, a little more empathic, more sensitive to others.  Reading non-fiction, by the way, doesn't do this. Only fiction offers this.

You already know this, you say? I think we really do know it intuitively, but it's nice to have some scientific back up for our beliefs. Most of us give a contented sigh when we finish a really good novel. We feel we've entered into another world for a brief time, encountered fascinating new characters, shared their joys and sorrows and can rejoice in their ultimate triumph. 
                                                                           

Many of us read several novels a month, eager to experience that joyful feeling again and again. People read pages on the subway, on the train, while enjoying a cup of tea in a cafe or a quick lunch under an umbrella table. Nothing like a book to let us give up our cares for a few moments and enter into a different world of fantasy and delight. 
                                                                          

Barack Obama once said, "when I think about how I understand my role as citizen...the most important stuff I've learned I think I've learned from novels."


If cats could read novels, I''m sure they would! 

                                                                              

And if they could write them, even better!! Think of the stories they could tell!! 

                                                                         

So the next time you want to spend time enjoying a novel, rest assured that you are doing "a good thing." And enjoy, enjoy! 

Happy reading, always, Mary Kennedy

2 comments:

Lee Rowan said...

Yes! I've seen this research before, and I think it's very true. What but fiction can put you into another person's mind? TV and films are good, but they still are outside-looking in. Biographies are similar, particular autobiographies.

We can never know exactly what another person's experience is like, but imagination is the first step toward empathy. And if the world ever needed that, it does right now.



Candy Kennedy said...

I have read this before and as a former librarian I know it helps people empathize and feel less alone in their problems.