I’ve been thinking about why fictional books matter. Do they? Why read? What would happen if we could no longer read stories? Fiction readers would live like people who choose not to read. A world of the here and now only, a world where one doesn’t join the dreams of others. There are a lot of people in the world who do this, a few who I know well. They are often happy. So if a person experiences the real world in the now, what have they given up? I’ve wondered a long time about this.
What they’ve given up is, simply put, the ability to grow. In a bookless world, a person’s life includes less wonder and awe. It includes less insight, less adventure, less knowledge, and less relaxation. Before I get too high on a horse, I’ll share children’s writer Katherine Paterson’s take on reading books. It makes me even more dedicated to being not only a writer, but a reader.
[Books] “allow us to enter imaginatively into someone else’s life. And when we do that, we learn to sympathize with other people. But the real surprise is that we also learn truths about ourselves, about our own lives, that somehow we hadn’t been able to see before.”
Why Read: Children
You can see how this implies why it’s important for children to read, so they can learn empathy, so they can grow into better human beings, so they can connect their experiences with others’ experiences. Books help children grow their conversational skills and vocabulary. It expands their worldview.
So this week I hope you will take time to enjoy your life by reading a story. If a boss is being mean to you or a spouse isn’t being supportive, you can turn to a book. A book is always a friend that’s waiting to connect.
What are your favorite books? Let me know in the comments below.
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