Never underestimate the power of fiction.


READING IS GOOD for you in many ways and yet so many of us refrain from this activity for a multitude of reasons. Perhaps the power of fiction and indeed literature in general is widely overlooked.  A recent study has shown that reading good quality literature enhances the ability to comprehend the emotions of others and to develop empathy.  Studies have also found that reading novels can improve brain function on multiple levels. Even the National Health Service in the UK has recognised the benefits, introducing the ‘Reading and You Scheme’ for patients with mental health conditions. So with such obvious advantages, why not spend some free time curled up with a good book?

There are many genres and books to choose from. Equally, there are many outlets from bookstores to libraries to online stores and then the ever growing world of e-books. Whether you buy or borrow, books abound almost everywhere. There’s no escaping them and with the ever increasing self publishing market, the reservoir of books is vast.

Suzy Henderson
Suzy Henderson

But just how useful is fiction? It feeds our imagination, colours our perception and infiltrates our minds, opening doors that might otherwise have remained sealed. It enriches your mind, and from within the delicate pages provides you with a multitude of experiences you might otherwise never encounter.

Novels offer escapism from the everyday stresses and strains.  Novels enable you to think yourself into a new world, a new life. And characters can become so deeply embedded in our thoughts that we care greatly for their outcome, engrossed in their narrative. There truly is no limit to the places fiction can take you.

Reading is also educational. It is a fact that some children find history boring. Learning about the Romans or the Tudors might not appeal. However, pick out a fictional novel set during these times and it’s a completely different experience. One example is the Great War. A typical history lesson might indeed seem monotonous to a younger child, but hand them a copy of War Horse by Michael Morpurgo, and they might just become engrossed and learn from it.

If history were taught in the form of stories it would never be forgotten.

(Rudyard Kipling)

Words are tools by which we learn. Words are used in so many ways from daily conversations to political speeches and books. And if the tools are crafted well and remain sharp they will always be effective.

Reading exposes readers to new experiences, sometimes to new places and certainly to new situations. Books can inspire, motivate and encourage. Novels craft multiple pathways to tread and to enable readers to imagine things beyond their own lives. The enjoyment of a book can raise our positive energy and create a more positive mind which has immense benefits to our overall being. So give it a go. Pick a book you can get lost in, one that stretches your imagination and enjoy it.

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