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The Benefits of Reading Fiction

The Benefits of Reading Fiction

Libertarian Country |

We stress the importance of reading history, biography, philosophy, science and other non-fiction books, but we also encourage people to read fiction.

Knowledge is a powerful asset business leaders, professionals and everyday people can use to grow their businesses, excel in their careers and gain clarity, understanding and wisdom in a world of chaos and confusion.

Your education is never complete.

While reading non-fiction books can be extraordinarily beneficial, reading fiction can be just as rewarding.

This article will explore the benefits of reading fiction, and why you should get cozy and jump into a great novel today.


What Are The Benefits of Reading Fiction?

Fiction offers a wide variety of genres, including but not limited to historical, classic and literary fiction, epic medieval fantasy, political thrillers, futuristic sci-fi, steampunk, mind-bending mystery, dark and spooky horror, transgressive psychological thrillers, seedy noir, romance, crime dramas and Gonzo journalism.

Whatever you're into, there's a genre for you.

Some people think that reading fiction is a waste of time, but a good mix of fiction and non-fiction can supercharge your brain and open a window to a world of possibilities and benefits.

Let's dive in.


Reading Fiction Improves Brain Function

Reading Fiction Improves Brain Function

Believe it or not, reading fiction has neurological benefits. Scientists have discovered the short and long-term effects of reading a novel on the brain's connectivity.

According to the study, "On the days after the reading, significant increases in connectivity were centered on hubs in the left angular/supramarginal gyri and right posterior temporal gyri."

What does the study say in English?

Imagine your brain is a network of superhighways and roads traversing the great American landscape. Reading fiction essentially builds new roads, allowing for the transportation of vital cargo and goods to more efficiently reach their destinations.

Building "new roads" (neural pathways) and allowing for the expedient travel of "cargo" (information) increases the brain's ability to function, resulting in improved cognition, memory, language processing, reading comprehension, creativity and conceptualization skills.

Keep your brain sharp and agile; read fiction novels.


Reading Fiction Improves Creativity

Reading Fiction Improves Creativity

Escaping the routine of everyday life, if only for an hour or so, and being wisped away in a good book can light a fire in your creative soul. Reading what others have created can inspire us to create.

True originality doesn't exist. Standing on the shoulders of giants, the artistic world has been evolving for centuries. Today's artists praise those who came before them and will often attribute their success to influence.

Nothing just pops into existence from nowhere (Unless you're talking quantum physics.) Every form of art has its ancestors. Heavy Metal music's lineage, for example, can be traced back to Mississippi Delta blues and Appalachian bluegrass music.

The evolution of creativity relies on inspiration. The ever-evolving creative world is one continuous entity comprised of countless artistic contributions. Exploring what 2 or 3 different authors have created can get your creative juices flowing and give life to a new concept.

If you want to become a great writer or get inspired creatively, it's beneficial to read what great authors have already produced.


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Reading Fiction Cultivates the Imagination

Reading Fiction Cultivates The Imagination

Remember when we were little kids and we had active imaginations that kept us entertained for hours?

Adult responsibilities, routines, and the harsh realities of life can dilute our sense of wonder, but there is hope. Reading fiction doesn't just improve creativity, it can cultivate the imagination.

We reached out to Troy Portillo, Director of Operations of Studypool, who told us that "reading fiction will help to spark one's imagination, which has been shown to help in other areas of life. Those who have a more vivid imagination tend to be better at critical thinking, stress management, and self-reflection. While many people think you either have an imagination or you don't, it can be cultivated. Reading fiction is a great way to help grow your own imagination. "

Through reading fiction books, children and adults alike can cultivate their imaginations and enjoy the benefit of expanding their minds and seeing the world in a new or different light.


Reading Fiction Relieves Stress

Reading Fiction Relieves Stress

One of the biggest contributors to stress is worrying about problems and the things we can't control.

Being proactive to address issues and solve real problems in your life is a characteristic of a wise and noble person, but we need not dwell on them. Worrying will never do you any good.

Your mind is a powerful tool that can greatly benefit you or destroy the quality of your life if you continuously downward spiral into negative thinking.

Reading fiction is a form of meditation that allows your brain to quiet negative thoughts and focus on a singular task; comprehending and enjoying the story you are reading.

Relax, get comfortable and dive into a good book. The tension, inflammation, exhaustion, anxiety and worry you're experiencing will slowly fade away. Practiced continuously, quiet reading (meditation) can reduce the propensity for stress accumulation over time and lead to calm homeostasis.


Reading Fiction Can Relieve Stress-Induced Insomnia

Reading Fiction Relieves Stress-Induced Insomnia

Do you ever lay awake in bed in total darkness and feel like you're being attacked by a barrage of worrying thoughts at 1 a.m., praying that your brain would just shut the hell up so you can fall asleep?

You're not alone; many people struggle with stress-induced insomnia.

Meditation is a technique of clearing your mind or focusing on one thing to quiet the thoughts that are bombarding you. It often involves controlled breathing techniques to maximize effectiveness.

Reading fiction is a powerful form of meditation.

While some experts say you shouldn't read in bed, having a period of time dedicated to relaxation before attempting sleep is a great way to relieve stress and fight off persistent insomnia.

As we mentioned above, reading fiction can train your brain over time to default to homeostasis, allowing you to control negative thoughts and pave the way for proper rest.

Get in the habit of reading fiction and meditating so you can shake off the stress and get better sleep.


Reading Fiction Develops Empathy and The Moral Compass

Reading Fiction Develops Empathy

Gaining new perspectives is the hallmark of an intelligent, well-rounded person, and reading fiction is a great way to "put yourself in someone else's shoes."

While reading autobiographies and true stories is highly recommended to gain perspective and understanding, fiction has a unique ability to captivate audiences and open the doorways of empathy.

Poet, literary critic, college professor, essayist, playwright, and fiction writer Janet Ruth Heller, Ph.D., told us that, "Fiction transports readers to another world, stimulates the imagination, provides psychological insight into human life, and creates sympathy for other people. Writers of fiction generate characters and situations that intrigue, entertain, and educate readers."

"For example, Herman Melville in Moby-Dick shows us what happens when a man like Captain Ahab gets obsessed about having revenge on a whale that ripped off his leg. Ahab jeopardizes the safety of his ship's crew because of his obsession. Melville himself had experience as a sailor, so he can realistically capture the exhilaration and dangers of life at sea. The author also generates empathy for all of the men aboard the Pequod ship. Readers keep turning the pages of this novel to find out whether the crew members will survive and whether Ahab will achieve his goal. Readers also learn that obsessions can lead individuals to make bad decisions."

Fictional stories set ablaze the emotional fires of our souls. Reading fiction becomes a thought experiment where we envision ourselves as the characters authors create, allowing us to open our minds and consider what it might be like to live a very different life than we're living now.


Reading fiction has an impact on social progress.

Knowledge is the enemy of ignorance and empathy is the cure for bigotry. Bringing stories to life that show the experiences of others in creative, entertaining and thought-provoking ways helps to develop a world of understanding, inclusion and acceptance.

Reading fiction, in my opinion, makes us better people.



Reading Fiction Shapes Our Politics and Understanding of the World

Reading Fiction Shapes Our Politics

It doesn't matter if your values are more conservative or liberal, in the grand scheme of things there is only one political spectrum to consider: Authoritarian vs. Libertarian.

Reading The Hunger Games, 1984, Brave New World, or any dystopian political thriller can give us a glimpse into what life would be like if we were utterly controlled by a totalitarian state.

When we read these stories, we feel sympathy and empathy for the characters who must endure the oppression orchestrated by a supreme oligarchy. Moreover, we feel anger, hopelessness, passion and rage.

We root for the resistance to topple their fascist regimes.

As we lift our eyes from the pages of these fictional works and survey the real world around us, we see that these harrowing novels are not much different than the reality that many people around the globe suffer daily.

Because we have gained perspective, insight, intellect, and empathy from reading fiction, we can apply these learned values to our political beliefs and voice our opposition to tyranny before it takes root.

What happens when the events in dystopian novels like George Orwell's 1984 become a reality in the Western world? Some say they already have.

As we've learned throughout history, the inalienable right of freedom is a precious gift that can, unfortunately, be stolen away if we are not vigilant.

Reading fiction allows us to see the past and learn from the future. It helps shape our understanding of the world. As Albert Camus so eloquently said, "Fiction is the lie through which we tell the truth."



In conjunction with non-fiction, reading fiction can improve brain function, cultivate the imagination, develop empathy and critical-thinking skills, relieve stress, improve sleep and help shape our understanding of the world around us.

Through movies, television, theatre, art and literature, fiction writers offer us imaginative worlds beyond our own that can enrich our lives and make us happier, better people. 

We highly recommend our readers and subscribers to continue or start reading fiction novels, for we believe it will help improve your life immensely.


If you enjoyed the article, you may also like 'How To Become a Critical Thinker.'

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