Learning to love fiction

Search catalogueWhat is not to love about fiction…I am hoping to hear you ask…?

Horrifingly, several times in my library career I’ve been utterly dumbfounded to hear customers say they don’t read novels. What?!!! After several breathless squeaks  followed by a bout of dismayed spluttering, I’ve asked why ever not?

The puzzling reply has always been that they read for knowledge, want real facts and don’t have time to waste on make-believe or fantasy (I feel a panic attack coming on just writing these horrid words).

Search catalogueGoodness me, do real facts even exist? There has to be some room for doubt given all we’ve heard about fabricated memoirs ( Yeah, you James Frey), optimistically embellished science and medical research (Ben Goldacre) and if we accept history is written by the victors, the whole truth schtick is looking a bit shaky.

I am on a mission to convert non-fiction readers to fiction.  Throw away your computer manuals, biff  interpretative history and say adiós to self-help bibles, but I need you, our faithful blog readers, to provide the compelling and irrefutable reasons for why fiction does matter.

To get you started here is my 10 cents worth:

  • Novels are steeped in human truths, often with immaculately researched and detailed plots embedded in real events.
  • Good novelists provide the creative spark which can allow fact to take flight, taking readers into the interior lives of both real and imagined people.
  • And finally, isn’t it healthy to walk in other people’s shoes ( Jimmy Choos and Hush Puppies) and attempt to see life through other people’s eyes, or from another perspective?

Fiction lovers bring it on … why should we all read fiction?

More: Why I still love reading fiction Roberta

6 thoughts on “Learning to love fiction

    • joyciescotland 5 July 2013 / 3:28 pm

      Yes. Fetching Team Fiction uniform and mission briefing has been dispatched. Fiction power!

  1. keenanj 4 July 2013 / 3:57 pm

    When I first met my husband he only read non fiction, he read for information and for study. Happily he is now an avid reader of fiction. Basically I worked out that a non fiction reader needs to still feel that they are LEARNING something when they read fiction, or that the book is somehow “worthy”. No frivolous light stuff for him, anything with long descriptive passages, literary authors, meaningful dialogue – a certain meatiness seems to work!

  2. purplerulzpurplerulz 5 July 2013 / 12:05 pm

    I love fiction, it’s the escapism, the way you can get involved in other’s lives and I love the mental pictures I create, imagining what people and places look like.
    I love imaging the brave new worlds in my science fiction and dystopian novels especially. My husband is a biography reader, and not just biographies, but usually only ones about rock legends and music. I can’t see him ever reading fiction, but that’s ok… I read passages out of my fiction to him and he SEEMS interested!

    • joyciescotland 5 July 2013 / 3:23 pm

      It takes a stiff upper lip to read biography. I had to desist as I started getting way too upset when the biographical subject left this mortal coil!

  3. Ali 6 July 2013 / 2:35 pm

    I think that all the reasons I love fiction are summed up by Neil Gaiman when he said “People talk about escapism as if it’s a bad thing… Once you’ve escaped, once you come back, the world is not the same as when you left it. You come back to it with skills, weapons, knowledge you didn’t have before. Then you are better equipped to deal with your current reality.”

    Fiction books have steered me through the hardest times in my life, quite often because whatever I was going through, I’d read a book character do it first, or the strength in those characters was inspiration, so it didn’t matter if our struggles were different.

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