Reading Fiction Is Important: Here’s Why

Four open books in the colored cover on the table made of boards.A stack of books in the colored covers on the table with a red tablecloth. Still life with books.

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Michael Puglisi, Contributor

In today’s digital world, reading fiction is becoming less and less of a concern to the younger population. More and more we concentrate on digital media, declaring physical media as anachronistic and obsolete. But there are many reasons why you should read books more often.

According to the article “Short- and Long-Term Effects of a Novel on Connectivity in the Brain”, as published in the science journal Brain Connectivity, reading a book will increase connectivity in the brain. Furthermore, it also increases one’s capacity for empathy, and visualization, similar to that of visualizing muscle memory for sports.

Neuroscientist Gregory S. Berns notes that “the neural changes that we found associated with physical sensation and movement systems suggest that reading a novel can transport you into the body of the protagonist”. This in turn will increase one’s capacity for empathy. Psychologist Keith Stanovich says “If ‘smarter’ means having a larger vocabulary and more world knowledge … then reading may well make people smarter”. The Journal of American Academy of Neurology also states that people who engage in stimulating activities suffer from less mental degradation as time goes on.

In fact, many of the world’s most successful people read. Bill Gates will include novels in his semi annual book recommendations, Elon Musk says that books like Lord of the Flies helped shape his worldview, and Mark Cuban credits the novel The Fountainhead for his strong work ethic.

Though fiction books are still the most popular type of book, their use is becoming less widespread among the younger population, and that’s a downright shame. Losing yourself in a good book is becoming a lost art, and that’s really quite saddening.