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Great Reasons to Read Fiction

June 12, 2009

In this very good article, Mary DeMuth gives us ten reasons, lots of good quotes, and penetrating insight into why reading fiction can be better than reading fact! Here are her 10 reasons with a few quotes sprinkled in:

1. Our view of the world beyond our door widens.

2. We learn empathy as you walk in a character’s different-sized shoes.

In The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon, I understood more about autism through Christopher’s eyes than if I had simply watched a documentary about the condition. Fiction plunges us into people. I am Scout in wide-eyed wonder outside a lone jail

3. God uses stories to heal.

4. Fiction unmasks us.“Everyone has secrets,” says novelist Susan May Warren. “Fiction allows people to see themselves in characters, to discover healing and truth when their ‘reputation’ or shame won’t let them pick up a non-fiction book…”

5. God’s redemptive story permeates. When I read The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini in its stark, horrific, life-altering prose, I clearly saw redemption. It can’t help but shine on such a dark tableau. God’s stories are everywhere.

6. Novels allow for paradox, causing us to ask the kinds of questions that help us search for God. Barbara Nicolosi writes, “Too many Christians think we are supposed to use the arts to give people the answers. We’re not. We’re supposed to use the arts to lead them into a question. And that is just one stage in their personal journey of divine revelation.

7. Reading novels critically helps us navigate the Scriptures better. “Because the Bible is a text, a well-read, sophisticated interpreter will have an easier time parsing difficult passages—not to mention easy ones,” asserts J. Mark Bertrand, author of Rethinking Worldview. “This is why, in seminaries and law schools, there ought to be an emphasis on reading ‘outside the discipline.’

8. Reading a novel connects us to the Creator

9. Reading a novel builds community.

10. Reading stories brings us face to face with Jesus, the grand storyteller.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. Jeff B. permalink
    June 12, 2009 8:27 pm

    Leah and I are still buying Sacred Marriage for every couple getting married since you guys bought it for us. I can’t remember if I told you that we also gave up watching t.v. for the first year of our marriage because of my talks with you.

    • Jeff B. permalink
      June 12, 2009 8:30 pm

      I just commented on the wrong post, but I am really enjoying the literature and music posts the past few days.

  2. June 13, 2009 6:39 am

    Great to hear, Jeff. Hope marriage and fatherhood are going well. I’ve thought of you a lot lately as I finish up my Fight Club booklet.

  3. Gertrude permalink
    September 24, 2009 7:56 am

    I just stumbled upon this page and I’m glad I did because i find your thoughts on reading fiction extremely enlightening. Thank you for posting it!!

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