My husband gave me a new book for my birthday. I’ve only had it for about a week, but I already love it. The book is The Writer’s Devotional: 365 inspirational exercises, ideas, tips & motivations on writing by Amy Peters.

I’m trying to form a habit of reading the entries each day, before I sit and write, to help me focus on why I write.

I read yesterday’s entry when I got home from work and readied myself for my evening of writing. It resonated with thoughts that had been circling my brain during the day.

I’d been thinking about why I like to read books from so many different genres. I’ve never been one to stick to just fantasy or just mystery or just romance or just drama. I like to wander around and read whatever strikes my fancy.

And I’ve realized I do this because what I love most about reading is that I get to experience someone else’s life and see the world from their perspective. I know that I’ve learned much from reading stories and books. I know that I’m a better person because of what I’ve read. I’m a kinder, more empathetic person because of what I’ve read.

And in Monday’s entry in The Writer’s Devotional Amy Peters gave me proof of my theory–that reading stories does indeed make people better people.

Amy wrote about a University of Toronto study that concluded, “participants who read fiction were better able to relate to their peers and to engage in social interaction.” She also wrote about increased empathy saying that readers had “increased understanding of human nature.”

So to the blind date my friend went on once who said he only read non-fiction because he wanted to learn something while he was reading, I say, do your research. Then pick up a novel.

How have books made you a better person?

  1. Right before you mentioned it, I was thinking about it – “Ah, that guy must not have been a very empathetic person then…” XD

  2. Much agreed! One of the most powerful reading experiences I had was Requiem For A Dream. I’m not a drug addict but that book brought me into that world and filled me with so much empathy. It was a violent and visceral reading experience, but I definitely look at the world around me so differently now.

    • That’s what is so amazing about the written word – stories can open our eyes to completely new perspectives and help us understand the people around us so much more. I’ll have to add Requiem to my TBR list. Thanks Todd!

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