I’ve heard people say that reading fictional stories is a waste of time, and I wanted to point out why this is not true.
However, it was simply too big a subject for me! Books have taught me certain lessons … but they’ve taught other people completely different things. And I hate to narrow this broad subject down to just my opinions and experiences!
So, through Google Forms, I asked a variety of readers from social media the following questions: What does reading mean to you? How have novels helped you in your life? Why are they worth something to you?
Here are their responses.
Note: I took the liberty of cutting a few of the longer submissions that simply wouldn’t fit into this post down. Thanks!
|What the Readers Are Saying|
Books have shown me that there are second chances, hope, love, kindness, and friendship. Without books, I would be honestly lost. They mean everything to me.
Reading can affect people in powerful ways. They teach us invaluable spiritual lessons, sometimes without us even knowing it!
Reading is a release, an opportunity to live hundreds of lives. It gives you an outlook on life that you might not have otherwise. It helps your creativity and it’s worth the time because when you come back to reality, you see things in a different light.
Reading helps us think beyond the scope of our own lives … sometimes even beyond the scope of our own imagination!
Reading gives me hope. Whenever I’m sad, or lonely, or just in need of a companion, books lace me into a world so real yet so enchanting. The protagonist faces the same dilemma as I, or the villain the bitterness I once encountered, or the side character the marriage I hope to someday model. When the world feels a little dark, books are a candle newly lit.
Novels are definitely a light in this world. Some books are honestly just God-inspired, y’know? And they don’t have to be Christian fiction to be full of the Holy Spirit, either.
Reading is a way to learn facts and enjoy history. Reading has helped me, and still helps me, to broaden my vocabulary.
Not only does reading fictional stories teach us lots of great lessons about the world, morals, etc., it also adds to our school-knowledge. Historical fiction can be a fun, exciting way to learn history outside of the boring dates and events of a classroom.
It’s hard to put it into words. But many novels I’ve read have ended up meaning SO much to me. They have taught me how to be confident (I’m not naturally!), how to be wise (hopefully), and how to forgive (which I’m not great at, but I’m learning). My fictional friends are a part of my life. I couldn’t live without them.
Novels inspire us to be better people. (Hey, if some fictional character can be nice, so can I, am I right?)
Reading novels gives insight into the human condition. They assure the reader that they are not alone in their thoughts, feelings, and perspective. A good novel inspires the reader to honor, compassion, and understanding. It takes you out of your world and transports you into someone else’s. Novels have become a common point of reference between myself and others, so they have enriched conversation and relationship.
Novels broaden our perspective. They bring people together.
Reading means something to me. It’s a way to get out of reality and visit a new world. It’s as if I experience what happens the characters in books. Novels help me look for the good in this world, if that makes sense, and to keep my hope in the Lord while staying sane. I know I won’t ever stop reading books, and I’ll always be adding more books to my bookshelf.
Novels take us on wild and sometimes wacky adventures. They stretch our inner eyes and emotions. The good ones help us look for the Light!
I’ve always been a huge bookworm over the years, and I know they are countless ways that books have shaped me and made me into the person that I am. . . .
Besides what the books themselves taught me, I’ve also had the joy and delight to be able to bond with friends and family over discussion of our favorite books. I know many, many, many of my friendships, both with online and in person friends, that have been strengthen or sparked by a common love of a certain author, book, or series. . . .
Books are so precious to me for innumerable reasons—the lessons and themes they teach, the epic adventures they take me on, the tears they bring to my eyes, the stories behind their writing, the characters, the beautiful writing styles, the settings, the challenges they present to me, the figures of history they bring to life for me, and the conversations and friends that they begin.
Books are a bridge between family members, friends, random people on the internet, and you!
Novels have helped me because they’re always there for me. When I’m mad, when I’m sad, when I’m lonely, they’re always there to cheer me up. So long as I can loose myself in a good book, there will always be happiness in my life.
I’ve also learned a lot of the most important things I know from novels. . . . Thanks to books, I understand better how people’s minds work. . . . Maybe I don’t learn that many facts from fiction, but I think that what I do learn is far more important, and more likely to help me in life.
Although I disagree that you don’t learn many facts from fiction (I certainly do!), it’s definitely true that what fiction teaches you is far more important than any ‘facts’ ever could “learn” ya!
If you can learn to better understand and serve others (and God) through fiction, then you have benefited more from novels than you ever will from a thousand textbooks.
You’ll notice that all of these submissions were very different. Every individual person gains something different from books. But there is a common thread.
Fiction helps us.
It teaches us. Inspires us. Stretches us.
Gives us hope.
Makes us happy when we are sad.
Helps us think outside the box.
Expands our minds.
Fictional stories are important. And, though making books an idol is just as bad as falling on our knees before a statue … and though not all books are going to be beneficial …
… that doesn’t mean they don’t help us just as much as many nonfiction books. In some cases, more!
Do you agree with this post? Are novels important? How have fictional works made a difference in your life?