Today I have been thinking a lot about fiction. I know of several people who have told me that they think reading fiction is a waste of time for them personally when there are so many Christian self-help type books they could be reading to improve their lives. While I can understand and appreciate the desire to grow spiritually by reading good, non-fiction books, I also think that reading good fiction has made my life fuller, has made me think deeply, and has enhanced my understanding of the world and my enjoyment and quality of life overall. I am a huge proponent of reading good quality fiction.
Several years ago I read a non-fiction book that challenged my way of thinking about the value of fiction in everyday life. The book was "Reading Lolita in Tehran" (Nafisi). The author spoke of what it was like living in Iran under Taliban rule where artistic expression of all kinds was banned, including the freedom to read Western literature. Nafisi spoke of how this form of tyranny was the kind that did not kill the body, but killed the spirit, which in many ways was even more cruel and sadistic.
Good fiction feeds my soul. Good fiction adds beauty of language to my life. Curling up with a good book and getting lost in beautiful word pictures is akin to going to the art museum and gazing deeply into a masterpiece and losing yourself in the beauty of the painting.
Fiction is powerful and transformative. Fiction is often the best method of highlighting truth and relaying a moral lesson.
Good fiction is invaluable to me. Life would be drab and dreary without art, including beautiful and masterful literature.