7 Ways Reading Fiction Improves Your Life

By: Jessica Fender


Read Fiction and Enhance Your Life


“You should never read just for “enjoyment.” Read to make yourself smarter! Less judgmental. More apt to understand your friends’ insane behavior, or better yet, your own. Pick “hard books.” Ones you have to concentrate on while reading. And for god’s sake, don’t let me ever hear you say, “I can’t read fiction. I only have time for the truth.” Fiction is the truth, fool! Ever hear of “literature”? That means fiction, too.”
― John Waters, Role Models

Reading books is one of the oldest and most immersive experiences you can have as an individual. Despite that, reading has become something of an acquired taste thanks to digital streaming services and social media platforms. Even fiction, with prominent authors such as Brandon Sanderson and the duo of James S.A. Corey writing today, isn’t as popular as it could be. 

Reading fiction can be a powerful personal development mechanism, which can supercharge our quality of life. Whether you’re someone looking for a new hobby, a would-be writer, or just asking for an excuse to read more, here’s how fiction can help.


1. Fiction Expands your Vocabulary


Let’s start with the obvious – reading does help improve your vocabulary significantly. Reading fiction does that because of its fictional terminology, phrases, and linguistic writer’s choices. 

The Lord of the Rings and The Wheel of Time feature fictional races, religions, magic, and creatures, all properly named. Learning how to pronounce these terms will help you get accustomed to the niche terminology. Learning new words while reading fiction boosts your soft skills considerably. Going into your next job interview, you will be more open to accepting new words and phrases for your position, thanks to reading fiction.


2. Develop your Creativity by Reading Fiction 


Human creativity is a powerful tool you should nurture, especially if you have kids at home and want to curate their reading habits. The Chronicles of Narnia and His Dark Materials are amazing gateways for young minds to explore their creative tendencies early on. 

For older readers, titles like The Stormlight Archive and Red Rising offer unique fictional settings which can help spark your creativity. You can apply the creativity you develop by reading fiction to your work or your child’s homework assignments. Most importantly, it can inspire you and those around you to write in your spare time, be it blogging or writing a reading journal.


3. Improved Focus and Memorization


Unlike non-fiction books, fiction books often come packed with expansive world-building, numerous characters to follow, and a story to develop over several installments. Titles such as The Dark Tower are crafted to keep your attention and slowly nudge you into making your conclusions about the plot. 

Reading fiction books can thus dramatically improve your memorization abilities and focus on whatever you are doing at that moment. HR interviewers consider both traits very useful, so these will improve your odds at successful employment and subsequently supercharge your career prospects.


4. Reduce Stress and Anxiety – Escape to Other Worlds


Pleasure reading inherently takes place in your personal safe space. Whether you like to read on a sofa, an armchair, or your favorite park bench, reading is always relegated to a comfortable place. And while you’re comfortable sitting here on planet earth, authors take you away to other worlds.

Combined with reading stories from grim-dark authors such as George R.R. Martin or Joe Abercrombie, you will slowly train yourself to be less anxious. Reducing your stress and anxiety can significantly improve your everyday life and decision-making, allowing you to enjoy your time on earth much more. 


5. Develop Emotional Intelligence and Tolerance


Many fiction books take place in worlds inhabited by different races with widely different beliefs, lifestyles, and cultures. Prime examples of diversity are The Witcher series and Dune, and these are great tools to develop your tolerance. 

Reading about how different people, albeit fictional, treat one another despite their different roots will help you build solid emotional intelligence. It will make you far more tolerant of others’ lifestyle choices and backgrounds, no matter where you may come from. Given how important mutual respect and tolerance have become in recent years, this perspective can dramatically boost your career development prospects wherever you work.


6. Better Sleep and Rest Cycles


Sleeping eight hours a day is still a challenge for most of us. With so much digital information and FOMO affecting our daily lives, it’s no surprise that reading fiction can improve your rest cycles tremendously. 

Neil Gaiman and Stephen King are prolific writers with an abundance of stories centered on sleep, dreams, and everything in-between. Reading works such as The Ocean at the End of the Lane and Insomnia can give you a different perspective on sleep and its role. In turn, you will feel more energized, productive, and motivated to seize the day, traits that will manifest themselves in your personal and professional life.


7. Improved Sociability and Networking


Teamwork lies at the center of modern society, despite remote work and solo entrepreneurship becoming a staple of many industries. “No man is an island,” or so the old proverb says, which is why reading fiction can help you grow as a friendly, approachable individual. 

Reading fictional books such as Shadow and Bone and The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet can teach you how to talk to others. Given how each of us is a book in our own right, reading fictional characters’ stories and dialogues with others will, in turn, help you.

Once you get into the habit of reading fiction, this will inevitably open the doors for you to join book clubs and discussions online. Your local bookstores may also have ideas on which clubs or events you can visit to meet like-minded readers effortlessly. 


Too Busy for 1200-Page Fiction? 


Whether you are an avid reader already or someone dipping their proverbial toes into fiction, reading it can change your life for the better. Go with audiobooks, short story collections, or novellas if you are busy and lack free time but do it regardless – all fiction will improve your life. 




Bio: Jessica Fender is a researcher and academic content creator. Her job is to facilitate student learning – she creates educational content that aligns with search queries “write my essay” and hire writer. When Jessica has free time, she enjoys reading, blogging, and hiking.


Featured on: Forbes,  AMA BostonHR Exchange Network 

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