Friend and fellow writer Charlotte Crystal forwarded a great article from a recent boston.com that nicely summarizes ongoing research into the personal and societal benefits of reading fiction. In a nutshell, as the novelist George Elliot so succinctly put it, one of the many purposes of fiction is “to enlarge men’s sympathies.”
No matter what your perspective, empathy for others is almost always a good thing. In fact, as the piece points out, fiction often has a greater impact on people’s behavior and perceptions about the world than non-fiction since it tends to engage both emotion and intellect.
I’ve often argued that crime fiction presupposes a moral framework. Good vs evil. Right vs wrong. Something deep in the human soul cries out for justice , for redemption, and resolution. Why not pick up a novel today and dive into the world of a character like Frank Pavlicek or Quentin Price or Jerry Strickland?
Fiction can be a good moral workout.
Fiction: It can do a soul good. :)