I have read several bloggers write about the importance of reading as a means of improving oneself, however it seems that nonfiction is the only thing mentioned as a viable tool for gaining knowledge. There seems to be an anti-fiction mentality; an idea that fiction is beneath the leader who seeks knowledge. Fiction enhances my self-education in a different but very important way than nonfiction.
- I believe the two literary forms work hand-in-hand. While the nonfiction book engages me cerebrally, the fiction book takes that knowledge and connects it to my emotions and my spirit. For example, I can read a book that tells me how to be a better leader, but I am fueled by a new passion when I read a book about a great leader.
- Fiction allows me the opportunity to wear somebody else's skin for 300 pages or so. I walk away with a new-found understanding and respect for people that are different than me. It could be learning about another culture, or it could be people with a different set of beliefs than me. All in all, it enhances my ability to love others and not be quick to judgment.
- Themes found in fiction are spiritual at the core and ripe for discussion or personal reflection. Themes include: sacrifice, redemption, intimacy, grace, forgiveness, love, meaning, etc.
- Reading fiction enhances my personal creativity. It allows my mind to work in a different capacity.
- At the core of it all, fiction is story, and Christ-followers are storytellers - sharing our personal story with those around us.
I rotate reading fiction and nonfiction books. If you want to add some fiction to your reading list, here are the last three books I have read: The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd, and The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoevsky.