A Focus On Fiction

Reading fiction not only improves emotional skills but puts real life situations into perspective 

By Téa Tallone, Staff Writer

College students often associate books with nonfiction learning materials like textbooks, workbooks and monographs. 

For some readers, works of fiction are synonymous with fantasy lands and magical creatures. 

However, fiction entails a wide array of genres in which authors tackle real-world issues from various perspectives and can provide readers with significant learning opportunities similar to their nonfiction counterparts. 

When it comes to emotional health, reading fiction offers an effective means of enhancing the brain’s ability to process emotional skills. The brain — just like a muscle — needs to be exercised via cognitive stimulation. 

“Recent research in neuroscience suggests that reading literary fictions helps people develop empathy, theory of mind and critical thinking,” said Christine Seifert, professor of communications at Westminster College. 

Taking the readers into another world seen from a character’s point of view allows the audience to experience real issues and analyze situations differently. Authors writing about mature subjects have the ability to depict their character in ways that can help the audience find their story not only relatable but also therapeutical. 

One author, whose books have recently grown in popularity for this reason, is Colleen Hoover.

“[B]eing exposed to a character’s thought processes encourages a deeper level of reflection than when reading abstract or ‘non-social passages,’” said Francesca Lo Basso, a narrative strategist. 

Hoover’s book, “It Ends With Us,” takes the reader through the emotions of being in an abusive relationship in a unique manner. 

Hoover makes readers empathize with the main character, an anti-hero, forgive him and desire him, while detesting him at the same time. 

Books similar to Hoover’s can be found at the Lynn Library, which provides the campus community with a selection of over 8,000 fiction books to choose from available in print, digital and audio format. 

“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body,” said Joseph Addison and Sir Richard Steele, essayists in the 18th century. Head over to the Lynn Library to pick up a book and enjoy! 

Above: Eugene M. and Christine E. Lynn Library. Photo/Lynn University.

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