Years ago, we decided to unschool with my sons — the “kids” (now adults) learn from being supported in their interests and passions, even if those interests aren’t academic. We never had lessons, nor tests, never used curriculum or “study time”, yet they’ve learned all they need to be productive, kind, happy, interested people. Raising them in this way caused everything I thought I knew about learning to be turned on its head; learning happens as a side effect of playing and pursuing interests, everything from reading, spelling, and grammar, to math and history. I learned to see the learning that happens in real life, with no need to separate things into “educational” or “recreational” — it’s all learning!
I hope your foray into fiction is enjoyable and enlightening.
Oh, and to answer the question: The book “The River Why” by David James Duncan opened my heart and mind in ways I didn’t expect from a book about fishing. It’s been close to 30 years since I first read it, and I’ve re-read it many times. It never fails to move me.