How Reading Fiction Can Improve Your Life

If you have to choose between fiction and self-help, pick up the former. Here’s why

Anangsha Alammyan


I have had many friends scoff when I tell them I love reading fiction. It’s surprising that so many people assume that reading non-fiction makes one a “scholar” while reading a novel is just a hobby.

I beg to differ.

For me, reading has never been merely a hobby; it is a way of life, a part of my identity. I don’t read fiction for entertainment. I read it because it saved my life. And continues to do that. Every single day.

I have always been an introvert. When I was in school, I was painfully shy. I hardly talked to anyone and would think ten times before approaching someone for even the most necessary things. The harsh environment of bullying and segregating I faced as a teenager in school didn’t help much. It made me retreat into a shell.

At that point in life, if I didn’t have the “hobby” of reading, I would have considered myself to be alone in the universe — unloved and unwanted. Reading stories about people, specifically, teenagers, showed me that if their stories were worth writing about, probably mine could be someday too.

Of course, reading fiction is not only for the introverted.