When Americans are polled on their favorite hobbies, you know what usually comes out on top?
You guessed it.
Of course everybody reads for school, work, research or just to figure out how to install the latest whatever-it-is they just bought. But when it comes to reading for ourselves, it is usually fiction we choose.
Being lucky enough to have older siblings and parents who loved books, I was one of those strange kids who started reading before I hit kindergarten. Growing up, I found as many friends in the pages of novels as I did among my neighbors and schoolmates. So, of course I am now a total fiction addict who goes into withdrawals if I get stuck waiting in a dentist’s office without a book or my e-reader.
I used to worry that this was escapism or at the very least, guilty pleasure. But those of you who share my obsession can relax. According to a couple recent studies, reading fiction not only helps you develop better social skills, but it can make you superior at interacting in business situations. (So, go ahead and load up your kindle with a vengeance!)
So, yeah, I think readers are special. And I think the act of a reader and author sharing a fictional world that is created solely out of words is a magical thing. After all, you’re living through situations together that are often more intimate and dramatic than those you’ve shared with people in your day-to-day life.
Am I sounding schizophrenic? Well, maybe all writers need to have a fluid sense of reality.