Why are we always in search of a good book, especially a good novel? Why read novels at all?
If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know that every now and again I love to come up with a list. 77 Things to Do When Stressed or Uninspired was one of them, and then I did lists of what I was grateful for. (I’m big on gratitude.) You can find one of them here. Once, I even did a post listing 101 Excuses Not To Write that Book. Now it’s 25 Reasons Why We Read Novels.
I created this current list because I LOVE to read novels. I’m also a novelist, so I not only read them for pleasure, but I study them to see what works and what, imho, doesn’t work. What is there to learn from a good novel, you might ask?
Well, I study how a particular author does dialogue especially well, or how another author keeps the tension going. Or how different authors handle transitions or dramatic arcs.
I am a perpetual student of my craft. I also heard at a writer’s conference early on in my career to read a lot of books of whatever I hoped to write, and I took that to heart.
As a student of human nature, I’m also curious about what motivates other people to read and search out a good novel. Feel free to weigh in on this list and disagree or add things. It is a work-in-progress.
So here goes: 25 Reasons Why We Read Novels:
- They take us on an adventure or a journey we would otherwise never take.
- They encourage us to be resilient and overcome conflicts.
- They surprise us and offer unexpected twists just like life does.
- They open doors to other cultures and times.
- They reveal the emotional lives of characters and therefore they reveal us to ourselves.
- They remind us that we matter.
- They give us courage.
- They help us overcome loneliness and depression.
- They remind us how fragile life is.
- They are a snapshot of our time here on earth; history in the making.
- They allow us to walk in another person’s shoes and develop empathy.
- They entertain as well as educate through storytelling.
- They make us smile, laugh and cry and remind us of our humanity.
- They reveal the secrets we all have.
- They call our best selves to action.
- They remind us of our uniqueness, as well as our sameness.
- They challenge us to open ourselves to bigger worlds and bigger ideas.
- They teach us compassion for strangers, people on the fringe and the underdogs in life.
- They remind us that dreams and wishes do come true.
- They expand our intellect.
- They remind us how brief our time here on earth is.
- They help us see the natural world.
- They inspire us to be more creative.
- They validate our curiosity, our need to know more.
- They remind us that we’re not alone.
What would you add?
Discover Susan’s novels here.