A few weeks ago, I heard a great re-broadcast of the episode of the Diane Rehm Show on NPR about why fiction matters. A recent study indicates that fewer than half of all Americans are reading novels today. It suggests that those who do read fiction are better able to understand the emotions of others. The abstract of the study published in Science Magazine in October 2013 says that the ability to understand others’ “mental states” and thus help us have better relationships is improved by reading literary fiction, and more broadly, in engaging with works of art. So, basically, reading fiction makes us better people and helps us relate to others in a more caring way. I’ve always thought that, haven’t you?
If you are looking for some great fiction to read in the year ahead, here are a few lists that were published recently. This list from Bustle is right up my alley and I aim to read all these. I’ve read 5 out of the 11 listed. The New York Times’ 100 Notable Books of 2014 is a more ambitious list, but a good one. Enjoy!