What’s the value in reading fiction?

One of my tasks/ goals for 2016 was to read more – I Spy Book Challenge 2016 

I’m a fan of audio books. I regularly listen on my mp3 – walking the dog, doing housework, soaking in the bath and in bed before sleep. Listening to books is going great – it’s reading books that is not quite going to plan.

I have a small bookcase seriously over flowing with fiction books. There are some books I am looking forward to reading. But I just don’t seem to be making time in my life to read books. Admittedly, when I have free time to read, there is now a tendency to go to my WordPress Reader to explore other people’s blogs and support my fellow bloggers. In the modern world there is a a lot of options for escapism and distraction – the massive world of the internet, box sets, films galore and of course blogs, blogs and more blogs. I want to find space in my life for books.

In an attempt to remind myself of the value of reading fiction, I am exploring the benefits of reading fiction. 

A passion for reading...:

There is more to reading fiction than it being a distraction. It actively engages the imagination. The words on the printed page stimulate creativity and can enable you to enter an altered state of consciousness.

A survey of 1,500 adult readers in the UK found that 76% of them said reading improves their life and helps to make them feel good. Other findings of the survey are that those who read books regularly are on average, more satisfied with life, happier, and more likely to feel that the things they do in life are worthwhile.

Reading is not only good for the imagination; it also provides positive physical benefits.

A 2009 study by the University of Sussex showed that reading for 6 minutes can reduce stress levels by up to 68%. Fiction allows your mind to wander and relax. Reading has been shown to ease the tensions in muscles and the heart. According to this study, reading is more effective than other forms of relaxation. Listening to music reduced the levels by 61%, having a cup of tea or coffee lowered them by 54%, taking a walk by 42%  and playing video games brought them down by 21%.

Do you prefer reading before going to sleep, too?:



Regular readers also sleep better, have lower stress levels, higher self-esteem, and lower rates of depression than non-readers.



Do not read non-fiction prior to bed, which encourages projection into the future and preoccupation and planning. Read fiction that engages the imagination and demands a present state attention.

Other reasons to pick up a fiction book

  • It will give my crazy brain a free holiday.
  • I can become a time traveler
  • I can explore the world, even other worlds, without needing my passport
  • It will aid my concentration and focus
  • I can be still
  • I can rest and relax

For more information – Reading can help reduce stress

I’m hoping this writing this post will encourage me to read fiction more. Maybe it will encourage you to pick up a book and read some fiction, even if just for 6 minutes!

Do you read fiction? What are the benefits for you? What are you reading at the moment? If you do not read fiction, why not?




27 thoughts on “What’s the value in reading fiction?

  1. I’ve only heard of some of the benefits to reading, but not all of them! Always learning something new when I read your posts. I’m like you…I have a hard time making time for reading; (mostly because it’s the 21st century and there’s way too many distractions!!) I’ve been doing good for the past few months though, reading at least a few chapters before bed…just hope I can stay on track! :)

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m really pleased you found something new in my post. Yes, there are soooooo many distractions. Since I wrote my post, I have definitely making more of a conscious effort to read. The book I’m reading isn’t fully grabbing me. I suspect that doesn’t help. Good luck with keeping up the reading.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve always loved fiction. It allows me to escape from my own world for a while into the world of the book.
    I tend to read non-fiction slowly and take a while to get into it. It’s like my brain needs time to digest all those facts, so I have to take breaks. Fiction, on the other hand, I can read for hours no problem! Except some classics, where I tend to need regular breaks from the old-fashioned language.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, fiction is a great way to escape. Since I wrote this post I have started to read fiction even in short bursts. It was after learning about the 6min benefit.
      I like to underline in pencil key points in non-fiction books, which is why I only read books I own. I only buy non-fiction books I plan to keep long term.


  3. I am an avid reader. As a fiction writer, it’s an essential tool. That is my brain exercise, it get’s me into “fighting shape” so that my writing will improve. Reading definitely puts me into ‘ready to sleep’ mode better than anything else though. I love laying down with my book, reading until I drop off. I often wake up with the book on my stomach, having not realised I passed out, and having wonderfully vivid dreams.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think part of the reason I don’t read books more is because they do make me sleepy. I avoid books with any horror or horrible crimes because they give me nightmares. I like the idea of fiction books being brain exercise. It’s a very different sort of brain exercise than what I do at work all day.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I have never listened to an audio book.I actually don’t know why! Before last year I had practically not read any books for about three years! So I gave myself the challenge of reading one book a month in 2015 and I managed it plus a few extra.Sometimes its just finding that book that will grip you right away I think! I am carrying on this year.Your right that fiction is a lot mire relaxing than reading non fiction.x

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m a real fan of audio books but they have to be fiction. I find I can’t follow non-fiction on audio. You do need a narrator that you like though. I do a yearly subscription to Audible. Otherwise audio downloads are quite expensive.
      I think 1 book a month is a good target to aim for.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m inspired to read more fiction! I gravitate towards nonfiction books even though I know the value and beauty of fiction. You did a great job of pointing out its wonders. In general, I’d like to set aside more time for reading.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m so pleased that in trying to inspire myself, that I have inspired you too. Like you , I just need to set more time aside for reading fiction. I’m not great at reading non-fiction either. Even though I have some really interesting books to read, I keep being drawn to other things instead.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve just spent a good hour reading! It’s one from my Kindle at the moment ‘Angel of Death’ I wasn’t sure if I was going to enjoy it as much as Susan Hill’s The Woman in Black but I was gripped fairly early on. Although written by a different author it’s a sequel to Susan Hill’s book.

    I’m half awaiting to jump as the cold and chilling eeriness thickens.

    I’ve not listened to an audio book for a few years, no particular reason.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. After spending the last week or so reading Dark Money by Jane Mayer, I could feel myself slowly going crazy – and not only because the book was depressing, but because I really need my daily dose of fiction! Now I’ve finished, and the first thing I did was to dig into a novel. I’m just not myself if I’m not reading a novel. I guess I really need that escape. :)

    Liked by 2 people

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