Reading makes you a better person. Really. There are studies.

Neil Gaiman is my favorite author…who I’ve never read.

I know, I know.  I can’t tell you how many people whose tastes I respect and generally agree with have told me that I have to read this guy.  But, well, time (as in, who has any).  He’s in that pile of books by my bedside that will one day collapse, killing me instantly  (which will serve me right for not having gotten around to reading all the tomes that made it lethal to begin with).

But, I digress.  Even though I’ve never read Gaiman’s novels, I have read enough about him and short pieces by him that I feel like our world views are eminently simpatico.  For instance, in this wonderful rumination on reading  he elegantly explains why books are necessary for not just the individual’s mental health and success but society’s as well.  The skills acquired and developed through reading are transferable ones.  They can be used to create the next iPad, social media site, or weapon of mass destruction because they involve opening up the imagination to infinite possibilities.  He argues that reading fiction is the best workout for these particular muscles and, of course, he’s right.

I’ve always had a strong, and probably  somewhat delusional, belief that anything is possible and I think that might date back to my early penchant for fairy tales and books featuring wizards and witches (Merlin was and is a favorite character).  What book or books turned on the creativity faucet for you?  And do you think that fiction is, in fact, more effective than nonfiction in this respect?

One Response to Reading makes you a better person. Really. There are studies.

  1. Sheila Rackley says:

    Hi Miriam,
    My mother taught me to read at 3 1/2. My favorite book was “Go, Dog! Go!”. It is full of creative whimsy. All manner of colorfully dressed dogs were having fun doing things dogs do not normally do. I don’t remember why that book drew me in as a child. That would change when I became an adult.

    As an adult, I bought my own copy of “Go, Dog! Go!”. As I read it again, I smiled, remembering the dogs’ joy as they engaged in the unordinary. It spoke volumes to me- “Don’t color inside the lines! Trees don’t have to be green! You can be a writer!”

    Nonfiction, somehow, never has given me this inspiration. It has, however, given me plenty of tips on writing query letters for historical fiction. Expect my letter soon, Ms. Miriam.

    Thank you,

    Sheila Rackley
    Book-Reader, Novel-Writer, Cookie-Eater, Rose-Grower

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