On a recent trip to do youth ministry training, I had the pleasure of hanging out with two youth workers from the Seattle, Washington area. Their love for Seattle sports aside, they were great company. We spent an evening watching the final four together and enjoyed great discussion about our families, our growing up, ministry experiences and what we were currently reading.
One of the youth workers was a bit reticent to mention his current reading and so I kept pushing ‘til he confessed, “All I have been reading is a bunch of fiction.” He then went on to say he had started reading some books mentioned by kids in his youth group, thinking it would help him relate to and understand the culture of his students (which it probably did); but what he wasn’t expecting was how much he enjoyed the books. This led to what has now been a two-year journey reading all kinds of fiction.
For years I have spent the first hour and a half each morning reading. For the past fifteen years with few exceptions I was reading exclusively non-fiction books. But about two months prior to the conversation with my two Seattle friends; I began binging on fiction. I had become (and still am, mind you) consumed by reading great fiction
After my new friend confessed to his latest reading habits – we began a heated and excited discussion of all the latest books and authors we were enjoying. We wrote down recommendations, shared plots and premises and relived some of the common stories and plot twists with which we both were familiar. Our impromptu book club didn’t end there we both had observed a change in our lives since we started the journey into fiction. We noticed:
- We both seemed more human. Fiction had helped us connect to not only our mental lives, but captured our imagination (our fears and hopes) and our emotional lives (our regrets, feelings about loss and gains, etc.).
- We were becoming better storytellers. We both noticed an improvement in our public speaking.
- Our writing was better, less technical, easier to read and a bit more winsome.
- It helped us unplug from our status quo and helped us explore new vistas and horizons and in each of our lives we discovered new interests.
- Great stories fed our imagination and awakened within us wonder, hope, adventure, and romanticism; and that is a good thing.
Have you read a good story lately?
Want to share a title we should explore?
Is fiction regularly on your reading list?
Is there value in escaping into a well-written book of fiction?
[Photo credit: colemama]