Why Read a Novel?

Books & tree

Earlier this month I urged readers to “Drop Out and Read” , and talked about its value to me. I was delighted to see that a good friend and marvelous writer, Toni Fuhrman, had blogged on the same subject, so let me share with you a brief excerpt and link.



Why read a novel?
How many times in my life have I heard some version of this question? Most people do not read novels. Why? ‘Novels are a waste of time.’ ‘I’m not interested in stories about made-up people.’ ‘Novels don’t relate to my life.’ ‘I don’t have time.’ ‘I have far more important things to do.’

This excerpt, republished with permission, is from a blog post by Toni Fuhrman, published on her blog, a windless place, on July 22, 2013. Click here to read the entire post.



Toni, in this blog, talks about the intimacy of the novel, of being alone with the story, forming a relationship that is unique–yours alone. How important this is in today’s world where we are forever badgered to be social, to interact constantly, to call people “friends” whether we know them or not. So prevalent is this drive, that for those growing up in the social media world, aloneness, like silence, may become terrifying. When will we rediscover the experience Toni describes? This aloneness is not to be confused with lonliness, for we are joined with the character, with the author’s voice. As Toni says, a novel is “… a companion that makes us laugh and makes us weep, surprises us, inspires us, reaches out to us in our inevitable loneliness and isolation, engages our intellect, and compels us to turn the page …”

I invite you all to join this conversation. Why read novels? So many believe, as suggested by the excuses Toni Fuhrman lists above, that only the real and immediate needs are worth our time, only non-fiction is true. In “Drop Out and Read,” I talked about my preference for characters who confront contemporary crises. My second choice is for historical novels where characters face the same issues in other times and cultures. We will talk about those in this series, also. What is your preference? Why?






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