I’m a big believer in the power of story. Fiction changes us, makes us think, gives us relief, helps us know we’re not alone, and lets us walk in the shoes of people who are very different from us. Plus, it’s so fun to read. There has been a lot of talk about the importance of art during this time, about how it helps us make it through. It made me think: why is it important to read fiction right now, during this unprecedented time of global pandemic and quarantine?
1. To Escape
There is nothing wrong with needing to think about something besides the state of the world for a little while. In fact, there’s everything right with it. Too much news, too much information can lead to feelings of anxiety, depression, stress, and overwhelm. Anyone experienced any of those lately? One solution to the overload? Dive into an engrossing story. You’ll feel better on the other side.
Books to try:
- The Actor and the Housewife, Shannon Hale
- What Alice Forgot, Liane Moriarty
- Little Fires Everywhere, Celeste Ng
- Virgil Wander, Leif Enger
2. For Perspective
This time in history is huge, unknown, full of the hard, the different, the good, the heavy. It’s easy to get lost in the what-ifs. It can be overwhelming to think about the fact that nothing like this has ever happened before, at least not on this scale. But a look back into history can help us here. Historical fiction can show us that there have been other huge, scary times and that people survived and made it through. And contemporary fiction that explores hard things that people have overcome has the same effect. Read on, friends, and gain strength.
Books to try:
- Code Name Verity, Elizabeth E. Wein
- A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Betty Smith
- The Ragged Edge of Night, Olivia Hawker
- Little Bee, Chris Cleave
- Safely Home, Randy Alcorn
3. For Comfort
Some books feel like coming home. Sometimes, this is because you’ve read them often, or at a specific time, or as a child. Other times, it’s just something about them that makes you feel safe, relaxed, comforted in some way. When everything is uncertain, these books can help, like a warm blanket or a nap in the sunshine.
Books to Try:
- Peace Like a River, Leif Enger
- The Inspector Gamache series, Louise Penny (link is to the first book of the series)
- Caroline, Sarah Miller
- The Chronicles of Narnia series, C. S. Lewis
4. To Learn
Being home for a while can make you go a little stir-crazy, longing for something new. What a great time to crack open a book that will take you someplace you’ve never been! I don’t just mean to a new location, although that is one way to learn. How about reading about something you’ve never experienced, something outside your experience? How about walking a mile in shoes you’ve never seen?
Books to Try:
- The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane, Lisa See
- An American Marriage, Tayari Jones
- We Were the Lucky Ones, Georgia Hunter
- The Language of Flowers, Vanessa Diffenbaugh
If any of these reasons to read fiction resonates with you, dive on in. You won’t regret it. Stay safe and read on!
Note: These are Amazon affiliate links.