Reading fiction helps us learn
I ran across an article the other day in The Rotarian magazine titled, The Truth About Fiction, and naturally I was intrigued.
Cognitive psychologist Keith Oatley found in a recent study that “reading more fiction enables you to understand other people better. ” Unlike nonfiction that tells the reader what happened, “fiction tells us what can happen.” Oatley explains that people who read fiction scored better at interpreting facial expressions and social cues, were less socially isolated and had more social support than non-fiction readers. Business schools are realizing that being able to understand other people is important, and a Stanford professor teaches a course on leadership using War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy as his text.
By letting the reader see how people interact and by shoring up the ability to imagine what another person is thinking or feeling, “fiction lets our brains try out new perspectives.” Oatley has shown in his experiments that fiction “measurably enhances our abilities to empathize with other people and connect with something larger than ourselves.”
The Delaware County District Library has thousands and thousands of fiction books on its shelves — from historical fiction to romance to police procedurals to mysteries to science fiction to realistic fiction. I am certain that there is a wonderful book sitting on the Library’s shelves that would be suit you to a T.
These new fiction books will be on the shelves of the Delaware County District Library during the month of March. Of course, this is just a small sampling of the hundreds of new books that will be added to the Library’s collection this month, and our librarians are always ready to help find the perfect book for you. Enjoy!
•The Accursed by Joyce Carol Oates. After a lynching in a nearby town is covered up, a horrifying chain of events begins to happen in early 20th-century Princeton, New Jersey.
•Death of Yesterday by M.C. Beaton. Sergeant Hamish Macbeth pays no mind to a bothersome woman who went out drinking and forgot all the events of the evening, until she turns up murdered in this latest novel in the mystery series.
•The Gate Thief by Orson Scott Card. Danny North poses as an everyday high school student while holding the stolen outselves of thirteen centuries of gatemages and learning about why Loki closed the Great Gates, an effort that is complicated by a near-powerless Wad’s efforts to make peace.
•The Guardian by Beverly Lewis. After schoolteacher Jodi Winfield finds a little girl on the side of the road, she delves into the isolated community of the Lancaster Old Order Amish to find answers.
•Ice Cold Kill by Dana Haynes. Working as an interpreter for the FBI and taking occasional freelance operative jobs, Daria, a former Shin-Bet agent in exile in the U.S., receives an anonymous warning just before she is set up to walk into an ambush.
•Red Velvet Cupcake Murder by Joanne Fluke. When one of her famous Red Velvet cupcakes is thought to have caused the death of her rival—a scandalous Lake Eden legend who was trying to steal her boyfriend—Hannah Swensen becomes the unlikely suspect in a murder investigation and must whip up the real killer before someone else gets iced.
•Robert Ludlum’s The Utopia Experiment by Kyle Mills. While assessing the military potential of a new intelligence device, Covert-One’s Colonel Jon Smith realizes the technology must never fall into the hands of America’s enemies.
•Six Years by Harlan Coben. Harboring an enduring love for Natalie six years after her marriage to another man, Jake Sanders learns of his rival’s death and attends the funeral only to discover that Natalie is not the woman she seemed to be, a situation that compels a determined search for answers.
•The Striker by Clive Cussler and Justin Scott. After witnessing a terrible coal mining accident, Detective Isaac Bell hunts for the high-level saboteurs he believes are responsible in this new novel.
•Sweet Tea Revenge by Laura Childs. Tea shop owner and bridesmaid Theodosia Browning investigates when the groom is literally late on the couples’ big day in the latest novel in the series following Agony of the Leaves.
•Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler. A tale inspired by the marriage of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald follows their union in defiance of her father’s opposition and her abandonment of the provincial finery of her upbringing in favor of a scandalous flapper identity that gains her entry into the literary party scenes of New York, Paris and the French Riviera.
If you have a question that you would like to see answered in this column, mail it to Mary Jane Santos, Delaware County District Library, 84 E. Winter St., Delaware, OH 43015, or call 740–362-3861. You can also email your questions by visiting delawarelibrary.org or directly to Mary Jane at email@example.com. No matter how you contact us, we’re always glad you asked!