3 Reasons To Read Fiction Even As An Adult

I was a finance major in my final year of undergraduate education. We were learning Financial Markets and Institutions, famously known among students as FMI, during the Fall semester. Our course instructor strongly urged us to use our imagination and logic while dealing with the numerous cases we were up during class discussions and assignments. He said, as I still remember clearly, ‘You might not be able to be so creative in the next semester. It will be more of financial applications and numericals then. I’m not saying you can’t be creative, it’s just that it’s very difficult for anyone to challenge William Sharpe’s ratio. You can, but to be able to do that you must first learn to use your imagination in the current class.’

That’s what I’d like to call the different between fiction and non-fiction reading.

Over the years I’ve seen a lot of my friends and family discover their joy of reading, which is fantastic. More books and ideas to share everywhere. But I’ve also seen a pattern that would certainly make Neil Gaiman, a champion of reading for pleasure and libraries, worry. A lot of adults read a lot of non-fiction (which is great), but they somehow end up turning a blind eye to fiction. Fiction as the word suggests is a lie, it’s untrue; why should anyone waste their time reading it? Why don’t we read more of creativity hacks and technology instead?

I’m definitely not against non fiction reading. It’s necessary. It gives us ideas and perspective we wouldn’t find elsewhere. And with information widely available, cost of printing going down, it has never been a better time to be alive to read.

#1 Fiction is not a trap
I’ve met friends and family who often tell me that fiction is a trap. It has to do with the fact that it is untrue, I presume. I don’t usually end up defending fiction and at times I do feel guilty about it. But it also gives me a chance to ask ‘Why do you feel that way?’ The answers mostly reveal being stuck with a particular genre for a long time. I believe it’s like myopia to the eyes. I’m myopic and without my prescription glasses everything is blurry. If I never wore glasses, I’d perhaps end up thinking the world is exactly as it seems to my eyes: blurry. But of course it is not.

#2 Fiction helps you question
If non fiction hands you knowledge, fiction helps you question. And questioning is just as important as gathering knowledge. Why did Harry choose to fight Voldemort? Why did Parijat wrote what she wrote?

#3 Fiction eases the burden of reality
In line with #2.
It can be extremely difficult to put ourselves into the feet of real people. Even in case of non fiction storytelling, it is at times difficult to narrow down the circumstances people go through. All the while comparison is usually tricky, because everyone is different and circumstances alter cases. But the case is different for fiction. It’s not real, and in this lies a subtle freedom. We can compare, question and demand alternatives that perhaps would have been very difficult otherwise. It’s easier to question fiction, and in return to question reality. And this is how we learn things do not have to be the way they are.

I think what my finance instructor meant when he said use your imagination this semester was that I wasn’t working with just facts, I was working with scenarios and cases where people acted, and thus, anything was possible as long as it made sense (of course financial rules applied). The next semester was equally challenging and interesting, but I realized he was right, I couldn’t use my mind more freely. There were equations I could not challenge, not yet. But the previous semester’s imaginative working helped in a lot of cases, especially in interpretation questions.

Fiction and non fiction reading as some say might go hand-in-hand. One answers, another questions, then a few more answers, a few more questions. Like an eternal dance of light and darkness, that continues to challenge and nourish our intellectual life.

I am extremely lucky to have discovered the joy of reading as a young child. Peter Rabbit was my favorite because there was a long long line of generation in it. It is rare to find a book that mentions Great great great great grand father. The book was bright yellow and it was very attractive. We were made to memorize poems in our Nepali literature class, that I still treasure. The lines might have become blurry in my memory but the learnings are still omnipresent.

The joy of reading, it’s not a big thing, but it’s fulfilling, it’s nourishing, it’s exactly how it is supposed to be- reading.


Do let me know what you thought about this article. It’s still nebulous in parts. The more I read, the more I discover, and thus, a longer path awaits to be seen. Till then, here’s my little part.

30 Minutes of Traveling: Deep Fried Crunchy Samosa

I told myself it’s okay to
want to go all by yourself,
to take little chances to discover
pieces of you scattered here and there,
to have people stare
when you’re sitting there
waiting for no one in particular to appear.

I want to eat a samosa,
that deep fried crunchy samosa
I’ve always loved,
as a child, as a teen and as an adult. 

I told myself it won’t rain hard,
drizzles are merry times,
that sprinkle your shoes with a little water.
Even if it does rain
home is nearby. 

I told myself it is okay to explore alone,
to walk the roads you’ve walked with others,
newly blacktopped roads
welcome me with narrow bends.
Maybe it wasn’t a bad idea after all.

I want to eat a samosa,
deep fried crunchy,
but end up ordering its variant.
Right after I lay my eyes on it,
it feels like a bad idea.
Yes, it was a bad idea.
I hurriedly order a lassi
to improve the taste,
I end up receiving a drink
with sugar particles instead.

I tell myself it’s okay to make wrong decisions,
food is a little thing,
there are mountains to conquer.
All this for a deep fried crunchy samosa.

Come | A Poem

Come
join me,
there’s nothing a warm cup
of tea cannot heal.

Come,
let us play
the broken piano
with a few misplaced keys,
it’s music
still beautiful.

Come,
come away with me,
as I take you
through time,
the time machine
conjured in words.

Come,
do not hide.

Come,
maybe for the first
and the last time.

Come.

Meera Goes to Hogwarts: Chapter Six

Recap to the previous chapters: One, Two, Three, Four and Five.

Meera was sure that it was the Queen from the book she had just read. But before the lady could come closer, another figure approached.

‘This is not the right time to disturb Meera,’ the other said. It sounded very much like Headmistress Elysian.

‘Rin,’ said the Queen. ‘The right time will never come.’

‘Not now. Let us leave.’

Meera’s heart began palpitating very fast as she hid under the blanket. She knew there was something she needed to know and it was somehow connected to the Queen. She didn’t want them to leave. No, she didn’t. All this mystery and hidden conversations were eating her up. She needed to know. Now!

‘We must let her recover from today’s injuries. It’s a good thing she didn’t break any bones,’ said the other again.

Meera could hear footsteps walking away. Headmistress Elysian had convinced the Queen to leave.

Don’t go, Meera pleaded in her mind. Don’t go now.

Suddenly the footsteps stopped. A dead silence prevailed in the room.

‘Rin, this cannot wait,’ the Queen said. ‘I will not hear any more.’

‘As you wish,’ said the other.

Meera was glad they had stopped, but as the footsteps approached her, she felt a fang of fear crawl up her body. Anything could be headed towards her. It could throw everything into chaos or it could bring everything into order. She knew she could trust Headmistress Elysian, she would do everything to protect Meera.

‘Meera, I know you’re awake,’ said Headmistress Elysian.

Meera slowly popped her head out of the blanket. She didn’t know what to say next. It could have been anything. The Queen was looking at her. She looked much older than the illustrations in the book, and much more terrifying. Her eyes were sunken and dark, like she hadn’t slept for ages.

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