I like reading. I don’t do it enough…but having been born to a mother who reads and writes passionately, and a father who would work in construction and every lunch hour, turn a bucket over to sit on, eat his sandwich and read his novel, I have grown up with a deep love of all things literary. In the past 2 years I have met a lot of people in business, and most of these people read business books. So I started reading business books. I like them. They all have something of value in them, they all follow pretty much the same formula so if you’ve read a few, you can navigate your way through almost any of them without having to read the whole thing, and still get the meat of them. If there is something you’d like to accomplish, and you need a sort of checklist to accomplish that thing, a business or self-help book will do nicely for you. If, however, there is something you’d like to really learn…well then, I reccomend fiction every time.
Ok, we’re all different, it’s true. We learn in different ways. But once you’ve figured out how you learn best , it’s a crime to only let information into your brain that one way. It’s like learning one route to work, and never ever trying to get there another way. Yes, you get to work every day…but you still never know where you are. So if, for any reason your preferred route is blocked one day, well…you’re hooped. You’re lost, and you could probably find your way to work eventually. But boy are you kicking yourself for not learning other routes when it would have been much easier…and it wouldn’t have made you late.
Fiction for people who only read non-fiction is the same way. They are stories of human beings struggling, and we can learn through their lives and relationships and struggles. We can learn how to listen to different voices and styles, appreciate completely different perspectives…not to mention become able to discuss great authors. I have a list of my top ten books of all time. They have all changed my perspective in some way, and I would recomend them to every single person alive.
10- The Witches, Roald Dahl: Roald Dahl is the master of children’s fiction and all of his books are beyond reproach. This one is my very favourite, but really, pick any one and you’ll be transported into a world you wish existed.
9- This Present Darkness, Frank Peretti: An amazing story about the battle between angels and demons going on around us…this book made me aware of the spiritual battle we’re in. And really, really excited about it.
8- Oryx and Crake, Margaret Atwood: A Canadian Treasure! Margaret Atwood writes like no one else. This book is in the same vein of the Handmaiden’s Tale; a bleak look at a future gone wrong. She absolutely delights me.
7- Animal Farm, George Orwell: Reading this makes you smarter. Forget that it was required in high school and read it again. Politics look more interesting when you read this book.
6- Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte: Doomed love, and what it looks like when two people won’t let themselves be happy. It’s a classic for a reason!
5- The Time Traveller’s Wife, Audrey Niffenegger: This is now a movie I’m very excited to see…the writing is so easy and fluid, and the character’s lives are so compelling it made me cry.
4- The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald: There is a Counting Crows song with this line: It seems I never know anyone at the party, and I’m always the host. That is the Great Gatsby. This book is sad. Wonderful…but overall sad. And beautiful.
3- The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger: This book is on FBI radar in US libraries; all political assasins have at least one copy at home. I just like being let into the mind of Holden Caulfield, the main character. He’s a completely original character, yet we’re all like him, at least a little. I haven’t quite figured out why this book is a favourite among the disturbed though.
2- A Wrinkle in Time, Madeleine L’Engle: My Mom read this to Tyler and I when we were little, and it opened up a world of magic and dimensional travel. We begged her not to stop reading, and I can’t wait to read it to my kids.
1- The Long Walk, Stephen King: 100 boys are chosen do a long walk every year where the winner wins everything he could ever want for the rest of his life. The rest all get shot. This is about how much we value life…and it makes you look at walks differently. I give this book to the important people in my life, it means a lot to me.
So I will always shout the praises of good fiction…books keep expanding and shaping my world. Fiction continues to challenge me. If you don’t feel the same, could be you’re just reading the wrong books.