Is reading fiction good for you?

Michael Bond


Reading fiction can shape our personalities (Image: Gavin Rodgers/Rex Features)

IF YOU’VE ever been in a book club or enjoy discussing books with friends, you will know that people often interpret stories in different ways, reflecting their own experiences, inclinations and views of the world. Take Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. While some readers may have little trouble forgiving Mr Darcy’s conceit once he starts to show affection for Elizabeth, others might question whether he is really capable of change.

This is one of the ways fiction seduces us: no matter how tight the narrative structure, or how well-defined the characters, we can always follow our own imaginings.

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