It’s funny how people read self-help book after self- help book, with philosophy, science, or history sprinkled in between and expect that to equate to some higher level of intelligence or being. I believed this for a long time. If I were caught on the train reading Harry Potter by one of my colleagues, I would probably be teased, maybe even thought of as childish. However, when I’m reading Sun Tzu’s Art of War, strangers have somehow placed me into the intellectual class.
Why is there a stigma that fiction is not as good as non?
I could almost argue that the lessons nuanced into fiction (or maybe not so nuanced) can have higher impact on our emotional intelligence and well-being.
Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy reminded me that I am not that special. In the realm of the whole universe, I am just a tiny speck. It taught me that asking the right questions can mean more than finding the right answers.
The ultimate middle finger to self- help: Fight Club. Palahniuk reminds us that too much self improvement is just masturbation. You’re just looking to make yourself feel good. You are already complete as you are.
‘You are not your job; you’re not how much money you have in the bank; you’re not the car you drive; you’re not the contents of your wallet.’ — Tyler Durden
Fight club teaches us that we are not the things we own. We are our own body, soul, and person. We are human with or without the clothes on our back. New shoes, new car, new anything, will not make us some other, better, person.
Currently, I am reading Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. This book is filled with lessons. As a white-passing, bi- racial, American, I’ve been able to to just glimpse into the life of what it means to have dark skin. I’ve been taught the importance of telling my story, I’ve been moved by the story of loved and lost, and emotionally tied to characters.
Although there are powerful lessons in non-fiction books, I’m craving the emotional investment and journey fiction takes us on. Leave a comment below with your favorite fiction book so I can give it a read.