Excellent, convincing argument by Neil Gaiman about the importance of reading, particularly fiction, and of access to libraries. Some of my favorite points include 1. fiction is important to expand the imagination, by promoting thoughts of escapism that will have us readers desiring more, and therefore, being motivated to MAKE more in real life, and 2. libraries being important as havens from children to be exposed to and grow a hunger for reading, without distractions of other things.
To play devil’s advocate, here‘s a commentary/criticism from Lee Seigel written for the New Yorker. Seigel comments on the very real possiblity that we are seriously overthinking the benefits of fiction…or really, of anything in general. As Seigel points out, it is fair to say that you cannot assume ’empathy’ always means the ‘good’ kind of empathy, or that the effects of fiction as argued by Gaiman are attributed purely to fiction. Correlation does not equal causation. In the end however, Seigel’s essay came off more as almost bitter and overly cynical, whereas Gaiman’s is open and welcoming. I mean, I certainly see no HARM in reading fiction vs nonfiction 😛 So I will keep my stance in agreement with Gaiman…the importance of reading must be maintained!