I found this article really interesting: Study finds that fiction helps us understand ourselves and others.
That makes perfect sense to me. After all, stories are about people and what they think and what they do and how they react. What better way to learn about people and learn to deal with them?
It’s especially interesting because a lot of people consider reading a very solitary activity. Anyone who has ever attended a book club meeting or hung out on the message boards at LibraryThing knows that readers love to talk about their books! But parents often scold their children for spending too much time wrapped up in books instead of playing with other kids. When I was younger, books were a refuge for me, when I felt unpopular or misunderstood. Maybe all that time spent reading about people helped me to become more social as I grew older.
Many thanks to my pal Baseball Diva for bringing this article to my attention on the forum where we post together.