Getting to Know You

I read a lot of fiction. Of course I do, or I wouldn’t have this blog. But I know people who read a lot more than I do, including a friend who once told me that she reads fifteen books per week. I don’t even come close to that, and doubt I could keep all the titles straight in my head if I did. I came across a couple of online articles recently that claim fiction readers are more empathetic than the average person because they learn to relate to different personalities through reading. I don’t know if that is true, but it’s nice to think that it might be. I always try to put myself in another person’s shoes if I’m trying to understand their behavior, but don’t always succeed. In novels, the narrator is there to explain characters’ actions or go inside their heads and reveal their thoughts. Too bad we can’t do that in real life . . . but then that might not be such a good thing. Maybe it would be best if each person we met came with a built-in caption that would tell us their personality type, their fears, desires, motivations, hang ups, personal traumas…a sort of mini-bio, perhaps on a flash drive. It might make life easier (we’d avoid getting involved with difficult people), but a lot more boring.

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