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In recent days, there have been articles going around that reading fiction can make changes to your brain. It leads to connectivity changes in your brain, which can change your perspective and alert the sensory parts. This is based on a study done at the Emory University, which was published in the journal Brain Connectivity last month.


Photo by Spirit-Fire on Flickr, found via Creative Commons

Now some may agree with Nature editor’s Noah Gray’s snarky tweet: “Reading a novel induces connectivity changes in the brain … But so does everything else you did or are doing today.”

There’s been plenty of articles, studies and op-eds that discuss the effect of reading a novel. Some argue that reading novels makes us more empathetic, and therefore more human.

I think reading a novel all depends on how you approach it. Sometimes I read fiction to escape my world. Sometimes I read because I hear the prose is incredible. Or I’m interested in how an author will re-tell a famous story (as I was when I picked up A Song of Achilles, which retold the Iliad by making Achilles and Patroclus lovers last year) or what they have to say about certain social issues.

I admit that I don’t often read a novel because of a character. I guess that will be strange to some, but the above examples is what drives me to read fiction. I don’t aim to be more empathetic or be a better human being. I tend to read to learn or be entertained. I wonder if that means I am poorly affected by fiction, unlike other readers.

I want to change that. I want to try to read a novel based on the characters. I want to start reading blurbs and try to focus on the characters rather than the setting and the plot. That could be my New Years’ resolution as a reader – however there are books I’d like to read that go along with my usual habits. But I’ll try my best.