You need to read fiction: Here’s why

As we head into the Christmas holidays, we’ve all probably taken a breather with work and are ready to put our feet up over the festive season. For this week’s blog, Edward talks about one of his passions: reading, and why it is a good idea for you to spend some time getting your head stuck in a good book.

By Edward Stanbury

Uni students are not reading enough fiction: in 2018, 46% of young people (aged 16-24) in England were found not to read fiction in their spare time (Department for Digital, 2018).  No university specific data exists at present, so this figure could be higher for students like you.

A boy with brown hair reading a book.
Image: Edward Stanbury.

Why read fiction? 

Image: Edward Stanbury.

If not for pleasure, do it for your career.  With our lengthy reading lists and busy lives, the thought of reading fiction may seem like a pipe dream and a joke.  But I’m serious.  In fact, research published in the Harvard Business Review states that “reading fiction may provide far more important benefits than nonfiction”.  Please – I’m not suggesting that you ditch your essential reading for storybooks.  Instead, use non-fiction for building knowledge, and fiction for your EQ (emotional intelligence).  As the article puts it: “reading literary fiction helps people develop empathytheory of mind, and critical thinking… (as well as) in-demand emotional skills” (Seifert, 2020).  Use fiction to make you a stand-out student and future employee.

Just remember one thing: reading fiction is more important than most people think”

How to read fiction? 

Some bookshelves with a green sofa and some green chairs around it.
There are books located in the Breathing Space on floor one of the library. Image: Edward Stanbury.

Warren Buffet, multi-billionaire and serial investor, recommends reading 500 pages a day – yes, 500.  Okay, that might be too much, but lifestyle blogs, like those from Mental Floss and Farnam Street, recommend 15-25 a day.  The key, though, is to make it an unbreakable habit.  If you’re like me, the popular “read before bed” routine may not work for you.  Fine.  So, try reading on the bus to campus, after dinner – any time or place that suits you.  Also, always read fiction that interests you.  It might be worth returning to an old classic that you enjoyed.  But strive to be curious and think about reading trending books in a different genre.  To give you an example, I love fantasy books, but I tried out some crime fiction recently and I had an absolute blast – try ‘The Paris Apartment’ by Lucy Foley. 

How the library can help? 

Believe it or not, the library at Warwick Uni offers more than textbooks.  Search for your fiction book on the website and, chances are, it’ll be there waiting for you.  You may also want to browse the books in-person; check out the Reading for Leisure Collection on floor 1.

Key takeaways? 

So, you’ve wound your way to the end of this article – thank you for reading.  Just remember one thing: reading fiction is more important than most people think.  I’m begging you to make it a need, like your morning coffee or that evening gym sesh.  Try 5 pages, or maybe 100 each day.  Who knows?  You might start to enjoy it!

If you’d like to find out more, why not take a look at our blog on Leisure Reading.  Or, to get into the festive spirit, check out Festive Reading Suggestions for All Tastes.

Which fiction book are you starting with? A new read or an old favourite? Let us know by tweeting us @warwicklibrary, dropping us a message on Instagram @warwicklibrary or sending us an email at

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