Reading novels can make you the life of the party.
"For a good chunk of the summer, 17-year-old Charlotte Spafford plans to hole up in her room so the words of author Toni Morrison can transport her deep into the American South. Not exactly a sure-fire way to enhance her teenage social life - or is it?
A group of Toronto researchers have compiled a body of evidence showing that bookworms have exceptionally strong people skills.
Their years of research - summed up in the current issue of New Scientist magazine - has shown readers of narrative fiction scored higher on tests of empathy and social acumen than those who read non-fiction texts."
Now, this is something that's pretty obvious up to a point. It depends a bit on where social awkwardness intersects with an ability to get away from another pointless office party to get back to a good book.
Hey what the hell, how about a novel that gets office politics right?
At any rate, working in bookstores for as long as I have, I think it's a no-brainer that book people are far from socially awkward especially as there's a slew of empirical data that shows that book nerds also attend more cultural events as a matter of course than non readers.
As for a link between reading fiction and being empathetic, that's old news, but it's still nice to hear.
Of course, it's possible that the authors of the study just couldn't get in touch with any video game addicts. (insert your own parents basement joke here)
Posted by David