The Jane Austen Cure: Why Women Need Fiction to Replenish Their Souls
By Richly Rooted
Everyone ought to recognize that a woman in possession of a sound mind must be in want of a good story. Jane Austen must’ve thought so, for her novel Northanger Abbey is one of the best literary defenses for fiction, and she has the book’s hero Henry Tilney declare that “The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.”
Fiction–novels–those are the kinds of books we’re not reading enough of anymore. Instead, our reading lists are jam-packed with things that have more obvious bearing on everyday life. Good, helpful things like parenting books, business strategy guides, dieting advice, motivational books, and self help books.
We’re not intolerably stupid. We read these non-fiction books to help us improve our lives and routines, and we do recognize a good story when we see it. The problem is that we’re not reading enough good stories, and we’re missing out because of it.
The next time you’re feeling weary, overwhelmed, or just want to stir up fresh life, try a good piece of fiction. The best books–like Jane Austen’s–will leave you feeling satisfied, even while you’re longing for more. Wanting more will make you not just a reader of fiction, but a re-reader. Because that’s another thing about fiction–its truths are infinitely more layered than most of the non-fiction on your shelf. And uncovering them is one of the best and most enjoyable ways to put that brilliant mind of yours to use!
Want more posts on books and reading? Here’s how I’m reading now more than ever (even though I’m a mom), and here’s classic literature and young adult novels that will make you fall head over heels in love with reading.