Michael He

February 26, 2022

Back To Fiction

I recently started reading fiction again. That hasn't happened regularly for many years. 

Mandatory reading in high school certainly destroyed my interests in reading fiction. At the same time, I was not making the best use of my time, even when I had more free time from not reading. The only time I remember reading fiction was during summer vacation in China (since most nonfiction books were from English and I preferred to read the originals).

Over time, I began to think fiction as something not very useful. I mean, it's just a story... Even when I started reading for my own sake and see the quantity rack up rapidly, there was almost no fiction to be found among the pile

But now I’m thinking otherwise.

I’ve been on the other spectrum so much that reading good fiction is actually now necessary. I remember those nights when I read Haruki Murakami one story after another, one book after another. Those nights were the loneliest yet I made it through thanks to Murakami.

I recently read a lot of fan fiction, which is a hugely misunderstood medium (and I will write about it soon). It seems a bit funny to admit, but reading fan fictions reminded me why I loved reading stories when I was younger.

It makes me think about human beings, our actions, and our emotions. These are the things I’m really trying to have peace with for the last few years. Fiction may be the way to achieve that. 

I just need to figure out which stories are really worth my time and emotions. Guilty pleasures are fine. After all, I read many webtoons during my fiction-starved years (so maybe I wasn't robbed the joy of reading fiction after all). What's not acceptable is hype. If I read more things on the level of Ted Chiang's stories or The Three Body Problem, then I'd be happy to read more fiction constantly.

There exists a world of something special in the realm of fiction. Don’t ignore it. Don't take it for granted.

So I'm going back to fiction.