|Books could keep you out of prison|
In a recent lecture for the Reading Agency, author Neil Gaiman highlights a fascinating correlation between reading for pleasure and levels of criminality:
Such an algorithm may be a crude measure of future crime rates, but it is widely accepted that reading fiction can increase levels of empathy in children. Stories invite us to look at other lives and to see the world through different viewpoints.
Here's another cliche: are girls more empathetic than boys? Is this why girls read more fiction? Or is this because they read more fiction? Certainly, book clubs tend to be the province of women, although my husband often talks about setting up a dads' book group. This gender bias could explain my efforts to inspire a love of fiction in my young son, with the help of Enid Blyton, Gwyneth Rees and Horrid Henry. One day this might equip him to join a book club of his own, with the added bonus of keeping him out of a penitentiary institution.
Thanks to Julie, the Nettlebed book club and author/photographer Clive Limpkin for introducing me to Neil Gaiman's lecture.