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How do you convince people of the value of fiction?

I’m going to quote what Salman Rushdie said about this topic in this interview because it really appealed to me as the right approach when people refuse to take your hand and enter the worlds that mean the most to you:

If you were stuck in an elevator with a person who refused to read fiction, how would you change his or her mind?

Oh, no. I’d just get out of the elevator as fast as possible. One of the things I’ve learned is that you don’t change people’s minds. There are people who love fiction and there are people who find it stupid. “What’s the use of stories that aren’t even true?” as Haroun asked his father… And unless they’re fortunate enough to stumble upon a book that opens some door in their head that hadn’t been opened before, you can’t change it by arguing. So my view is you know, thanks a lot, I’ll get off here.”

There it is. Short, truthful and effortless, if a little snarky! Clever, isn’t he?
He has another novel out. Go check out the original interview for more details.
In other news, I’m considering giving Midnight’s Children another chance. I didn’t like it the first time I tried reading it, even though the premise did appeal to me. So I’m thinking about picking it up again now because I think I’ve become a different person and a different reader.
What did you think of Rushdie’s opinion on people who don’t read fiction? Do you think he was rather too disdainful? Do you think the uphill battle to get someone to read fiction is worth it? I personally have fought that battle and lost every time.
Also, do you guys think Midnight’s Children is worth my time? Why or why not? Let me know in the comments.

2 thoughts on “How do you convince people of the value of fiction?

  1. I figure as long as no one’s raining on my parade and insisting what I read is stupid, I have no need to defend myself or my tastes. Some people just prefer nonfiction–and I just prefer fiction. To each their own, and no need to get up in arms if someone’s expressing a preference.

    When they get to insulting a genre though (any genre, really, be it YA or fiction or paranormal romance or science fiction), they’ve essentially broken that sort of trust. If they insult, I will defend. I enjoy arguing a little too much.

  2. Would you defend a genre even if you didn’t enjoy it? Like because of the principle of it? 🙂

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