“The more fiction you read, the better you are at understanding other people.” So says Professor Keith Oatley of Toronto University – and he has spent a considerable amount of time and energy gathering the evidence. Rather than simply being a form of escapism, reading helps you to open yourself out to the social world. In the same way that a flight simulator allows trainee pilots to experience of a wider number of situations than flying lessons, reading fiction places us in social settings beyond our natural range of experience. Indeed, far from having the reputation for being a recluse, the bookworm is likely to be a far more sociable animal than his or her non-reading counterparts.
For further proof, look no further than this very helpful website, which will help you to locate a bookclub near you. (Alternatively, if you have already seen the light, register your bookclub to receive offers such as free festival tickets and even the odd bottle of wine!) http://www.bookgroup.info/041205/directory.php