Can Reading Change Your Life?

Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.” —Rudyard Kipling

Most of us know the power of a good book. Fiction often leaves an impression on its readers in a way few other things can, but what does that effect amount to? In this lecture, Dustin Grinnell explores how reading fiction can heal the mind and may aid in healing the body.

The notion of reading for therapeutic effect is known as bibliotherapy. The practice dates back to the ancient Greeks, who inscribed over the entrance to the library in Thebes a phrase that means “healing place for the soul.” Similar to the process of psychotherapy, literature can help readers resolve conflicts, navigate traumatic experiences, integrate disowned aspects of themselves, and perhaps even achieve inner wholeness or self-actualization. Fiction is indeed medicine for the soul.