by Martha Hutzel, Director of the Central Rappahannock Regional Library
Everyone who knows me is aware of how much I love to read. I always have at least two books going at the same time, and one audiobook as well. BTW, listening to audiobooks is NOT cheating! I have never stopped reading and always learn plenty in every book I pick up. I prefer the good, old-fashioned print versions, but I also read ebooks, of which the Central Rappahannock Regional Library has tens of thousands free for download. We use Overdrive for that service, so just visit our website for great selections and directions on how to download your next great ebook.
However, I’m not creating this blog post to talk about how much I love reading. I read both fiction and nonfiction, and at first I thought I’d write about another leadership book. But did you know you can learn a great deal about leadership just by reading your favorite fiction genre? Fiction speaks to us of people, lives, and events that could be real; it creates believable situations and relationships that help us in our neverending endeavor to better understand the human condition, what makes us tick and what moves us. (I leave science fiction and fantasy out of this equation for the most part). But take historical fiction. This genre tells us of things that could or did actually happen, but frequently gives us the human element of the events. We can learn a great deal of history without reading an extensive, exhaustive history text. I love learning, but I’m not planning on reading any more textbooks! There are simply too many other great books out there that are calling to me!
You can’t be a good leader without understanding people and relationships. Every fiction book I’ve read has taught me something, such as compassion, empathy, patience, communication, positive thinking, and how to see the world through the perspective of the character. It makes us think of something other than our own world view. Oftentimes a novel has a complex moral issue that we must understand and see both sides of while enjoying what the writer has created. Learning and reading about any or all of these feelings and events can help us all become better leaders and better people. Besides, you’ll always have a topic of conversation at the next dinner party if you’ve just read a great book!
Here are just a few titles that I’ve read recently and that have benefited me in a myriad of ways:
● The Women of the Copper Country, by Maria Doria Russell
● Me Before You, by JoJo Moyes
● The Giver of Stars, by JoJo Moyes
● Bridge of Clay, by Markus Zusak
● The Dutch House, by Ann Patchett
● City of Girls, by Elizabeth Gilbert
● The Island of Sea Women, by Lisa See
● The Alice Network, by Kate Quinn
● Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens
● Before We Were Yours, by Lisa Wingate