Admiral James Stavridis on Reading Fiction.

Over at The Millions, an interview with Admiral James Stavridis, dean of Tufts University’s graduate school of Law and Diplomacy and a lifelong reader of fiction:

I read constantly. I read probably 80 percent fiction, 20 percent nonfiction. And I have found through reading fiction, I understand the human condition better.

You said a moment ago that a novel is a sanctuary in the middle of this violent world. Let’s remember that occasionally, novels are also moments of violence in an otherwise very peaceful life. It can be the opposite. And so if you can think of a novel as a kind of simulator where you imagine what you would do in a stressful, dangerous situation, it becomes, I think, a very helpful learning tool about ourselves.

Some very insightful stuff here—both on the novels he talks about and on his general philosophy on why reading fiction is important.