In a two-part interview with author Marilynne Robinson (Gilead, Home), US President Barrack Obama said that novels taught him “the most important” things he has learned about being a citizen.
From The Guardian:
Interviewing Marilynne Robinson in the second installment of a two-part interview for the New York Review of Books (also available as audio), the American president asked the author if she was worried about people not reading novels anymore, as they are “overwhelmed by flashier ways to pass the time”. For himself, Obama said, “when I think about how I understand my role as citizen, setting aside being president, and the most important set of understandings that I bring to that position of citizen, the most important stuff I’ve learned I think I’ve learned from novels”.
“It has to do with empathy,” Obama told Robinson in a conversation which is published in the 19 November issue of the New York Review of Books. “It has to do with being comfortable with the notion that the world is complicated and full of greys, but there’s still truth there to be found, and that you have to strive for that and work for that. And the notion that it’s possible to connect with some[one] else even though they’re very different from you.”
The full piece is here.