5 Things Introverts Love About Reading Novels

An introvert reads a book

Reading is a solitary, quiet activity that enables us to recharge anytime, anywhere.

Picture this: a cozy chair, rain tapping the window, a cup of your favorite warm beverage, and a novel you’ve been waiting to dive into. Doesn’t that sound wonderful? Yes, I think so, too.

Reading is a favorite activity for many introverts. Sure, we get to sit quietly by ourselves and don’t have to talk to anyone, which we love. But there’s more to it than that. Reading allows us to channel our introverted strengths, recharge our batteries, and even recognize ourselves on the page. 

While we introverts are individuals and love a range of book types, from fiction to nonfiction, memoir to self-help, there’s one variety that can be especially attractive to us. Novels in particular have a certain magic that caters to many introverts’ interests and strengths. (At least I think so.)

In school, independent reading time was my favorite part of the day. So much so that I even, on several occasions, got caught reading novels under my desk when it wasn’t reading time. (Because let’s be honest, Beverly Cleary, Ann M. Martin, and Lois Lowry are way more interesting than multiplication tables or grammar exercises.)

Outside elementary school, I’d read whenever I could. The same remained the case when I found time outside graduate school and my job to pick up a book. As an adult, the magic of novels hasn’t worn off. While it’s true that not all introverts love reading, here are five things I love about novels — and I bet many introverts will be able to relate.

5 Things Introverts Love about Reading Novels

1. They allow us to get lost in another world.

Introverts have vivid imaginations, and we love to use them. Because of that, when authors create another world on the page, we easily get pulled into it. Our imaginations can magnify the experience of reading a novel.

Reading a novel is like stepping into a painting that an author created with words. A sparkling California beach or the cobblestoned streets of Europe? We can put ourselves there, walking alongside the characters through the story. 

If the setting, plot, and characters are engaging, we’ll be so invested that the world around us fades away. As for me, if I’m in the middle of reading a novel, I might even have a dream about what will happen to the characters by the end! (It’s fun if my dream-guess is close.) Reading novels allows me to truly appreciate my imagination.

2. They provide us with fuel for our own creativity.

Introverts tend to be a creative bunch. There’s got to be something going on in those heads of ours behind our quiet demeanors. Sitting quietly to read a novel is one way we can tap into that creativity. 

A novel might prompt us to look at the world differently or provide us with inspiration for our own lives. For example, an emotional plot with an important message could get us thinking (as we tend to do!) about deep meaning-of-life questions. Or interactions between characters might help us figure out how to approach a tough decision or conversation. On the fun side, a novel might give us ideas for activities to do with family or friends, for our next travel destination, or for a new hobby. Maybe the characters love to play a certain board game, or they go on an adventure to Barcelona, or they all take up knitting. 

For introverts who enjoy artistic pursuits, novels are also valuable for our own creative spark. A writer, for instance, must read in order to become a better writer. An artist might get inspiration for a painting or sculpture after reading about a novel’s setting, or maybe a musician will come up with a new song after reading about drama between characters. Whatever the case may be, introverts love getting inspired when reading!

3. Reading is a solitary, quiet activity that enables us to recharge anytime, anywhere.

When our days are go-go-go, introverts can get worn down pretty quickly. Whether you’re in the classroom as a student or teacher, in a bustling office, rushing from appointments to errands to carpool duty, or some combination of everything, introverts are not just sensitive to prolonged contact with people, but to overstimulation. 

Taking a break to read a novel allows introverts, even a fidgeter like me, to rest (and, hopefully, avoid the dreaded “introvert hangover”). Keep the latest novel you’re reading handy so that it’s ready to go if you need it, whether it’s a hard copy, on your e-reader, or on your phone. (These days, it’s easy to have it with you, no matter what!) 

A novel can be a great way for us to find enjoyment or a burst of energy amid day-to-day tasks that drain us. For example, if you take public transportation to work, your e-reader (or a good old-fashioned paperback) is a nice distraction from the hustle and bustle around you. If you drive or walk to work, an audiobook is a great way to help you gear up for the day (or wind down after a long one). During the day, spend time with a novel on your lunch break or put on an audiobook if you’re in the middle of a monotonous task at work. All in all, reading a novel is a simple way for us to take care of ourselves with me-time. 

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4. They give us an escape from the stressful world around us.

If I have a rough day or am stressed out for any reason (sometimes it’s stress related to pressures of living in an extroverted world!), spending a chapter or two in the world of a novel is a healthy distraction that helps me feel better. If I start getting the Sunday Scaries, for example -– the anxiety before having to return to work (and real life) on Monday — I’ll start reading, and voilà! Stress banished. 

Even just a few minutes with a novel helps me escape. If I get pulled into a character’s world, I have a chance to disconnect from whatever is bothering me. And usually, when I stop reading, I feel better about facing the cause of the stress. Spending a few minutes within the fictional world of a novel is a healthy distraction that helps me reset when it’s time to come back to the real world.

I realize that stress relief from reading novels doesn’t work this way every time — and there’s no magic wand remedy for someone like me who deals with chronic stress. But it sure does help. In fact, research has shown that stress reduction is a benefit of reading.

5. They often have relatable introverted characters.

While the world has begun to better understand introverts, and while introverts have each other to relate to, it’s nice to see fellow introverts as heroes (and villains!) in our favorite stories. Seeing introverted characters triumph has, in retrospect, made me more confident as an introvert in the real world.

Years ago, when I read Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre for the first time, what I loved most about it was that we got inside Jane’s head. I could relate to how she felt small and insignificant next to the glamorous — and more extroverted — Ms. Ingram, all while grappling with her budding feelings for Mr. Rochester. And I could identify with her restlessness and need for independence (an introvert strength!).

As I grew up, I’d find myself relating to shy Mary-Anne Spier from The Baby-Sitters Club series, independent Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games, and even (yes) cagey Severus Snape from the Harry Potter series. Over the years, there have been countless other introverted characters who made me feel seen as an introvert. I’m just glad that authors created them!

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Written By

I earned my M.A. and PhD in History from Stony Brook University, and a B.A. in History and German Studies from Colby College. Since embracing my introversion and figuring out I’m an INFJ, I’ve turned back toward my artistic side to focus on fiction and creative nonfiction writing — which is really what I should have been doing all along. I live in the Blue Ridge Mountains and write over on SuziSwartz.com. Find me on Instagram @suzi.swartz and Twitter @suzi_swartz.