Someone I knew said that fiction was a waste of time. I was a guest in his home, so I had to be tactful. But that was one of the most oafish, small minded comments I've heard in my life. Fiction is how a whole dimension of the human spirit stays alive.
The quote was "A good book is the life blood of a precious literary spirit." It was in the front of a poetry book. Flowery prose, but I think it's quite true. Every human society I've heard of has a culture of story telling. It might be verbally recorded, stored in human memory instead of written down. Some cultures, such as the Australian Aboriginals, did not have a system of writing. The stories were memorised and taught. In early Europe, bards or minstrels made a life's work out of learning stories and telling them at gatherings. It may be spoken rather than written,but it is still a body of lore that they kept and shared. Writing makes it easier to keep these stories. The stories may have a moral, like Aesop's fables. They may be intended to inspire, like the hero myths about Hercules, William Tell, Robin Hood, or Davy Crockett. Some are intended to teach spiritual lessons. Or stories might be part of a body of spiritual belief. The story of David and Goliath is part of history, also treated as a stand-alone story.
Someone pointed out that stories, like films, let the reader experience things in their imagination that they cannot in real life. It broadens the mind. It might provoke thought, too. Sometimes the written word has changed history. Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote "Uncle Tom's Cabin" in protest against slavery, and arouse enough feeling to demand change. Slavery was abolished. Beecher Stowe's novel was not solely responsible but it made a difference. Books of fiction can inspire, as well as entertain.
Anyone is entitled to choose their own interests. Reading fiction is not what everybody wants to do to relax. But to those who like it, nothing else will do. Fiction, stories, are part of the mind's life blood.