Fiction Isn’t For Dummies

Star Trek "Spock"

photo by “skookums” Glen

For years I only read non-fiction books laughingly dubbing myself as “Spock” in the world of books. Why? I wrote to you in another post about my insecurity of being a slow reader but my reading speed doesn’t change from fiction to non-fiction so that isn’t the reason I used to prefer non-fiction over fiction. I think one reason is that I love learning and in my ignorance I thought I could only learn from non-fiction. {There are other reasons I avoided fiction but that’s another post}. When I started the first literature club back in 2002, my ignorance changed as I read the classics with a group of moms and daughters at our literature club. I learned that while I am reading The Cat of Bubastes, by G. A. Henty  I’m learning a lot about Egyptian history without even trying. That was good news to a non fiction junkie like me. Since then I have learned to appreciate fiction for other reasons than what it will teach me. I  know to you beautiful avid readers out there whom I admire more than you can imagine, this may sound weird but I actually had to learn how to be entertained by novels.

Why do you read fiction?

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  1. I love reading anything and everything. I read non-fiction, autobiographies, fiction (large variety of genres) and self-help books. Honestly, anything that peaks my interest and I am gone. I love books that inspire and motivate but I also enjoy a pure entertainment factor. I'd say I prefer fiction over non-fiction but then I'd find a non-fiction book that I adore and I am torn again. So I don't try to pick a fav. I just read what speaks to me and a well-written story with great characters and interesting plot is all I need – whether it's a true story or one that lives in the imagination.

  2. Love this post,Ali! I could talk about books all day:)

    Like most things in my life I have to careful of getting too comfortable. I'm stretching myself every day to read something outside my chosen genre, and I haven't been disappointed yet:)

  3. Ali, it's funny you should mention non-fiction vs. fiction b/c I have struggled with the same thing. I'm very curious to here more about your "why" =) Growing up I was an AVID reader of mostly fiction, but since graduating from college, getting married, etc., I'm struggling to "get into" fiction books…I'm still exploring why (I have some ideas, but it's still marinating in my head!).

    Lately my reason for reading has been to expand my horizons — I have recently been reading several Christian "self help" books (I usually have 3-4 books going at the same time…so it takes me forever to finish one!)

  4. Another slow reader here … and time challenged. I read historical and contemporary romance, suspense and thrillers, some literary novels, but find the classics difficult to wade through. Because time is so precious, I prefer a story that uplifts me. Exploring the troubled difficult lives or situations often portrayed in literary fiction may stay with me, but not in a pleasant way. I read to be entertained and learn the techniques of writers that I like.

  5. I always have a book with me. I am one of those people who read one or two books a week. Mostly I read urban fantasy and YA. Part of it is enjoyment–I love escaping the real world and experiencing something fantastic where people are pushed to their limits and triumph. Another part of it is market research since I also write urban fantasy.

    I plan on reading some nonfiction for research in the future. Someone suggested memoirs as a good source for information on a particular place or job. I hope I also enjoy reading it, despite the purpose behind it. 🙂

  6. I'm rarely seen without a book or my Kindle. I love love love to read. Fiction is my number one, but I am also interested in mythology, natural disasters and the Universe. Much of it is done as a research for my own YA paranormal novel but at the same time I like to introduce these subjects to my children, who are vivid readers too 🙂

  7. I was traveling this week, and in my bag I had two non-fiction books (one on grammar and one on WordPress) and a couple of new books on my iPad ("Outlander" and "South of Broad"). I'll read anything and everything. I've always loved reading books. Have a good one Ali.

  8. Linda Burke says:

    When I was younger, I was never without a book. I could read one or two books a day (aka speed reader). At one point I quit smoking because it was either give up reading so much or give up cigarettes. Haven't smoked in over thirty years.

    But I also enjoy re-reading my favorites. I have boxes of books I've collected over the years. Every once in a while, I will empty a box, sort the books, choose which ones to read again, and repack them. If I ever finish remodeling my house, I am making one room my office/library. I like fiction and non-fiction, especially how-to and psychology type books.

    Since I'm older and had cataract surgery last year, I cannot read as much. My eyes tire more easily. I do have a Kindle which always has books I haven't read yet and I can enlarge the print.

  9. I'm a Literature Major with an emphasis on Medieval and Renaissance writings and I used to argue all the time with my history teachers that literature is an accurate portrait of what's happening at the time. He would say that it wasn't valid because it was only one man's opinion of what happened, but isn't that what history is? We'd go around and around with no clear winner.

    That was 25 years ago and I still vehemently believe this to be true. Books capture the moment, the feeling of the times in a way history accounts don't.

    My books are my friends and I have such a hard time letting go of them, but there is only so much space in the house! I'll read anything from diet books to sci-fi. I have a huge to be read pile that I'm hoping to get to once I figure out this blogging stuff and get my novel edited. Maybe by Christmas???

  10. Love this post! I'm currently a homeschooling mama, and we often use historical fiction to learn about past cultures and people – it keeps the offspring's attention far better than a text book would, and it engages their imagination in a way that really sears the information into their brains. Absolutely nothing wrong with a little good NF, but I'm so grateful to have a way to bring history to life to my kids.

    • I can tell you have the vision for fiction. It's really great. Have you ever thought about putting a literature club together?

  11. I read non-fiction because I feel guilty when I use what little reading time I have for anything that won’t improve either my health, my marriage, my teaching, or my parenting. However, I used to get my fiction ‘fix’ when I would listen to young adult or classic novels on audio in the car with my kids. Now that we are in a Lit Club, I’m enjoying having a real excuse to read fiction and not feel guilty about it. Of course, I’m learning, but I don’t feel like I have to remember and use the information to change my life! It is much more relaxing.

  12. Christy, I forgot about that reason. I used to feel guilty too. Then LITClub made it a project so the guilt went away. Now that my children are older I actually find myself wanting to read fiction for fun. I know that sounds weird to all of my friends who use fiction to pass their free time. Oh how I admire you all. I am working on getting to that place.

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