UMF Mantor Library discussion

Fiction vs. Non-Fiction

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message 1: by Bryce, Grand High Poobah (new)

Bryce (brycemoore) | 25 comments Mod
Just a general curiosity question: which do you prefer to read, fiction or non-fiction? I enjoy both, but I find myself reading much more fiction than non, just because I can get through a lot more of it. Don't get me wrong--I love non-fiction, and I'm usually very glad once I've read it, but to me it's sort of the same kind of gladness I get after I've exercised, or after I've gone on a long hike. For example, I'm reading our On Our Minds book right now (Mountains Beyond Mountains The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World), and it's taken me a week or so to get 2/3 of the way through. I love the book, and I find it fascinating, but it frustrates me that it takes me so long to read it. In this same amount of time, I likely would have finished two or three fiction books at least. (Which is probably why I like YA fiction so much--I can really blaze through that.) Anyway--I'd like to hear other thoughts on the matter. Looking over some of your bookshelves, I see a lot of non-fiction. Convert me. :-)

message 2: by Kimberly (new)

Kimberly Trider-Grant | 3 comments Bryce, I have a bit of a different view. Most of my days are committed to working, so the precious little time I have for reading, I personally feel should be committed learning and self-improvement. I use fiction as a way to escape life, but use nonfiction to build the skills I use everyday in my life. There are *so* many things to learn and so many projects to wrap my head (and hands) around! Non-fiction inspires me!

message 3: by Janet (last edited Feb 04, 2009 07:54AM) (new)

Janet | 2 comments Well, even fiction takes me forever these days, so time isn't the issue for me. I probably read more non-fiction, but if I get interested in a topic (or a place), I'll read fiction that's relevant as well as non-fiction. I'm obsessing about Haiti and Greece these days (hence Decision at Delphi), so I'm reading (very slowly) a mix of things that are related to both of those places.

message 4: by Bryce, Grand High Poobah (new)

Bryce (brycemoore) | 25 comments Mod
So it seems like a large part of the non-fiction/fiction divide might come from why people are reading in the first place (which is probably a "no kidding" conclusion). This actually dovetails into a pet peeve of mine: the tendency of some to discount someone else's reading habits as "not reading" because they are different reading habits. (Note--this comment is aimed at the public at large, not at Kimberly or Janet). My wife, for example, doesn't feel like she's much of a reader, even though I say she reads quite a bit. She's big on books about gardening, parenting and other crafts, and she loves reading magazines. Unfortunately, at some point in time she got in her head that "real" reading was reading books with a plot. I'm trying to dissuade her of that notion. When I typically read, I read for pleasure. If I learn some along the way, all the better, but for me, it's a way to wind down. (Of course, since I also do creative writing, it's also an opportunity to see what else is being written--something I find fascinating).

In any case, this post has gotten rambling enough as it is. Suffice it to say that I'm interested in why other people read. I don't find it better or worse than my own motivations, and I just frankly wish more people would be accepting of all kinds of reading. It's when people start looking down their noses at genres or forms as being "lesser" that my hackles rise and I start to foam at the mouth. :-)

message 5: by Kimberly (new)

Kimberly Trider-Grant | 3 comments Thoughts are great to share, I certainly wouldn't downplay such precious openness as "rambling"'s all important to us as social beings. I absolutely love hearing other's thoughts, and no one's ideas are better than another's, they are just their's! Bottom line: Reading is *all* good, and I didn't mean to make anyone foam at the mouth. (Tee-hee :) ) Tissues, Bryce?

message 6: by Bryce, Grand High Poobah (new)

Bryce (brycemoore) | 25 comments Mod
Nope. No foaming here. :-)

message 7: by Laurie (new)

Laurie | 5 comments I appreciate everyone's taste. I personally read nonfiction only as I like to experience people, places and things I can't, but that's just me.

message 8: by Laurie (new)

Laurie | 5 comments I've been thinking...Maybe I need to read a few fiction books to broaden my horizons. Anyone have a suggestion for my first experience?

message 9: by Bryce, Grand High Poobah (new)

Bryce (brycemoore) | 25 comments Mod
That depends--what sort of fiction do you want to read? Literary? Fantasy? Mystery? I'd hate to recommend something that doesn't go over well, just because it was the wrong genre to start with . . .

message 10: by Laurie (last edited Feb 24, 2009 06:17AM) (new)

Laurie | 5 comments Hmmm. That's a tough one. A mystery might be good.
So, you think after I read one fiction book, I will need to read a few more genres to give it a chance? Well, I think just one for now, and then we'll see. Let's not push it for now.

message 11: by Bryce, Grand High Poobah (new)

Bryce (brycemoore) | 25 comments Mod
One mystery I read a few years ago that still stands out in my mind is The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, a book which is set in Africa. I think you might like it, since it doesn't just do the mystery thing, but also shows some of how life works in Botswana. I really enjoyed this one.

message 12: by Vaughan (new)

Vaughan | 3 comments I too have read the McCall series and loved them!! That is one you should try...I really like Barbara Wood's books...she has strong women character development, which I like, and the Laurie King book, Beekeepers Apprentice is tons of fun!!

message 13: by Frank (new)

Frank Roberts | 3 comments I think I saw that there is an HBO movie now of the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, just fyi.

My recommendation for a new foray into fiction would be something by Barbara Kingsolver - not mysteries, but she's a great writer who does take you into different people's lives/situations. Or, Paul Theroux's Mosquito Coast.

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