Book Talk: Fact vs Fiction
I don't read non-fiction very often.
According to my Goodreads, I've read over 1,100 books and only 14 of them are non-fiction. I read to escape reality and get my mind off of whatever is bothering me, and fiction is always the way to go for me.
But sometimes, I'm more in the mood to learn or think. Even then, I don't always head straight for non-fiction. I might read a historical fiction book to learn more about a time or place in history that I am not familiar with. I might read a news article or an editorial or two online.
I've found that when I do pick up a non-fiction book, it's a very specific kind of book. I hardly ever read biographies or autobiographies; the only ones I've read are the ones from my biography projects or book reports in elementary school! I don't know why, but reading about the experiences of any one person isn't that interesting to me. There are exceptions, I really do want to read Malala's story since she is such an inspiration to me, but I am usually not that interested in the lives of people in politics, the entertainment industry, or anyone else important enough to have biographies written about them.
Most of the non-fiction books I've read have been written like a story or a set of stories, not a textbook. My dad really likes technical books and management books and things like that, but I like it when my facts weave together into something more cohesive. I love Erik Larson's books because they are written almost like a murder mystery or a historical fiction novel; it's hard to remember sometimes that what I'm reading is actually fact. I also have enjoyed The Secret Life of Henrietta Lacks, where the author inserted herself into the story and you got to see why she cared so much about Henrietta and what exactly is so troubling about how HeLa came to be.
I guess even my non-fiction has to have some sort of emotional component to it, something that makes me care about it and keep reading. It's hard for me to stay invested in a nonfiction book because there usually aren't complex, dynamic characters or mindblowing plot twists or any of the usual things I enjoy in my fiction.