Fiction or Nonfiction?
Updated: Mar 9
Fiction or nonfiction: is one better than the other?
This is a topic that avid readers have very strong opinions on. I have been on both sides of the spectrum here. Growing up, I only read fiction books. I read many different types like the Secrets of Droon, the Lord of the Rings, and Encyclopedia Brown. I didn't like Harry Potter, though, but that's for other reasons. I loved reading fantasy novels growing up.
As I got older, and as my family's story-writing hobby became more serious, I was reading more of our books from DeBokton book, which was also really fun. Then in college, I slacked off some on reading books because I was busy reading textbooks, dancing, and doing homework. Thus I didn't read as much, though I did keep up with a few of my favorite books like the Anne of Green Gables series, Pollyanna, and Flatland.
Early on, when I was dating Ross, I got my hands on Gottman’s Why Marriages Succeed or Fail, which I really enjoyed. This was one of my earlier nonfiction books I got excited about.
Then after grad school, I discovered the beautiful world of nonfiction. When I started working full-time, my boss gave me the book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. My parents also gave me the book Getting to Yes. Both books are fantastic, and I highly recommend them. It was interesting to see how much these books could help me with what I was doing. Soon I became addicted to self help books.
I have watched/read/listened to so many book summaries now. I use Blinkist to hear book summaries every single day. I really enjoy that, because there's so much knowledge to be given through books. If you think about it, many books that are written take lifetimes of experience to write, but you can read them in a couple weeks. That is very powerful to me. You can learn so much and skip so much heartache and difficulty just by reading.
I'm definitely a huge fan of nonfiction self-help books. I've read many. I have a passion for personal finance, so I've read The Millionaire Next Door, The Richest Man in Babylon, and The Total Money Makeover. I am also very passionate about marriage, and have read several books on that.
I’m fascinated by human interaction, so books like Getting to Yes and Never Split the Difference really interested me, because they are about dealing with people and how to negotiate and get what you need without hurting the other person. I think that is one of the most important skills you can have.
Fantasy and fiction are the same in my head, even though I know they aren't. But they are also very important. Something that I've somewhat forgotten in more recent years, is that fantasy helps us. Most people see it as a waste of time, because you're not learning anything new. You're not even reading about something that's real. However, books have an ability to inspire, uplift, and they also make you more creative.
That's our purpose here. We want to become more creative. We want to think and see things a little differently. We want to open our eyes. Fantasy/fiction novels can help you do that. They can teach you lessons about true heroics, they can teach you what a beautiful relationship can be like, and they can inspire you to become a better person.
Who doesn't want to be like Captain America or Superman? They are such wonderful, decent, kind-hearted people, and they inspire me. I love Superman. He's such an amazing person, always standing for truth, justice, and the American way. Those sorts of idols for us to look up to can really help us become better people.
As such, I think both fiction and nonfiction are very important. Just ensure that both are good, because there's a lot of junk out there. Choose to consume only that which uplifts.
I was talking to my grandma about historical fiction and wanted to share some of the points she made. She explained that historical fiction helps the time period come alive as you meet people who may not be real, but have real struggles and values. You learn about the culture of the time, the major events, and the place. When I read Anne of Green Gables, I learned about the dress, manners, cultures, and landscapes of Prince Edward Island at the time.
I want you to think of the best book you've ever read, whether it was fiction or nonfiction. I want you to think of why that book made you feel good and how it can help you become a better person. Is there someone in the book that you can really look up to? Is there a principle that can bless your life? I want you to think of that and act on that principle.