From Fiction to Nonfiction

I recently stumbled upon a great nonfiction blog called What’s Nonfiction? In ‘About’ section, author of the blog writes:

“Back then, I read almost exclusively fiction (an easier section to pinpoint). But in recent years, I found the opposite was becoming true, and I preferred nonfiction, in its many very different categories, to anything fictional. But when I tell people I only like to read nonfiction, they sometimes look disgusted, nose wrinkle and all, like I have no imagination or can’t appreciate fine literary art.”

Blog in question also has a wonderful slug: Where is your nonfiction section please. My little quote  here above doesn’t do the blog any justice so you should go check it out.
And maybe create nonfiction section to your blog?

Anyway,I feel like same thing is happening to me. I’ve always read nonfiction. Quarter of what I’ve read in recent years has been nonfiction but now if I have to choose between reading fiction or nonfiction, I would choose nonfiction. Same goes for reviewing it. I feel like it’s my duty now, as if I have to become an ambassador of knowledge.

Don’t get me wrong. I always have and I always will love fiction. I will always love fantasy and science fiction more than anything because I’m endlessly fascinated by what human mind can come up with. And I feel like sometimes only fiction can express what must be said. Like fairytales, we know that the dragon represents great evil, however we also know can be beaten (thank you Neil Gaiman). And of course, fiction is a must. You cannot read encyclopedias to your kids (or can you?).  I don’t want to make anyone feel bad about what they read.  Please do read whatever you love. I’ve written about how I hate snobbism in reading.
All reading is beautiful.

This week I read and reviewed Night by Elie Wiesel. It’s an amazing work and it changed the way I think. One of my thoughts was that you have no right not to know. If silence is a crime, then what is not knowing?  Fiction is incredible and fiction on WW2 is heart-wrenching and it gives you so much (books like All the Light We Cannot See, Book Thief.. millions of stars wouldn’t be enough to rate them) But. Six million people died because of Holocaust. Most likely the number is much greater. Then all the lives lost in World War II, all the lives lost during Mao’s rule in China, all the lives lost during Stalin’s and Lenin’s rule in Russia. What is still happening in North Korea? All the lives lost when we colonized the world, all the lives lost during the crusades. All the things we have done. All the wrongs. If not us, who will remember those events? Who will preach about them? Who will not let them happen again?

Is it not our responsibility to carry that burden? Is it not our responsibility not let it come down to WW3? And to push humans forward? Achieve greatness through scientific discoveries? To become better individuals?

Nonfiction is about the truth and very often about someone trying to uncover it. Truth is the most beautiful and most cruel thing in this world. In nonfiction, heroes often don’t win and are often unknown. If fiction puts you in shoes of an another person, nonfiction will make you walk in those shoes whether you want it or not.

So please read both. Would be happy to give you some recommendations.
Moreover, I will try to blog more about nonfiction.

How-To Read More Nonfiction
Audible and audiobooks in general are super worth it. You can listen to nonfiction while you do chores. I feel like it’s also sometimes easier to concentrate when someone talks.
2. Start with a topic you like. You like historical fiction –> historical nonfiction, science fiction –> try books by Michio Kaku, thrillers –> try true crime, fantasy –> books on writing and on world building,  or if you have hobbies like cooking or sports or travel, read memoirs. Or start with author you like.  If you like Murakami, try his nonfiction books. Same goes for some other authors.
3. Keep trying. Try different nonfiction genres. Try different places. Try different ways to read.

And I’m curious. What are your thoughts on this? Have your interest switched? Have you preferred fiction and moved to preferring reading nonfiction? Or maybe from one genre to another one? Do you prefer specific genres? Why? Any  tips on how to read more nonfiction?


12 thoughts on “From Fiction to Nonfiction

Add yours

  1. Nice post Anastasia. I don’t read a ton of nonfiction these days since I’,m always reading fiction for the blog, but I do like occasional biographies and nonfiction on various subjects, usually history. I need to read more! There’s probably some great recent historical nonfiction out there that I’m missing.

    I think you’re right too about knowing things. I feel like we’re made to wonder, to question, and why not feed that even if we may prefer fiction for entertainment or relaxing or whatever? So that’s a great point, and got me thinking.

    1. Thank you!

      Knowing things and then also taking the responsibility for the past and for the future. I don’t know how else do we move forward as human race.

  2. Hi Anastasia. I read much more non-fiction than fiction. I love books about history and science topics. But I don’t think it’s easy to listen audiobooks doing other things. The only exception are the “Great Courses” titles that you can get on Audible. They are fantastic, specially the ones about music. I hear them in the car and in the gym!

    1. Hi! :) Well I guess I often listen to audiobooks while commuting on bus. That gives you the possibility to still focus on whatever is happening around you. Doing something that demands focus would not work….

      Thank you for the recommendation! I will check out those “Great Courses” :)

  3. I actually read a lot more nonfiction when I was in my teens and twenties. I’ve been wanting to read more fiction lately but there are just so many works of fiction that I’m so excited about. At one point I tried to read one nonfiction book per month but it didn’t last long. I have really been wanting to read Night for some time though. Great post!

    1. Oh You’re an interesting one. Do you know what caused you to shift genre you read? It would be my dream come true to read all the books on my TBR! :) Night is just spectacular. Thank you!

  4. I was so happy to connect with you here and see we have so many interests and thoughts in common! And very happy to inspire your writing, I’m really so flattered!!!

    Love your tips on how to read more nonfiction. I think so often people read something and don’t like it because it doesn’t quite read like fiction, they associate history or other nonfiction topics with school, there’s no suspense, no “characters”, etc., so they give up on nonfiction entirely. It’s so important not to just write it off because of any of that. I wanted to show that there’s so much more to the genre(s), it’s why I started my blog. It’s also funny you mention this about WWII literature because around 10 years ago, when I first noticed the shift in my preferences from fiction to nonfiction, it was largely thanks to WWII memoirs and histories and feeling like “I absolutely have to know ALL of this.” Plus a Russia-fixation which I know you also share :)

    I’m excited to see more of your nonfiction reviews and recommendations! You write so well and so thoughtfully about what you read and what it means to you, I think your opinions get through to people because of this. By the way, have you read anything by Primo Levi? He’s also written incredible books about his experiences in and after the camps, I always think of him together with Elie Wiesel in my mind. I love his writing. You have to pick up some of his memoirs if you haven’t already – Survival in Auschwitz (also titled “If This is a Man” depending on where it’s published) and The Reckoning (or “The Truce”, I think) are life changing, I think.

    1. I’m great at flattering people haha ;) But yeah people like you who have a passion for a thing like nonfiction and who promote it with everything they have in them make me believe there’s still hope for this world we live in. And your blog! I get the kicks just thinking about all the great books and reviews…

      Indeed, although I guess often truly great nonfiction reads like fiction. In those cases, there is some suspension and there you are living it together with the character… One example of this is a book called The Liberator: One World War II Soldier’s 500-Day Odyssey from the Beaches of Sicily to the Gates of Dachau by Alex Kershaw. We all know how war ends but still I was so curious and worried and it read like fast-paced action adventure. So yeah nonfiction is such a wide genre! It has everything! Haha indeed I have a special relationship with history and that may have started my love for nonfiction… interesting how this seems to be the case with you as well! :) I’m half (?) Russian so I feel like I have to know because it’s a part of me.

      Yeah…about that. I’ve never been good at writing and I never was able to express my thoughts properly. But I feel like that’s been changing slowly since last year or so. Now I have so much to say about every topic. We’ll see how it goes :) I’ve only read this one work by Wiesel and haven’t read anything by Primo Levi so seems like I’m in for a great treat! I’ll go add those on my TBR! Thank you very much for the recommendations! :)

      1. I’ve never heard of The Liberator but I’m going to check it out, that sounds like exactly the kind of nonfiction I really love! And I think your writing is lovely, and it’s one of those practice things, or at least that’s what I tell myself…it always gets better the more you do it..I hope so, anyway.

  5. Lovely post. I am not drawn to nonfiction but appreciate fiction with historical events in them I do occasionally read nonfiction most around WWII. I think for me I enjoy watching documentaries. I would never wrinkle my nose at someone who only reads nonfiction, but know many who do, and they think I am wasting my time fiction. LOL

    1. WW2 is a good place to start with! :) And documentaries are the greatest…like doesn’t matter through which way you acquire the information as long as you do. Haha yeah I kind of hate this rift between the readers. Like let us unite and create super reader thingy.

Leave a Reply

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: