Non Fiction is a Four Letter Word (for me)

January 20, 2014 Random Thoughts on Books and Blogging 8


Random Thoughts on Books and Blogging is my opportunity to discuss my bookish and blogging thoughts, whenever I feel like!

Non Fiction: Just not for me.

I have a seriously hard time getting past the words “non fiction.” You could describe the most amazing book ever and then tell me it’s a non fiction book and I’m instantly turned off. I can’t help it, it’s a curse word to me.

I can’t tell what it is exactly that puts me off. Some of them are boring. Some read like a text book. Some I think I would just like better if I knew that it wasn’t actually real.

And maybe that’s the thing here for me. Maybe I don’t want my books to be “real.”

I read for a variety of reasons, but mostly because reading takes me places. It takes me to the happily ever afters that we don’t always see in real life, it takes me to places that can only exist in my (and the authors) imagination, it takes me on a journey, and in the end (even if it’s not a happily ever after) I know it’s going to be all right, because it’s not real.

I’ve read books that have stressed me out or made me cry because of certain characters deaths. I’ve read books where bad and terrible things happen to both good and bad characters. But once I step out of the pages it’s a relief to know that those things didn’t actually happen. No one actually died (though sometimes it certainly feels that way!) or get hurt.

Non fiction is real. It really happened. I read (and enjoyed) Helter Skelter but it was by far the most disturbing book I’ve ever read. I’ve read other books where bad and gruesome things happened, but the fact that that really happened made it that much worse.

I recently read Wild and I liked it well enough, but I know that I would have probably liked it more if I hadn’t known it was real. The fact that it was “real” makes me feel detached from the book. Not really sure if that makes sense, but I have no other words to describe it.

How do you feel about non fiction? Does it put you off? Do other genres put you off?


8 Responses to “Non Fiction is a Four Letter Word (for me)”

  1. Kate @ Midnight Book Girl

    You know that I totally get this, right? That feeling of detachment happens to me a lot too. It’s much easier for me to put myself in the role of a made up character, not so easily done with a real person. Plus… I guess I’m not as trusting when it comes to non-fiction, although I do like biographies (not auto!) and true crime. Like I liked parts of Wild, but how much more would I have liked it if the main character hadn’t been the author? lol
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    • Kimberly

      I’m not exactly trusting either. What if they are lying? It’s happened before? At least in fiction I already know that it’s not true.

  2. Melissa @ Confessions of an Avid Reader

    I do read some non-fiction, mostly history, with a few other types thrown in here and there (Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer, which is about an ill fated climb on Mt. Everest, is one of my all time favourite books). Even though I do read non-fiction and I have tons of non-fiction sitting on my tbr pile, I don’t gravitate to it and really have to be in the right mood for it. Last year I didn’t read one work of non-fiction, but I’m reading one right now (An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth by Commander Chris Hadfield) and it’s great!

    The genre I stay well clear of is romance. I enjoy a good love story in the novels I read, but bodice ripping romances are totally not my thing.

    • Kimberly

      I’m not sure I’ll ever be in the mood for non fiction lol, but that’s just me! Just like you’ll probably never be in the mood for a bodice ripper, and that’s ok too!

  3. Alexia561

    YES!!! Very well said! *gives standing ovation*

    I have a really hard time picking up non-fiction too, even if it’s gotten nothing but rave reviews and is recommended by everyone I know. I’ve read a handful of NF that I’ve enjoyed, but I prefer fiction and can’t wait to get back to it. I feel the same way about historical fiction. Just not for me, I guess.
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    • Kimberly

      Yeah, it’s just my thing. I’m not too big on historical fiction either, but will pick up one when I’m in the mood. Non fiction has to be forced on me lol.

  4. Courtney

    For me it definitely depends on the author or biographer. But I will read them. Not all the time, and definitely not nearly as much as I love to read contemporary stories but I will read non fiction from time to time.
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  5. Andrea @ The Overstuffed Bookcase

    Yeah, I totally get this. “Non-Fiction” is totally a turn-off for me–I don’t even look at that section at the book store or library. But I have read a couple of non-fiction books that make me wonder if I might like them more if I gave them a chance. Like Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. SUCH A GOOD BOOK. And they’re making it into a movie that comes out this year!

    BUT… I totally get what you’re saying about it being that much worse that these horrible things actually happened to a real person. When I read Night by Elie Wiesel, I actually found myself pretending that it was fiction, just so I could get past the horrific events. I know that those things happened to him and the people around him, and I think it’s an important book to read, since it’s about the Holocaust, but I had to pretend it was fiction while reading it just so I wouldn’t get too depressed. I totally hear you.
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