An Affair With Non-Fiction

I found myself over the last several days on so many planes. I flew to and from California, and because I flew Delta, I had access to a wide array of movies. However, I wanted to get a little reading done, and, remembering my resolutions, knew that the long hours would be a good time to make it happen.

I packed two non-fiction books and a fiction book. The books I packed included Big Magic, by Elizabeth Gilbert, M Train by Patti Smith, and Girl Out of Water, by Laura Silverman. I was excited to read all of them, but only managed to get through Big Magic, which I will review in a few posts.

I’ve always had a bit of a love affair with non-fiction. I spent most of my childhood reading biographies and autobiographies of historical figures, and when I did read fiction, it was often fictionalized accounts of those same historical figures.

As I’ve gotten older, the shift has been placed more on policy books, self help, and project memoir, and I cannot seem to get into fiction. I read some of the books my friends write, or what my book club is reading, and the occasional book from the library, but most of the time, it’s more non-fiction than it is fiction.

I don’t find this shameful. I want to read fiction, and garner enjoyment from the lives of people who don’t exist. But my patience has waned for the sorts of stories I could enjoy, and I often find that characters motivation and the choices they make feel cheap and frustrating.

Non-fiction provides perspective and opinion in a way that is unique and different. I love when people take on a challenge and then write about it. I love books that come of a project based blog(how I wish I had the nature for something like that to work out.) But ultimately, non-fiction provides me with a sense of belonging. That I am not alone in my feelings. That other real humans really feel my feelings, and for this, I am grateful.

I want to talk about Big Magic in a separate blog post, but for now, I want to talk about why I couldn’t get through M Train on this flight. I had plenty of time to read it, but got through two pages and then couldn’t continue.

One of my major hurdles with books is that once I hear the author read their own work on audiobook, I only want to hear them read to me. I don’t have the motivation to propel myself forward to read their other work. So despite having purchased this physical book myself, I am going to hold off and buy or rent the audio book, so I can be wrapped in the soft scratch of Patti Smith’s voice again.

What do you like to read? Do you have a genre or specific focus for your reading? Let me know in comments what your thoughts are.


2 thoughts on “An Affair With Non-Fiction”

  1. I only read fiction as a kid but once I hit uni, I started reading non-fiction and now it’s become my favourite genre. I do love self-help books because I love learning new perspectives and books that actually change thoughts and behaviour. Plus I just love learning in general. I’m recently getting into memoirs as well. Love life writing.

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