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Why do You Read Fiction?

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1MargaretCmelik
Jul 26, 2010, 12:16pm Top

I am curious and maybe a little bored and definitely avoiding working on anything productive.

So I decided to throw a question out to readers. Why do you read fiction?

I can only read it when asked to do it for a reason, i.e. an assignment for a class, a book review, a friend insists. I usually enjoy the books that I have read but but I would never pick one up purely for pleasure.

I don't want to be insulting at all when I say this so please do not take what I'm about to say that way. Accept this statement as a short-coming of mine because that is how I see it : I think reading fiction is a waste of time.

Is this just purely a matter of taste or is there something I'm missing? I love movies...but they are quick and concentrated and completed in 2 or fewer hours. Maybe it's a time thing. Attention problem? I read just fine, no disability in that area. I've been captivated by nonfiction and often can't put those books down.

Any thoughts?



2lilithcat
Jul 26, 2010, 12:36pm Top

Why not?

I love good books, fiction or non-. Why limit oneself?

3Phocion
Jul 26, 2010, 1:00pm Top

The quality of fiction versus non-fiction entirely depends on what you read. I cannot imagine any educated person would think War and Peace is a waste of time compared to, say, 1421: The Year China Discovered America.

4cal8769
Jul 26, 2010, 2:31pm Top

I agree with lilithcat, "Why not?"

Fiction is an escape. When I read I see a movie playing in my head. I'm disappointed in movies most of the time. They aren't true to the book or the characters are different than what is described. I can't get into a lot of non-fiction....to each their own!

5DevourerOfBooks
Jul 26, 2010, 2:38pm Top

Fiction can also teach you things or spark an interest in learning things just as well as nonfiction. For instance, good historical fiction can give a much better feel for a time period than much nonfiction.

62wonderY
Jul 26, 2010, 2:52pm Top

I find I'm drawn to books that have characters that are admirable. In the lowest terms, they are enjoyable to spend time with. At the highest end, they are examples that draw me to be better than I have been.
While I was raising girls, I would periodically read "Little Women" to be reminded how Marmee worked at gently shaping her own girls.

Inspiration and company.

7honeydew69862004
Jul 26, 2010, 4:03pm Top

I hardly ever read non fiction mainly because I just can't focus on it most of the time. When I read fiction to me it is just like escaping into a movie. I can easily visualize what is written and just relax. I enjoy going into that other world that the writer makes and wondering what happens next. When in nonfiction you usually know how the book will end.

8MargaretCmelik
Jul 26, 2010, 4:29pm Top

I know a lot of fiction is very educational. And I know a lot of nonfiction is coma-inducing.

I was just hoping maybe someone had been like me at some time and *poof* they started reading fiction and loving it. No? Drat.

Going to go finish Outliers. Thanks for all of your input. I'm afraid I may be a lost cause.

9Phocion
Jul 26, 2010, 4:32pm Top

My freshman year of college, I was like you. My preference for non-fiction was rooted more in snobbery than anything substantial, but I got over it. What would you like us to tell you? Pick up a good fiction book, or continue replacing them with movies. It is your choice.

10MerryMary
Edited: Jul 26, 2010, 5:02pm Top

Margaret: Maybe you could approach your fiction as nonfiction for awhile. Get into a book that was the inspiration for a movie you've seen, and read it looking for differences. Why did the director/screenwriter/actors make the decisions they made? Is the atmosphere or the emphasis in the plot altered? How? Why?

Or perhaps different stories all based on the same theme. How do different authors approach a common motif? Faced with similar problems, how do different characters react? What are the consequences?

Some people like the analytic approach - and you may also. In the meantime, you may run into a story so well told you are caught up in the narrative and discover (or rediscover) a love of fiction for its own sake.

And if that doesn't happen, embrace your uniqueness.

11krazy4katz
Jul 26, 2010, 5:11pm Top

Margaret,

Interesting that you do have 2 works of fiction in your library with 5 stars. Were those an exception to your general dislike of fiction?

k4k

12lilithcat
Jul 26, 2010, 5:15pm Top

> 8

I'm afraid I may be a lost cause.

Nowhere is it written that you have to like fiction. If you don't, you don't, and life's too short and there are too many books to spend your time reading what you don't like.

13Mr.Durick
Jul 26, 2010, 5:49pm Top

Really good entertainment is sufficient for me to value a work of fiction, but I expect more from it. If fiction doesn't tell me about the human condition or does not exemplify some kind of high art I am usually disappointed. That said, there are long periods when I seem to get revelation only from non-fiction and feel I have to put too much into reading a work of fiction, usually a novel, to get new understanding of life.

There are other times when I am astounded at how easily life's lessons go down from a novel. You might look at the current enthusiasm that Richard Derus or Kidzdoc have for The Heart is a Lonely Hunter for an example of that kind of thing.

So, in the end, I agree with Lilithcat on the basis that you might not get from fiction what can be got, and you can get it from non-fiction. Life being short, then read non-fiction.

Robert

14MargaretCmelik
Jul 26, 2010, 6:42pm Top

9> I envy people who are readers of fiction. I place them above myself. I have read fiction when forced and I've loved it. I don't think I'm a snob. I hope not.

10> Good ideas. I'll try that. I have the book A Beautiful Mind. That was an interesting movie. Wait, that's nonfiction. Double drat.

11> Yes, I loved Robinson Crusoe. I just picked it up and read it cover to cover. Also Treasure Island. Catherine, Called Birdy was easy to read, hilarious (I love humor) and historical. I also read a hundred horse books as a child because I loved horses. And I don't dislike fiction. Not at all. I've loved most books I've read. But I have to be forced to read them.

12> I suppose you're right. There are plenty of other wonderful things to enjoy.

13> I think at times I'm disappointed by the inaccuracies of books. When I see something stated that I know is wrong or see an action that makes no sense, I lose all respect for the writer and quit.

I didn't expect anyone to respond to this thread. Thanks for all the thoughts.

I have been given Watership Down by my daughter. I am starting it...NOW.

15Phocion
Jul 26, 2010, 6:53pm Top

You respect fiction readers, but you said in your first post that you consider reading fiction a waste of time. As far as inaccuracies are concerned, those are abound in non-fiction as well; those flaws are not limited to fiction. But as others have mentioned, if you cannot bring yourself to willingly read fiction (and enjoy it), then continue with non-fiction. An increasing amount of non-fiction reads like fiction, so depending on the genre, you can get your dose of both.

See how Watership Down works for you and get back to us.

16rolandperkins
Edited: Jul 26, 2010, 7:32pm Top

I rarely agree with Thomas Mann, but I think he was right when he said something to this effect:
"So-called ʻlightʻ reading is the dullest reading."

But one canʻt follow that advice right out the window, because much of fiction is not at all "light".

My parents would have been called resolutely "middle brow" in their
reading tastes -- except that that phrase had not been invented yet.

They belonged to the Literary Guild book club; I was too young throughout most of their membership to get anything out of their book choices -- and hence I also wasnʻt vulnerable to being disappointed by this "middlebrow trash" (?) that they were acquiring.

I have put some Lit. Guild items of the 1930s-40s onto my "Wish List" in LT, just to see whether they could be as
trashy as the "conventional wisdom" of then and later would call them.

I got interested in only 2 Lit. Guild items: both of them non-fiction, and both on Civil War topics. But one of those -- Philip Van Doren Sternʻs The Man who Killed Lincoln though billed as non-ficiton was, for all practical purposes, a historical novel.

At present I have 14 books borrowed from the Public Library: 11 non-fiction and 3 fiction; and have just finished a very good mystery fiction, {A Shilling for Candles by Josephine Tey --non-library, but I may now donate it to a library. At the time of taking the 14 library items, I didnʻt think much about their category.

I very much agree with the points raised in #3 and # 4.

17foggidawn
Jul 26, 2010, 9:35pm Top

You might try reading young adult or children's fiction. As you've seen with Catherine, Called Birdy, a well-written children's book can be as enjoyable to an adult as to a child (sometimes more so). And they're generally fast reads. I'd recommend trying some Newbery award/honor titles, since those are (arguably) the best in terms of writing style, and likely to contain fewer inaccuracies to plague you. How about The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate, Hattie Big Sky, Bud, Not Buddy, or The Midwife's Apprentice? (I've picked all historical fiction titles; if those don't tempt you, not all Newberys are historical fiction.)

I'm a children's librarian, and I do see kids who aren't interested in fiction, but can be wildly enthusiastic about nonfiction on a topic that interests them. It takes all kinds, as the old saying goes. And, while I generally read fiction for pleasure, a good informational read can be just as engaging -- a few months ago I read Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream by Tanya Lee Stone, and stayed up late to finish it!

And, if you try a few different varieties of fiction and find you just don't like any of them, go back to your non-fiction and enjoy it! I'm all for broadening one's horizons, but I'm also a big proponent of reading what you enjoy, whether that's novels or cookbooks or fashion magazines or the encyclopedia.

18LauraJWRyan
Jul 26, 2010, 10:24pm Top

Oh, my, Margaret...Watership Down...I read that ages ago, a lovely bit o' writing...who would' a thought a book about bunnies would be so darn interesting. I read it with my son one summer...you know, to get him to read something other than comic books. Well, he wound up liking it, and now he's an aspiring writer (the nut didn't fall far from the tree)...anyway, I hope you enjoy it...

The beauty of reading fiction is suspending belief and going with the flow of the story, entering another world, an existence that can be fantastical or ordinary. For me it's the craftsmanship of fiction that I love the most...a book that can break your heart or make you laugh out loud...there's nothing finer than a tale well told. Some people have trouble with suspending belief as they get to a certain point in their lives and just can't see the sense of it... it's not a bad way to be...I've read some excellent non-fiction that can tug on emotions with the same roller coaster ride as fiction. I think it comes with growing up. We all out grow Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy...oh, yeah, and that monster under the bed too. I knew kids while I was growing up who had no use for playing "pretend".

Books are always a subjective business...personal taste...to each their own, and such...there is no wrong answer to what you love to read...

Books are precious things.

19holihoti
Jul 26, 2010, 11:32pm Top

Reading fiction...........you escape in your own world. The book's pages. It gives you a chance to escape in your imagination. Fiction not only gives u a chance to read but also to write. Compared to non-fiction, most of the time (not all of the time) fiction can be more.........exciting. Where you can think of things that no was has ever thought. Instead of something that many people already know of (non-fiction). Non-fiction comes w/ questions as in like textbooks. i should know. a lot of people should know. in fiction, you dont need to answer and/or ask questions. u can make it up as u go. unless...........its historical fiction :) as said in message 5. fiction is imagination. we hav........nothing

20MrAndrew
Jul 27, 2010, 8:50am Top

I like lies.

21Aerrin99
Jul 27, 2010, 8:58am Top

I read fiction because I enjoy it, put simply. I like stories and I like engaging with them and I like when they keep on keeping on in my brain after I've put the book down.

More than that, I like stories that expand my mental world - I tend toward genre books (fantasy, science fiction), but also really enjoy historical books for this reason.

Jo Walton wrote an excellent blog post about the sorts of skills that genre reading helps develop - the ability to fill in a world, to see the sketched outline and bring the details to life - and I've found this to be a valuable skill beyond the moment I close the book. I think it's helped me grow my creativity, my ability to both see and recognize a box and to think beyond it, and to allow unusual possibilities to settle in my head for honest consideration.

So I guess what I'm saying is that I feel like I definitely get things out of fiction beyond just enjoying it.

But mostly I read it because I enjoy it. ;)

222wonderY
Jul 27, 2010, 9:25am Top

>21 Aerrin99::

ooh! I love how you stated it:
"my ability to both see and recognize a box and to think beyond it"

That's definitely one of the benefits of reading speculative fiction especially, for the examination of our society from an outside perspective.

Another enjoyment of reading fiction is the "turning of phrase" - HOW something is stated can make thrills of enjoyment run up and down my spine.

23Phocion
Jul 27, 2010, 12:32pm Top

19: Where you can think of things that no was has ever thought.

That is being too kind to fiction. We've effectively been reading the same themes since practically before print. Practically everything you read in Western literature can have its roots traced to either Greek works or the Bible.

24Thrin
Edited: Jul 27, 2010, 7:14pm Top

This interesting thread has me wondering about when children first read non-fiction and what our first experience of non-fiction might have been. I've also been pondering the question: Did those adults who dislike fiction dislike it even as children or was there an epiphany of sorts when they abandoned fiction for the non-?

If my memory serves me well (which it usually doesn't) there was an intermediate stage for me, i.e. a book about a fictional character (who happened to be a turtle) but which contained precise facts about the lives of turtles. Until I read this book, Sarli the Barrier Reef Turtle, I had no idea about nature's being 'red in tooth and claw', and I remember being terribly upset for months. Could this be why, as an adult, I read more fiction than non-fiction (rhetorical question)?

Have others had similar experiences? (And don't get me started on Bambi.)

25Boobalack
Edited: Jul 27, 2010, 7:44pm Top

> 24, Okay, I won't get you started on Bambi. My husband took me to see it the last time it made the rounds, and even that former-Marine-truck-driver type person got choked up a tad. (I didn't say I wouldn't get started on Bambi.)

MargaretCmelik, you might try reading some Lucia St. Clair Robson or some Morgan Llywelyn -- historical fiction at its best -- enjoyable stories, and you learn something at the same time.

If that doesn't do it for you, the only other thing I can do is to echo some others by saying enjoy reading your nonfiction and don't worry about it. There's that different drummer, again!

Cheers!

I forgot to answer your question. I read fiction because I like to read fiction. I don't enjoy movies very much for the same reason you said you like them. I'd rather have a leisurely stroll through a good book, where I can imagine for myself, than to have a fast fun through a movie, which has probably left out some very important or interesting aspects of the book from which it was made.

26kristenn
Jul 27, 2010, 11:19pm Top

My personal response : Nonfiction is salad and fiction is ice cream.

(Note that 2/3 or more of what I read is nonfiction. I'm relatively health-oriented. But...)

27rolandperkins
Jul 28, 2010, 3:16am Top

An interesting anecdote about novelist Stanley Elkin:

In a conversation with a critic, he was told about an episode in one of his novels: "Those things donʻt happen in real life."

His answer, affably delivered, was:
"Oh, I donʻt write "real life." I write stories.

28RRHowell
Edited: Jul 28, 2010, 7:08am Top

First, of course, I read and have read plenty of fiction for pure escape purposes, to go into another world and forget the world I live in. For that purpose it seems to me to be somewhat healthier than drink, drugs, and mind-numbing computer games. But not necessarily morally better.

However, it seems to me that fiction does a better job of teaching me about people and their thoughts and motivations, the way relationships work (and don't work) than non-fiction does. A good memoir or biography can be almost as good. But most fiction doesn't work very well if the dialogues and the way the relationships play out aren't believable, at least at some level. Which means that at some level I do buy that they reflect aspects of the real world.

The situations the people are in do not have to be real -- I'm perfectly content with time travel, aliens, magic, whatever--but I want the characters to be relating to each other in ways that seem real to me.

And over the years, I have used a lot of historical novels to learn things about the world that I would never otherwise have had the patience to learn in the form of nonfiction--mostly because there are not quite as many really vivid nonfiction writers, I think.

I do read non-fiction. At this stage of the game, I read far more non-fiction than fiction. But fiction helps me know what it feels like to be in a number of different situations, which is simply more interesting to me in many cases than knowing a bunch of facts.

29SimonW11
Jul 28, 2010, 7:14am Top

Fiction provides a context for facts.

30MargaretCmelik
Jul 28, 2010, 9:39am Top

I can't respond to each of you right now because I have to be somewhere in an hour. But your responses are more of what I wanted to hear. I am analyzing this because in my head, it doesn't make sense. And I believe there is true value in reading fiction. I want to teach myself to get past whatever is blocking my reading it.

Just as I knew Math was important to learn even if I never used it, I think fiction is something important. When I was in high school I HATED math and I remember one day I took my pencil and scribbled the entire page of my homework in frustration. My teacher, a wonderful teacher, said I would get it and to keep trying.

I knew math was something useful and interesting so I forced myself to take every math class I could in college. I ended up loving math. I still do. It changed the way I think of many things. And I thought...what if I gave up and never tried it?

And so you can see I am doing the same thing with fiction. I need to just force myself at first maybe but I know fiction is a wonderful and important part of life I don't want to miss. I know it will change the way I think and add value to my life.

I have finished several chapters of Watership Down. I do enjoy it but some voice keeps telling me, "waste of time." For now I'm ignoring the voice. That seems to help.

Thank you all for your answers. Very interesting and helpful.

31perennialreader
Jul 28, 2010, 10:04am Top

I can't remember where I found this because I have had it for a long time, but I like what Orson Scott Card had to say about it...

...Why do we read fiction anyway? Not to be impressed by somebody's dazzling language--or at least I hope that is not our reason. I think that most of us, anyway, read these stories that we know are not "true" because we are hungry for another kind of truth: The mythic truth about human nature in general, the particular truth about those life-communities that define our own identity, and the most specific truth of all: our own self-story. Fiction, because it is not about somebody who actually lived in the world, always has the possibility of being about ourself.

...The "true" story is not the one that exists in my mind, it is certainly not the written words on the bound paper that you hold in your hands. The story in my mind is nothing but a hope, the text of the story is the tool I created in order to try to make that hope a reality. The story itself, the true story, is the one that the audience members create in their minds, guided and shaped by my text, but then transformed, elucidated, expanded, edited and clarified by their own experience, their own desires, their own hopes and fears.

...The story is one that you and I will construct together in your memory. If the story means anything to you at all, then when you remember it afterward, think of it, not as something I created, but rather as something that we made together.

Orson Scott Card

32lilithcat
Jul 28, 2010, 10:11am Top

> 26

My personal response : Nonfiction is salad and fiction is ice cream.

What's meat?

33AnnaClaire
Jul 28, 2010, 10:16am Top

>32 lilithcat:
Something vegetarians don't read.

34SimonW11
Jul 28, 2010, 10:24am Top

i am curious do you watch films? tv drama? comedy?

35DaynaRT
Jul 28, 2010, 10:31am Top

MargaretCmelik, I too am primarily a nonfiction reader. Some of the best fiction I've read I found via my nonfiction reading. It's been suggested above and I totally agree, try looking for some novels that tie into what nonfiction you're interested in right now.

36jnwelch
Jul 28, 2010, 10:35am Top

While you're pondering SimonW11's questions, I like >24 Thrin: Thrin's idea of thinking back to when you started as a child.

For me, in early years, nonfiction was what was assigned at school, and fiction was fun reading I chose. We had some interesting nonfiction at home (I remember loving The Earth for Sam, which featured dinosaurs - I'm sure I was on the kind of dinosaur kick I later saw my son go on), but also a lot of fiction - mysteries, fairy tales, novels - Hardy Boys, Jules Verne, that kind of thing.

So when you're thinking "wasting my time" while reading fiction, I'm thinking "fun reading of my own choosing".

I agree with a lot of the other comments here about the benefits of reading fiction, including wandering about with characters you're captivated by. That can happen in nonfiction, too, of course.

There's a lot of good nonfiction I've read and would recommend, but most of the time I'll choose fiction.

37kristenn
Jul 28, 2010, 11:54am Top

>32 lilithcat: What's meat?

Poetry

38Phocion
Edited: Jul 28, 2010, 1:20pm Top

I am not sure; I think poetry is like a fine wine: it gets better with age. Whereas "trash" literature is like meat: it tastes good, but is only healthy for you in small portions.

39Ex_Lit_Prof
Jul 28, 2010, 2:16pm Top

I read fiction because I'm seeking moments of inspiration and vicarious living.... It's freeing to be able to imagine life from the perspective of another individual, and at low points in my life it always uplifts me to know that I have this escape into the imaginary.... I was rereading one of my favourite novels The Professor's House the other day, and it occurred to me that this process of imagining another self is what the novel is really about.... You can read my full review of this book at www.the-reading-list.com

40MargaretCmelik
Jul 28, 2010, 7:25pm Top

31> Agree completely. We interpret fiction, poetry, even nonfiction according to our own experiences. And it is an interesting point of view that the author only provides part of the story and the reader provides the rest.

32> I'm not touching that one.

34> I love movies, theater, opera, plays, anything live. And if it's funny - I'm there.

35> I usually like whatever fiction I'm forced to read. I'm always grateful for having to read it. So I don't know if it's the subject as much as it is the motivation to finish the book. Being interesting is not enough reason to finish it.

36> As a child I read all the Black Stallion books. I read about Flicka and Thunderhead. I loved Black Beauty. I don't know what happened after that.

39> But it takes so long to get to the finish. I don't have long chunks of time and I want to see what happens NOW. It's a journey versus destination thing maybe.

41Boobalack
Jul 28, 2010, 9:41pm Top

Maybe you should subscribe to Reader's Digest condensed books. Seriously. I don't any more, but at one time it was a way to get more to read for less cost. For you it might be a way to be able to read more in less time. I've read some full-length books that I had previously read in RDCB and felt that I hadn't missed anything in the condensed version.

42dmurdock
Jul 28, 2010, 9:57pm Top

I just like the escape of it all. I like to read about characters with lives unlike my own....

43MargaretCmelik
Jul 29, 2010, 9:04am Top

41> I used to read condensed versions when I was a teenager. My parents got those and I did like them. I forgot all about them. Didn't know they still existed.

I'm worried Watership Down may be set aside. Someone just gave me over a hundred movies they wanted to get rid of. Must resist. Must finish bunny book. Must not ... maybe just one movie.

Meanwhile Outliers is one chapter from being finished. Go figure.

44jenniebooks
Jul 29, 2010, 10:20am Top

break from practical subjects fiction has more imagination and heart

45Bookmarque
Jul 30, 2010, 9:38am Top

After reading this thread I still don't really know what to make of the OP. This seems like a backhanded way to say that fiction readers aren't highbrow or intelligent or something. Then again the OP admits to attention span issues when faced with fiction. Maybe it's the interpretation requirement that trips her up. Maybe you're too literal, MC. Fiction requires imagination and extrapolation that not everyone is wired for. Maybe you should skip it. (shrugs)

46dhaupt
Jul 30, 2010, 10:21am Top

I read fiction because the world's a mess and I need a little escape from it.

47RRHowell
Jul 30, 2010, 11:56am Top

If your problem with fiction is that it takes too long, then Watership Down is not necessarily the best read. I do remember a next door neighbor, an English professor, saying "500 pages of light fantasy--Why?"

There's always short stories, and there are many excellent short novels.

48LauraJWRyan
Jul 30, 2010, 2:02pm Top

I suppose it depends on the genre of fiction... there's the escapism type of fiction that has nothing to do with reality as we know it... and then there is the fiction that is firmly set in the real world and are very often based on something directly out of the news of the day. Watership Down is an eyeful for someone who has trouble with anything that demands the suspension of belief no matter how well written it is...tho' after reading the book, I don't look at those little fella's in the same way... they're certainly not Beatrix Potter bunnies.

Everyone has their own preferences, Margaret...I read my share of Mr. Farley and Ms. Henry during my formative years because I was a horse nut, maybe you haven't found the right fiction that fits you. I guess it bothers me that you might be missing out on something good by not bothering with fiction...or feeling dissatisfied by it. Have you read Sarah Gruen? Water for Elephants is a good read, it isn't too thick in size and moves along at a steady clip...and I believe she does have a horse book or two under her belt too.

Well, I've done my share of procrastination today...I should get on with my proofreading and enjoy my day off from the real world.

49MrAndrew
Jul 31, 2010, 5:16am Top

>#47: because it's wabbits.

50Booksloth
Jul 31, 2010, 6:40am Top

This message has been deleted by its author.

51Booksloth
Jul 31, 2010, 6:41am Top

Each to his/her own. Just because your tastes are different that doesn't make them wrong.

If you've never enjoyed fiction then it may well just be a matter of taste but I wonder if you're going through a dry patch as I did several years ago. My solution (and it was a drastic one and not really undertaken for the sake of solving that particular problem) was to study literature. I think the main problem was that I didn't know what to look for or how to tell the difference between a good book and a bad one. You may just be reading the wrong books - I'd recommend trying some of the classics.

Why do fiction readers love fiction? I'm never going to beat the opinions of one far better qualified than I am to answer that question:

"It is only a novel... or, in short, only some work in which the greatest powers of the mind are displayed, in which the most thorough knowledge of human nature, the happiest delineation of its varieties, the liveliest effusions of wit and humour, are conveyed to the world in the best-chosen language" (Jane Austen in Northanger Abbey).

Just as a non-fiction book is there to introduce the reader to experiences they may never share, so a novel exists to introduce the reader to feelings and lives they may not share. An item on the news can tell you how awful life can be for women in Afghanistan but A Thousand Splendid Suns lets us into the heart and psyche of two of those women and lets us feel what they are feeling.

I do believe that a person who perfers non-fiction (and many who don't) will have their reading of fiction enhanced by an understanding of the facts surrounding the novel they are trying to read - eg. to an uninformed reader, Pride and Prejudice is just a story about a silly woman trying to marry off her daughters; to the informed reader who has understood the economic and political position of women at the time, the general workings of the law concerning women and what entailment is all about and the limits 18th/19th century placed upon women, it is much more than that.

52Boobalack
Jul 31, 2010, 5:32pm Top

Very well said, Booksloth. Thank you.

53Booksloth
Aug 1, 2010, 7:44am Top

#52 Well that you for the thank you! This could go on for a while;-)

54MargaretCmelik
Aug 1, 2010, 9:03pm Top

I finished Outliers and loved it. I couldn't put it down.

I am about a third of the way through Watership Down and I am wondering now, will the abandoned tunnels Hawkbit found be safe? And why were they abandoned? (I do enjoy these wascally wabbits) Incredible descriptions of everything makes it a joy to read.

See, I like fiction. It's great. But I maintain the only reason I'm reading it is because you guys are here to cheer me on. Or at least that's how I see it. Maybe that's the real reason I started the thread.

I would love to respond to all posts but I don't have time. I have a book to finish.

55Boobalack
Aug 2, 2010, 12:55am Top

We'd rather you read the book! Then you can start another one. ;-)

56barney67
Edited: Nov 12, 2010, 12:08pm Top

I could give a long, involved answer about why I read, or why it's good to read, or what you can get from it, but I think all reading is escape. Reading is not experience.

57MargaretCmelik
Aug 15, 2010, 8:59pm Top

I did it. I finished Watership Down and it was a wonderful book. I have to admit there were times I just wanted to put the stupid book back in the shelf. Not because I didn't enjoy it but because it took so much time to get through it.

I suppose entertainment in my world means movies and tv shows. They are fast and I get satisfied quickly. A scene that flies by in a few minutes on video takes an hour to read. But I think I can acquire the patience if I practice.

I am not so closed-minded that I think there is no merit in reading fiction. And I can't believe it's only a matter of liking versus not liking that has kept me from reading it. I think perhaps there are mental blocks of some sort ... for one, me thinking I'm wasting too much time...that keep me from experiencing something that is too wonderful to miss. After all, millions of readers can't all be wrong.

>55 Boobalack: You are right. No more posting. On to the next book. My daughter has chosen two books for me to read. They are for children but she insists I read them. Charlotte's Web and a heavily illustrated, Mowgli's Brothers. Don't laugh. There are a lot of books I missed growing up. It's time to catch up. I'll keep you all informed. I wonder if I should start a new thread?

58Boobalack
Aug 15, 2010, 9:52pm Top

I would never laugh at anyone for reading. I still enjoy a good children's or YA book, myself, and I'm almost 70. My daughter has given me several children's books for Christmas. She knows me well.

59BlackSheepDances
Aug 19, 2010, 4:44am Top

What I don't understand is how one could enjoy a movie but feel reading is a waste of time. Picture it from the aspect of choice: when you read a book, YOU get to imagine the setting, the people, the character quirks. YOU are the director. Whereas with a movie, you are seeing someone's interpretation, usually edited for time, which leaves you with less of a vision. Movies are an easy way to see a story, but it doesn't become yours until you put yourself into it.

Additionally, inaccuracies in movies are far more likely than in books. Besides, life that is viewed only in "accurate" terms is boring. Look at poetry, similes, metaphors, etc. They may not be accurate but they create a visual description.

You might have found that the fiction shown to you is mass market crap, in which case it may be in fact a waste of time. But there's translated literature from all over the world that will teach you more, and expose you to more than any movie. Is there any particular geographical region you are interested in?

Maybe you find that when you're reading you sense that dishes need to be done or that something more worthwhile is beckoning. Learn to ignore that...your brain gets a workout when you read. Plus, I can guarantee you, the chores will still be there later.

One idea is to find out a movie coming out that you anticipate and read the book FIRST. For example, Dirt Music is coming out in 2011 with Russell Crowe. The book is excellent. Read it first and develop the mental pictures.

You have to just grow to enjoy it, but if you hate it, move on.

60Bookmarque
Aug 19, 2010, 7:03am Top

Your newest post makes me go back to my original thoughts - attention span and imagination. If you don't have them both, fiction won't appeal. Don't force it if it doesn't bring you pleasure.

61Booksloth
Aug 19, 2010, 7:28am Top

Just had to reiterate that last sentence (#60). Try as I might (well, okay, to be honest, I can't be bothered to try) I will never enjoy watching football. We all have different tastes. Enjoy the stuff you really do enjoy and don't bother about the rest. I would drop one word of caution though and I'm sure it doesn't apply to you. I have known a surprising number of people who don't read fiction but then decide to try and write a novel. Don't ask me why - that would be like me volunteering to manage a football team. It never works. If you ever have an urge to write fiction you can only do it by reading the stuff first, and lots of it. I cannot comprehend why anyone who doesn't love fiction would want to write it anyway and yet they do. Anyone else have any ideas about this?

62Cecrow
Aug 19, 2010, 8:03am Top

My recent reading of A Rhetoric of Fiction has given me a new appreciation for the art of fiction and its meanings, its importance and its purpose. I might recommend that nonfiction work to anyone who wants to understand more.

I regard reading as superior to other mediums not only for its freeing the reader's imagination but also for its being a conversation between the novel's creator and the reader. We are not just reading a story, we are also becoming acquainted with its author. The best book is one by the end of which you would wish you could call up the author and have a good chat.

Fiction explores the possibilities of time and place beyond what the history books will tell you, in greater depth of feeling and from personal perspectives. Fiction postulates the tales that can never be told in reality, about people who may or may not have existed. Fiction reminds us of the complexity of life, the vast amount of which we will never understand. It gives us glimpses into what we may be missing out on, when we limit ourselves only to facts and the small world of the known. Nonfiction explains; fiction inspires while expanding our horizon of the possible in challenging our definition of the impossible.

63kristy101
Aug 19, 2010, 8:08am Top

First off if you have to be forced to read fiction, but that works for you then you can keep doing that, as many have said life is to short to be worked up over things such as this.
For me personally I most enjoy reading Jane Austen and Emily Bronte, the classics. I almost always have to be forced like you to read a non-fiction, i find that for me most times i just cant get into them but when I am forced, again like you I almost always like them.

to Booksloth,
I know many writers and i know one who did just what you are describing and i to found it odd and uncomprehendable like you. When i asked her about it she said it was because even though she dose not read fiction she had an amazing story idea, but as predicted it didnt work out for her. Another Reason is also because to write non-fiction you must have alot of reasearch. Where you said if you are going to write fiction you must first reat alot of fiction, to write non-fiction you must first read, understand the situations and such completely, as well as having references, and much more if it is not something like a auto biography. So it may be the prospect of the even larger work load to write a non-fiction then to write a fiction.

64Booksloth
Aug 19, 2010, 8:37am Top

#63 Good point! And maybe that's another reason why it never works if those who do it are only doing it because they think it is easier that writing non-fiction!

652wonderY
Aug 19, 2010, 9:14am Top

HOW something is said separates story and literature.

Everyone knows the story of Peter Pan. Most could rattle off the outline, thinking of Mary Martin, Disney, or even Robin Williams. But relatively few will bother to pick up the J. M. Barrie original, or even better, the short story that actually began the saga, Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens, and discover their particular delights.

The language soars in all sorts of fanciful directions. My grown daughter and I read them aloud to each other.

66Vero70
Aug 19, 2010, 1:20pm Top

What a question!!! First of all I think that behind fiction there may be a hiden messege and that is reality!
Take for example Orwell's Novel "1984" . Is it just fiction? It's a way to critizice totalitarianism. Isn't it? Obviously you have to take into account that there exists a social context and that there is a reality that affect every single work. Even comics have a hidden message... What's more, if you find a writing piece has not message, well, that is a message in itself, as it was the theatre of the absurd...

67ThrillerFan
Aug 19, 2010, 1:59pm Top

#1

I think there is good fiction and bad fiction. Some book that an author came up with simply because his mind was in the gutter at the time is a waste of time to read.

I read fiction, but I don't live and die by the fiction book. I'd say I complete about 20 novels a year. I have a life too. Work, wife, daughter, hobbies like Chess, Bridge, Video Games, Poker, etc.

That said, I often read during lunch hour at work, and sometimes at home when that's simply what I'm in the mood for. I almost never read more than 2 hours straight when it comes to fiction.

Therefore, I'd put myself between you and the "reading nut". That said, when it comes to fiction (I also read books on chess strategy), some things just aren't fun to read in real life.

If I'm reading a Thriller novel (uhm...the handle should tell you why I mentioned that genre), and 10 innocent Iranians and 5 innocent Americans get killed along with the target person intended to be killed in the first place, who cares? It's fiction. You read about that in real life, and you think about the innocent lives you have ended for no reason at all (from their perspective).

I hate what people on here coin as "literary fiction" because it's just too boring and a waste of time. I need something that will keep me up at night, wondering what happens next. Not some stupid life story of a girl whose father died, she was born with a birth mark, kids make fun of her because she has a birth mark, mother gets arrested for drug use, blah blah blah ... WHO CARES?????

Find a topic you like talking about to other people. Do you enjoy talking politics? Read political thrillers. You like science and space, why not read sci-fi? It's not going to give you the true information that a Chemistry book is going to give you, but if you have an interest in the area, reading fiction books related to that, instead of the boring "life story" novels, maybe you might view fiction differently.

Once again, I refuse to live and die by the fiction novel, but every now and then, especially to kill time if you are by yourself with 30 minute or an hour to spare, is not a bad thing.

68MargaretCmelik
Aug 21, 2010, 9:45pm Top

>59 BlackSheepDances: I agree with all you say. I think when you are surrounded by people who love something you want to see what they see. That's why I am here. You obviously love reading fiction. I want to love it too and I don't think it's just a matter of interest. I think it's a matter of experience. I need to read a lot of it before it becomes part of me.

>60 Bookmarque: I have both. What I lack is time. Reading takes an awful lot of it. Like I said, Watership Down I loved. They were rabbits. And I still loved it.

>61 Booksloth: Dear Lord no, I could never write fiction. Not unless it was heavily based on my own experiences. I don't write really at all. My "books" are purely short attention span humor. I don't even consider myself an author or writer. Maybe some day.

>62 Cecrow: I love the idea that we can listen to people long after they are gone and have a discussion with them through their writing. It's an amazing thing isn't it? That person reaches out and talks to people who weren't even born when they wrote their stories. They are still alive through their writing.

>63 kristy101: I often have to be forced to do things even when I enjoy them. Go figure.

>65 2wonderY: I don't even know the story of Peter Pan or Alice in Wonderland. I've lived a very deprived life.

>66 Vero70: I started the thread without much thought. Yes, I know fiction isn't ever really fiction. There is some sort of truth behind all fiction.

>67 ThrillerFan: I've never read a thriller. I'll put that on my list. I'm pretty much open to any kind of reading if you guys keep poking me with pointy sticks and cattle prods. I need that.

Okay guys. I finished Charlottes Web and I'm trying another. The Giver It looks short and easy to read. I'm feeling lazy. Also finished The Tipping Point but that's not fiction and doesn't count in here. I think I might start another thread called "Trying to Love Fiction" or something like that. If you see it that's where I'll be.

69Bookmarque
Aug 21, 2010, 10:20pm Top

So only more time will make you appreciate/understand/like fiction?

70Phocion
Aug 22, 2010, 8:03am Top

There's nothing we can do to help you with time (unless you feel like fooling your brain, and going to the trouble of shortening the amount of time of a day, thereby giving you a longer year, since our current measurement of time is arbitrary anyway). I'll go so far as to say time may not be the problem, because typically there is always something you can sacrifice to make time.

You need self-discipline (don't we all), but none of us can give that to you. No one here can force you to read -- you've done it by yourself.

If you want a fiction book that seems to offer more, which in your case would be resembling nonfiction (and as fiction is never really fiction, nonfiction is never really nonfiction), pick up something from Dostoevsky. If it's still too much trouble, quit and pick another form of entertainment.

71MargaretCmelik
Aug 22, 2010, 3:30pm Top

It's easy to love something that has been with you all of your life. It takes no effort. There are many things in life you have to work at to love. Is this really a new concept for you? If I had simply enjoyed the few things that happened to become interesting to me(usually by experiences as a child and random opportunity) what wonderful things I would have missed.

Yes, I could default to a handful of interests and experience only what falls in my lap. But because I've worked at finding the good in many subjects, I have enriched my life. If I didn't go out looking for things to love, I would have never seen an opera, looked into a microscope or eaten snails. I would have never enjoyed a soccer game or climbed through caves. Science, art, music, food, sports...yes it does take work to appreciate all of these things if they were never presented to you in earlier life. How dull is a life that is filled with only those things we stumbled upon by chance or fancy.

When you surround yourself with people who love something that you don't, you come to see it's worth and are more easily drawn in to explore it yourself. It happens all the time when a teacher or boyfriend or someone else close to you shows an interest in something and wants you to see how great it is. I have done this many times in my life.

>69 Bookmarque: If the above does not answer the question then I will now. Yes, more time will make me enjoy fiction more. That's how you learned to love it even if you don't remember.

>70 Phocion: 1. Self discipline is not the problem. I've been self-employed all of my life. I am the queen of finding time. But alas, there are still only 16 waking hours in a day.

2.I have no idea who Dostoevsky is. I shall find out.

3. And finally, I prefer the word effort over trouble. If I thought it was trouble I wouldn't have bothered starting the thread.


72Bookmarque
Aug 22, 2010, 4:24pm Top

Well then I don't know, other than making others feel bad or yourself feel good, what the point of your thread is. You reject just about every reason given for why you aren't clicking with fiction, yet persist in wanting to try claiming you think you might be missing something, but really feeling above it all. I can't believe you sucked me in. I should know how to spot you coming. Done and done. Feel free to turn to your regularly scheduled factual consumption.

73MargaretCmelik
Edited: Aug 23, 2010, 12:20pm Top

The edit option is a blessing, isn't it?

74Mr.Durick
Edited: Aug 22, 2010, 5:47pm Top

I wasn't having a hard time connecting with you in the first place, although I have loved fiction for a long time. I have also been an inveterate reader of non-fiction in both books and periodicals for a long time.

But your mention of opera really connected with me. It was something that I had to work at to like, and I had to work against some considerable antipathy (mine) and denigration (others of me) to come to like it. For example, whenever I listened to opera I could not hear the music for the singing. Some opera lovers said, "Oh, just listen to the beautiful music." "No, I can't hear the music for the singing." I had to find my own way, although I listened in on other people's conversations. I did it mostly because I knew that good people loved opera, and especially because good composers thought that it was the epitome of artful entertainment. More than one composer asserted that it was the combination of drama, staging, and music that was important; when I finally saw all of that in a live performance, I said to myself, "I'll have to do that again." I did, and I developed an appreciation for opera that I will not likely ever lose, but it will likely always be on opera's terms -- I still don't have much appreciation for opera CD's. (This is the short version; I apologize if it is too long.)

I hope you find the hook that pulls you in.

Robert

75MargaretCmelik
Aug 22, 2010, 6:13pm Top

I'm glad you get it Robert. Sometimes it's a process. I have several New Yorker friends who lighten up whenever opera or theater (or good restaurants) are mentioned. It's that adoring that makes me want to go see what they see and feel what they feel. I'm so glad I made the effort because opera and theater take my breath away. If I never bothered because I wasn't initially interested, I would have missed so much.

It's posts like yours that will get me to that point with fiction. Thank you.

76Bookmarque
Aug 22, 2010, 6:53pm Top

Trolls? Mirror maybe? I didn't start an inflammatory thread and then negate every piece of advice offered. Give me a break. you don't like fiction, don't read it and stop bitching.

77Boobalack
Edited: Aug 22, 2010, 6:58pm Top

Who are you calling a troll, MargaretCmelik? You might fit that description, yourself, though we've been too polite to point it out. The gloves are off! So, you don't like fiction? So, don't read it. Simple, huh? You deny it, but you seem to want to make those of us who do enjoy reading fiction feel unworthy of the great nonfiction-only reader. I read nonfiction, too, but if I didn't, so what? Read what you want, don't read what you don't like. I fail to see your humongous problem. lol

Edit: My sentiments, exactly, Bookmarque.

78Heather19
Aug 22, 2010, 11:44pm Top

Er.... I'll just answer the title-question and stay out of the arguements.

My first thought was to be a little flabergasted by the question. Then I realized I've never thought about it before. Why DO I read fiction?

I think for the same reason I watch tv shows or movies. For the same reason I, as a child, loved the made-up stories my parents would tell me at bedtime.

Stories are fun! Anyone who has a dream, a wish, anything at all that they want to do but can't at the time, can turn to fiction books. I love horses but can ride only rarely. Reading books like the Thoroughbred series gives me a way of "experiencing" those rides, those races, those trials and heartbreaks and situations, even though I can't actually do it in real life.

Action movies often keep people leaning forward, eagerly anticipating, gasping and biting their lips and wondering what's going to happen next. That's exactly the same experience I get when reading a suspenseful book.

I also read fiction to become a better writer. Any writer worth their salt will read a lot. There are even tips on how to read "like an author". As an amature author, I sometimes read certain fiction books with an eye towards bettering my own writing.

Last but certainly not least, reading is an escape from reality. I suffer from severe mood swings as part of my bipolar, and sometimes the world is honestly too much to handle. Curling up with a feel-good book that takes me into someone else's world is sometimes the only way I can stop myself from being so overwhelmed by my own life.

79kristenn
Aug 23, 2010, 9:31am Top

I have to disagree with the assertion that we all had to learn how to enjoy fiction. The fun of making up stories comes very naturally to most children.

Enjoying the written version of it versus free play or tv/movies comes less automatically to some than to others but the same can be said for reading non-fiction.

80MargaretCmelik
Aug 23, 2010, 11:11am Top

Very nicely put Heather. That is why I read horse books as a child as well. I wanted a horse so badly but could never have one. I read The Black Stallion books, Black Beauty, My Friend Flicka and many more.

You love reading. And I can see that. It not only is a thrill for you but helps you cope in life. This is what I was looking for. Your enthusiasm comes through.

Kristenn, I agree we all loved stories and fiction but not everyone spent time reading. I never read and on grade school skills tests I was high in all subjects except reading. I was barely hanging on to average. But it wasn't because I didn't like the stories in books. Every night my mother read to me for years. In grade school teachers read to me. I loved listening to books. (And I still love listening to them on long car trips.)

Then came college where I read non-fiction like crazy for ten years and so I have "practiced" that enough to enjoy it.

I need to do the same with fiction. I understand that now but when I started this thread I had no idea why I didn't read fiction. Talking things out generally brings the solution even if it's not a linear process. Thanks for indulging me.

And to the two who are getting upset it's just a forum. Lighten up. If the thread upsets you don't read or post on it. Life is too short to waste time on things that get you angry.


81Heather19
Aug 23, 2010, 2:27pm Top

"not everyone spent time reading"

So true. I remember the weird looks and confusion from my grade-school friends when I'd pick up a book, especially if it was instead of sports/shopping/whatever. I also remember thinking that they had no idea what they were missing, all the worlds they never got to explore.

82Phocion
Aug 23, 2010, 3:07pm Top

80: Telling users to "lighten up" after you, for no reason, called one a troll, even when he/she was trying to give you advice, is not productive. If life is too short to be angry, then would you not agree that life is too short to force yourself to read what is obviously a chore to you?

83debavp
Aug 23, 2010, 3:12pm Top

MargaretCmelik

It may have been mentioned earler, I haven't re-read the thread, but have you considered reading serial fiction? Something along the lines of PD James, Agatha Christie, Peter Robinson, Michael Connelly, Karin Slaughter, Lisa Gardner and zillions more? These are all mystery writers, but almost all genre's have some series. Good serial fiction can be like a really good tv series. If it's well written, you'll wnat to read more.

I was reader from the time I was four up through high school. Suddenly I didn't read much anymore (probably about the time cable became popular and MTV was really cool) I got to the point if it wasn't a magazine article, it didn't get read. After that it was probably ten years before I picked up a book, one a coworker had passed on to me (people here will moan when I say this) James Patterson's When the Wind Blows and I had it laying around the house for a couple of months. I had a plane trip with a bit of a layover so I grabbed it and started reading on the plane. The subject was so fascinating (no, it's not a great literary work) and the format was easy to read. The point is I enjoyed it so much that I wanted to read more and I haven't stopped reading since. Slowed down a bit now and again, but if it hadn't been for that particular book, I might still just be reading the occasional magazine.

84Boobalack
Edited: Aug 23, 2010, 4:07pm Top

MargaretCmelik, Condescend much?

You shouldn't call somebody a troll and then tell those who were upset by it to lighten up -- bad form. The person you called a troll was only trying to help, as has everyone else who has posted in this thread.

That being said, I recommend to you the fiction work,
The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery. Perhaps it will be more to your liking.

Edit: You also might like The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford or The Language of Trees by Ilie Ruby.

85LadyDarbanville
Edited: Aug 23, 2010, 5:25pm Top

Why I read fiction? I've never really thought about that. I just enjoy it, so why stop? And I enjoy movies too so when it comes to watching movies vs. reading books, I can see your point about movies beeing faster and more concentrated and how you like that better. But you can enjoy both even if they are two quite different mediatypes. Like has been suggested before, you can try starting with short stories or reading books about fiction books (which might inspire you to read the actual novels). Perhaps you could try some graphic novels to start with - they're often more fast-read. I think, however, that it's just a matter of you finding a genre you really like. There is so many types of fiction out there and I do think there's some for you too. Try several different genres, ditch them if you hate them (because then they're a waste of time) and if you don't hate them try something similar. I myself am not much for crime novels (I can not always get through those - that not saying they're bad books, just not my taste) but I devour military SF books like they're necessary for my survival. :)

But don't torture yourself with it if you don't enjoy it, life's too short for that - just read what you like, be it fiction or non-fiction.

(Greetings from Sweden)

86karenmd
Aug 23, 2010, 5:15pm Top

Escapism, but also a sense of curiosity. Having been an avid reader since childhood I found reading fiction to be an easy way to learn about other people's lives. Sure, it is fiction but often based on reality.

My first entry on LibraryThing was Tawni O'Dell's Sister Mine set in a small poor coal-mining town in the USA. I think it provided a good sense of what life could be like for people in places like that, along with an interesting story of a woman with a dysfunctional family background living as best as she can and coming to terms not only with what has happened in the past but with a contemporary dilemma of surrogate parenting as a career choice. Lots of food for thought, whether it be about surrogate parenting, child ause and neglect, the lives of people in small communities dependent on one industry and employer,or the complicated knot families and friendship can be.

I have a magpie mind and pick up all sorts of information about various things from the fiction I have read. I am very good at Trivial Pursuits and the fiction I have read over the years is a reason for that.

Still, if it is not your thing, then it isn't, but the range of fiction is huge and it is hard to think that there is nothing amongst it all that would appeal.

87karenmd
Aug 23, 2010, 5:18pm Top

Yes, I second LadyDarbanville: life is too short so just read what you enjoy.

88MargaretCmelik
Aug 23, 2010, 6:56pm Top

83 yes, I'm afraid many were sucked away from reading after high school. But also in college there was precious little time to read fiction.
I too have read when in airports or somewhere I must sit for long periods of time. Also listened to books on CD while in a car with nothing else to do. I have never tried a series since the Black Stallion. I'll have to try one sometime.

85 Sweden? cool. (That's why I love the internet.) I'm picking up shorter books now. I started with a rather long one (Watership Down) but was determined to finish it. On a funny note, my daughter brought home an animated movie based on it. It does seem very flat after reading the book.

86 I like that comparison. A Magpie. Yes, you do pick up a lot of little stuff that the writer no doubt went to great pains to research and include. I was always interested in survivor stories. Most were non-fiction but I can see reading a fiction one with the same excitement.

87 Life is short. But have you ever thought, I wish I could do this and just kept thinking that but never did it? Maybe there wasn't time or you just couldn't get the steam up to make yourself do it? That doesn't mean you wouldn't enjoy it. There's just that energy of activation...that boost you need to get you started and then you run on enthusiasm from then on.

I've become repetitive because new people keep coming in and commenting but I think I've got the motivation to get going now. I'm going to let this thread go. People are getting cranky. Thanks to all who shared.



89LadyDarbanville
Aug 23, 2010, 7:12pm Top

I hope you will enjoy your future reading of fiction books and wish you good luck with it. :) Probably a good idea to start with shorter books. You could try browsing through books like 500 essential cult books or 500 essential graphic novels to see if anything sparks your interest.

And yes, it's quite a different experience reading the book and then watching the movie based on the book. :P

/Lady D.

90dhaupt
Aug 24, 2010, 10:05am Top

I have a friend who reads only non-fiction and sometimes I have to wonder why. Why because he and I are different, I don't care for much non-fiction and usually only read it for a book club, sometimes I'm pleasantly surprised by the fact that I enjoyed it, but most of the time non-fiction doesn't read like a story it reads like a text book and I don't read to be educated I read to be entertained and some times entertained to the extreme like with Science Fiction or Urban Fantasy or Paranormal and sometimes just to be entertained in the contemporary. I guess I read fiction because I like the escape to live vicariously through some unsuspecting character in a book to relieve the stress of my everyday life.
Just my humble opinion.

91kristy101
Nov 12, 2010, 6:12am Top

message 67-thrillerfan

i actually enjoy reading life storys because for me i can relate to alot of the things that go on in alot of them and i find books suck as mansfeild park a joy to read, do you think people would write them if they didn't? you can't just say that no one enjoys life storys because really alot of people do and i do see some not all of your point but you sound pig headed when you write, just because you have an opinion dosn't mean we should all have the same one

92Boobalack
Nov 12, 2010, 3:49pm Top

kristy101, I've learned that you just have to kind of ignore ThrillerFan -- or at least try to do so. He thinks his opinion is the only correct one, and I suppose, to him, it is. lol He did the same thing in the "Name That Tune" Thread. It appears that the music he likes is the only "good" kind, so it's not just one's reading material. Oh, well.

I read fiction because I like it. I also read nonfiction because I like it. Simple enough, yes?

93kristy101
Nov 14, 2010, 12:08am Top

ha well thank you for that i just hate ignorant people but i understand and i will and i agree
i read what i read because i enjoy it simply but efectivly put boobalack

94Boobalack
Nov 14, 2010, 1:12am Top

I hate to admit that I let him make me lose my cool before I learned to ignore him. lol

95kristy101
Nov 14, 2010, 8:47pm Top

lol yes i can definetly see how you could do that

96ThrillerFan
Edited: Nov 15, 2010, 12:44pm Top

Messages 91 to 95:

Trying to stir up more trouble about a message from August that is strictly an opinion, and trying to help someone that clearly didn't like what he or she read in school, which is majority literary fiction.

Off to the admins I go as one of you is a repeat offender.

97rolandperkins
Nov 15, 2010, 3:31pm Top

On 96 (which is on 91-95):

I see nothing in 92 -- 95 which would warrant going "to the admins".

Granted that I also see nothing in 67 (if that is the
"August" message referred to in 96) which is worth even mildly recalling some 3 month later. But how "far back" a message anyone wants to reminisce about is their own choice.

98ThrillerFan
Edited: Nov 15, 2010, 4:06pm Top

This message has been flagged by multiple users and is no longer displayed (show)
#97 - Wrong

"He thinks his opinion is the only one that counts" - uhm - Don't speak for me, speak for yourself.

"ha well thank you for that i just hate ignorant people" - we all know damn well from 91 that she's referring to me, and I'm not ignorant - if anything, she is, "I" is always capitalized, for instance.

Also, if you want to ignore a user, go right ahead. Don't preach to the rest of the choir "Oh, you need to ignore this guy because he's a jackass" when you yourself (that being the author of 92) don't know what you are talking about.

Authors of 91 to 95 are 2 ignorant people that don't understand context in the least bit. Nowhere did I say that a person that reads literary fiction is stupid, ignorant, bad, not worth talking to, etc., but they then take the liberties to make it sound like that. If you read the context of message 1, which is what message 67 specifically is responding to, the author of message 1 says that all he or she reads is what is forced upon him/her, and a lot of that appears to be classroom stuff, which is "majority" (not all) literary fiction, not genre fiction. So I advertised trying out genre fiction, whether that be Thrillers, Sci-Fi, etc (obviously with my handle, I prefer the first, but nothing wrong with others, mystery, western, etc.)

Of course, according to the authors of 91-95, only what I read is right, so anything outside of Thrillers must be bad - WRONG AGAIN!

If they would ever learn to read in context and not just read a few words and then make judgements about things, maybe they wouldn't be out to search for messages 3 months old and start attacking users.

Seriously, rolandperkins, what necessity do you see at all in comments 91 to 95? Do they lack self confidence? Do they need to be taken to Namby-Pamby land where maybe they could find some self confidence those jackwagons?

Tissue authors of 91-95? (Thrillerfan throws the box) Crybabies!

Needless to say, rolandperkins, I sent the message hours ago. Maybe next time they'll mess with the right person.

And in case you are wondering, rolandperkins, I'm not a former drill sergeant.

99readafew
Nov 15, 2010, 4:09pm Top

98 > While you're second example certainly could be including you I think it would be considered borderline.

Regardless of whether they were attacking you (and I have to agree a bit unfairly, I didn't read your post as such) you came back and attacked them both. I'd say post 98 is %100 flaggable.

100ThrillerFan
Nov 15, 2010, 4:28pm Top

readafew, when I post a message that is preceded with a number, like "#1, blah blah blah", do you read the post I'm responding to?

If not, then that explains why you agree with them, and it's sad that nobody on this site knows the concept of "context" at all.

101readafew
Nov 15, 2010, 4:43pm Top

um, there was a misunderstanding, I agreed with you, your post didn't read how it was portrayed by them.

102ThrillerFan
Nov 15, 2010, 4:52pm Top

#101

Sorry, now that I do re-read it, I can see what you meant.

When I first read "and I have to agree a bit unfairly", I thought at first you meant that you agree with them, even though it may be unfair to me.

I see now that you meant that you agree that what they put was unfair.

See, I'm not the devil that the two of them make me out to be.

103Boobalack
Edited: Nov 15, 2010, 6:40pm Top

ThrillerFan, I seem to keep misinterpreting your meanings. Sorry.

You seem to misinterpret what I say, too. I never said you were the devil, nor did I say you were a jackass. I said something to the effect that you think your opinion is the only correct one. Well, that's how you come off to me. I was only trying to tell kristy101 to ignore what you say and don't let it get to her. Also, I never said you were ignorant.

Just so you know, I am a highly intelligent person and have no idea why I let you push my buttons. It could be that I've lost my mind. Who knows?

We both feel as if the other has treated us unfairly, so the only alternative I can offer is: Truce.

104faceinbook
Nov 15, 2010, 6:59pm Top

People read fiction for all different reasons. Depending on the type of fiction one chooses, stories can be sheer entertainment or a total escape. I worked in the medical field for many years and knew several doctors who read "western" novels to relieve stress.
I read fiction because it allows me to put myself in someone else's shoes for a while. Nothing does this like a good story.
Reading fiction from author's who live in other countries can be an inside look at cultural differences. It is one thing to read about cultural differences and another to find one immersed with characters in situations that are totally different than anything you can imagine. Even the way an author uses words can open doors in one's mind.
Fiction writers have more of a license to "play" with words and style... this challenges the way we think in so many ways.

I have to admit that there are fiction books which I consider a waste of time but that is due to my personal taste. It is possible to constantly challenge oneself while reading fiction...perhaps even more so than nonfiction. Not all of it is easy to read and there is nothing quite so sweet as that Ah Ha moment when you know you just "got it"

105ThrillerFan
Edited: Nov 16, 2010, 10:48am Top

#103

I acknowledge that you didn't say I was ingorant. Kristi did in message 93.

I have no problems calling a truce, but when someone is trying to pin-point a message of mine from months past, please don't egg them on.

And just keep in mind in the future, when I put a number at the top of a message, make sure you read that message before assuming the context of mine. Also, opinions are opinions when it comes to what I say I dislike, but the context of message 67 is that of advertising to someone who would write message 1, not judgment on those that read literary fiction.

Message 91 from "you can't just say ..." onwards was uncalled for, as were messages 92 and 93.

Just making sure you understand that it wasn't just you I was pin-pointing in messages 96 and 98, Kristi101 is just as guilty, if not guiltier (if there is such a word).

#104

Your message is similar to mine in 67 in that I'm trying to tell them that fiction comes in different types, and just because you hate what you were forced to read in highschool doesn't make it all bad. I got the impression that the writer of message 1 doesn't like literary fiction (the majority of what you read in highschool), and neither do I, but there is plenty of other stuff out there. I read thrillers for the most part, but I also mentioned that maybe sci-fi was their thing, or perhaps something else.

And like you say, what I find a waste to read may be the next best thing to sliced bread for somebody else. Problem sometimes is, that somebody else feels that because what they read got a negative statement from a person, that person must now be attacked. I hate literary fiction. I hate romance novels. I hate westerns. That doesn't mean that others can't be a Danielle Steele fanatic, and hate Thrillers, Mysteries, Horror novels, and Sci-Fi. If you hate those genres, feel free to express that. This site is based in a free country. Speak your thoughts. Attack a genre all you want, just don't attack the people that read it.

106Boobalack
Nov 16, 2010, 11:40pm Top

Points taken. Thanks for accepting my offer of a truce. We may end up being best buddies. Stranger things have happened.

107faceinbook
Edited: Dec 24, 2010, 9:33am Top

Just went through this thread again. Very frustrating....
Why does anyone really want some one else to convince them to enjoy something they do not enjoy ?

It was mentioned at some point that this was a "put down" to fiction readers and I would agree with that. "Waste of time" was mentioned several times. Well, I think that most television is a waste of time...I guess I could start a thread asking people why I should enjoy television. (or the Great American Wasteland as I call it.)

There is a member of one of my book groups who does this all the time....starts the group by announcing that she did not finish the book because her life is "too busy"......she "has family"...she has a "part time job".....she goes to "the theater". By the time she is done telling everyone the reasons why she did not finish the book, the rest of us feel like miserable slackers with worthless lives.....we must or we would never have finished the dang book.

If you do not want to step out side of the box....than don't. There is plenty of room for everyone. Television is a 24/7 media. They make movies routinely......I have a friend who has watched "Under the Tuscan Sun" over 20 times, she sees every movie as soon as it is released, but she does not have time to read a book :>000 How silly does that sound ?? She has never gone so far as to say my reading was a waste of time but she did one time say that "Life is more than books you know !" Was almost the end of a 25 yr friendship.....almost said that life was more than movies but it is not in my nature to do so. What ever.....
If you have an answer to your question (Or many answers it would seem) why ask the question ?
Better to start a thread saying something like "The Reasons I don't Like Fiction" and get it all out there right off the bat.

108NorthernTeacher
Dec 24, 2010, 10:44am Top

This message has been deleted by its author.

109Boobalack
Dec 24, 2010, 4:50pm Top

Well said, faceinbook. You are nicer than I am. I definitely would have responded that life is more than movies. lol I have watched movies, of course, but not to that extent, and I can't think of one that I would watch over 20 times. I read that book, and to me, it was boring.

110faceinbook
Dec 24, 2010, 6:33pm Top

>109 Boobalack:
LOL....we are still friends but once she said something like that, it does alter a relationship. Always hold back about any subjects around what I am reading or doing at work (I work in a small used book store.) Guess I just watch my words cause once they are out there....can't take em back.
I enjoy movies as well. Usually I like to go to the theater to see them. Too fidgity at home, I find myself getting up to do this or that in the middle of the movie. Just doesn't hold my interest as much as reading a book. In fact, I can read a book in front of the television set no matter what is on.....years of living with a "channel surfer" taught me to do this.

111quillmenow
Dec 24, 2010, 11:00pm Top

Re: #107

Why is she even in a book club if she's too busy to read the damn book? Any of them!

What a waste. I'd love to join a book club.

112faceinbook
Dec 25, 2010, 9:48am Top

>111 quillmenow:
Not sure why she belongs to something she obviously doesn't fully participate in but for some reason it reminded me of the author of this post.
Don't know the person who posted and may be she doesn't realize it but telling someone who has a passion for something that it seems a waste of time, is a bit of a put down.

The person who comes to our group and then tells every one that she has more important things to do than read the book is kind of "dissing" every one who took the time to finish the book.

Obviously, not every one finds everything equally interesting. There are things that other people do that I feel is a total waste of time but I would not go out of my way to let them know.

Are there no book groups in your area ? We did not have any....I started two of them. The oldest one is now 13 yrs running....the youngest one is about 6 yrs now.

113quillmenow
Dec 25, 2010, 2:31pm Top

#112

The one's I've come across already have full membership, and I don't know enough people in Birmingham who like to read, much less join a book club, to start my own.

I can understand being in a book club and that month's book selection being too tedious to finish. Like you said above, not everyone finds everything equally interesting. I'm just horrified that she's not even giving the books a chance. If her life is so busy, how does she make time to even go to a meeting? What valuable input could she possibly give.

I hope I'm not coming off as disrespectful. I'm merely curious.

114Boobalack
Dec 25, 2010, 6:23pm Top

quillmenow, I bet there are more people in B'Ham who like to read than you know about. Maybe you could post a message on the bulletin board at your nearest library, or some newspapers have a "free" column and/or post messages about meetings. You could say something like "Please join me on (date and time) at (location) to discuss the possibility of forming a book club for our enjoyment. Refreshments will be served. Keep it simple, like coffee, a soft drink, and some cookies. You never can tell -- you might have enough people the first evening. If not, try again. Good luck! Some libraries have a meeting room you could use. When you get started really well, you might rotate meetings at members' houses.

115faceinbook
Dec 25, 2010, 9:18pm Top

>113 quillmenow:
Exactly ! Not sure what the point is. In our group, I've told people that if they REALLY dislike the book they do not have to finish it. It is interesting to hear what it is that people do like about a book as well as what they do. Most often, people finish the book and even if they do not particularly like it, they often find that during the discussion they see things they have missed. They come away from group with a different outlook.
This particular member is NEVER finished and it has nothing to do with whether she likes the book or not. Her main reason is that there are far more important things she has to do. Personally I think she may want to see herself as a "reader" but can't make the commitment. She then uses the events in her life to make it seem unimportant to read. Which of course makes everyone who feels that it IS important, a bit uncomfortable. We have reached the point where we all know this is coming and just nod, then move on. To give this person credit, when discussing a particular issue contained in a story, she often has some good insights into related issues.

When my kids were young, there was a time when I went to school full time and worked part time. I had precious little time to read but I always managed to read a few pages before falling asleep at night. Always carried a book with me, doctor's office, traffic jam, waiting for kids in a school parking lot, lunch breaks at work....when ever I could I would read. Even though I did a lot of reading for school.....NOT the same.
Which brings me back to the topic of this thread....non fiction and fiction are NOT the same and though one can enjoy both of them, fiction does something that non fiction can not do. Depending on what fiction one chooses, it can be just for FUN and pure entertainment. An overload of school work needed the balance of a good mystery or something funny and light.

116quillmenow
Dec 26, 2010, 12:57am Top

#114

Thanks for the tips! Maybe I can start the new year right and start my own book club. I certainly need to get out more and meet new people.

#115

Going along with the subject at hand, I agree that we all need a healthy balance of fiction and non-fiction to make a person well-rounded in their reading. If you can happily go through life with the intellectual bent, well, I'm very jealous. You're missing out on some great fiction,though, and even a few fluff novels here and there are good for the soul. For me, when the going gets tough, I reach for the fluff.

117kristy101
Jan 26, 2011, 11:26am Top

thriller fan-

i do apologize if i have offended you and if you look back i did say i agree with your points i just found that the way you wrote your message to be a little upsetting i guess because you cant just say no one likes this or that and so on, but i do not think you fully read my messages because again i said i did agree with your points and i also said that you should read what you love to read as do i

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