Reading fiction vs non-fiction

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Fiction vs non-fiction books. What should you read most? When I was younger, I was reading nearly only fiction. As I am growing older, I am getting more interested in non-fiction books. Lately, I have been questioning my reading habits. As I am trying to develop a self-education strategy, I have been wondering how many fiction, respectively non-fiction books I should read. So far, this year, I read 9 fiction books and 12 non-fiction books. So nowadays I am reading slightly more non fiction books than fiction books.

Should you read fiction or non-fiction

The benefits of non fiction books

I know many people (including my husband) who only read non-fiction. They want to feel that they are learning new facts and find it useless to read about people who does not exist. I do not agree that fiction is useless, but it is true that reading non-fiction has many advantages.
  • You can learn about any topic you are interested about: history, science, cooking, sewing… There is a book for every subject.
  • Books can change the way you see the world: for instance, books about philosophy can make you question elements of your life that seemed evident.
  • Reading books about important historical figures can inspire you.
  • You can find solutions to problems you are facing.
  • If you want to discover a new field, reading a non-fiction book about this  field is the easiest way to come fast to a better understanding of the subject.

The benefits of fiction books

I really enjoy reading fiction. Every time I open a new book, I discover a new world. Novels have helped me in difficult times more than anything in life. And I sometimes have a feeling that it is easier to connect with books characters than with real people. Reading fiction has also many advantages.
  • If you feel really sad and dissatisfied with your life, reading a good novel can help you to focus on something else and improve your mood.
  • Reading literature also improves your empathy skills. Indeed, when you read, you learn to see the world from another point of view. You understand better how other people feel and can use these skills in your daily life.
  • Reading novels develops your creativity. You imagine the world described by the author and as you read the book, you can try to imagine what is coming next.
  • Through reading literature, you learn to express better what you feel and think.

What really matters is the quality of the book

The books I read this year were very different. Some were easy to read, others were more challenging. For instance, among the fiction books I read, there were books as different from each other as „Miss Peregrine’s home for peculiar children“ (which you should read if you like Young Adult fiction) and „Ulysses“. Among the non-fiction books I read, there are also huge differences. A small book about blogging is much easier to read than a 400 pages book about innovation in the finance industry. So both fiction and non fiction books can de easy or challenging.
Combining fiction and non fiction books is what is currently best working for me. One of the reason is that I am getting more emotionally involved with fiction books than before. I have difficulties to leave the characters I have been following in the book. I found out that reading non-fiction after a fiction book is a good way to cool down. Another reason is that fiction and non fiction books can be very complementary. For instance, last year I read both an excellent biography of Mary Stuart and Schiller’s play about the Scottish queen. I had a much better understanding of the play as I had already a good knowledge of the characters and could even notice some places where the play is not true to historical facts.
What about you? Do you prefer reading fiction or non-fiction books? Or do you try to combine both?


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