Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Fiction or Nonfiction

I typically choose nonfiction; though you will find at least one of the books among the list I will be providing here shortly that is fiction, and that book just so happens to be the longest of them all. As for the rest of them, I’m pretty sure they are all nonfiction, assuming James Frey’s book is still considered that…HA! I just can not motivate myself to spend time reading if it is fiction. Part of me likes to think you can’t truly “learn” much from a fiction book, though people usually like to try to argue that one with me…HA! I see nothing wrong with people reading fiction; I just think the motivation to a reader behind a fiction book and a nonfiction book are different.

I was thinking about it the other day, and I think people read fiction more for the entertainment and the simple pleasure of reading. People who sit down with a fiction book are planning to just relax and fall into the story. It is almost like an escape to take in order to take a break from the real world, even when the fiction story is based on the real world experience, though it specifically may have never happened. It is almost like getting into a fiction story allows the reader to be someone else for a while. That’s all fine with me.

When it comes to nonfiction, I believe the drive is discovery. Hopes of discovering something new, learning something, making you think. Yes, fiction can make you think too, but I feel the thinking nonfiction can provide is more of a way of thinking to relate the ideas to one’s own life or life in general. If it is nonfiction, then it is real in that it HAS happened or it IS happening, meaning life can relate for sure. I like the application that can come with nonfiction. I like reading and being amazed at what I can find in the printed pages.

I really have never been a “big reader.” It isn’t that I don’t like to read; well, maybe I didn’t growing up, but it’s more that I am not a real fast reader, and especially nowadays, when I read, because I want to highlight and make note of so much as I’m reading along, that that slows me down too. I’m usually a pretty active person, so sitting down to just read a book is hard for me to make myself do. However, I’ve found over the past year or so that I like the idea of setting aside time at night to read a book. I have already gotten through one book this year and nearing the end of my second. Now that’s quite the progress of reading for me…HA!

I have always admired readers. I have much respect for people who take time to read. If you want to gain respect in my book, let me know you’re a reader. I believe reading can be such an educating tool! My older brother and my mom have always been “readers,” and I’ve always admired that. Besides those two, none of the other four of us in the family really cared to read, until recent years as I and my sister have started up on it. However, both of us are more into writing than reading, but we still can get ourselves to sit down and read some from time to time too. Then just in the past week, I found out one of the ladies at work is a BIG TIME reader. I have always thought was really cool and I viewed her as an intelligent (not to mention hilarious) lady, so her being a reader didn’t surprise me, but encouraged my already respect for her. She let me on to her love for reading and we both ended up admitting our obsessions with book stores.

I used to say if I had a credit card to max out at any store I would max it out at CompUSA, but if you asked me lately, it would have changed. Now it would be at Half Price Books. Have you ever been to one? If you live a major city in Texas, they most likely have one in your city. They are in a limited number of states, but you can check for your area here. There like 15 of them here in the DFW area. I’ve been to four of them now, including the big headquarters one in downtown Dallas, thanks to this weekend with Holly and Amber! These stores are literally AMAZING! Talk about cheap books! They beat Barnes & Noble in my book any day! My only complaint is that they do not have their inventory in a database, so to see if they have a specific book you are looking for, you must go check the shelves. And while I am not saying that is a problem because I’m lazy, it is just a struggle for a non-fiction reader because their nonfiction books are shelved by “subject” and sometimes you have no idea what “subject” a specific book would be shelved under. I have had this problem recently when trying to find the book PostSecret: Extraordinary Confessions from Ordinary Lives by Frank Warren. I finally just gave in yesterday and bought it online, so I can’t WAIT for it to come in!

But other than that one complaint, Half Price Books are GREAT! You can even get way fun and cheap board games there…gotta love it! I have found myself over the past couple months spending a lot of time browsing books at different Half Price Book stores. And I must confess, I hardly ever leave empty-handed, even when I’m fully aware of the fact that I have STACKS of books already at home that I “can’t wait” to read. You just can’t pass up some books though when they are so cheap and you “really want it.”

So here is where I sit currently. I have already read one book this year that I LOVED, and that was Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller. I’m currently on my second book for the year and it is Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith by Anne Lamott. Mr. Miller has been compared with Ms. Lamott, but I have thus far still been more of a fan of Miller, but Lamott is still not bad. I just haven’t found her as funny as I had heard she was, but who knows, I still might see, as I haven’t finished it. I am on page 199 out of 272, so I should HOPEFULLY finish this one soon. Then I can move on to another off one of my few stacks of books that I “really want to read;” many of which have been purchased in the past couple months.

My problem with books though is I often start them, and then either get distracted with something else that has redirected my attention in life, leaving me to forget about the book and it will keep it’s bookmark on that same page for months and even years. As you will soon see, many of my books in my “stacks of books to read” already have bookmarks in them, because I have started them at one point and stopped reading them for one reason or another. In most these cases, though they still have the bookmark in them reminding me where I left off, I will just have to start them over again anyways, because it has been so long since I had started it that I have forgot everything that I had already read. Oh well…

I really am really excited to read just about every last one of the books I have in stacks waiting to be read; I just wish I was a more disciplined reader. However, I do have plans to set a reading schedule for this summer, as I will have no homework because I will have no classes, just internship, this summer. So here are the books I have waiting to be read.

And I’ve always thought you can tell a lot about a person by the types of books that interest them and they read…

(in alphabetical order by author)
Tuesdays with Morrie: an old man, a young man, and life’s greatest lesson by Mitch Albom
How to Get Published – Guaranteed by Chevy Alden [has my bookmark in it on page 65]
Let’s Roll by Lisa Beamer [this is a book about 9-11]
Blood Brother: 33 Reasons My Brother Scott Peterson is Guilty by Anne Bird
Finding God: When You Don’t Believe in God by Jack Erdmann
A Million Little Pieces by James Frey [has my bookmark in it on page 23]
I Know This Much is True by Wally Lamb
Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott
Beauty Beyond the Ashes: Choosing Hope after Crisis by Cheryl McGuinness [this is a book about 9-11]
Crazymakers by Paul Meier & Robert Wise
Searching for God Knows What by Donald Miller [has my bookmark in it on page 61]
Through Painted Deserts by Donald Miller [has my bookmark in it on page 1, but that is because I had read the first five pages already that are the author’s note…HA!]
“Are You There Alone”: The Unspeakable Crime of Andrea Yates by Suzanne O’Malley [should have a bookmark in it, as I started it when I checked it out at the library a couple years ago, but I don’t know where I was from back then, so I’ll have to start it over]
Live Your Best Life: A Treasury of Wisdom, Wit, Advice, Interviews, and Inspiration from O, the Oprah Magazine by the Oprah Magazine editors and authors
Socrates Café: A Fresh Taste of Philosophy by Christopher Phillips
Quarterlife Crisis: The Unique Challenges of Life in Your Twenties by Alexandra Robbins & Abby Wilner
YOU The Owner’s Manual: An Insider’s Guide to the Body That Will Make you Healthier and Younger by Michael Roizen & Mehmet Oz
Ten Things I Wish I’d Known—Before I Went Out into the Real World by Maria Shriver
The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel [should have a bookmark in it, as I started it a long time ago, but I don’t know where I was from back then, so I’ll have to start it over]
The Case for Faith by Lee Strobel [should have a bookmark in it, as I started it a long time ago, but I don’t know where I was from back then, so I’ll have to start it over]
Prozac Nation by Elizabeth Wurtzel [has my bookmark in it on page 10]

1 comment:

Holly said...

Great post! I love stuff about books, as I, too, am an avid reader. I enjoy both fiction and non-fiction books. And, I always used to say to my mom, "How come you ALWAYS read fiction books?" and she'd say, as you mentioned in your post, that it was to escape from "the real world." That makes sense.

I think there is a lot to learn from certain fiction books (i.e., The Da Vinci Code; Angels & Demons), though. It just depends on what it is you are looking for to abstractly apply the story's lessons/morals/outcomes to -- metaphorically. Some people view The Bible as a total work of fiction, for example, yet there are many great lessons to be gleaned from it.

I like the a lot of those books on your list. As I told you this weekend, I have read "Tuesdays w/ Morrie," which is a page-turner -- read it in one afternoon. lol. From your list, I would especially like to read "Bird By Bird...," "How to Get Published," and "Socrates...".

Ah, the joy of books... :)