Fact or Fiction?
When you first pull open the door of a bookstore, do you migrate towards the fiction corner or the non-fiction shelves first?
A while back, The Guardian posted an article on the changing tide of readership, citing non-fiction to be the new darling of publishers and readers around the world. It makes sense with the great influx of self-help books and celebrity “autobiographies.” And the memoir genre also possesses a large percentage of today’s non-fiction bestsellers.
Traditionally, I’m a fiction kind of girl. I grew up in a house with a grandmother who could spin riveting tales out of breath and imagination, stories that would split your sides with laughter. The adventures of Snaggletooth Annie the witch and Blood-drops the side-kick cat. Or her stories of Clamboat Clara chugging ’round the river bend. Or even the spine-tingling [frequent] renditions of “Who Ate My Liver?”
I can still remember the feeling, not daring to breathe as the mysterious shadow slowly climbed the stairs – step by step – calling out all along the way, “Who . . . ate . . . my . . . liver?” Oh, the goosebumps. And the startle when Mommom would grab me just as the creature was rattling the doorknob.
Those stories were painfully real to me as a child. And today, I still take in well-written fiction in the same way: goosebumps, wide eyes, fingers gripping the binding. Good fiction can breathe life onto the page.
Now I find myself reading more and more non-fiction. I search out biographies, journalistic essays, memoirs.
Fiction will always remain my first and truest love, but I’m falling for non-fiction more each day, filling my to-read lists with books like Black Lamb and Grey Falcon, Speak, Memory, and McCarthy’s Bar.
Which do you prefer? Has your taste changed over the years?
Check out The Guardian‘s latest list of “The 100 Greatest Non-Fiction Books.”