Fiction vs. Nonfiction

June 9, 2011 § 6 Comments

Despite my love for a good character-study (hooray for Henry James!) and my guilty pleasure of historical fiction, I gravitate toward non-fiction for my every-day reading.


You can keep your Pride & Prejudice, Harry Potter, and Twilight; I’d rather read a good memoir or biography any day. When I walk into a bookstore or a library, I head for the cookbooks or crafting books immediately. Then to the foreign-language section. Then to the biographies. Then to the sheet music section. Then to the children’s section.

We’re taught to read non-fiction at a young age – my first reports in school were on people (Clara Barton, Florence Nightingale, etc.) and on places (Ohio, Louisiana, Austrailia). I read fiction in school, but all I did was take quizzes on the content until I was in junior high and had to write a book report. At age 12, I read Doris Day’s autobiography of my own free will. Twice.

That being said, my favorite book is definitely Little Women. I read it when I was about 13, and Meg became my hero. She learned about responsibility, good friends, and vanity – all issues I was dealing with. “What about Jo?” you say? I think Jo is annoying.

My picks for non-fiction pleasure reading:

Please Don’t Eat the Daisies by Jean Kerr

A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle

My Life in France by Julia Child

Puttin’ On the Ritz: Fred Astaire and the Fine Art of Panache, A Biography by Peter Levinson

The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson

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§ 6 Responses to Fiction vs. Nonfiction

  • You crack me up Sarah.
    If I was a faithful reader, I would easily become a biography consumer.
    I have to tell you though, I burst into laughter when I read your comments concerning “Little Women”. I have definitely taken the “Which Little Woman Are You?” quiz… more then once, and I always end up being Jo. Not to mention she is the character that I most relate to.Too funny!
    At least we share the same favorite book, which makes me happy.
    Cheers to the Sarahs’!

  • Clever Days says:

    Yes, my sister and my mother both relate to Jo, and they definitely read Jo’s Boys and Little Men with vigor. I really couldn’t get into those two books. (Although, I love, love, love Louisa May Alcott. Remind me to let you borrow my anthology of her best novellas & short stories!)

  • Bethany T says:

    I love Devil in the White City and My Life in France. I try to alternate fiction and non-ficiton when I’m reading, and Erik Larson is always a great choice.

  • Clever Days says:

    Bethany, I may have recommended this to you already, but you should read Eiffel’s Tower by Jill Jonnes. I think you’d like it.

  • Cathie says:

    The more I read biographies, the more I want to read them. Have you ever read any of Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s books? I think you would enjoy them. It’s been ages, but I read them when I was about your age.

  • Clever Days says:

    I think my mom has Lindbergh’s Gift from the Sea, but I’ve never read any of her stuff. Perhaps I shall borrow it when I visit Mom & Dad…. Thanks for the recommendation!

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