Two Faces of My Reading Life by Maureen Lang
May 9, 2012 5 Comments
I love escaping into a story world that will allow me to experience all kinds of adventure, challenge, love, and growth. Inspirational novels take me a level deeper and even allow me to feel all over again the astonishing love my creator has for me.
Immersing ourselves in a well-written novel is experiential, allowing us to feel things ordinary lives probably won’t provide. I’m actually grateful for that. I’m like a kid on a roller coaster, wanting to experience danger but in a strictly controlled environment. Safe at home, a solid roof over my head, the love of my life at my side, I possess all the bravery required to face nearly any character’s angst.
But I also read non-fiction. My non-fiction reading goal is a common one: the pursuit of knowledge. I’m either researching material for my novels or have come across a topic that I find fascinating and want to learn more about.
My two faces of reading demand two different methods. I’ve never in my life been tempted to take notes while reading a novel. I may admire the author’s talent, and I’ve even been known to underline effective displays of craft for future reference. But when I’m reading fiction I’m hoping to be emotionally stirred. If I learn anything other than seeing an example of fine writing—and I often do, about history or industries or places or whatever the author has nicely fit into the story—it’s a bonus.
Non-fiction, on the other hand, is all about learning. I take copious notes, and if I have the opportunity to share with someone else whatever it is I’m learning, so much the better. Facts tend to stick when I share them with others.
Perhaps there is a poll out there somewhere that breaks down the reading habits of self-professed avid readers. Do the most voracious readers tend to read more fiction than non-fiction? In my own sphere of readers, the most avid readers tend to read fiction while those who read less often gravitate mainly toward non-fiction—informational/self-help/memoirs. Often non-fiction books take longer to get through, because the information takes longer to process. Do those who favor non-fiction feel they have two faces, too, if they cross over to fiction?
(For more on this topic see our own Kathi Macias’s take on fiction vs. non-fiction, here)
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