The Non-Fiction struggle

Reading non-fiction is not something that I have ever struggled to do. I love reading non-fiction! Lately, my inner struggle has become “am I reading too much non-fiction?”

Which is completely ridiculous. Read what you want, right?

Currently, a full third of my reading has been non-fiction. I’ve been deep diving into true crime (thanks to a full blown obsession with the My Favorite Murder podcast – shoutout to any lurking murderinos!), fueling my Bette and Joan addiction after Feud, and indulging in biographies whenever I get the chance.

I’ve been wondering about this draw to non-fiction – why am I suddenly reaching for these books back-to-back? I think reading about history or politics, women in the world, or the intensely personal endeavors of those who willingly share their stories, are my way of making sense of this crazy-ass world we find ourselves in. It lets me search out little glimmers of hope in human history, or shows me how we got here, which in a weird way is comforting?

The problems are twofold:

  1. People ask me for book recommendations a lot. And most people don’t read non-fiction on purpose.
  2. It feels weirdly wrong to read non-fiction back-to-back wherever possible. Especially in the summer?

In terms of the first “problem”, I’m kind of left scrambling to come up with titles that people might be interested in – some of the fiction I’ve read this year has been middling at best. I’ve resorted to telling people about books I haven’t read based on reviews I’ve read from those voices that I trust.

And when it comes to the second “issue”, well I’m my own worst enemy in this case but isn’t that always the way with those things that truly stump us?

I know that this is also completely ridiculous, but there’s something about summer that is supposed to scream fun (I actually hate summer so I don’t know why I feel like I need to play by summer’s rules)! I don’t think anyone has issues dragging out massive non-fiction titles when the weather is nasty and we’re all holing up at home under blankets. But there’s something very off about heaving those same titles to whatever is your summer destination of choice. Summer feels like the time to be somewhat frivolous about reading and this year, I guess I’m not feeling it.

I don’t really know why I’m writing a blog post about this! Partly, this inner battle I’ve engaged in is just a symptom of the larger issue of my on-hold life. Partly, I need blog content.

Just know that every time I need to choose the next book I am wracked with indecision and guilt about wanting to choose non-fiction, and feeling pressure to read fiction (which feels in scarce supply in my place right now). But also, I’ve read some really great non-fiction.

When did reading become so fraught?



11 thoughts on “The Non-Fiction struggle

  1. I gravitate towards fiction and most of what I read is fiction but after reading some excellent non-fiction lately I’ve decided I need to read more of it.

  2. Non-fiction is spinach for me: tasty, full of nutrients, good for me. Fiction is carbs: quick, snacky, easily consumed. I max out on non-fiction (as I do spinach) and too much fiction leaves me a bit over-filled without feeling enriched (like eating a bag of chips). The solution? Balance.

  3. We are each half of a perfect bookworm whole. I struggle with non-fiction and if given a chance will choose almost anything fictional over reality- which tells you a lot about my personality.

    p.s. You do you and let the non-fiction flow!

  4. I need non-fiction to be as fiction like as possible. As Anne Bogle would say I need “strong narrative drive”. I would love to know some of your top “spinach” picks!

  5. Pingback: No one let me back in a bookstore for a while | The Paperback Princess

  6. Pingback: Lake Reads: Summer 2017 | The Paperback Princess

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