Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Reading non-fiction is weird (and also kinda wonderful)

So for a good many years of my life, I was sure that non-fiction was a crazy genre and no one should ever read it. As a kid I could never get through a whole non-fiction book, and I considered them to be for adults who spent their evenings discussing politics, the price of gas and the economy while they drank red wine with their colleagues. (Please excuse my ten-year-old self.) Fiction was much more appealing, with the dragons and wardrobes and adventures through time and space. 


In high school, my opinion of it didn't change much. Sure, I recognised that my view of non-fiction was just a little narrow-minded, but that didn't encourage me to start reading it. I spent enough time stuffing my brain with facts and figures as it was, and every time I went to read something that had a lack of magic I'd find myself trying to figure out how to in-text reference it and watching the page numbers so I could refer to it in my essay. (And obviously that was about as much fun as driving a mallet through a dolphin's brain.) I needed the escape that fiction provided, compared to feeling like I was still doing homework. 

This year, I haven't had much formal education beyond a few French classes. As a result, I've found myself more and more attracted to non-fiction and all the wonderful knowledge I can extract from it. I'm a student at heart (despite my issues with our education system, which is a whole other post) and I love to learn, love the never-ending game of knowing. I've learned so much this year about topics I love, whereas before I was so busy trying to get essays done to bother with hurting my poor brain with yet more knowledge. 

I've learned about bees and beekeeping, about China and Mongolia and genetically modified organisms and insects. I've learned about the conflict in the Middle East, about women's rights and feminism in both developing and developed countries, about surviving a plane crash in the Andes. And that's pretty cool. I don't know if I'll be able to continue with my self-education this year, but I'm looking forwards to the day when I'm no longer in school and once again feel the tug to pick up a non-fiction book. 

Do you read much non-fiction? Do you feel school has ever discouraged you from reading non-fiction in your free time? 

8 comments:

  1. School totally killed non-fiction for me. I'm just starting to go back to it, now that I'm doing very little reading for my classes (other than some science-y technical reading). However, if I'm going for nonfiction, I'd rather go for podcasts or audiobooks than paper books. There's something about sitting down to read a non-fiction story (unless it's something that REALLY interests me) that makes my brain shut down.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Man, I'm so sorry :/ Non-fiction really is wonderful once you're in the right headspace, I think. Podcasts are really excellent, I'm finding, especially for the drive into school. I hope you're able to find a non-fiction book that works well for you!

      Delete
  2. I don't read much non fiction. It's not that I wasn't interested in reading it... fiction books were just able to capture my attention more. During my Secondary school days, I liked to read the novel extracts from my english textbook. I saw extracts from Chinese Cinderella and I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and found them quite fascinating. I don't know if I'll be able to get myself a non fiction book this year but I hope I do!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Fair enough, fair enough. Those book sound quite interesting, I'll have to search them up and give them a go. Good luck with finding a non-fiction book this year!

      Delete
  3. So I don't read a lot of nonfiction outside of what my college classes require. But I do like reading some non-fic in small doses when I have time. I agree with you. There's so much to learn!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hahaha, yep, it's almost as if we could spend our whole lives learning and not know everything...

      Delete
  4. I've become a lot more interested in non-fiction since I got into college! There are so many amazing non-fiction books out there that are so fascinating and important. One of my favorites I read recently was Virgin by Hanne Blank, and right now I'm reading Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. It is also great!

    I don't think school ever discouraged me from reading non-fiction. Though I didn't always like what we were assigned, sometimes they were really good, and totally made me more interested than ever in certain subjects. I think the thing is that sometimes you don't get assigned books that actually fascinate you, and like most books, you need to be completely drawn in by the subject matter in order to enjoy it. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so glad college has encouraged you to read more non-fiction, Heather! Thanks for the recs, I'll have to check them out.

      That's really good. I never really had trouble with what we were assigned, it was more that I didn't have the mental energy or motivation to read non-fiction in my free time. That is an excellent point, though :)

      Delete

Feel free to leave your thoughts and opinions! I'd love to hear from you. Please note that I reserve the right to delete comments that I think are hurtful.