Fiction vs. Non-fiction

I had an interesting conversation this week. I was talking to an acquaintance, not a really good friend but somebody I know. She was talking about an upcoming trip to a warm climate. I said, only half joking, "you can take my new book and read it while you're chilling out on the beach."

"Is it non-fiction?" she asked. "Because I don't read very much and when I do, I only read non-fiction because I want to learn about something."

This is so different from my thinking that I can't get it out of my head. I mean, I understand the idea but I personally don't feel the same energy when I'm reading non-fiction. Obviously there are exceptions - there are many amazing non-fiction books but in general it just feels static to me. I read fiction as a sort of escapism because anything can happen.

Fiction writers challenge the reader by putting out their thoughts, opinions, and crazy dreams. A story isn't just a story, there is usually an underlying meaning, a philosophy, a message that the writer is trying to get across. A well-written novel makes me do self-analysis and challenge my personal ideals to try to understand the message of the story.

This is over-simplifying but I feel that with non-fiction I learn about a specific topic and with fiction I learn about myself. I guess it just comes down to why you read.

Glenn Seerup