Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Fiction vs Nonfiction

I just can't keep it straight anymore. What's true? What's not? They say the truth is stranger than fiction (but anyone who says that has never read Jonathan Carroll). I find it hard to tell which is which these days. What's the world coming to?

I was helping a patron today who was looking for book-groupy books. I showed her our book group section and started pointing out a few of my favorites. Then she said "Is there anything like Unbroken by Laura Hildebrand, I loved that book". I showed her the nonfiction books in our book group section. It's interesting that quite a few people have noticed that our Thursday evening book group choices this summer have all been nonfiction. We didn't plan it that way; it just happened. But it does seem like we are discussing more nonfiction lately.

One of my recent book group choices was Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls. It was a "true-life novel" whatever that means. It is a fictionalized biography of the author's grandmother. And it read like a biography (albeit a good one!). Walls' previous book was the bestseller The Glass Castle. It was a memoir about her unconventional upbringing with eccentric parents. And it read like a novel. There were dozens of those "it couldn't possibly be true" moments. Yet it is a memoir (nonfiction). Hmm.

I read more fiction than nonfiction. And I do like my nonfiction to read like a novel in most cases. I just don't know if I can tell the difference anymore.

1 comment:

Linda K. said...

I've always been chiefly a fiction reader but lately I've been reading lots of nonfiction books, especially for book discussions. Leafing Thru the Pages (LTTP)is a members book discussion group that meets at the Morton Arboretum in their beautiful library. I've found that I now enjoy nonfiction discussions more than I do fiction discussions. It just seems like there's more to talk about, even if the nonfiction writer occasionally strays into fictional territory.

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