Can Fiction and Non-Fiction Books Coexist in a Reader's Life?
Due to the prevalence of smartphones and the internet, you wouldn't find many people reading books these days. On the other hand, those avid readers who love devouring books and knowledge are divided between fiction and non-fiction preferences. If you're one of them, you must be familiar with the guilt of buying new books despite having tons of unread books and no space left on your bookshelf.
When getting a new book, you first have to decide whether to get a fiction or non-fiction book. Most readers aren't sure about this decision because they're too comfortable in their genre and have difficulty getting into something different.
So the real debate among most readers is, can fiction and non-fiction books coexist in a reader's life? This post will clear up some confusion and help you develop good reading habits.
For those of you, who are new to reading, let's understand both categories first.
Fiction is a literature work that's created by the author's imagination. It can be short stories, poetry, novels, stage plays, or fairy tales. It's entirely up to the author to choose these books' characters, locations, and events. Some authors write fiction based on real characters and places, while some create fictional towns for their stories.
You will find many genres in fiction, such as thriller, horror, crime, science, historical fiction, rom-com, etc. In most sci-fi novels, authors use real scientific research to create fascinating stories and engage readers. Even if they used actual research, these books are completely fictional because all the events and stories are made-up. The way the author combines their imagination with real-life scenarios, writing things that people want to hear, is what makes fiction books so captivating.
Sometimes authors withhold key information to reveal it in the end, to keep readers glued to the story, or leave their book on a cliffhanger. When you start reading a fiction book, you can never know how things will end, increasing your curiosity.
Not every fiction book you read is about fantasy. There are many novels where authors base their books on personal experiences, making them more relatable for the readers. For example, Emma from Jane Austen—despite being fiction—was something most readers could relate to, and they still can. Some other renowned names in fiction authors include JK Rowling, Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, Charles, Dickens, and the list goes on. You must have read their books sometime in your life, whether for a school play, literature class, or just for fun.
How Fiction Books Help You
Sense of Understanding through Imagination
There's scientific evidence showing that imagining stories can activate the regions of the brain responsible for understanding the world and others around you from a new perspective. These stories, though completely made up, are inspired by real-life situations. They help you put yourself in others' shoes and develop empathy. When you read about someone's feelings and emotions, you're feeling everything with them. This explains why all the novels have made you cry so many times!
Disengaging From the Real World
You can't expect your brain to function 24/7; everyone needs to disengage to rest their cognitive abilities and come back feeling better. Just like your body needs rest after a tiring day, your mind does too.
Most people don't realize this, and they bombard their brains with news, social media, and other real-world things, overworking their brains only to wake up exhausted the following day. Research shows that reading puts the brain into a trance-like, pleasurable state which brings the same health benefits as meditation and relaxation.
Reading a light-hearted, fictional book will help your mind create a distraction and release stress from the body. So the next time you're feeling stressed and overwhelmed, you know what to do.
Book Recommendation: Three Brothers from Virginia
What better what to spark your creativity than reading someone else's creative piece? Fiction books are pure art; the way authors build a plot and gradually bring twists and turns, keeping readers on edge is genius.
Build Vocabulary to Express Yourself
There's no better feeling than finding the right words to express yourself and connect with other people; fiction can help you. Although non-fiction is filled with literature and meaningful language, it's the fictional books that help you build a practical vocabulary that you use in your life. A study found that fiction readers had larger vocab than non-fiction readers because fictional books use more variety in their words.
Non-fiction is strictly restricted to real events and incidents; they aim to inform and educate people about things that exist/existed. While fiction involves stories, non-stories revolve around truth and facts. These books include biographies, autobiographies, essays, medical books, research and history, suggestions, opinions, philosophy, etc.
Even though these books are based on true stories, the author still uses various techniques to make their work more appealing to the readers. Writing a compelling non-fiction piece is more complicated because the authors need to keep everything factual. They leverage descriptive language to portray events in a powerful way to provoke emotions and feelings, showing the true creativity of the authors.
People usually read these books to learn about significant historical events, medical and health-related facts, opinions, or suggestions. One of the most popular genres these days is self-help books. Even those who are not a fan of reading read such books to find motivation or hope.
How Non-Fiction Books Help You
Explore Deeper Meaning of Life
From autobiographies to history books, authors mostly describe the challenges and experiences of life. Reading about someone else's struggles helps you find more profound meaning and purpose in your life. These books explain the power a person has to change their reality and work towards their goals.
You can avoid pitfalls and mistakes other people make, learn lessons from others' failures, and get inspired by their accomplishments. Many readers find non-fiction books the most fruitful genre because they change how you look at things around you.
Appreciate the Things Around You
When you read about the struggling journey of a person, you appreciate the things you take for granted. Historical books like Civil War are thought-provoking and influential; they motivate you to change your struggles into strengths.
You can experience hundreds of years in only a hundred pages. Learning such things help you gain knowledge and skills that are integral for a successful life.
Self-development and self-help books are a billion-dollar industry in the US alone. Reports show that the sales of these books have increased 11% CAGR from 2013 to 2019, and even more so during and post-pandemic. These books help individuals set personal goals and show effective ways to achieve them. They talk about the realities of life, both good and ugly, and explain how to pick up yourself after a major setback. Even if you don't read books, having a practical self-help book can change many things in your life.
Can They Coexist? Yes!
There's no reason a non-fiction reader can't love fiction books and vice versa. It's nothing but a misconception that you won't find other books interesting if you love a particular genre. It's only a matter of finding the right book. These books go beyond the stereotypes of being "too boring" or "unrealistic" and offer a lot more than you expect.
Having the right balance of fiction and non-fiction books is essential for every reader, and the benefits are endless. Some of those benefits are:
Enriched Reading Experience
Nonfiction offers factual context, and fiction allows you to feel and live through those events. They both offer an enhanced reading experience, enabling you to comprehend the story profoundly.
You'll find many fiction and non-fiction books based on similar plots. Reading them together will offer more context, and you can feel the influence of both books on each other. Pair factual with literary fiction or medical books with sci-fi to enrich both experiences.
Widening the Scope of Reading
Whether you choose complementing fiction and non-fiction or contrasting, it will widen the scope of your reading. These books offer the best of both worlds, and you can tap into a sea of knowledge, facts, emotions, feelings, skills, and other things that enhance the quality of life.
Enhanced Cognitive Abilities
Reading just fiction to escape reality is not practical, and you can't overwhelm your mind with factual content. It's important to draw a line and read different books according to your feelings. For example, reading non-fiction during the mornings can help you remain motivated at work, and reading something fictional after work will offer relaxation. Constantly exposing your mind to similar things can limit you from using its full potential.
Healthy Reading Habits
If you want to have healthy reading habits, you need to have both types of books in your collection. Obsessively reading crime books or fantasy stories can negatively affect your mind. Research shows that readers may experience slower memory decline in old age than non-readers. To truly experience these benefits, it's essential to have healthy reading habits.
Buy Fiction and Non-fiction Books Online
Now that you know that it's possible (and beneficial) to read both fictional and non-fiction books, treat yourself to some new books from our online store. Our platform offers a 3D experience of reading books so you can enjoy complementing music while reading the books.
Andy Lazris is a man of many talents; along with writing interesting and captivating fiction and non-fiction, he has also composed songs for books. Whether you're looking for historical fiction books or Civil War book online, experience them in a new way. Read the review of his book The Adventures of Yadel the Dreidel here. For more details, check out our online fiction book stores or contact us.