Fiction vs. Non-Fiction: Which one should I read?

This is a question that comes to my mind often. Obviously I like reading fiction. It lets you have an adventure, or a catharsis at least. Non-fiction? Not so much. Here are their quick pros and cons.

Fiction: Pros

Fiction gets consumed easily, because our brains are wired to listen to stories. Thanks, evolution!

By reading character descriptions, reader actually learns to decode human behavior and improves social skills.

Good novel re-wires the reader’s brain into an altered state, at least for few days. I think it lets you keep the author’s narration voice for a while.

– By reading classics, you can learn of intimate details of people from different time and place, and realize how common idiosyncrasies of human nature are.

– Because the story grabs you, you’re highly likely to read it in bed without dozing off.

Fiction: Cons

– There are so many fiction books that it’s hard to find good ones.

– OK. With all that said, to what extent is reading a book different than watching a movie? I mean, some films are better than the books, because one author can overlook some aspects. (Some books, not all)

– Fiction doesn’t give much factual or insightful information like non-fiction.

Non-Fiction: Pros

– Made under rigorous research, so usually gives you in-depth knowledge of a particular field.

– Can contribute to the economic, entrepreneurial aspect of your life. When’s the last time Anna Karenina helped you earn more?

– Personal development and autobiographical non-fiction lets you learn from the giants and get inspired.

– Timely research from cutting-edge field catered to the mass. And still better reads than research papers.

– If you sell it after you read it, there’s a higher chance someone will buy it.

Non-Fiction: Cons

– Damn it, fell asleep reading Bill Bryson’s¬†Short History of Everything¬†again.

– Is text really the right medium to explain scientific concepts? Mendeleev proved even tables can do better–in his dream.

– Speaking of tables, the only protagonist to tie all these mumbo-jumbo is — the Table of Contents.

What do you think? Agree with my list? I’m, of course, going to uncharted water when I talk about non-fiction. I don’t read them much. So I’ll appreciate your input on non-fiction or general feedback. Muchos gracias.


Should You Read Blogs? – Pros


Question: For a $9.99, would you prefer to buy a book or subscribe to a newspaper for 3-months?

There is no right choice in this and it depends a lot on what kind of infromation you are looking to get. But the value is same–you want information and you want to look smart.

Hey, hold on, then. What about blogs? Would you spend any time on reading these things? I think you do, chief. And here’s why:

1. Blogs show individual perspectives.
If you browse around, almost every blog has an About Me section. The authors introduce and express themselves to connect with readers. Stephen King wrote writing is “telepathy, of course”. So the advantage of blogs is that the authors not only do telepathy with you and show their perspectives, they do it with extensive visual aids and other media.

2. Blog Authors Are Available to Engage
Remember when you read that cool book and you wrote to the author, but he didn’t reply back in the last five years? Well, it happens. As Neal Stephenson puts it, authors need isolation to produce their work*. (Also apparently, they are not as smart as they seem in the book-telepathy because the books are a result of countless reiterations and redactions. But I know Neal is just being modest :)) Well, with blog authors, you can totally ask questions and get answers. Why did you write this? OMG, my interest is [INSERT POINTLESS HOBBY], too. We should totes hang out. Etc etc.

3. Free Info / Entertainment
You knew this–ye ain’t gotta pay a dime. And while some blogs–present company included–are amateurs, there are tons of dedicated and high-quality blogs out there. Basically, the line between blogs and online magazines are blurring. So you have that free information coming out from passionate people. (They might apply ad-based revenue model, though.) And because of the who’d give a damn about your blog environment, many bloggers have taken a comedic attitude. Their blogs are humorous, because that’s how you distinguish yourself from countless other ‘About Me’s. It’s a tough world out there–but hey, the result is free entertainment for readers!

4. It’s Basically a Twitter With No Limit
Frustrated at squeezing your idea into 140 characters onTwitter? WordPress has become (or it always was) just like Twitter, just with no limit. You can follow, favorite and even retweet reblog someone. So the world is yours, go crazy. Found interesting people? Follow them. Like someone’s post? “Like” it. Jealous of someone’s post? Reblog it. Always on the go? Get a mobile app, like me.

5. You Can Join / Create a Community
The best part of blogging is that, while reading and following other blogs, you can have your own blog, too. The real reason our ancestors invented writing is to contact others. (Don’t eat the cowberries, and Ugg’s an asshole. Hahaha.) Now the technology has sophisticated it to extreme, we can not only leave long notes and hope someone reads it, but also find other people’s notes and ask them about it. This leads to dialogues that help form a community. Finally, you can find people with common interest, be it scuba diving, emo poetry or self-deprecating humor.

* – It’s a lot easier to stalk follow authors now, though. Stephen King now has a Twitter. But I for one follow my favorites on Goodreads.