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.

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Should You Read Blogs? – Cons

“You can’t just turn on creativity like a faucet. You have to be in the right mood. What mood is that? Last-minute panic.” — Bill Watterson

So, yesterday’s Blogging 101 assignment was to write about your Ideal Reader. It got me thinking if reading blogs were worth our time at all. Of course, I wrote about the pros yesterday, but reading blogs, especially too much, is not always a good idea. And here’s why:

1. Blogs Can Complement Books and Press, Not Replace Them

I can’t find the exact link, but there was an article in either Forbes or Inc that went like this. Value of information between a column article and a book can be compared by the amount of time spent in researching them. A columnist in a respected magazine spends almost a month to publish an article, whereas it takes at least a year to write a book. So the information you get from reading an article is worth a month’s research and book is at least a year’s research and labor condensed into few hundred pages. How does blog posts compare to that? I can’t say a definitive answer, but definitely lower. For instance, I have been writing one article for Cracked.com for the last month and a half. (On that note, Yeah baby!) Even the images require a lot of research. But I’ve been known to write one post in one morning, drafting, image research, editing and everything. Which is why…

2. Not All Blogs Are Professional

Including this one. We live in a world of information overload, almost to the point of becoming several degree of autistic. (I think this is where you laugh now. Or cry, I don’t know.) With this predicament, it’s hard to spend time–let alone commit to follow–blogs that have:

a) poor spelling and design,

b) uninteresting content,

c) awfully lot TMI about their personal life, and

d) disorganized writing that doesn’t always reach the standard of journalism or content writing.

Sorry, folks. I’m also guilty of these. But we’re all learning, am I right?

3. Most Blogs Have No Strategy (Ideally They Should Either Go Pro or Evangelic)

When I think about good blogs that accumulated regular followers, only Seth Godin and Maria Popova comes to mind. The dude was an idea machine and a marketing genius. I recommend his TED talk video on what makes ideas go viral. What he did was go full throttle in giving marketing and blogging advice and becoming an expert in that field. Maria Popova, on the other hand, collected inspiring quotes and information bits on her blogs Brain Pickings. She spread out any new discovery about authors (some of which she uncovered herself) and passionately advocated the importance of following famous author’s advices on life, writing and happiness. These people are well-renowned now, because what they provided have been good values that readers mostly expect from a blog: either to be a pro, and if not, relay good information like an evangelist.

4. Unfettered Reading Yields Less Productivity

While reading other people’s blogs and getting touch is vital, (trust me, it makes all the difference) few people have told me that they spend too much time reading other people’s blogs and not writing anything on their own. Let’s face it, you’re probably reading this because you’re a word nerd and you dig reading AND writing. So make sure to balance the two and write as much as you read. I for one use the WordPress mobile app on my smartphone and the Reader is pretty efficient–it shows previews of the posts from the blogs you are subscribed to. I think I should structure my time to keep tabs on the people I follow, get inspired, leave a few comments and get back to my own writing. I’m still working on this one, so anyone’s tips will be appreciated.

So these are four cons I have came up with. If you looked for Blogging101 exercises, today’s assignments were to experiment with the themes of my blog. Don’t freak out if the visual appearance of this blog changes suddenly.

Disclaimer: I’m neither an expert, nor a newbie. What’s stated above are purely my thoughts–my sloppy morning thoughts. So critical thinking and commenting is advised. In other words, call out my bullshits, if you find any, deal?