On Books and Reading: (esp. Fiction and Non-fiction) -1

Published December 14, 2012 by sidmary
a row of old books

a row of old books (Photo credit: Paper Cat)

In all my reading experience, (which is a vast one ), I have met two kinds of people: there are those who believe wholly and solely in non-fiction and shun all fiction; and there are those who read solely fiction and won’t on their death-beds touch non-fiction if it promised to save them their lives. I have seldom found people who read both the categories without them being made cumpulsory on them, and when I find such people, it is heartfelt joy and carmaraderie that I feel with them.

I am putting this post up because once and for all, I want to tell everyone who says that I should read only non-fiction, that fiction is important; and everyone who reads only fiction that non-fiction is something to be read.

Where non-fiction focuses nore on providing knowledge and each book on a certain topic, good fiction culminates all the writer’s knowledge and point of views on more or less everything he knows. It’s not that non-fiction is unconvincing, but fiction convinces in a way that touches the soul; a way that only the most excellent non-fiction can acheive. Moreover, fiction stays in the mind better than non-fiction, and what you read of it and conclude from it on the basis of some knowledge you gathered from non-fiction always stays in your minds.

Fiction does at places gets that repo of being an absolute time-waster and totally worthless, but what it provides if read with  proper understanding only strengthens your belief in what you already know, or put the facade of knowing.

Harry Potter strengthened my belief in the eventual victory of Truth. I understood well that such victory requires many sacrifices and much dedication and a hero to lead you on, but when the time comes it happens. You come accross friens who turn out to be enemies and enemies who turn out be friends, but in the end, all the strife is worth it even if you are not alive to see it.

From the ‘Hunger Games’ trilogy, I understood how thw world and al its people have become a tool of the ruling classes and the media. I realized that we came out of the world wars beleiving in the rights of the people and rule of democracy, but what we got was infact was the tyranny of democratic systems; that Power has for centuries, circulated amongst the same hands and circles whatever the system of government be. I also realized how trivialties dominate our lives and guide our actions while people who suffer and problems that really matter are left un-heard of. I also realized how so often revolutions only bring a change of faces and names…

The ‘Eragon’ series, otherwise known as the ‘Inheritance Cycle’ made me realize why, inspite of all the glamour it is shown to posses throughout our childhood, magic is forbidden in Islam. I learned how the use of magic is always a hindrance towards the establishment of justice in the society, what chaos it can create and what rights it can forego and how as the quotation goes “no man is wise enough or virtuos enough to be granted unlimited power.”

(to be continued…)

–Sidra Maryam

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2 comments on “On Books and Reading: (esp. Fiction and Non-fiction) -1

  • Amazing 😌 … And true .. I, for one, am a total fiction person who like you said, wouldn’t even touch non-fiction.. But there is a reason for that too – most non-fiction books contain heaps of facts upon facts in each and every sentence which, for me is very hard to digest . If you remember, our Lang teacher gave us a hw on “what do you think makes a good book?” , one of the points I mentioned was that the ability of writers to use non-fiction in writing truly-amazing fictions. I recently read a book(fiction) from Alison Weir ” innocent Traitor ” which was on Lady Jane Grey. Alison Weir is a historian and she has transformed the short life of Lady Jane Grey into a wonderful and heart moving fiction. And I would say that whatever I learned about Lady Jane Grey through that book would stay in my mind always rather then what I learned through some historical book because, as you said,” fiction touches the soul” . ☺ 
    Hope you continue writing amazing articles and sorry that this ‘comment’ became too long 😔

    • You are right in that quite some non-fiction books just heap up facts, but that isn’t a solid enough reason to not consider them. Non-fiction in itself has countless categories, and I think you should develop a taste for it, one category or the other. The thing is, fiction excellently gives you the perception of one angle or one detail about a topic, but non-fiction, giving you more, is more important in mind development and grooming. Go for social sciences. I find that as a literature student, fiction and social sciences relate pretty well and actually compliment each other, help you understand the other better. Then Islamic literature just supplements that too.
      And as you said about that biography, I too believe that good fiction has to be properly researched and written and the best is usually based on facts and conclusions drawn from non-fiction. You totally got the point 🙂
      Thank you for your appreciation : ) it is always encouraging. And no, I certainly don’t mind long comments so long as you don’t mind my long answers 😛

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