Does anyone read much non-fiction?
When I look over what I have read in the last year, only 3 books have been non-fiction:
- Clandestine in Chile: The Adventures of Miguel Littin by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
- 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff
- The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street by Helene Hanff
I read 84 Charing Cross Road because it was a book about books and The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street is its sequel and the two novels came in one book. Truth be told, until I finished the books I didn't even realise they were non-fiction.
So when asked whether I think there is such a thing as literary non-fiction - I have to reply that I am absolutely not qualified to answer.
I don't know why it is that I don't real non-fiction. I do try to sometimes. Last year I read Virunga: The Passion of Dian Fossey by Farlay Mowat, but I didn't really enjoy it.
There is just something about non-fiction that doesn't capture my attention and I can't put my finger on what it is. I really like a good story - which you could get in some non-fiction. I really like complex characters - which I am sure you can find in some non-fiction. I admire good writing - which can definitely be found in non-fiction.
Perhaps it is the knowledge that what I am reading isn't true that sustains me. Perhaps reading fiction means so much to me because it isn't real, because it is an entirely different world to the one that I live in? It is a world created by the author for the characters that I can access through my own reading experience?
I don't know what it is, but it is an interesting question to ponder.
Shameless review plug - speaking of different worlds, have a look at my review of the science fiction classic The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham, a really amazing book.