Books & Study Life Thoughts

Fiction or Non-Fiction?

I love reading. The question is now, do I prefer fiction or Non-fiction? For years I though I would rather read stories, novels, fiction. It seems is not quite true. Two years ago I was wondering if I failed in my reading challenge, or, better said, how much I failed in it. See the details of that reading challenge. Last year I changed the way I wanted to do things regarding books. I didn’t set up a reading challenge and the difference was amazing. I went from 13 books in 2016 to 60 books in 2017. Without having a target, especially when it comes to genres. One of the surprising things, when I looked back at the books I’ve read, see here, is that I prefer non-fiction.

Last year, from 60 books I’ve read, 37 were non-fiction, varying from mathematics to psychology, history, and biographies. This year the same pattern can be seen. If you have a look at my book blog: Coffee & Books or on my goodreads account, I still prefer non-fiction.

Fiction or Non-Fiction

My favourite 5 books from last year were, in alphabetical order by title:
1. None of Us Were Like This Before. American Soldiers and Torture by Joshua E.S. Phillips
2. Shadow of the Titanic. The extraordinary stories of those who survived by Andrew Wilson
3. Survival of the Prettiest – The science of Beauty by Nancy Etcoff
4. The Marshmallow Test. Understanding self-control and how to master it by Walter Mischel
5. The Myth of Martyrdom. What Really Drives Suicide Bombers, Rampage Shooters, and Other Self-Destructive Killers by Adam Lankford

I loved the fiction books I’ve read last year, mostly historical fiction by Philippa Gregory. But, I didn’t love them as much as the ones mentioned earlier. Hence non-fiction wins in the fiction or non-fiction debate.

So far, this year I’ve read 43 books. I set up a goal of 30; after I surpassed it, I’ve increased the number to 52 books for this year. I’m way ahead of schedule, so I will surpass this target too. Of these 43, 31 are non-fiction. As last year, I’ve read biographies and memoirs, history, psychology, math, and science. I’ve also started reading philosophy, politics, and economy. The question Fiction or Non-Fiction appears again. Which one I prefer? I’ve looked on the list of books I finished this year.

The 5 books I loved the most this year are, so far, in alphabetical order by title:
1. Courtiers The Secret History of the Georgian Court by Lucy Worsley. A fascinating book about the courtiers in the 18th century. I did enjoy her writing style a lot. It is very similar to the way she is in her TV shows.

2. Exodus: immigration and multiculturalism in the 21st century by Paul Collier and Refuge: Transforming a Broken Refugee System by Alexander Betts, Paul Collier. These are two books, but it is too hard to pick my favourite book by Collier. Both books made me think of these topics in new ways. That is what a book should do.

3. Henrietta Howard: King’s Mistress, Queen’s Servant by Tracy Borman. I felt sad for Henrietta, used for years by both Royals, finally being able to leave the court, discovering the love of her life only for a few years of happiness. She seemed like a very intelligent and mature woman, determined.

4. Michael of Romania by Ivor Porter. King Michael, who sadly died last year, was someone I really wanted to read more about. When I’ve discovered a book about him, written by a Brit who would be more impartial, I wanted to read it and I found it at the library. I did enjoy the book a lot.

5. The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins. It’s not the only book by Dawkins that I read, but this is the most important book he wrote (along to The God Delusion) and it should be on this list.

I’ve read fiction books, but again, neither are making their way into the 5 books I loved this year list. Maybe because I give more weight to non-fiction. On the long term, a non-fiction book I think brings more value than a fiction book, despite the fact that the latter can be more enjoyable to read and, definitely, easier to read too. I’ll have to wait until the end of the year to be sure, but it looks like the non-fiction are my go-to books.

What kind of books do you enjoy reading? Fiction or non-fiction? I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject. Also, if you have any amazing books you’d like to recommend, I would like to hear that too.

3 Comment

  1. I read more fiction than non-fiction these days, though I do enjoy historical non-fiction and art books. And cook books, of course, though I rarely read them from cover to cover. 🙂

  2. I like a mix of fiction and non-fiction. I guess it really depends on what kind of mood I’m in.

  3. I think in general I still prefer fiction, but I read far more non-fiction than I use to. Joining a book club really made me start reading outside my comfort zone, helping me to realize that my tastes are more eclectic than I thought.

    In fiction, my favorite genre is historical and done well, it encourages me to do more research on my own… therefore being educational. I enjoy mysteries, too, and love them in historical settings.

    As for non-fiction, I’ll read most anything…. history, science, faith-based, biography, whatever.

    I try to have a post at the end of each year listing some of my favorites. From those you shared, I’m more drawn to your selections from last year.

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