Why People Read (part 2)


Did you miss last week’s part 1? Read it HERE

The Great Book Rivalry

THE UNSPOKEN RIVALRY between nonfiction and fiction readers amuses me. So today’s blog confronts the issue with hopes of helping both camps gain respect for each other.

DEFINITION. First let’s define these two types of books because many people I’ve met confuse the two and, thus, are unsure of which one they read.


Fiction: literature in the form of prose, especially short stories and novels, that describes imaginary events and people. (i.e. “Gone With the Wind,” “Hunger Games,” or “Aesop’s Fables,” etc)

Nonfictionprose writing that is based on facts, real events, and real people, such as biography or history. (Christian living, Devotionals, self-help, educational, etc)

NEITHER can be defined according to your favorite author, because many authors write both. Example: C.S Lewis “Chronicles of Narnia” and “Mere Christianity.”

Readers that avoid fiction (the less tolerant side): “Why waste your precious time on books that only entertain?”

Readers that avoid nonfiction say: “I read to escape, not expand my mind. Books are my emotional vacation.”


“There is no doubt fiction makes a better job of the truth.”

― Doris Lessing, British novelist and biographer

MY QUALM with much of the nonfiction of today is this: it’s biased.  Let’s say the topic is forgiveness. The author, claiming to be an expert, defines forgiveness for you, tells you how, when, and where to forgive. They sometimes use vignettes to make their point and then sum it up with something akin to, “…and this will alter your life forever.” This dry read turns some people off. No, I’m not knocking it, and my bookshelf displays a stash of my favorite nonfiction.

TAKE the same theme, forgiveness, from a fictional perspective. An intentionally well-written novel can draw you into a character’s mind and lead you on an experiential journey. 19-year-old Edmond is living the perfect life with a perfect fiancée until his “friends” betray him. He’s accused of treason. On his wedding day, he loses his future and his wife then is locked away in a prison and eventually assumed dead. The reader feels his emotional pain and his struggle between wanting to avenge himself and needing to forgive his enemies. We glean from the complicated lessons and decide right along with him how to react—and my decision might differ from that of the character. The bias factor is eliminated because the story emulates real life. (The Count of Monte Cristo)


The challenge

If you’re a nonfiction reader but you’re willing to test the waters of fiction, I suggest “Demon: A Memoir” by Tosca Lee. A brilliant piece of brainy literature that will rock your world. And it’s biblically accurate. click> Amazon

If you’re into fiction only, I suggest (besides the Bible cover-to-cover) reading a biography of someone you admire. It’s a true story, with entertaining life lessons or deep insight.



Do you desire to write a book?


Great! God is into books, in fact He wrote a bestseller, and He loves authors. While the Bible is the undeniable and infallible Word of God, it also inspires many fictional genres. Suspense (Exodus, Esther), Fantasy (Revelation), Sci-Fi (Ezekiel), Romance (cover-to-cover, Song of Solomon), I/II Kings (historical), and fiction in general (Jesus made up parables to teach about the Kingdom)…and I could go on.

When you’re ready to move ahead with writing, J.A. has the background and editing skills to help you through the writing process. Check out the Writing Mentor page for important information.

Also, click here for helpful hints on Writing Despite a Day Job


The Way of the Embattled Spirit



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