As a lover of all things bookish I tend to gravitate to the same areas when I enter a book store. Once we find what our preference is as a reader we stick with it for the most part, hardly deviating or exploring. For me, my preference has always been fiction novels, especially fantasy.
When I read, I want to escape reality, I want to be transported to distant lands and worlds far beyond my imagination. Learning new information isn’t my first point of call for a book and why would it? If I want to know something I can easily open up my laptop and go on the wonderous thing that we call the internet. Or better yet, when I was at college I’d use their scientific journals, not go out and buy my own. For me it made sence to hold back on spending my precious book money on non-fiction novels.
But something dawned on me, I call myself a lover of all things bookish, but I’m ignoring a whole bunch of books. I think I’d rather incorrectly made the assumption that the only things non-fiction book had to offer was explaining the anatomy of a frog.
So, I’ve been making the conscious decision to explore more non-fiction books. I haven’t run head first into it, it’s been more tentative steps. I’ve still been wanting to purchase books I’m atchually intrested in and not go on crazy misguided buying sprees of books I’ll probably never read.
A few months back I got into cubing (solving rubik cubes), I’m not the fastest yet but I’ve managed to solve one in 1:59 minuets. Part of solving a cube is using algorithms and for someone who responds very well to patterns and routine inputs, it’s been an ideal little hobby to pick up.
Using algorithms reminded me of the person I used to be, the kid that was excited to go into maths lessons and spent too long playing sudoku and Professor Layton games on my DS. In a different world, if the prospect of becoming an author didn’t exist, I possibly could have seen myself at some point wanting to become a mathematician. So when I came across the art of logic by Eugenia Cheng my curiosity was spiked.
I haven’t finished the book yet, so I can’t give you my final thoughts right now, but I can give you a brief introduction to it. As you’ve probably figured out, it is a non-fiction read, but I wouldn’t put it under the ‘self-help’ banner. Whilst it’s purpose is to try to teach you this beautiful logical, mathematical way of thinking, it’s not telling you all the answers to life (something I feel many self help books do). Insted the author is equipping you be a free-thinker, to make sence of a world that doesn’t.
It’s a mathamatical approach to thinking differently
Speaking of thinking differently, have you ever read Odd Girl Out by Laura James?
This was a book that blew my socks off, something I never expected from a non-fiction book, especially one that told a very real and raw account of someones life. I’ve never really fancied reading biographies of anyone, there just hasn’t been anything to draw me to them. In fact, I picked this book up almost by accident, I was sidetracked by my phone whilst browsing my local book store and was half hearty picking up books and putting them back down again. I picked up this book as it was brightly coloured (I’m easily swayed by bright colours) and was putting it down again when I spotted two highlighted words on the front autistic woman.
I didn’t particualy know missives about autism and hadn’t even appreciated the fact that a woman could be autistic. As I’m naturally curious I gave it a closer look.
This has to be one of the most relatable, inspiring stories I’ve read. I’m using the word story quite loosely there as this book is very real. This isn’t one of my fantasy storys that take me away to a distant planet, nope, this is a real and well constructed documentation of a person’s life and journey.
I loved it.
Being honest, I felt weird reading about someone elses life. It almost felt like I was intruding or poking my nose where I shouldn’t have been. But once the original weirdness of reading about someones very real life wore off, I settled into the book quite comfortably.
All in all I can say exploring non-fiction hasn’t been as boring as I imagined it to be. The two books I’ve spoken about today have been my favorites so far however, there have been some really dull books I’ve picked up along the way but I still learned something about them (even if it was about the life cycle of a lobster).
Non-fiction books aren’t going to be replacing my beloved fantasy novels any time soon, but my attitude has changed since I’ve given them a go. I have much more of an appreciation of the author behind them, just like fiction books they too have a challenge to create a well crafted book. I feel they maybe even have it harder as they’re having to root their book in truth and simply can’t add in a surprise dragon or kill a character off if things are getting boring.
Overall, I’m glad I’ve stated exploring non-fiction and hope in the future I can find more books that I will find interesting and beneficial.
What’s your opinion on non-fiction, do you love it or avoid it?