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I’m a book girl. You probably know that by now. And I read non-fiction over fiction novels 90% of the time. Actually, probably more.
For the past decade, with the exception of a token fiction novel here and there, I have set my sights on non-fiction books. Educational books, religious books, parenting books, topics of health, history, biographies, inspirational, business – the genre is vast and I’ve tried to keep my selections varied, but please, hold the fiction.
Good question. I think there are a few reasons for this:
- I don’t want to get sucked in. You know those fiction novels that grab your attention and seek to strangle you? Those ones that leave you neglecting your kids, your housework and the rest of your life? Yeah, I’m not a fan. It scares me, actually. Loving to read, I think I’m high risk for that sort of thing so I keep my distance. Please pass the non-fiction.
- I read to learn. One of the primary reasons I read is to learn new ideas, to think a little harder and to be inspired. Non-fiction has served me well in that arena so I’ve hung out in that space comfortably.
- I read aloud to my kids daily. Primarily, we read fiction novels with a few non-fiction titles sprinkled in, so I’ve subconsciously thought that I get enough fiction in my diet there. (You can find some read alouds we love over here.)
But I learned something new this year. I learned something unexpected that has rocked my little non-fiction world just a bit. I learned, I was wrong.
So far this year about 25% of the books I have read have been fiction and they have impacted me, challenged me and got me thinking far more than most of the non-fiction books I’ve read this year. This may be a result of the specific titles I’ve chosen in either genre. But still, I’m shocked by it.
My happy little non-fiction world has been rocked just a bit.
Maybe you are a little quicker at catching on to this. Maybe you aren’t the non-fiction snob that I have been. But there is some seriously great fiction that I have been missing out on! Here is what I’ve learned by reading a little more fiction this year.
- Fiction does not have to strangle you. Fiction does not have to make you ignore your housework, your workout or the rest of your life. While I have probably lost a little sleep reading more fiction this year, it’s simply an exercise in discipline. And it’s probably good for me. To ignore fiction because I can’t manage it is sad. Insert willpower and enjoy!
- There is a lot to be learned from fiction. I think this is what has surprised me the most in my little foray into fiction. It’s not just junk food! The interactions, relationships and dialogue have really challenged my thinking. I didn’t realize that is even possible from a story that’s not even true. Yeah, that is a little embarrassing, but whatever.
- Fiction makes reading fun. Non-fiction can be work. It’s often (but not always) a little less creative and artistic than fiction. I find fiction generally easier to digest, yet good fiction will challenge your thinking just as much as it’s counterpart.
So what am I reading?
You can always keep up with what I’ve read on this Pinterest board, but I’ll share two fiction favorites I’ve read this year.
This book is a few years old and is set to be adapted into a movie in 2017. If you love that whole read the book before you watch the movie idea, now is the time to get reading this one.
The plot follows 39 year old Alice as she suffers a traumatic head injury and loses the past 10 years of her memory. When she comes to, she is certain she is 29 years old, happily married and pregnant with her first child. All of which is far from the truth.
Without completely ruining the story for you, here is what fascinated me most. Sometimes, we hardly realize where we are going in life. Sometimes we make day to day choices that lead us somewhere we never really intended to go. We become someone we never really intended to be. Through the story (slight spoiler alert) we learn Alice’s marriage never suffered any major fallout, it died from lack of care. It died from exhaustion and burnout and kids and distraction and a lack of attention to the things that really matters.
Ever feel that? This book reminded me to pay attention. If I want a good marriage I need to be working on it today. I need to be working on my marriage even when (especially when?) I’m exhausted and busy with kids and activities and all the things. Marriages really do die of neglect and I’m not interested in that. What a great reminder, right?
What Alice Forgot delves into more than marriage though, it made me think of family relationships and friendships that fade as well. The things that matter require tending to. And we all need the occasional reminder to keep tending.
Warning: This book does have a little adult language that we could all do without. Fair warning.
You all told me I had to read this in your e-mails and comments on this post. And you know what, I didn’t really want to read it. Still.
To be honest, Christian romance-based fiction ranks pretty low on the list of books I care to read so if you are in that camp – I get it. I bought the 20th Anniversary Edition of this book; clearly I’m an early adopter, but good writing stands the test of time. This book was excellent. What a nice surprise!
The plot, based of the book of Hosea is an incredibly engaging story of betrayal, forgiveness and redemption. What I found most interesting was the lead character, Michael Hosea’s, relationship with God. He wrestled. He argued. He talked things out over and over again. He obeyed when it was painful and he chose virtue when his heart was breaking. I want that.
The storyline addresses fear, healing and grace amidst a painful past and circumstances many of us can’t imagine and yet can totally relate to at the same time. If you haven’t read this one – read it. If you have – it’s probably worth reading again.
So there are a couple to get you started. All the Light We Cannot See is up next on my list of fiction, but of course I’m still sneaking some non-fiction in there as well to keep things balanced. If you are a staunch non-fiction fan be brave and mix it up. Give your brain a break and you might just find you are challenged in ways you never expected.
Either way keep reading, friends.