Fiction vs Nonfiction

First off, let me just say that everyone has their own personal preferences as to what they like and dislike in a book, and these are just my views and opinions on these two genres.

The two major branches of classifications in a book are fiction and nonfiction. If you don’t know what the differences are, let me tell you:

Fiction is a story that can be either real or imaginary, but takes place in a setting that is created by the author. Think of stories like “Divergent” by Veronica Roth or “Sense and Sensibility” by Jane Austen.

Non-fiction is a story that is based in real life and can fall under the categories of autobiographies, biographies, historical, memoir, and more.

Each major genre branch has many little branches that like to “grow” from them, let’s say. For fiction there are genres such as historical, romance, mystery, sci-fi, fantasy, teen paranormal romance, etc. For non-fiction there are genres such as lifestyle, historical, biography, etc. There are many different genres to read in this world, and there are also many different forms of these genres, particularly those in print, digital, and magazine.

When looking at the big umbrella of fiction and non-fiction, there are different factors to consider when picking out a book (or looking for a website) that you should consider before you pick one up:

  1. Are you in the mood to read about something that is made up and that has a plotline? Or are you interested in someone from the real world, whether that be a politician, an actor, or an author?
  2. Do you tend to be more of an artistic mind or are you more of a forward thinker? This can actually make a big difference when you choose the types of books you read. If you have an artistic mind where you have a vivid imagination or are thinking of getting ideas for your own story, then maybe you want to read at a fiction book whereas someone who’s more business oriented will want to read a non-fiction book or magazine to just pass the time or learn more about the world.
  3. Do you prefer digital or print? Thought eReaders are becoming really big nowadays, that doesn’t mean that print is going out of style anytime soon. For many books, though you can easily find them for an eReader, if you don’t own one or you spend more time online but are looking for a fictional novel to read, you might be out of luck. Think about getting an eReader from either Amazon or Barnes and Noble – it’s an investment that can be worth it.

Though it can be a toss up as to whether or not you want a book via a certain type of “printing” you can still decide what you prefer to read by also making a pros and cons list.

Fiction Pros: Fun to read; engaging; imaginary worlds; sometimes they’re in a series; many different genres for every type of interest

Cons: If they’re hardcover they can be expensive (as will a non-fiction book); cheesy covers; it’s a gamble – you may pick up a really great book with a great story, characters, and setting, or you may pick up a dud

Non-fiction Pros: Easily relatable; entertaining (magazines); factual (most of the time); useful resources

Cons: Sometimes boring; topics retold over and over again; magazine subscriptions can get expensive

All in all, it’s really up to you. If you’re a person who doesn’t read a lot but is looking to pick up the hobby, this list I made may or may not have helped. If you’re a seasoned reader, then you know what you like and you know what you can look out for. I find that both non-fiction and fiction books have their own charms and their own curses, but when it comes down to it there is only one person who can determine what they want from a book, and that’s you.

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2 responses to “Fiction vs Nonfiction

  1. Does your point under number 2 create a false dichotomy between the creative and the practical? i.e. fiction needs as much research as nonfiction and literary nonfiction needs as much creative storycrafting as fiction. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this idea.

    • I want to apologize for taking so long to reply! It’s been a rough month.

      It’s true that the point I made at the time was very one sided (reading it now, I see where I fell short!), but it is actually true that fiction can need just as much research as a non-fictional piece, as well as non-fiction needs some creative craft to make it a more interesting story. Both can be practical and creative, but they each fall under their own themes. It’s okay to have some comparison or conflict between the two – it can make things more interesting!

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