Sunday, March 20, 2011

Fiction books - a waste of valuable time or just another source of personal entertainment?

I'm not a fan of fiction novels. I consider them a waste of valuable time. I don't read fiction, and I suggest to others to not read fiction.

Why?

Because I believe that one should instead read a nonfiction book, because a nonfiction surely teaches you something, in addition to entertaining you. Better deal! Better utilization of time! And you can't disagree that there are tons of great nonfiction alternatives to fiction books, so you can't say that nonfiction ain't good enough.

This old belief became fresh once again when I read the following opening sentence in a recent article by Dwight Garner in The New York Times:

"Reading a dull, charmless nonfiction book is almost always better than reading a dull, charmless novel. With a nonfiction book, you might at least learn something."

But this time I thought - isn't my belief equivalent to saying that one should watch only documentaries [assuming that most documentaries are based on reality] and never watch movies [assuming that most movies are fiction], because documentaries both entertain and teach you. When I tell others to never waste their time reading fiction, why do I watch scores of fiction movies?

I guess I'll stop opposing fiction from here on and accept it as just another source of personal entertainment.

P.S. Interestingly, I just googled this and found that a lot of debate has already been done on this question!

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