Fiction and Non-Fiction: The How and What of Consuming Literature


Have you ever noticed the way you actually “read” books? A thought struck me the other day about the actual act of “reading”. I, for example, read off a kindle, consume audiobooks and now and again pick up an actual paperback.

Given these three different reading mediums (granted listening to an audiobook isn’t exactly reading), I’ve noticed that there is some interaction with the way we prefer to learn.

I can only read fiction while I prefer to listen to non-fiction in audiobook format. Non-fiction just can’t seem to keep my attention long enough on a page, my mind kind of gets heavy with the reading and I struggle to focus while listening to it passively, provides no problem. Fiction, however, I can consume in both formats equally. It’s most probably the entertainment factor, but it’s also the writing. A book of any kind, badly written, would irritate me to no end.

There are exceptions, ofcourse. I was able to read Malcolm Gladwell’s books pretty easily which makes me think the hypothesis of reading fiction alone merely because of it’s entertainment value doesn’t holdany water. It’s the writer and the writing that’s important, along with the ideas and the way they’re conveyed. Above all it has to be relevant.

I’ve noticed that with a lot of non-fiction books, there is a LOT of filler. Either saying the same thing over and over in different words or taking a long time to get to the point. I honestly believe that most non-fiction books can be easily cut down to 15 minute reads covering the main ideas. Apps like Blinkist prove my point easily, but even Blinkist has a lot of extra in it which doesn’t need to be there.

There’s a definite gap in the market for consuming these books and merely getting the main ideas out.  If any explanation is needed, analogies work the best to make people grasp foreign concepts.  There’s a real nugget here.

Anyway… wherever it ends up… keep reading.

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