Friday, May 7th, 2010

Reading and Writing: Fiction or Non-Fiction?

Stephanie

Some of my all-time favorite non-fiction reads.

To expand on my recent post asking whether or not if what you read inspires your writing, I started to think about various trends in my reading habits and how over the last 5 years I have been both reading and writing non-fiction almost exclusively.

From the time I learned to read at the age of four, I’ve been voraciously been devouring book after book.

My teen years were primarily horror & mystery, (no doubt a spin-off from reading late 70’s horror comics) moving through every book by Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Peter Straub, and all of the other authors that wanted to be just like them. I also read a lot of true crime and the occasional biography up through my mid twenties, but it was still mostly fiction up until I read a book called “Falling off the Map” about 8 years ago. While on a much needed getaway in Ocean City Maryland with a good friend, we happened upon a used bookstore and I found Pico Iyer’s book about his journey to little traveled places in the world and thus secured my role as an armchair traveler for the next several years. I then sped quickly through the adventure/travelogue genre snatching up everything I could by Bill Bryson, Jeff Greenwald, Redmond O’Hanlon, Eric Hanson etc.

And then I found Augusten. Best selling author of “Running with Scissors” was my fist introduction to the memoir. Augusten changed everything for me. Comedic tales of his dysfunctional family and unusual upbringing was a huge inspiration in helping me open up in my own journal and to tell my own stories. Though I’ve tried on several occasions to write fiction, it’s much easier for me to tell stories as I lived them.

And you dear reader?


8 thoughts on “Reading and Writing: Fiction or Non-Fiction?

  1. To combine a response, yes, what I read affects what/how I write… much like what I eat affects my health and how I think. I am particular about the voices I take in, the people/characters I choose to meet in literature.

    As to fiction or non-fiction… it’s mood dependent, really. Sometimes there is nothing quite like a little mindless murder somewhere in history…fills the need for being “out of touch and elsewhere” for a bit. Poetry? Necessary for my soul! And, I love NF too. A good biography, travel writing, essay… Annie Dillard is a fave, a recent book on the history of the WPA, Pablo Neruda’s memoirs…

  2. To combine a response, yes, what I read affects what/how I write… much like what I eat affects my health and how I think. I am particular about the voices I take in, the people/characters I choose to meet in literature.

    As to fiction or non-fiction… it’s mood dependent, really. Sometimes there is nothing quite like a little mindless murder somewhere in history…fills the need for being “out of touch and elsewhere” for a bit. Poetry? Necessary for my soul! And, I love NF too. A good biography, travel writing, essay… Annie Dillard is a fave, a recent book on the history of the WPA, Pablo Neruda’s memoirs…

  3. I read mostly fiction. Back in highschool I read a lot of history books about WW2 but I don’t have the patience for that anymore.

    I write online(weblogs) and I just read “Our Tragic Universe” which really gives me the itch to try write a fiction story.

    But I mostly read fiction literature, paperbacks and some young adults fictions. The later one is for when I want to read something without actually thinking too much.

    I’m always looking for something new to read of which I never heard before but that I will like, I’ve become very picky, the more books I read the pickier I become.

  4. I read mostly fiction. Back in highschool I read a lot of history books about WW2 but I don’t have the patience for that anymore.

    I write online(weblogs) and I just read “Our Tragic Universe” which really gives me the itch to try write a fiction story.

    But I mostly read fiction literature, paperbacks and some young adults fictions. The later one is for when I want to read something without actually thinking too much.

    I’m always looking for something new to read of which I never heard before but that I will like, I’ve become very picky, the more books I read the pickier I become.

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