Monday, April 27, 2009

Read my Musing Monday carefully....there may be a test!

Yes folks, the start of another week, rise and shine and get ready to get to work...but first, check out this week's musing question from Just One More Page...

Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about reading non-fiction…

Do you read non-fiction regularly? Do you read it in a different way or place than you read fiction?

Do I regularly read non-fiction? Well, my immediate answer was no, I don't read a lot of non-fiction. Not a great reader of biographies, history, political books, memoirs, things I typically think of as non-fiction. Well, let me take memoirs off that list, because personally I am starting to think that memoirs are as much fiction as non-fiction, but that is another topic for discussion.

But then I decided to look into it a bit more, because a number of books I have read recently, mostly ARCs, were non-fiction and I wanted to get a handle on the numbers. So, I went to my old friend, Library Thing, to check out my library and how my books were tagged. What indeed was the ratio of fiction to non-fiction of the books that I actually have on hand? Well, my dear readers, then the problems started. The reason why my post was up later than usual was revealed, because I found, much to my dismay, that many, if not most of the approximately 1200 books I have on hand at the moment were tagged neither. How was I supposed to go to sleep with that mess on my hands? Now, a couple of hours later, the birds starting to sing outside and the sun peaking at the horizon, and with the help of the handy power editing feature of Library Thing, most are now tagged and my mind is at peace and I very happy I am off work today.
I must also say that I am a bit surprised to find that the ratio is actually about 55/45, with fiction in the lead, but much, much closer than I thought.

So I must be a big reader of non-fiction, right? Hmmm...well, no, i think those figures are misleading. First, I think that I tend to keep a lot more of my non-fiction books while the fiction tends to come and go. Over the many, many years that I have been reading, the vast majority of those books have been fiction and most of it is no longer in my possession....gone somewhere. Also, a lot of the non-fiction I have is more like reference material in my mind than 'reading' material. 40 cookbooks, 14 books on fly fishing, 48 books on gardening, 19 books on crafts, including 2 on pysanky, the art of making Ukrainian Easter eggs and 3 on origami. Not books that you usually sit down and read like you do a nice cozy mystery. So, yes, that sort of non-fiction I definitely 'read' differently that fiction. They are more to be perused..thumbed through, stopping here and there, looking for some specific information. Even non-fiction that is less research and more readable, say like my fairly numerous books on lighthouses, books that I have actually read from cover to cover, or the approximately 200 books I own on the subjects of philosophy and religion...well, if I think about it, I often read then less as if they were for pleasure and more like they were work, like I was back in school, reading them for a class and there was going to be a test. Even with some recent ARC I have read recently, I have found myself taking notes and getting ready to write a book report..oh wait, I do! It is called a review. Not that it is still not pleasurable for me...because I loved school and assigned reading! And no, there is not actually going to be a Musing Monday


  1. As always, I thoroughly enjoyed your post! I can envision you staying up all hours of the night categorizing your books! And I think my definition of non-fiction (anything that is NOT fiction -- although James Frey would have us question that) is much looser than what you describe, which to me is more "reference" non-fiction -- books that you refer to learn about something or "expand your mind." I don't even count these types of books in my LT account and I didn't take them into consideration when writing my post! I actually might have helped to determine what was meant by "non-fiction" before writing! : )

    And we used to make Ukrainian Easter eggs when we were smaller -- my mom taught us. They are the most amazing things ... I wish I still had the materials. I'm going to have to ask my mom about it when I see her. I would love to pass that on to my son!

  2. Not a big non-fiction reader myself (I don't count the cookbooks etc.) but the ones I do read are awesome. I loved Clapton. I loved the one about the Mondavi family. I'm currently reading Outliers now (stay tuned for review in a couple of days). They are a nice vacation from lala land.

  3. Fiction is my preference. I can imagine you burning the midnight oil there.

  4. well, they are in my LT library, so they are getting a tag! certainly, the more reference like books are different than the sort of non-fiction that you might 'read', but hey, it is non-fiction. The religion/philosophy stuff, the largest part of my non-fiction library, is more 'real' and least to some

    Jenners..I love pysanky! I ahve not made any for years and since I gave the best away, I only have a few on hand at the moment, but I still have then out from Easter.
    All the materials needed are available online and it is a wonderful thing to pass on.

  5. but Sandy...I like lala land! ;-)

  6. now you've made me think that I need to go to my Library Thing update my tags and stay up all night! And I haven't listed any "reference" type books that I've read so maybe I wouldn't learn anything new. I just got a book I ordered called "house beautiful" by sunset books. I love pictures of beautiful rooms since I can't find any in real life. Thanks for the smile today.

  7. if it is a book, I list it in Library Thing, no matter what sort of book. Gosh, If I had to decide to just list certain types, my brain might ess-plode!

  8. Hi!
    I really like fiction the best, but every once in a while I run across a non-fiction that I really liked. "The Sum of Our Days" by Isabel Allende was really good! Thanks for stopping by my place. Have a great evening!


  9. The data doesn't always tell the truth. I think I do the same- I tend to hold on to the nonfiction and tend to swap out fiction more often.


please speak up, I LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU!!