Fact or Fiction

I don’t like the prompt of today, today, so I’m answering yesterday’s …Fact or Fiction.  Besides, if I had one vial of truth serum, or any number of vials, I wouldn’t announce beforehand who I was going to use it on.


So what’s my thing, fiction or non-fiction?   I like both, but my leaning is definitely towards fiction as I love to weave myself into the storyline.  At the beginning of  2010, I joined a reading challenge to finish 50 books in 52 weeks and finished up reading 62.  It helped that I was spending 110 minutes a day in trains.  I dutifully recorded on my blog what I read and what I thought of it.  So, flushed with that success I aimed to finish 75 in 2011.  Looking through my archives I don’t see where I ever recorded my final result.  I recorded a total of 37 at the end of July so let’s just assume that, because I was sort of on-track then,  I absolutely did finish 75 and probably more!  Or,  perhaps I need that truth serum to test my own memory and that assumption!


Non-fiction does not always equal fact and fiction can contain a lot of fact (or very little); some people read purely for escapism and some to learn, but whatever you read I hope you continue finding joy in turning pages ….. or swiping, tapping or pushing “play”.

img_6704a-e1292177009198     I took this photo in a library in Charles Town, West Virginia



24 responses

  1. Pingback: all i want is the truth. just gimme some truth | eastelmhurst.a.go.go

    • I’ve always read your reviews with interest and read quite a few of your recommendations (and a few others are probably in my to-read drawer under the bed!). I wish that I had followed suit and done all my recording in a little notebook as my fancy excel spreadsheet somehow did not make the migration to a new laptop.

    • I’ve sort of reversed…. or rather, the proportion has changed. I probably used to read 80% fiction 20% non and now it’s more like 95+% fiction <5% non. I need quiet space to concentrate on non-fiction and most of my reading time is either on noisy trains or at lunchtime in the office.

  2. Pingback: I’m proud | It's Mayur Remember?

  3. I try to read a balance of both genres, but being a fan of historical fiction and factual histories, I sometimes get them mixed up. (Actually, some historians take so many liberties with their subjects, I’m not entirely sure I’m reading factual texts anymore.)

    The truth serum prompt sounds kind of funny. But does anyone want to know the whole truth of anything? What if you found out your spouse actually thought you were ugly but loved you anyway? What if he admitted he had a crush on your sister, or his cousin? I’ve heard people say they would prefer their families and friends to be brutally honest, but I’ll bet they wouldn’t have many friends and might have trouble living in the same house if that were so. 🙂

    • When I first got my kindle I did not like reading it in bed so I’d have a “real” book for bed and kindle book for commuting. I would quite often get my characters confused and wonder why story lines changed. lol. And I agree about some historians.

      LOL @ your spouse remarks – so true! Honesty should only go so far … Never far enough to be too hurtful.

  4. I read a bit of both as well. If the non-fiction you are reading is not equalling fact then I would say you are reading fiction. A good non-fiction is The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. Can’t think of the author off the top of my head. Roald Dahl’s memoirs Boy and the sequel Going Solo are also good reads. Thanks for the follow.

    • I think a lot of liberties are taken with “facts” where the writers can view things from different perspectives. Some things are non debatable but other things might be open to different interpretations. For example I consider autobiographies to be non-fiction but I’m not convinced every autobiography is exactly factual. There are siblings who remember their truths & facts differently to each other. Isn’t there a saying something like ‘there’s my truth, your truth and the truth’.

      Thank you for the suggestions – I’m going to check them out. I enjoyed Roald Dahl’s ‘Boy’.

      • Emjay, This is a field of great interest to me and I have done a few posts on truth in memoir. Biographies if we go by the recognised genre classification are supposed to be verifiably correct and that you or I could go and do the research and come up with the same stuff. Memoirs on the other hand fit your description above. Memoirs are supposed to be the memory of the person doing the telling but they are also supposed to be the truth as seen by that person. that is they can’t make the stuff up. As it also includes the reflections of the writer and how it affected them into the future it is going to be exactly that “my truth, your truth”. I did a post the axe attack where I described how I had chopped my brother’s toe almost off in a fit of rage as a child. He read it and gave me his version, quite different to mine, but it explained why I believed what I did. He had done what brother’s do and created to such an extent that I was banished to isolation whilst he was being repaired. Consequently I didn’t get to see what was happening inside but his screams and yells and my punishment were enough for me to be left believing I had almost chopped his toe off.
        Anyway it is lovely to have your comment Emjay as discussions such as this I find most enjoyable.

        • I loved the story of the “axe attack” – I have similar tales from my childhood. There are 4 of us and I’m sure we all “remember” different versions of the same event – that’s one of the fun things about getting together now we’re older.

          I wonder if I will ever be ready to write my own memoir ….. it’s interesting to think about. There are aspects of one’s life I’m sure people would rather keep private but then it’s not a true reflection of their life. Hopefully I have many more years to ponder on it.

          I look forward to reading more of your writing.

          • Thanks Emjay. I hope you have many more years to ponder it also. I guess I would never have thought of memoir writing if it had not been for an experience that had to be told and the process of this led me where I had not dreamt of going. Although we all are memoirists every day of our lives, it is usually in an oral form and for those that write them down, most are people doing it for their children rather than to be more public.

  5. Once I would have said nonfiction but now as a high school librarian I have to admit there has been more than one YA title I have enjoyed in the last year. Right now I am reading Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore and loving every page!
    Love the sign, going to make my own version for the library.

    • There are some great Young Adult novels out there these days. I don’t remember there being such a thing when we were growing up – oh, I suppose our library had books they considered “suitable” for young adults but not a specific YA genre section like you see now.

      The sign made me really smile when I saw it – especially decorated with the Christmas stocking!

  6. I read tons of fiction and wish I made the time for more nonfiction. I love nonfiction and learning new things but, like you, I need absolute quiet to concentrate. And absolute quiet is hard to come by.

  7. I saw the “truth serum” prompt and thought – “I’d pour it out on the ground.” Probably safer for everyone that way.

    As for reading – I’ll read anything. And I’m of the opinion that a lot of “factual stories” are actually fictionized or embellished anyway, so what’s the difference?

    • LOL – some little creature would eat that truth serum and bad things would happen ….. (I see a horror sci-fi movie in the making).

      I recently read a book based on some old murders in my neighbourhood – very loosely based…

  8. Fun!

    I prefer nonfic BUT when I veer into fiction, it’s a geekfest.

    Case in point never reading George RR Martin in spite of years of many telling me that I’d love it. Why didn’t I?

    1) dragons?
    2) 1500 pgs/ book?

    Feck off!

    When they were getting ready to put it on tv, I finally got the gumption to pick one up, fully believing I’d hate it & spare myself hours of trying to like the show.

    I read all 1600 pages in 7 days and that’s working fr and driving minimum of 2 hrs/day!

    Hence: geekfest!

    • One of my sons gave me the full set of Game of Thrones, in paperback, for Christmas a couple of years ago. They have the teeniest font! I started reading the first one but gave up as the light in bed is not good enough and on the trains with all the jiggling about the sentences would merge and I found it difficult to follow along…

      I haven’t seen the TV series.

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