I used to be someone that read a lot more non-fiction then fiction. Like someone I know at work, I tried to read more literature and what was good for me. I think I did this in my 20s to some extent.
It’s funny though, I really grew up just reading what was around, which was a ton of books in my house, many of which were excellent. Grew up with parents who LOVED books, which is a gift to any child.
But, I have been realizing more and more that there are truths in fiction. You are able to reach depths, try ideas of the future, talk about loss, love, etc. far easier in fiction then truth.
In non-fiction you can be bound to footnotes, research, style of your field (ie History, Philosophy, Literary Criticism, Biography, Sociology, etc.) And sometimes ideas that are best in a 10-20 page article become rather boring 500 page books. Francis Fukuyama’s “The End of History” is a brilliant “Foreign Affairs” article but a boring book, for example.
In fiction, your characters can go as far as your imagination. Limitless places, new worlds, new futures. If David Simpson wants to create a Post-Humanity that has robots that make humans, super human, why not? If Colleen Hoover wants to create an amazing if problematic romance in “Slammed” she can. If Hugh Howey’s wants to have dystopian world in a silo in the “Wool Omnibus” he can. If Mark Twain wants to explore racism on the Mississippi River he can in “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.” Fiction is limitless, which gives it a truth fiction can’t match.
From the muckracking of Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle”, to tales of class in “The Great Gatsby”, seeing the world from a teenager that everyone is phony in “Catcher in the Rye”, and the racism of the South in “To Kill a Mockingbird; fiction can take you anywhere. So I challenge those who don’t think the need to read fiction to look again and see the wonder.
Books this week:
Signal to Noise: Story: Neil Gaiman, Artwork and Design: Dave McKean: Very cool, very surreal graphic novel. Definitely has the noise of an artist seeing the end of life. Trippy and fun. *** (4 GR/Minerva)
The Sons of Liberty by Felix Sutton: Well done juvenile history, got it because had same name as the Lagos Brothers graphic novel. **1/2 (3 GR/Minerva)
What Work Is by Philip Levine: Excellent poetry of working class America. Really enjoyed this and planning to pass it around the Portland poetry community. May have less ownership since was part of a $3 bag of books at the Walker Library sale. ***1/2 (4 GR)
Who You Are by Nancy Henry: Featured in last week’s #FridayReads column, brave book about those thrown out by society. Excellent. **** (5 GR/Minerva)
Wool 3 by Hugh Howey: Slowed down and left this back on my Kindle and then rushed through it again in a few days. Beautiful, heartbreaking end. In Wool 4 now. One of the best science fiction series I have ever read. **** (5 GR) (Kindle)
Checked out this week:
Duncan the Wonder Dog by Adam Hines: Seth Hahne of the “Good Ok Bad” Graphic Novel rating site has this as his all time favorite graphic novel. Fascinating stuff. Just scratched the surface. pg 58 of 390 (Minerva/Lithgow PL)
Daytripper by Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba: Seth Hahne’s #2 Graphic Novel of all time. Went to Minerva site while looking at Hahne’s blog. (Minerva/ Lewiston Library)
Diving Into the Wreck: Poems 1971-1972: Got with Adrienne Rich’s death. Solid, but not hitting my soul. *** (3 GR) pg 20 of 62. (Walker/Still reserved through Minerva, since only 1 copy)
The Sons of Liberty #1 (discussed earlier). (Minerva/Gardiner PL)
Jimmy Corrigan or The Smartest Kid on Earth by Chris Ware: Keep hearing this is Ware’s fundamental book. Since I did a whole blogpost on him, I guess I should read it. (Minerva/Rice PL) Just started.
Bringing Down the House by Ben Mezrich: I really enjoyed Mezrich’s “Sex on the Moon” and curious about this tale of MIT math geeks and blackjack. A book that was on my list.
The Paris Review: Beat Writers at Work (ed. George Plimpton): Interviews, articles with the beats from the Paris Review. The Beats is one of my favorite literary periods. Looking forward to geeking out.
And for a third time: The Sons of Liberty #1 by the Lagos Brothers. This may earn a fifth Goodreads star yet.
Readings for Remembrance: A Collection for Funerals and Memorial Services selected by Eleanor Munro: Got this while Walter was sick. Not bad, would like to like more. Not grabbing me. Too scattered. **1/2 (3 GR)
Words I Wish I Wrote by Garrison Keillor: Been going through this a little at time. Nice little book. Will have to finish it before Wednesday. May read some this weekend. pg 92 of 221. *** (4 GR)
Quiet by Susan Cain: Enjoying this, slower read. Due back Wednesday as well. Unlikely to be renewable since it is new and in demand. pg. 162 of 270. Finding this really interesting. May need to do a lot of reading on Sunday before the Haiku slam. ***1/2 (4 GR)
And Kindle Updates:
Seems like sometimes my Kindle books I read a little at a time at work. Reading some great stuff right now.
Wool 4 by Hugh Howey: Fascinating book, the world keeps getting richer. Really, really curious where this is going. **** (5 GR) (approx 50% — reading with Wool Omnibus, better text size then for Wool 4).
Devil in the Kitchen by Marco Pierre White: Fascinating tales of becoming a chef in London. One of Anthony Bourdain’s heroes. ***1/2 (4 GR) (31%)
The Mind Tree by Tito Mukhopadhyay: Disbelieving these stories could be written by any 8 or 11 year old child, let alone written by a non-speaking autistic child. Reminds me a lot of one of my favorite books “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.” Gives me an idea of how it be to be autistic. Think of how hard some new things can be for you and make that ANY change in your life. This book may make a blog post. Heck this short review is already longer than some of my blog posts. (12%) **** (yes, already) (5 GR)
The City Game: Basketball from the Garden to the Playgrounds by Pete Axthelm: Very cool book that compares the tales of the legendary 1971-72 Knicks team to the playground heroes of NYC. Pretty cool, think will chip at for a while. *** (3 GR)
That’s almost 1100 words for the night, and over 2,000 including tomorrow’s post I have written since I have been home. I love writing these. I hope you like reading them. It’s my favorite post of the week.