Which do you prefer: fiction or nonfiction? A perfect balance of both?
I don't really have a preference per say. What I enjoy more, of the two, depends on my mood and purpose for reading at that particular time. Over the long haul; however, I've found a quantitative balance of both helps me to not burn-out. I think that if more people included a regular
variety, they might not get bored with reading as often as they perhaps do.
Is this a false dichotomy?
Not at all; and I'd say that anyone who says 'Its all fiction anyway
' unnecessarily blurs the distinction. Sure, its readily conceded that Nonfiction isn't always the objective truth
, but as we've concluded many times, truth is a matter of perspective and available information. What lies outside us - that absolute truth - though it probably exists, may or may not correlate precisely to what we believe is the truth. This isn't a reason to blur the distinction, nor is it prudent justification to disbelieve everything presented. Skepticism is good, annihilation of all 'trust' isn't
Also, Nonfiction tends to deal with 'facts' that can be quantified (facts being events, chronologies, quantities and specifications) and then proceeds to present those facts in a setting. A "setting" in this context may be to propose a conclusion about the facts, to simply inform or to lead the reader to a certain conclusion. What is very important here, I think, is that we separate 'facts'
from how such facts are used
When I read Nonfiction, I often find that most (if not all) facts[INDENT].. are either true (insomuch as they've verifiable)
.. were believed to be true at the time or from that perspective
[/INDENT]But this isn't the largest "Fictionizer" of Nonfiction; from what I've seen, what 'invalidates' most nonfiction (where such as been the case) is what I mentioned above: How accepted facts are used, that as presented may lead to false conclusions. It's like statistics; they can be spun to influence people in virtually any direction - by omission of variances or emphasis/de-emphasis.
So yea, being skeptical is good. But we derail our own reading experiences if we categorically distrust everything
- join me in a dance of "Everything's Absurd?". Nah, no reason to do this. What I do is this:
- I'll initially 'trust' that what an author presents as truth, is. I, the reader, consciously retain the right to ultimately make up my own mind.
- Then as I run across information presented as fact, I give it a Gut-Check: Does it jive with what I've seen, believe I know or experienced? If so, I leave it alone...
- ... If not, I do some checking. In my library I keep a laptop up and connected for just such occasions; can I verify <yada>? Most times, and in most cases, the author's accurate.
- But this isn't the biggest pitfall; The biggest issue that can blur the lines between fiction and nonfiction isn't the accuracy of items presented as fact, it's the conclusions drawn that can be spurious.
I think we all should read critically; but give the authors the benefit of the doubt. Plato probably sincerely believed what he wrote - I won't begrudge him that, nor does that example
nullify any subsequent author's fidelity or intent.