Monday, February 27, 2017

“I only read non-fiction.”

The Steamer "Onward" near Hope, BC late 1800s
Paddle boat race near Quesnel, BC

“I only read non-fiction.”
This is something I’ve heard from a variety of sources, some of which I quite highly respect.
I have asked, “Why not?” and received a variety of responses many of which revolve around, “I want to know the truth, not what someone imagined.”
I wonder if any of those who feel that way have every had the opportunity to watch a news report of an event/accident/disaster where they may have been involved or witnessed?
I know of no national Canadian news network does not present some form of bias. Of the three majors, one presents a story which is supportive of whichever government is most affected by the event; another supports views consistent with big business and the third presents whatever is the most exciting and bizarre.
I expect this is the case with networks throughout the world since as time passes the focus of these stories often changes drastically … and sometimes the presentation has shifted 180 degrees.
Almost all of those who “never read fiction” do revel in a good, entertaining movie. Fiction from a writer but presented as the director thinks the story is best presented. If you are reading fiction then YOU get to present it the way YOU see it, not the way some person you never met chooses to present it. The reader’s imagination forms the proper pictures which are proper and true for the reader.
Of course, at the point readers can view the movie and see if they agree with the director.
I have just finished reading two collections of stories about historical events. In a collection of “old west” stories and a collection of Canadian historical events I did not find one story that did not – in my view – contain a mistake. I have also read four historical accounts of the same event which could not agree on what happened.
Throughout school many (most) fellow students complained about history and how borrrrring it is. I didn't find it to be such since I saw the characters presented as people who had similar trials and tribulations throughout their efforts as those we all experience today.
Yes, the school tests all demand that we recite the dates associated with historical events because they need some way of proving (?) that the student actually read the material.
Historical fiction, by its very nature WILL contain elements of entertainment. It should show, not that something happened in ??65 but that it could have happened in 1765 or 1935. It should also demonstrate some of the surrounding forces affecting the event (segregation in 1820 compared to 1980?) and that PEOPLE made it happen and where effected by it. There should also be some emotion created or shared by those people adding to the entertainment value for the reader.
You know nothing of your past, your history? Read some history with fiction, be entertained and absorb some understanding which can then be used to enrich your present.
Reading will enrich the mind and life more than any other information source available to mankind. It has been proven over and over and measured in a variety of ways by countless studies.
Oh, and by the way, you don’t read fiction?

If you read at all, you have read fiction.

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