And so the battle wages on. The battle that has been fought endlessly for years, decades, centuries, since the dawn of time. The battle which has torn nations apart and split the world in two.I am talking about Non-Fiction vs. Fiction. DUN DUN DUN.
Okay, to be honest, I'm actually talking about realistic fiction vs. fiction fiction, like Hunger Games, Harry Potter, Divergent, and so on. I have not been known to sit down and read a long memoir or a book of facts. At least not in the same way I read fiction fiction books. Since I'm tired of typing everything out, I'm going to abbreviate Realistic Fiction to RF and Fiction Fiction to FF. (Not to be confused with Fan Fiction, which I shall not go into at the moment.) Of course, this has probably taken up just as much time and typing as it would if I hadn't done this, and kept it unabbreviated--uh.....
Until I read Harry Potter, I would not tough FF. My dad had read me Chronicles of Narnia when I was really little and the only parts I really got into were the parts with Reep-a-Cheep the mouse, because his name was fun to say. Instead I would read sports books, books by Carl Hiaasen, and E.B. White. Sword fights and spells never appealed to me. That’s not to say that when I was little, I wouldn't have my toys act out wars, or lock each other up in towers, but I never really liked reading the stuff.
Even now, I immensely enjoy reading the occasional Anne Tyler novel. Herman Wouk is amazing too. I still read E.B. White and Car Hiaasen. But all my favorite books are fantasy. Not generally hard core fantasy, like Lord of the Rings (which I did enjoy, by the way) but things like the Artemis Fowl series, The Hunger Games, or Percy Jackson.
So what changed and which is better?
The first question can be answered simply. I read Harry Potter. Read the previous blog post for details. Which is better? Hard to say.
My friend (let’s call her Wilma) is not a fantasy reader. She likes hard core non-fiction. RF is about as fictional as she will go. She's read ever American Girl book out there (the old ones are surprisingly good); most of Nancy Drew, and can name all of Judy Blume's books. I asked her why and she replied simply, "Because I can relate to the characters."
And, looking back, I realized that her reason was the same as mine for reading RF. I liked reading a book and relating to the MC, who maybe has a lot of drama with her friends, school trouble, (not saying those last too happened to me personally) or is just growing up. Judy Blume's more kid friendly books spoke to me back then. They said "whatever problems you're going through or might go through or can even somewhat relate to, the MC is going through too. Read on to find out how she/he deals with it." I found kindred spirits within the pages.
I was sure the only way to find a character so much like myself was to read something realistic. I liked the everyday drama writers would incorporate in the RF books. I liked learning how kids in different situations lived and dealt with problems. I hated most forms of FF because I was sure that the characters in FF were not relatable, and that the stories were only good because of the action, or because they contained magic or whatever.
But FF characters are relatable. Harry does grow up in "Harry Potter." Katniss does know what it feels like to be conflicted in "The Hunger Games." Tris does know what it feels like to have an older brother in "Divergent."
The difference is that FF invents even more hard situations for its characters to deal with, more--usually life threatening--struggles to overcome, and different battles to fight.
Both genres have their perks and their differences. But does it make one better than the other? The battle goes on…