As a proprietor of books, we notice an interesting trend – where readers of ‘fiction’ and ‘non-fiction’ often identify themselves separately. Most of the time, our customers either prefer fiction, but dabble in non-fiction or vice versa. Inherently, this is understandable because these two genres are polar opposites – one is factual and the other is conjured. Now, there are fictional books based on real life events or historical periods; this is where the two genres can merge and appeal to readers of both genres.
Not all non-fiction books are the same. There’s a misconception that non-fiction books read like text-books and offer little in the way of an intriguing story. This may be true for some titles, and depends on their intended use. However, our favourite non-fiction books read like stories; because many of them are. ‘Biographies & memoirs’ is a genre we enjoy curating immensely, because of the stories we are able to introduce readers to. These are often deeply personal and creates an internal dialogue in the reader’s mind; when reading a biography, we can’t help but place ourselves in the subject’s shoes – because we know at some point, someone lived through the words we’re currently reading.
While fiction allows for themes to be explored in more abstract ways, non-fiction books addresses them directly. What better way is there to learn about a current issue, for example civil rights, than to read about someone who actually lived through the Civil Rights Movement? Doing so allows us to vicariously experience their thoughts, hopes, dreams and struggles; on a personal level.