Monday, January 31, 2011

What's The Recipe?

Don't get me wrong, I'm in the throes of a fabulous book. Sam Harris's The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values.
I'm learning things from this book that I would not discover in four lifetimes, without Mr. Harris's help. But I find myself longing for fiction.
At different periods of my life I have established and followed a variety of reading regimens.
One part fiction <--> two parts non.
Equal time for each <--> reading both simultaneously.
Three parts fiction <--> one part non.

Lately I have been reading things at a rate of maybe fourteen parts fiction <--> one part nonfiction. And even then, while I am immersed in a book that is fascinating, I find myself longing for fiction.
If reading is a chemical rush for some, as I believe it is for me, I think I am getting my most powerful fix from books of fiction.
At times it causes me concern. The same kind of concern that might be healthily applied to my eating habits!
Lately I've been ten parts hamburger <--> one part….. nonhamburger.

I'm not equating the reading of fiction to the ingestion of grease… no, no.
Nor am I outright assuming that reading fiction is somehow less valuable than reading non-fiction. Some people thrive on movies, others on documentaries. For most people it's a little [or a lot] of both.
But what is the perfect recipe? Or is there one, at all?
Are there as many recipes as there are people?
How do you do it?
It's just that, more often than not, when I'm reading non-fiction I feel as though I'm nibbling on uncooked broccoli, surrounded by shelves of pizza.



Stefanie said...

I enjoy well-written nonfiction but fiction is definitely where it's at. My annual reading tends to end up at about 1/3 nonfiction to 2/3 fiction.

Melwyk said...

While I don't cotton to the idea of fiction as hamburgers, exactly, I do believe that fiction is the main course! In my reading I gravitate toward fiction, always. And love it.

Shark said...

Today I'm reading Moby Dick and I've been learning many crazy things about whaling--not as much as I'd learn from a non-fiction book on whaling, but still, it's been quite educational. I've also been reading a lot of socialist realism and was able to hold my own in a recent discussion on communism, strictly from what I've learned in these works of fiction. So for me, I guess the best fiction tells a story and from which you learn something too...

Alyce said...

I read them equally and usually have both going at the same time. I like to think of it as an emotional balance because sometimes I get too invested in fiction. Then when I finish a very good fiction book all I am capable of reading for a while is nonfiction because I feel like I need to let my soul rest from the experience.