A vote for story

When I got all my Christmas books home and examined the stack, I was dismayed to realize that all of them were works of nonfiction.

I’m such a fiction girl, or at least I used to be. Now I don’t know what to call myself.

(Want proof of where I came from? Here’s part of a post I wrote in May 2007: “Fiction is my first love, when it comes to books. I’ve always loved fiction.”)

In the last year or so, I’ve come to realize that what I appreciate in a book isn’t that the story isn’t true; rather, it’s that it tells a compelling story. Emphasis on story.

Before the last year or so, I hadn’t found that story element in my ventures into nonfiction. I didn’t even really like biographies, which should have an inherent story. I made a few exceptions, but overall I cheerfully discounted the world of nonfiction as boring.

When my husband built large bookshelves for the living room and our book collection migrated to one place, I was sad to realize that our joint collection consists of more nonfiction than fiction. I rationalized this as reasonable since so much fiction really isn’t worth owning, many novels I read I borrow from the library, and so much nonfiction is reference works that are so much more useful when owned. I remained sad about it, though.

A big reason why this particular stack of books I requested and received was devoid of fiction goes back to that Image Journal list of the top 100 books that engage Christianity I’ve been making my way through. Although the stack only had one book from the last in it. Hmm. Well, maybe it’s still connected. I’ve chosen so many of the books from that list that I’ve started with, or picked up first, simply by the titles. The list itself doesn’t include information such as genre, after all, and it’s somewhat daunting to sit down with a list of 100 books and research each one. Picking books by their titles is a bit like selecting books based only on the covers: misleading.

A couple of the books that have contributed to this change: Heavenly Man by Paul Hattaway and Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott.

I guess resisting labels is a good thing. It seems to happen in many areas of life as I get older. Maybe I’m not a fiction girl any longer. I just love a good story.

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One response to “A vote for story

  1. It’s all about the story or, more appropriately, how skillfully that story is told.

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