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Thursday, 4 November 2010

Article: On My Reader Identity and Non-Fiction

Well as I am sure you all know, today is the first ever National Non-Fiction Day. You can find out more about it on the official website. The Federation of Children's Book Groups have been working amazingly hard behind the scenes to make today a huge success. I just want to say a personal thank you to Melanie at Library Mice as she has been a driving force behind the impact today is having in blogosphere.

And now, for a little article all about my reader identity and non-fiction. Enjoy!

When I think about myself as a reader, I always think of myself as a lover of fiction. I love stories. I love characters. I love the journey of a character. I have never thought of my reader identity as anything beyond fiction until now. Hearing about National Non-Fiction Day got me thinking about how non-fiction books are a part of my reading life and how my identity as a reader goes beyond stories after all.

Once I got to thinking about it, I was blown away by how much I do love reading non-fiction. It may not be a book but I am addicted to New Scientist magazine. I love physics even though I hardly ever understand it. New Scientist has blown my mind many a time but especially the recent article on Quantum Machines. The possibility of multiple universes is so exciting. In our constantly advancing world Scientific developments are happening every day and in order to keep up with them I read magazines and online articles and really enjoy doing so.

As for an actual type of non-fiction book that I love, well there is travel guides. I know you can find lots of information via google but personally I love travel guides. I love that they have pull out maps and that all the information is easy to find with the index. Hubby and I are planning our trip to New England with an Insight Guide (of the same name) at the moment. I love being able to keep going back to the book and finding somewhere else to put on our list of places to visit.

I also love books about writing. For the last few months I have been working my way through James Scott Bell's Plot and Structure. It is taking a long time because there are exercises to try out at the end of every chapter and in order to get the most out of the book, I am trying all of them. I'm not suggesting if you read a writing self-help book, you'll become a brilliant writer. But I am saying that it can help you become more analytical of your own writing and maybe see it from a different perspective.

Then there are art and craft books. I love trying creative activities. I love that there are books with hundreds of patterns from around the world. I try to use these to inspire my glass work. Now I am thinking how much my life as a reader shapes everything I do, even when I am in the studio being taught a completely different skill, my reading is shaping the work that I produce. It is staggering!

There are so many more non-fiction books that influence me but there is one that I could not live without. My Collins Dictionary and Thesaurus. It is HUGE!!! It sits on my desk and is effectively my bible. I love it. I'm on my second one actually because I used it so much while I was doing my degree. Discovering a new word is one of the best feelings. It is just as much a part of being a reader as enjoying a story and so I conclude that my reading identity is one that is constantly evolving. I hope I keep learning about myself.

Happy National Non-Fiction Day! Watch out for my review of a very Chrismassy book later today!

5 comments:

Irena @ This Miss Loves to Read said...

Great post, Becky! We almost forget that we read quite a lot of non-fiction, too. Newspapers and magazines definitely count.

I like your non-fiction tendencies, very interesting. Physics, wow. The very noun physics confuses me.:) But I like to read about it too, mostly because my uncle, a physicist, reads with me and explains things that interest me, like the universe, string theory etc. And, I'm addicted to the National Geographic magazine.:)

Happy National Non-Fiction Day to you too!

Nayuleska said...

Non-fiction day rules! Brilliant post, we are so twins with the liking New Scientist (although I hardly buy it...)

Clover said...

I think of myself as a fiction person to, but I am astonishingly (for me) interested in the sciences as well. A LOT. Perhaps I should look into reading more non-fiction around the sciences?

Becky said...

Irena, you have a physicist in the family? I am completely jealous. If I didn't become a librarian and want to be a writer, I so would dream of becoming a physicist. I just love the way it helps us understand the world around us. Big concepts which blow the mind.

Nayu, I know the magazine is rather expensive but I always think the money goes into more science research so I am okay with buying it. Are you following them on Twitter? They post links to great free articles :-)

Clover, give it a go... start with a popular science book - Stephen Hawking or someone like that.

Library Mice said...

What a great post Becky! It is so true what you say. If we stop and think, we all read a lot of non-fiction. I have tons of cookery books for example!
And wow, I am impressed about the New Scientist! I have not got a scientific mind at all so I am in awe of anybody who can actually understand any of it!!!
Thanks for supporting NNFD