You've heard it all before

But it's worth hearing again: an apology for fiction


Just about every literary nerd has had this conversation at least once (and I had one recently):

Me: Oh, you're a reader - cool! What do you like to read?
Non-Literary Nerd: Non-fiction, almost exclusively.
Me: You don't like fiction?
NLN: Nope. There's too much to learn about the real world to read stuff that's made up.
Me: Sure, dude.

I've said it, nearly everyone I know who reads fiction has said it, and it is ultimately unpersuasive because those who read nonfiction do not really do so to gain information about the world--such information is of its time and of the prejudice of the writer and ultimately subject to revision and rerevision.  Truth is, most of us don't really know why we do much of anything.  There are relatively few choices that we could explain rationally, and of those few, what we choose for recreation may be the least explained choice of all.

But it never fails to interest and stir me to read a rousing defense of reading fiction.


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