Have you been bogged about why most readers are more likely to be interested in reading novels instead of non-fiction? I used to wonder like you do too. So I spent time to think it through and ask a couple of friends why it’s easier reading a 400 pages novel than it is to read a 20 minutes handbook on public speaking or health. And honestly, I found some unpublished truth – maybe a research will be more accurate on what make up for the preference.
However, I am here to explore some of the reasons why many voracious readers tend to read hundreds of pages of a novel in hours than they would non-fiction book in days.
One of my friend noted that reading a novel comes with ease, giving credit to the narrative structure that makes storytelling more relaxing than a handbook which demands you to pay attention to every bit of detail. Comparing the ease of reading, novels come off like watching television as opposed to listening to a radio conversation.
The audio-visual nature of the television makes it effortless for the audience to connect with whatever it airs. Radio on the other side demands that one’s ears remain unidirectional. Many voracious readers see reading novels like sitting before a television show. Non-fiction books like radio programs demands some mental commitment from the reader/listener.
Another friend is of the opinion that novels do not demand that readers understand the length and depth of the story. There is no assessment especially if one is reading for leisure – academic readings may require a summary or critique of the narrative. The same cannot be said for non-fiction books as readers are expected to understand the subject matter of the book and act on it in most cases.
I give you an example, recently, I decided to incorporate more non-fiction books into my e-library. Within two weeks, I read almost three novels of nothing less than 200 pages each and on the non-fiction part, I was only able to complete one book I started two months ago. That’s cheeky but the truth. You may want to know why I spent over a month on a non-fiction and two weeks on almost three novels.
It’s simple. I didn’t have any obligation to the novels except living with the characters while the novel lasted. If I were to review the novels, I could have lingered on my reading, reduced my speed and also do a second reading. But I was strictly reading on pleasures’ ride. For the non-fiction book which was on spirituality, I had to read, follow the to-do practices at the end of each chapter. I had an obligation to learn what the author wanted me to learn which was why I picked up the title in the first place.
More so, some readers have suggested that many non-fiction books don’t come off with enticing lines and dialogue – just some bunch of oversabi people who think they know how to teach others stuffs. That last part was meant to be sarcasm, of course, we don’t think non-fiction writers are oversabi.
Readers feel that each time they pick up a non-fiction book, it takes them back to some boring lectures filled with overused cliches, familiar language and no character to empathize with or hate if possible – these elements make fiction thick and enjoyable.
Some readers lament the rigid structure of conventional non-fiction, the challenge with heavyweight words constraints them to digest the message easily. If they are to ever find reading non-fiction interesting, then authors need to adjust their style into a slight tilt towards storytelling.
So, instead of a boring 200 pages of how to overcome depression with uninteresting action points, writers can introduce the readers to a character experiencing depression and through this character, address the pains and pitfalls of depression.
My last sentence appears to be proven to yield result after I read Arese Ugwu’s Smart Money Woman and that sweet cheesy book, Who Moved My Cheese. Both books approach their subject through a storytelling perspective. And at the end of each chapter when you have to take action, it’s easier as you have been immersed in the subject matter.
I desire to give more reasons but I feel reluctant as these are the few ones other folks have agreed with me on. The reasons are not exhaustive, however, I am not out to dish out reasons for the sake of it. It has to be valid and so far, these are the valid reasons I could put together.
Do you think there could be other reasons why voracious readers rather go for novels at the expense of non-fiction – perceived to offer more value to readers? Leave your response in the comment section.