Books, Collectivitea, Over a cup of tea.. (Online Journal)

Why Do We Read Nonfiction?

What kind of books are you drawn to? Do you prefer fiction over non fiction or vice versa? If you’d asked me a few years ago, I would’ve told you that the only books I read were works of fiction and I loved them all the more if they also had a happy ending! It’s hard to imagine now but I’d read very few non-fiction works until I reached my early forties. Story books have always been a portal into a more exciting world and a way to read about people in diverse life situations. We read to be entertained, mystified, happy, sad, horrified, jubilant, and/or devastated. We get to experience a range of emotions with the added bonus of a safe distance. Why do we read nonfiction? I have a theory about that…

Why Do We Read Nonfiction/Collectivitea

A recent conversation with a friend got me thinking about why I started reading nonfiction and why I read it almost exclusively now. At some point in my forties, I started reading nonfiction books that fall into the self-help category. So not all kinds of nonfiction, just those that would provide answers.  How can I tap into my inner goddess? What is feminine power and can I access it? I also read entrepreneur-authors for business advice. Then just over a year ago, I started a regular volunteering practice at a local, non-profit health organization. It was to support a cause but also a way to for me to practice a more mindful and healthful lifestyle. How can I be more healthy? Who needs sleep? (Answer: All of us and preferably 7-8 hours!) How can I be less stressed? How can I be more productive? And so on.

My theory is that, given a choice, we read those books that will most help us where we are, either by providing an escape from a dreary or stressful situation, a respite from reality if you will, or we read to learn. I have found this to be true for myself but is it too much of an oversimplification? These are the books I am currently reading and as you can see, chronobiology has me in its thrall. The idea of synchronizing our daily routine with the body’s circadian rhythm to optimize our lives has all my self-help antennae jangling! I would love to hear your thoughts! -Priya


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