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Thread: Anybody else dislike fiction?

  1. #1 Anybody else dislike fiction? 
    Malignant Pimple shlunka's Avatar
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    I'm by no means an avid reader, usually only a book every day or two, so perhaps I haven't discovered a style that tickles my fancy yet. But, does anyone else find fiction works "in my case novels" unpalatable? Reading a magazine is fine for me "especially if it has lots of pictures, preferably of naked women", and I have no trouble spending hours in a bookstore looking for "how to" books. But, when it comes to anything fictional I just find it a chore. Granted I've only been exposed to Steinbeck, Hemingway, Tolkien, Poe, Shakespeare, and a few others, but I found them all terribly boring. Reading fiction is something I want to do to be able to talk about it, so I don't have a "uhhhh" moment whenever a work of literature is referenced... perhaps I'm reading for the wrong reason?


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    Administrator KALSTER's Avatar
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    Have you ever read any science fiction?


    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

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    Hmm. Perhaps you should try some more titillating literature such as Chatterley's Lover, Wuthering Heights, or poetry by Sapho. (I once took a Philosophy of Love class because of all the chicks there-- we read and shared extracts).

    I hear you though, While I used to read scifi more, today I'm much more likely to pick up a history or how too manual before works of pure fiction in the past ten years. Well researched historical fictions aren't bad though--good stories that bring some place, time and culture to vivid imagery, one of my favorite recent books was The Kite Runner after being strongly recommended by military advisors I knew serving in Afghanistan.
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    I love well written fiction. I like autobiographies and poetry, but science fiction? Nope. Never could get into it.
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    I used to read science fiction, but I eventually got fed up with fantasy of any kind. And I "did" the Hemingway-Orwell-Lawrence and other classic literature group and more or less abandoned that lot by the time I was 35.

    Now I tend to stick to history, biography, feminism/politics, gardening and environmental stuff and ... crime fiction. I've worked out that I really hate the artificially constructed stuff in "historical" fiction, can't abide "romantic" rubbish or those family sagas, and I find a lot of modern 'serious' literary work intolerable. When it's not pretentious it's irritating in some other way - at least to me.

    So crime fiction that's got a decent plot, not too much maundering about emotional stuff, and credible dialogue - which cuts down the options a fair bit, some writers are hopeless - is an easy bedtime read as long as you have a strong stomach for blood and gore.
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    I used to read science fiction, but I eventually got fed up with fantasy of any kind. And I "did" the Hemingway-Orwell-Lawrence and other classic literature group and more or less abandoned that lot by the time I was 35.

    Now I tend to stick to history, biography, feminism/politics, gardening and environmental stuff and ... crime fiction. I've worked out that I really hate the artificially constructed stuff in "historical" fiction, can't abide "romantic" rubbish or those family sagas, and I find a lot of modern 'serious' literary work intolerable. When it's not pretentious it's irritating in some other way - at least to me.

    So crime fiction that's got a decent plot, not too much maundering about emotional stuff, and credible dialogue - which cuts down the options a fair bit, some writers are hopeless - is an easy bedtime read as long as you have a strong stomach for blood and gore.
    I love crime fiction....ever read any old Thomas Costain novels?

    historical but written a long time ago...and one novel...can't remember the author...let me look it up..."White Lotus" by John Hershey has major stuck with me over all these years.
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    White Lotus, 691 pages!!! I might like it, though I'm not fond of the 'epic' kind of story.

    The other problem is the size of books. With my crook hands, I have to really want to read something to hold a book that size. Art/ architecture books I can put flat on a table and other reference books, but for curling up in a chair or bed, I like to hold a conventional book. I've never taken to my husband's e reader. I might have a look around for one that suits me. That might increase my options.
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
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  9. #8  
    Forum Ph.D. Raziell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shlunka View Post
    I'm by no means an avid reader, usually only a book every day or two, so perhaps I haven't discovered a style that tickles my fancy yet. But, does anyone else find fiction works "in my case novels" unpalatable? Reading a magazine is fine for me "especially if it has lots of pictures, preferably of naked women", and I have no trouble spending hours in a bookstore looking for "how to" books. But, when it comes to anything fictional I just find it a chore. Granted I've only been exposed to Steinbeck, Hemingway, Tolkien, Poe, Shakespeare, and a few others, but I found them all terribly boring. Reading fiction is something I want to do to be able to talk about it, so I don't have a "uhhhh" moment whenever a work of literature is referenced... perhaps I'm reading for the wrong reason?
    Simpleton! Joking

    I think it heavily relies on your personality. I love fiction because I like discussions on philosophy, morals, ethics, rhetoric and many other things. Fiction is like a "What if" thought experiment. You can learn alot of things from fiction.

    Example: Lets say a morally villanous person does something considered evil, and then you are faced with his background story where that person suffered and got betrayed by those he loved the most and lost faith in humanity etc. It makes you look at people in a different perspective as with the saying "People are people". It can help you in real life by not judging people too fast and rather want you to understand them. I think fiction is an excellent tool to learn more about yourself and others because even though this this happened in a fictional world, these fictional worlds are often riddled with problems and scenarios that occur in real life.

    I have a friend who shares your seemingly dislike for fiction, he is a math genius and is obsessed with absolute truths and dislikes fiction because "It isnt real". Which is a bad scientific approach in my opinion becaus fiction IS written by real people and the problems, stories and everything else within is often stuff that applies in some way to real life.

    Personally I love fiction and RPG games, they allow you to explore being the villain and hero both. Helping you to better understand the human condition. If you have a good imagination and can manage to live yourself into the heads of these fictional characters - you learn to better understand yourself and other people. I genuinely believe fiction is a great tool for the critical thinker to obtain wisdom and understanding.

    From a pure entertainment perspective - that is highly individual. Personally I consider a smart or witty written conversation more entertaining than action scenes. I find action to be more boring than delving into the fictional minds of other people that you yourself couldve been if born into a different world, age or parallell universe.
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    A detailed and well written response, Raziell.

    I enjoy many different genres of 'fiction' for precisely the reasons you outline. The written creation has emerged from the mind of another and I quite marvel at the incredible array of styles of thinking that surround us. I find science fiction also interesting for it's advancement of technological concepts and enjoy the fact that we now regard as commonplace many forms of communication that were foreshadowed in those novels.

    The 'driverless car' now looms on the near event horizon. How 'science fiction' was that concept even a mere decade ago?
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  11. #10  
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    I am an avid reader too and I do not dislike fiction. In fact, I read more fictional stories than informative literature and scientific works.
    Member Raziell elucidated about the discussions that are sometimes put forward in the books; I could not but agree with him.

    However, despite my enthusiasm about science and its discoveries, I have never been a fan of science fiction.
    "The only safe rule is to dispute only with those of your acquaintance of whom you know that they possess sufficient intelligence and self-respect not to advance absurdities; to appeal to reason and not to authority, and to listen to reason and yield to it; and, finally, to be willing to accept reason even from an opponent, and to be just enough to bear being proved to be in the wrong."

    ~ Arthur Schopenhauer, The Art of Being Right: 38 Ways to Win an Argument (1831), Stratagem XXXVIII.
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  12. #11  
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    I'm not an avid reader of fiction for three reasons:
    • spending hours/days/weeks of my valuable time reading something that's not true (so instead, I'll waste a mere 1½ hours watching the movie version). Even movies "based" on real life irk me because people I know will want to talk about so-and-so did this or that, and I try to tell them, "No, that was the fictional part", yet they continue on, "Yeah, but, blah blah blah". It's like talking with someone who's hallucinating.
    • with science fiction and fantasy, trying to remember all the unreal facts (this race of creatures has these powers or vulnerabilities, that race of creatures has those powers or vulnerabilities, the atmosphere on a particular planet requires humans to blah blah blah, etc, etc).
    • with science fiction and fantasy, guessing to pronounce all those bizarre names in my head (why aren't there any space aliens named "Fred" or "Mary", why can't Klingons speak English like everyone else, etc ).
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    Malignant Pimple shlunka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    I used to read science fiction, but I eventually got fed up with fantasy of any kind. And I "did" the Hemingway-Orwell-Lawrence and other classic literature group and more or less abandoned that lot by the time I was 35.

    Now I tend to stick to history, biography, feminism/politics, gardening and environmental stuff and ... crime fiction. I've worked out that I really hate the artificially constructed stuff in "historical" fiction, can't abide "romantic" rubbish or those family sagas, and I find a lot of modern 'serious' literary work intolerable. When it's not pretentious it's irritating in some other way - at least to me.

    So crime fiction that's got a decent plot, not too much maundering about emotional stuff, and credible dialogue - which cuts down the options a fair bit, some writers are hopeless - is an easy bedtime read as long as you have a strong stomach for blood and gore.
    I'm assuming War and Peace would fall into the "historical fiction" category? I picked it up at the library today... 200 pages in, I'm a bit fond of the layout of the story "intermittent action throughout" but I'm dreading the thought of reading the other 1,200 pages. The only books I've actually enjoyed in the fiction area would be the Hitchhiker's Guide series, odds and ends of Hemingway, and coloring books.
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  14. #13  
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    White Lotus, 691 pages!!! I might like it, though I'm not fond of the 'epic' kind of story.

    The other problem is the size of books. With my crook hands, I have to really want to read something to hold a book that size. Art/ architecture books I can put flat on a table and other reference books, but for curling up in a chair or bed, I like to hold a conventional book. I've never taken to my husband's e reader. I might have a look around for one that suits me. That might increase my options.
    Yeah took me about a day to read it...when I read, I read. It really struck a chord with me Adelady, even at like 13 ...
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    THAT was FUNNY!

    Raziell, I so agree with you, as woven into fiction is facts...so yes you can learn from fiction!
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    Forum Ph.D. stander-j's Avatar
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    A few titles you may want to look into:

    In the Skin of a Lion

    Dubliners

    Obasan

    Riddley Walker (takes some patience, but its a great dystopian narrative)

    Ulysses

    Amerika

    The Importance Of Being Earnest

    I wouldn't blame you for finding Tolkien or Hemingway boring. Tolkien wasn't a particularly good writer of adolescent and adult fiction. A textual comparison of the story quality of The Hobbit and LOTR would show anyone where his strength laid. He was exceptionally good at characterizing fantasy spaces, and had a knack for children's literature and the age old Fairy Story - he was actually highly regarded for his academic contributions, namely on the fairy story. LOTR is more esteemed for its elaboratively imagined world.

    As for Hemingway I shall not rant. Even now in his death, to speak ill of that lumbering giant would bring him knocking at my front door with machismo to spare.

    Definitely give Joyce and Kafka a whirl. Although - you might want to take a pass on Finnegans Wake...
    Last edited by stander-j; September 26th, 2013 at 07:41 PM.
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    Although - you might want to take a pass on Finnegans Wake...
    Almost everyone finds Finnegan's Wake a hard slog.

    Though a friend of ours had an Irish father. He was not an intellectual man and he normally read nothing more than the back of the newspaper for the racing guide. But Finnegan's Wake? He picked it up because it was lying around and just. read. it. laughing out loud at parts of it. Seems to have been written by an Irish person for other Irish people. The rest of us have to straggle along behind them.
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  18. #17  
    Forum Ph.D. stander-j's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    Although - you might want to take a pass on Finnegans Wake...
    Almost everyone finds Finnegan's Wake a hard slog.

    Though a friend of ours had an Irish father. He was not an intellectual man and he normally read nothing more than the back of the newspaper for the racing guide. But Finnegan's Wake? He picked it up because it was lying around and just. read. it. laughing out loud at parts of it. Seems to have been written by an Irish person for other Irish people. The rest of us have to straggle along behind them.
    Definitely could have been meant as a book for the Irish. I've heard reading aloud is helpful as well.
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    [QUOTE=stander-j;465135]A few titles you may want to look into:


    The Importance Of Being Earnest

    A GREAT PLAY TOO!
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  20. #19  
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    I be bunburying everyday.
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    Quote Originally Posted by stander-j View Post
    I be bunburying everyday.
    Hmmm...a quick search shows the term 'bunburying' to have more than one meaning...

    Bunburying - Wiktionary

    Urban Dictionary: bunburying
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  22. #21  
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    The only books I've actually enjoyed in the fiction area would be the Hitchhiker's Guide series,
    you might enjoy Terry Pratchett and his Discworld series then.

    funny but i live near Bunbury in Western Australia.
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  23. #22  
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    I particularly dislike fiction when it is offered up by our department of state, or any other branch of government, or any salesman.

    for the rest, I consider fiction a mild divergence from other important things.
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