Monday, December 1, 2014

Comfort in Reality

"Do you ever read fiction?" a friend asks as she places her things on the table. Class is about to begin and I am still scrolling The Wisdom of Whores by Elizabeth Pisani. I answer her with a nod, as I race to finish the first chapter. Once I'm done, I return to the library section on my Kindle app.

"I'm sure there's a novel in here somewhere," I say. Other than a short novel from writer, Heidi Liu, and The Habit of Art by Alan Bennet, the page was covered with nonfiction books.

My friend picks up A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini, "Have you read the Kite Runner?"

I almost blushed. Despite having been a long-term avid reader, I have never really consciously delved into the "Best Sellers List". Instead, I have purposefully avoided the list all together. "I would not buy a book just because its on the best sellers list," I explain awkwardly, "but just because a book is on the best sellers list will not deter me from buying it." It's true, in the past six years, I have read Twilight and two of its sequels, the first Sixty Shades of Gray book, and Mindy Kaling's hilarious tell-all, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me, all of which were on numerous best-sellers lists.

My taste in books rivaled my taste in boys. I am almost always turned off by men who other women adore, be it Ryan Gosling or that guy at work. Instead, I gravitate towards those who may not satisfy everyone's taste. The awkward geeky guy in glasses, who loves Star Wars and makes funny expressions, is not as conventional and is more attractive in my book.

"But statistically speaking, there are other girls who share your (strange) taste," she says on another occasion.

As interesting as being peculiar is, gravitating towards nonfiction seems much more fascinating.

Never before have I been exposed to as much nonfiction as I had been in college. Although professors still assigned fiction and scripts, I was awakened by a new world of experiences, analysis, and observation.

As a grade school student in Indonesia, I was taught to divide texts into two groups: fakta (fact) and opini (opinion). Years passed before I learned about fiksi (fiction), which was pervasively discussed in English class. However, I remember a distaste towards reading and writing as a whole because, at the time, I was uninterested in fakta and opini.

Today, the tables have turned. Today, I am much more invigorated by facts and opinion, especially when they are combined to create an analysis.

Perhaps, it had to do with this awakening, this drastic exposure to nonfiction pieces.

On the second half of this article I will delve deeper into how nonfiction rivals fiction. Let's just say, I've heard people say that nonfiction is not as exciting as fiction. Hmm...

*Photos were supplied by the author