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Fiction vs Non-fiction-All you need to know

Quarantined at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic we now have ample time to read all the books we had been avoiding until now. While some read fiction to develop their imagination some read non-fiction to learn important lessons from famous, successful people via their biographies or autobiographies.

But have you ever thought why we categories works of writing this way? Is there a third type?

Don’t worry! We provide you with the answers to all the questions arising in your head right now.

Basic differences

The Difference



  • Definition: In simple words, fictional literature is imaginary and non-fictional literature is based on reality. In fictional, the author creates the storyline, the characters and the setting whereas non-fictional works of writing are about real events in real places with real characters.
  • Purpose: The main purpose of fictional literature is to entertain readers. The imaginary stories about magical forests or about the space really appeal to the readers. On the other hand, the purpose of non-fiction is to be informative. They are factual and include theories or opinions.
  • Since non-fictional literature is about real events, references are needed to make the writing more credible. Since people expect only the truth and the actual reality while reading non-fiction book one should be careful with the details. However, there is no such requirement for fictional books.
  • Fictional accounts can be elaborate and the author can go along with his imagination to any limit. However, with non-fictional, the writer has to stick to the facts.No chances of imagination.

What are crossovers?

fiction or non-fiction

Crossovers have blurred the line between fiction and non-fiction. They are works of writing that can be categorized as either one of them.

Creative nonfiction or narrative non-fiction is a crossover where what we are reading is a novel but the events, places, and people are realistic. This is a great way to address real-life issues with fictional stories.

Another example is a novel, categorized as fiction but is based on the life of the author.

Historical fiction, where although the story is fictitious the way that era is described is historically correct. Hence, this too is a crossover.

Crossovers have been extremely successful for quite a few decades now. Go through the works of authors such as Jeff Shaara and Erik Larson who have written some great crossovers.

Check out this article to know more about narrative non-fiction: https://www.masterclass.com/articles/understanding-narrative-nonfiction

For my fellow readers

the reader

As a reader, we may have a particular type of books that appeal to us but that does not mean we should not limit ourselves to just one type-whether its fiction or non-fiction. Fiction is not reality and too much of it will make us dreamy. Similarly, too much of non-fiction might get boring and it may feel that the ideas of the author are being forced upon us.

Therefore, we should maintain a balance between both of them. As an avid reader myself I read two books parallelly-one fictional and one non-fictional. This helps me be in touch with reality but at the same time, I enjoy the beauty of human imagination with fictional novels.

Give it try. I’m sure you’ll like this idea.

Non-fiction books to read:

  • A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking
  • Hiroshima by Hersey
  • The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
  • Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain
  • How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

……and many more.

Fiction books to read:

  • A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
  • Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery
  • The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
  • Life of Pi by Yann Martel
  • The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

……and many more.

Helpful websites:

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/

LibraryThing: https://www.librarything.com/

Book Riot: https://bookriot.com/

Bookish: https://bookish.netgalley.com/

……and many more.

Now, what’s the next book you are going to read? Fiction or non-fiction?

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