Do you read fiction?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Chat' started by MoominDave, Aug 10, 2011.

  1. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Interesting chat with my office-mates over coffee this morning... Neither of them (both male scientists in their early 30s) ever read fiction books. One of them read fiction regularly until his mid-teens, when he became more interested in factual works, to the exclusion of fictional works, while the other one (to my astonishment) has never enjoyed reading fiction - has tried reading them occasionally, but feels a kind of embarrassment at engaging in the suspension of disbelief thing that leads him to dismiss the whole field as "childish".

    Now, I read fiction voraciously when I'm in the mood for it. That mood comes less often now than it did when I was a child, but I still read quite a lot of fiction by most people's standards. Part of it is escapism, absorbing myself in a world drawn from an interesting imagination. Part of it is the relaxation that that escapism affords. Part of it is for the pure pleasure of detecting the patterns and styles of a particular author, decoding the puzzles that they set out. Part of it is for the interest in seeing how the real world is reflected in the view of the author's imagination, and can lead to new ways of thinking about aspects of the real world.

    I'd always assumed that almost everyone enjoyed reading fiction regularly, but now I'm wondering if maybe I'm the odd one out here. Do you read much fiction? At all? Why do you do it, if you do? Or why don't you, if you don't? What do you expect to get out of a fiction book when you pick it up? And does that match what you actually do get out of it?
  2. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member

    I will read anything, books, labels, toilet roll packaging. By preference, unless I have a specific desire to look something up, I will read fiction. Science fiction and fantasy, mostly. The only ptoblem is, they take up so much room. I got a Kindle for Christmas and I'm going to downlaod all of my actual books onto it and maybe have a book sale to reclaim the shelves for my DVD/Blu-Ray collection.

    I do it for the sheer escapism and the ability a good author has of drawing you into their world. Unless it's blatant, I don't deloiberately look for real world analgues - the whole point is to get out of yourself.

    An interesting result of now being a two-kindle family is that my partner now reads fiction after 50 years of loathing it!
  3. Laserbeam bass

    Laserbeam bass Active Member


    Detective US/UK
    Historic Novels - Robert Harris, Bernard Cornwell (Sharpe, not the King Arthur stuff)
    British 20th Century - Huxley - Burgess
    Horror pre 1995 when the books got to be the same
    Various End of the world thrillers
    Spy/Ex Special Forces novels - Mitch Rapp, Scot Harvarth, Ben Hope, Harry Jones

    Favourite authors
    James Patterson
    Karin Slaughter
    Linda Fairstein
    Tess Gerrittsen
    Vince Flynn
    Brad Thor
    Scott Mariani

    to name but a few

    Never really got in to Non-Fiction or reference books :confused:
  4. iancwilx

    iancwilx Active Member

  5. worzel

    worzel Member

    I don't read any fiction these days. I've read maybe 10 fictions in the last 10 years. I don't even listen to music any more. I used to read a lot of books on maths, science and economics, but these days I mainly listen to radio four and variosu other current affairs and comedy podcasts.
  6. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Yes! Exactly my sentiments, and precisely what gobsmacked me about my friend who doesn't (refuses to?) even begin to understand the point of fiction - he is keen on music in his spare time.

    But then, I suppose I don't enjoy some whole fields - ballet being an example of an artistic field that leaves me rather cold. But fiction writing is such a rich field...
  7. Maestro

    Maestro Active Member

    I have always enjoyed reading. Have just finished a couple of Stephen Fry books, which will not be put away. They will be read again.

    I also enjoy Bernard Cornwell books, but unlike you LBB, I do enjoy the early ones, especially the ones with thomas of Hookton.
  8. FlugelD

    FlugelD Member

    If it isn't nailed down, I'll read it (with the exception of tabloid newspapers, chick-lit & Mills & Boon ;) )

    My preferred reading is SF and fantasy, particularly if it's humorous - Terry Pratchett, Tom Holt, Harry Harrison for example. But, apart from the aforementioned, it's all grist to the mill - biographies, thrillers, historical novels.... :)
  9. Laserbeam bass

    Laserbeam bass Active Member

    Forgot about Pratchett, and Robert Rankin - well worth a read if you like Pratchett
  10. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    I read a lot of fiction, both travelling to and fro work and during my breaks.

    Lots of historical works - Napoleonic, Roman etc, some science fiction and some politics.

    Favourite authors would include Dan Brown, Bernard Cornwell, Michael Crichton, Michael Dobbs, Robert Harris, Conn Igulden, Ben Kane, Simon Scarrow and Harry Sidebottom.

    Recently finished The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, and on the last quarter of Game of Thrones at the moment.
  11. worzel

    worzel Member

    The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings aren't fiction; they are sacred texts.
  12. Laserbeam bass

    Laserbeam bass Active Member

    I suppose that as Jedi is now recognised due to planks adding it as other on the census forms, that it won't be long before Hobbitism is also recognised as a religion.
  13. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Sounds more like a medical condition to me
  14. Thirteen Ball

    Thirteen Ball Active Member

    I love fiction - historical fiction mostly. I tend to pick an author and demolish everything they've written, then move onto another author. It's a bit limiting, I'll admit, but once I find a style I like, I'll tend to stick with it.

    I loved Alistair MacLeasn when I was younger. The books are so far superior to the films. (Other than the theme to "Where Eagles Dare" which is worth watching the otherwise poor film for on it's own!)

    Bernard Cornwell gets another vote as a favourite from me. I thought the Grail Quest novels were weak, but just about everything else he's written I've really enjoyed. Recently the stand alone novels "Azincourt" and "The Fort" were both corkers, and I can't wait for the next in his early England series. I knew almost nothing about the period surrounding Alfred the great until I embarked upon those and his characters are brilliant.

    (I wish he'd catch up with the American Civil War series though. It's been years since the last one.)

    I love the older, more wordy style of writing of some authors though. I bought the whole back catalogue of C.S. Forester's "Hornblower" series and they're firm favourites now. I guess it was only natural that after so much 19th century naval fiction, I should take up with Patrick O'Brien's Aubrey and Maturin Chronicles next. They're tough going sometimes - and a dictionary is a constant companion as the language is sometimes positively archaic - but rattling good stuff.
  15. Rapier

    Rapier Supporting Member

    I read all the time, see look, I'm reading this as I type. If I start a series I have to read them all, but I gave up after around 20 or so of the Aubrey Books (Master and Commander etc.) as nothing much ever happens in them. They chase a ship for chapter after chapter, lose it in the fog, the End! But Terry Pratchett is always brilliant and am eagerly awaiting the new one due in a couple of months.
  16. Maestro

    Maestro Active Member


    Along the lines of Hornblower, have you read the Bolitho series?
    Loved the whole lot of them.

    When I get into a series of books, I find myself almost cheering the characters on throughout their adventures.
  17. Thirteen Ball

    Thirteen Ball Active Member

    Can't say I have, but I'll be sure to look them out.....
  18. Bass Trumpet

    Bass Trumpet Active Member

    I don't read any fiction, I just don't care for it. That said, I do have quite an appetite for biographies and humorous books. And, of course, the odd copy of Computer Shopper!
  19. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Ah, we have a guinea pig! Or a bite, depending on your metaphor.

    Would you care to give a bit more detail about what turns you off in fictional writing? Would you enjoy reading it if you had more time, for example? Or is it the concept that you don't like?
  20. iancwilx

    iancwilx Active Member

    I've enjoyed almost all the Authors you guys mention plus a lot more, Tom Sharpe and Clive Cussler just a couple that spring to mind.
    I reckon I know so much about 18/19th Century warships that I could step aboard, weigh anchor and be underway in a trice !

    - Capt Wilx

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