26/10/2013 by Siddiqui Fayesal
Talk about non fictional books versus fictional books and you’ve got a perfect recipe for a war of words and an end that doesn’t qualify a winner. This is a never ending battle that neither of the side will win. It’s like playing Tug of War with mathematically equated twins.
A victory is just not possible.
Now, if one was to ask me which side of the rocky boat I would lend my support to if I had to take a side, I would say that I lean more towards the former. Nothing wrong with the latter, I assure you, it’s just that I’ve read almost nothing in the category to give an unbiased opinion. I had, once, long back, tried picking up an autobiography. I think it was Gandhi’s; I couldn’t read more than 20 pages. Then, I wanted to try Mein Kampf. I still haven’t bought the book.
For some reason anything non-fiction is slow to get me. It is imperative that I give a giant sized disclaimer here since we’re on the subject. Politics is something that I can lap up with ease. Noam Chomsky and Edward Said are my favourite when I have to pick up a book on policies and politics. Apart from that any other form of non-fictional prose is not easy for me to digest.
Autobiographies, I’ve already mentioned, and the next in line are biographies. I had a run-in with a guy from my college one fine day in a train. He was in doing his Literature and was a year younger than I was. I was sitting across him and reading a book on democracy and how it is being misused (No, I am not a commie) and he was reading Plato. We started talking and he told me that it is important never to read any hardliners first person’s account of a theory! As he will try hard to brainwash me! That sounded weird to me but, later, I found that he did make sense. Albeit only if you took one look at a thing and decide how virtuous or evil it would be.
I guess his reasoning was based on the fact that communism (just one of the things we spoke about) was bad. It was proven. Now, just to see it from a tertiary POV it is important not to see only the propounder’s view but to hear what others have to say about it. It’s like picking up an account of someone who HATES Harry Potter only to find out the whats and the whys! So instead of picking up Lenin’s book, he says, pick up another authors who has researched enough on Lenin to give you an “honest” opinion.
I respect that, by the way. It’s not an opinion that one gets by CCPing (Cut-Copy-Pasting) views from the daily newspaper. It shows there was thought in what he was saying. What hit me was the fact that I never expected him to have a view (I have learnt since not to judge a person by his mannerisms)! He had dreadlocks and looked stoned most of the time. Perhaps he even did drugs. Perhaps he WAS stoned most of the time.
But see what he gives me!
Gawdammit! I wasn’t supposed to talk about this, now, was I?
I’ll segue into the theme of my article. Just wait.
So! Non-fictions, right? Yeah, I don’t have any problems with them. I’m not counting “self-helps” here. Usually I can’t stand them. The Robin Sharmas and Robert Greens are not on my “1000 books to read before I die” list. Honestly. The only reason why I might pick one of them up is to trash them. You might say I’m judging a book by it’s cover. Well, I’m not. I’m judging a book by it’s genre.
I guess I can do that, isn’t it?