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The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

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Letter to the Editor
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Fiction vs. nonfiction: A literary debate

When it comes to books, there seems to be a never-ending debate: does popularity lie with fiction or nonfiction novels?

For me, fiction holds the most appeal. Fiction books let my imagination wander, leading me to another world that I could never dream. However, they still hold relevance to real life situations. While nonfiction rarely attracts my interests, there are those who would rather read a biography than a fantasy any day.

Many famous authors in the past, including John Steinbeck, John Knowles and Jane Austen, have explored both genres. Their novels, some written long before the 20th Century, are still taught and read in English classes today.

I went to investigate the conflict between fiction and nonfiction, keeping in mind that my own favorite lies in the make-believe.

“I like using fiction in English and in publications,” Greg Stobbe, English teacher, said, “because fiction mimics reality in ways that draw the reader into the minds of characters and their conflicts. Nonfiction pieces like speeches or historical prose provide perspective for us and how we relate to our world.”

Molly Sargent, English teacher, often reads during her free time. She prefers the breadth and the depth of fictional books and the varying conclusions. Because she lived in a small town, she devoted most of her time to reading.

?The book that really changed my perspective was Phantom Tollbooth,” Sargent said. “It flicked my switch (maybe it was my age) and it was so imaginative. Since then I?ve been reading whatever books I could get my hands on.?

Julianne King, ’12, has her own opinion on fictional books. Though she juggles academics and tennis, she finds time to read fiction novels.

?The characters are interesting,? King said. ?I often have an exciting time visualizing the character?s story.?

Harrrison Borchard, ’10, from North Selenas High School, prefers nonfiction above fiction, unlike many of his classmates. Though he understands that stories may seem obvious in their topics, he enjoys the history behind every fact.

?Most of it is just so mysterious,” Borchard said. “I mean, sure it’s just history, but you get the whole perspective on things. You get to see the change in the architecture, music, writing ? anything really ? and it all leads up to how we got here.?

While many teens enjoy different genres of books, they often stumble over moral issues found in the pages. Recent hits such as the Harry Potter series and The Kite Runner author, Khaled Hosseini, have brought about an epidemic of controversies.

?Everyone has to make that choice [to read controversial books] for themselves,” Sargent said. “I felt bad when I read those types of books I didn?t understand, yet that language only means what you make it mean. I would never suggest a child to just pick up and begin reading a Harry Potter book.?

Though controversies abound in novels, whether classic or contemporary, avid readers continue to strive for their next favorite read. While most teens today, including myself, find more interest in fictional books, the impact of both genres remain a part of both pop culture and academics.

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    Luke DeGrootMay 17, 2010 at 6:59 am

    Great job, Tat! Way to be tough!

    San Luis Obispo, CA

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