What's the Difference between Fiction and Nonfiction?
January 09, 2013
This is a common question that I’ve been asked. I’ve often heard it explained that fiction is something made up, whereas nonfiction is true. According to the dictionary, this is correct, but in the Library, the definition of nonfiction is slightly different. In our nonfiction section, you will find fairy tales, books touting cures for various illnesses, Shakespeare’s plays, poetry, jokes, and books about alien abductions (just to name a few things). Not all of these things would pass a "true" test.
The best way that I can explain the difference would be to say that items classified as fiction will contain information that is imagined or made up, and it's generally narrative accounts of a story. An example of a work of fiction is the Harry Potter series. There is not really a boy named Harry Potter who is a wizard and graduated from Hogwarts. A work that is classified as nonfiction is filed in the Library according to subject, based on the Dewey Decimal Classification system. It is in this section that you will find items likely needed for research, homework, or self-help.
So…let’s try a little test. Look at the brief list below and see if you can pick out the items that would likely be found in nonfiction:
- Crockpot Cooking
- 1999 Mazda Protégé Repair Manual
- The Hunger Games
- The SAT Study Guide
- Yoga for Stress Reduction
- Diary of a Wimpy Kid
If you guessed that #’s 1, 2, 5, and 6 belong in nonfiction, you guessed correctly!
Blue Ridge Branch