Regarding the contrasting reading material I would have to say your individual personality is a deciding factor. Nevertheless, there can be pros and cons to consider:
PRO-HISTORY BOOKS: Simply put when reading a history book you will probably get information that is as close to the truth as you can possibly expect. History is full of riddles, mysteries, and questions. Such as: Did England’s Richard the 3rd really kill the Princes in the Tower? What influence did France’s Joan of Ark really have over the French army? And what was the true motivation behind Benedict Arnold’s treacherous decision? No one alive today can ever get the full story but the extensive, in depth research that historians put into history books will present the facts and hopefully help dispel myths.
PRO-HISTORICAL FICTION: This genre’s pro is actual a con for history books. This has to do with the entertainment factor. We live in a world that loves to be entertained and amused and historical fiction feeds that emotional connection in a way that many history books may lack. It is one thing to know that Henry the 8th had six wives. But it is another thing to explore the feelings and motivations of his wives through the pages of historical fiction. Writers of historical fiction breathe life into familiar accounts and make them more memorable and easier to identify with to a modern audience. Furthermore, some historians also write historical fiction in such a way that blends facts with emotion giving readers the best of both worlds. But what are the cons?
CON-HISTORY BOOKS: Even avid readers of history books may admit that they are not a plentiful as they could be on certain subjects. They can be expensive (however most good books are) and they can be somewhat confusing and conflicting when comparing the research of a variety of historians even on the same subject.
CON-HISTORICAL FICTION: It must be noted that some books of historical fiction are not only extremely fictional but they read more like romance novels. Such fictionalization has often lead to unnecessary misconceptions and speculations on the reputations and deeds of certain historical characters. And when movies and t.v. shows take this a step further it can be borderline disrespectful to learn the shameless artistic licence some have taken when portraying certain individuals and events.
However, regardless if one prefers cold hard facts or a romantic fantasy-land the fact is books still play a vital role in expanding our minds. And I for one am grateful to all the writers who play their part in the great reading adventure of history and life!
(Feel free to comment and follow Countess Chronicles for more!)