Monday, January 7, 2013

Do You Read Realistic Fiction?

Are the words "realistic" and "fiction" not supposed to go together? Most people read to escape reality, right? But does that mean that reading about someone else's reality isn't escaping your own, even if it is realistic?

Which leads me to a question that's been on my mind lately: Do people read realistic fiction?

I'm not talking murder mysteries (really? is that realistic in your world? I'm grateful it's not in mine) or nonfiction; I'm talking a story that could be about the family next door to you. Right now.

When I began writing, I wrote (and continue to write) what I like to read. I think most authors do that. And it seems most people like to read YA and fantasy of some sort or combination (dystopian, paranormal, magic). There's nothing wrong with that--as I said, the majority of people seem to like them--and I read them sometimes myself. I enjoyed the Harry Potter series along with the rest of the world--went to the midnight release parties, then stayed up all night reading. Yep.

But for the most part, I enjoy reading realistic fiction. Somehow, for some reason they are my favorite. Novels that help me experience what it must be like to have a certain medical condition, unfortunate circumstance, or dysfunctional family. Maybe reading them makes me feel more normal or helps me feel I understand others and have more empathy for them. I like to feel the character's emotions, experience the world through their eyes, and I feel more invested in their life if I understand and live in their world. I guess it's easier for me to relate.

And I can't be the only one. The Help made it big--and for good reason: it was an amazingly written novel! The success of John Green and Jodi Picoult prove there are more than a few readers out there who appreciate this genre.

However, very few of my friends and family members seem to gravitate toward realistic fiction, so I just thought I'd throw the question out there...what do you enjoy reading and why?