Off the Books: Why I Don’t Read Realistic Fiction

Posted October 5, 2016 in Discussion / 26 Comments



I’ve always shied away from books that are classified as best sellers.  I don’t read what my neighbors read.  I don’t read what most of the general book clubs read.  That’s because I prefer to read to escape reality.  I like to disappear in make-believe worlds or in a good romance.

Source: Unknown, found on Pinterest
Source: Unknown, found on Pinterest


As a reader and a reviewer, aren’t we always trying to push ourselves to read new genres, try something new?  Not too long ago, I did this with historical romances.  I’d sworn I would never read a book with one of “those” covers 😉  After hearing how charming and funny they could be, I finally did it.  And now I add those books in every once in a while.  Not a favorite genre but I still like them.

So when I saw Jodi Picoult had a new book coming out, I checked it out.  You see, all my neighbors LOVE Jodi Picoult’s books.  My aunt is a HUGE fan of hers, goes to her book signings when ever possible.  Now when your dear, beloved aunt begs you to read an author, you probably should eventually give the author a try.  Maybe it’s time to push my reading boundaries.

But as I read Small Great Things, I realized something about myself

I don’t like to be told to feel a certain way.

I want to get there on my own.

smallgreatthings100You see, Small Great Things is about the extremely relevant and electrically charged topic of race relations.  So as I was reading, this story is told from two points of view.  Facts are dispensed by the points of view but then at 6% in to the book, I noticed that some details are left out.  I wanted to know how the white supremacist’s older brother died.  Doesn’t matter if it’s not relevant to the story, I need to know.  It’s my stupid need for closure, or something like that.  I want to know EVERYTHING!

It’s as if the author feeds out only certain facts in such a way that they purposely lead you one way when, if all the facts were out in the open, you never would have had all this trouble in the first place.  If you had all the facts, you never would have made the same conclusion the author wanted you to.  Am I making any sense at all?

I also don’t want to be reminded of all the stupid people out there in the world.

There are enough of them living near me, I get enough reminders every day.  I watch local Detroit news occasionally.  There’s my reality check.

Honestly, Small Great Things is probably a fantastic book.  It has a 4.3 rating in Goodreads.

I am not the norm, I am the exception to the rule.

There’s also this pesky thing that my mom’s side of the family has passed down to me and it is called depression.  I mildly suffer from it and take medication.  I notice when I don’t take aworldwithoutyou100my medication (or, should I say, my husband notices?).   Because of what I call my “sensitivity” to emotional books, I’ve learned to just say, “No!”   One very realistic book I recently wanted to read but I know I can’t is Beth Revis’ A World Without You.  Oh, I so badly wanted to read this book but I know I physically can’t.  It will rip me up and I will be non-functional for my family.   It’s important I stay functional for my family 🙂


So what to do about my wonderful, dear Aunt Nancy?  I’m going to try Picoult’s Second Glance.  Apparently there are ghosts involved 🙂


furiouslyhappyAs for the next genre I’m going to try?  It’s going to be non-fiction in the form of a biography or an autobiography.   I’m thinking Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things sounds right up my alley.











About Kristin

Kristin has to ensure she gets her minimal requirement of "happily ever after" books in between those books that contain cliffhangers and never-ending story arcs. It's for her family's sake. When not reading, she's homeshooling her 10-year old son, watching cartoons on TV, or taking a nap.



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26 responses to “Off the Books: Why I Don’t Read Realistic Fiction

    • Way to scare the piss out of me!!!! You know I’m sensitive and if you tell me I’m not making sense I’m going to go cry in the corner… after I take my post down!!!!! I’m throwing spit balls in your general direction today!!!!! 🙂

  1. I am totally with you. I don’t like reading all these depressing realisitc fiction books out there and I really struggled with the NA genre when it was hitting it big. I like more light and fluffy especially after losing my mom, I need to go to a happy place when I read. I totally get where you are coming from!

  2. I absolutely hate to cry and I don’t do it pretty (jelly of those that can) so I tend to avoid the depressive books when I can and often do. I SO agree with “I also don’t want to be reminded of all the stupid people out there in the world.” Especially during election time. LOL That reason sums up why I love to lose my self in books as well. I do like your next book. It does sound like a perfect time for that kind of book. 😀
    Melissa (Books and Things) recently posted…On My Wishlist: Spectacle by Rachel Vincent

  3. So far all the realistic fiction books I’ve read had been anything but realistic which pissed me off! Too much drama, too unbelievable, not something I’d call realistic at all. I think the genre alone sets a different mood for every reader, when I pick up a book that is promoted as realistic I expect a certain level of real emotional reaction, I don’t know if that makes any sense, but usually these books are either underwhelming or overwhelming me with emotions.
    Kei recently posted…ALL ABOUT THE VILLAIN

    • I think I know what you mean. The author has a certain emotion in mind that they want to drag out of you and they set off to do it however they can.

  4. Must be a Kristin thing because I’m right there with you. So many of my friends read these top-rated, award winning books that are acceptable in society, and I just love a good ol fashion urban fantasy/paranromal romance. I don’t want to escape my reality just to read about someone else’s mundane life. I most definitely don’t want to be depressed or cry throughout the whole reading experience, either. I try to dabble in other genres, mostly when book clubs or challenges force me to, and a lot of the time I can’t get into them. They are just too normal for me. I need something that’s going to take me out of this world, like Harry Potter or Vampire Academy. Every once in a while though I have a hankering for contemporary YA, NA, or adult romance but it usually revolves around a rockstar or someone who isn’t your average Joe. 🙂
    Kristin (Book Sniffers Anonymous) recently posted…Review: Neil by Sybil Bartel [Giveaway]

  5. I’ve been told to try this author as well, people I know seem to absolutely love her and own almost all her books. I did not realize this one was about race relation. I don’t like to be reminded of all the stupid people in the world either XD
    Lily B recently posted…Review: The Kingdom by Amanda Stevens

  6. Oh, I don’t read what most of my real-life friends read… Actually, most of my friends who read are fellow teachers, and when I tell them I read contemporary ficition by authors who are actually alive, they look at me as if I was speaking a mix of Mandarin and Ancient Greek. I think it’s funny, they are quite the literary snobs, and the only actual contemporary I have seen any of the use for class is The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, which I really didn’t enjoy.. And which students found really hard to understand, because not only did the need help sometimes with the language (English is at least their 3rd language, after all) but the main character is autistic, and so his perspective on the world is unique, and not that easy to follow. I found that to be very interesting, even if the story itself had little substance in my opinion.
    I think it’s great that we know ourselves well enough to mostly pick up books we enjoy reading! like you, I want a kind of escape when I pick up a book, and I’ll definitely check out the Revis book. {{{hugs}}}
    Lexxie recently posted…Bought Bagged And Wrapping it Up #154

  7. I am this way with particular troupes in books. Like, teen moms or military books. However, I do like reading some realistic fiction, because i like to find something I relate to. But it has to be done right. ie, see above,.

    But, I’m like you, I don’t read a lot of what others are reading either – most of my family/friends don’t even know the authors I DO read. SO, I feel ya!
    Tonyalee recently posted…Exciting News to Share + New Designs // Weekly Wrap Up 128

  8. I’m the same way. I prefer my YA scifi/fantasy (even though I’m an old lady) and I use my book club to get me to read outside of my preferred genres here and there. I love the escape of speculative fiction. I get to leave the normalcy of the Shire and go have an adventure – There and Back Again.
    Rebecca @ The Portsmouth Review
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  9. I actually like realistic books when they mention Mental Illness. I like to see them being represented as what it is and not a mild version of it. I had Major Depression Disorder for around 4 years I believe. I’m currently in “remission” as they say. So I know what you mean. I couldn’t read self-harm books. I couldn’t at all. They would trigger me like you have no idea so I had to stay away from them. But I know what you mean that they change your mood and get you sad so I get why you’re not into realistic fiction 🙂 I do want to read Furiously Happy! Grace raved about this book so I’m interested in it, especially the audiobook.
    Genesis recently posted…Snowfall on Haven Point by RaeAnne Thayne | Cute & slow-burn romance

  10. Sam

    I’m with you on not reading realistic fiction. I have a deep aversion to Jodi Picoult’s works as I feel like she banks a lot on tear jerkers, which aren’t my thing.

    I hope you enjoy Furiously Happy! I read her previous book “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened” and really loved it.
    Sam recently posted…ARC Review: Archangel’s Heart by Nalini Singh

  11. Ria

    I read a realistic fiction this year. It was a torture (mentally) and left me in a puddle of my own tears. I don’t read any tear jerking stories since I can never handle them properly. The realities make me worried and I start to fret over any small things. I can be that weird sometimes. So, my parents have warned me not to read any of such books 😀 Even so, I do pick up one, now and then 😀

  12. I’m with you on this! Realistic fiction is not my jam. If it’s hitting the best seller lists or Oprah is recommending it, I’m gonna pass. So often, my non-blogging friends try to suggest a Jodi Picoult or Nicholas Sparks book to me and I’m like “Nope.” I like books with kissing and HEAs. I’m not gonna apologize for it. I’m cool if feels sneak into my books. I’m ok with being left in limbo for a little while, but I want to know there’s happiness at the end of the book. I’m an emotional reader as it is. I don’t need to be drowning in them because it’s “realistic.” If I wanted realism, I wouldn’t be reading. 😉
    Kim recently posted…In Review: Twisted Palace (The Royals #3) by Erin Watt