Sunday, August 29, 2010


I was reading an article on a current best selling novel. It features child rape and the aftermath of such rape. I had been considering reading said book because as an author I think it's important to read current trends and big hits. But right then and there I decided I will not read this book. The article was about how this book will be used to help victims of such violence almost as therapy. Wonderful. I think that's fabulous. I think that such books should exist and people can read anything they want to read and if it helps people, so much the better. But >I< don't have to read it.

I don't bury my head in the sand. I read newspapers daily, listen to real news, keep myself politically informed (sometimes too much I'm afraid). I grew up on stories of hardship from my parents who grew up during WWII (They experienced bombing, hunger, death, injustice) and then the takeover of Hungary by the Soviets. So really I'm not ignorant or hiding from reality.

When I read a novel, I want to escape. I want to be carried away to a different world and I want to celebrate the triumph of the human will. OK, I don't know how said book ends, and I am inferring that it does end with the triumph of human will, but my own soul doesn't want to wade through the morass of human cruelty and depredation to get there. I want entertainment. To me, the subject matter isn't entertainment. Hell, I write romance novels. I want the HEA (happily ever after).

One of my favorite movies is The Shawshank Redemption. It, too, has a difficult subject matter, but, my God, how uplifting it is. Love that movie. But another of my all time favorites is Notting Hill. I love the post-apocalyptic YA novel The Hunger Games, but one of my favorite novels is also Bewitching. I am not a one note individual. I read and watch things for entertainment, and becoming thoroughly depressed is NOT my idea of entertainment.

So I'll pass on that best seller. I tried one before that everyone raved about and the story left me feeling ill. I won't do it again. Does it mean I'm not as strong as some people? Who knows? I've never been tested to that extreme before. Can any of us predict how we will respond when faced with horrifying situations? But I've had my share of troubles, some of them major and on-going, and I'd like to think that I've faced them with aplomb and have come through them with an optimistic outlook. I try to improve the world I've been given rather than weigh it down with more horror (not speaking about the horror genre here; I'm speaking of real horror, the horror humans do to one another).

Give me escapism and don't judge me. In return I won't judge you if you read novels that need Prozac to get through.


Books I'm reading now:
The Sixth Surrender by Hana Samek Norton
(only one this time because I'm on deadline and back at work)


  1. I watch the news with PK in the mornings while we're getting ready to go to work and I get daily alerts in my email about certain topics... but I have to admit that I sometimes stick my head in the sand. The world sucks lately, and I have enough issues going on in my own life that adding other people's can sometimes be too much.

    That being said. There are certain books that I won't read, despite how many rave reviews they get. I can't (and won't) do certain subjects, such as child rape. Like you, I read to escape and I don't want to read about things like that.

  2. The world is hard enough without having to live vicariously through more problems. I totally agree.

  3. I totally read to escape! I have read books that deal with gritty subject matter- Every Last One by Anna Q. (someone should have warned me about that one) but on a whole, I like to get away from the real world when I read. I do think there is a place for all books in the world but they don't necessarily have to be for all readers. I know books I read won't appeal to my dad but the thrillers he reads sometimes appeal to me :) Though I have him reading Janet E. don't tell him they are more for chicks --hehe. Great Post! I have the Sixth Surrender it was one of the books I picked up at RomCon--as a history buff, I am saving that till Christmas break :)

  4. You and I have the same way of thinking. If I'm going to read something I want to get away. Life is too hard as it is, so I primarily stick to lighter reads, like yours. Which I have to say that I'm positive that your next book will be a bestseller. Remember the saying "a bookseller is a author's best friend" lol.
    Currently I'm reading Juliet by Anne Fortier, only a hundred pages in and absolutely amazing, and bonus its based in Italy!

  5. I was a literature major in college, and a German literature major at that. But I concentrated on older stuff which although not always pleasant was at least bearable. No wonder I turned to writing romance. Although I had a wonderful class on the Grimm's Fairy Tales. Wonder if those had any influence on me (LOL)?
    Felicia, I usually give my mother the books my husband has read (non-fiction, usually history). She doesn't like my books (the ones I write or the ones I read, although she does love that I write) and I respect her choice. She can read anything she wants
    Laura, you're the best. And I'll have to check out Juliet. Love Italy. I'm determine to speak Italian before I die. I've got time though.

  6. My day job brings me face to face regularly, with many of life's horrors. I have no interest in plunging into all that for fun.
    I'm a total escapist reader, and proud of it!
    Nice piece, Gabi.


  7. During those PhD grad student years, fiction kept me sane. Every evening, I couldn't wait to put aside articles on "Mitochondrial Import Proteins" or "X-Ray Crystalography of the Z form of DNA" and such-like in favor of a novel. I too wanted escapism reading and a happy ending. Or in a mystery/suspense, at least justice. Sometimes I read Literary Fiction, but mostly? No.

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  9. Let me try again without so many typos:
    Belle, I hear you. Especially if you deal with life's horrors, why would you want to read about them?
    Karen, Mitochondrial Import Proteins? That's as bad (or good, really; I adore people who can read such things)as wading through my husband's dissertation, The Problem of Time Delay in Master/Slave Manipulation (or something like that...and it's robotics, not what you were thinking.)

  10. Ditto times a billion on the escapism/HEA. I think as we age and face the horrors and the sadness that life often brings, it becomes more and more important to find beauty and peace where we can, and that includes between the pages of a book.

    I was going to make a comment about Karen and her Mitochondrial Proteins, but your Master/Slave Manipulation totally trumped that!

  11. Knowing it's about robotics only opens more possibilities ;)

    But yes, think of reading someone's scientific dissertation, and you've got the general idea of what kind of reading I put myself through almost daily for 5.5 years.

  12. Karen, nothing worthwhile is easy. I'm assuming what you need to know Mitochondrial Proteins for is worthwhile. :)

    Robots are not that glamorous, except I did get a Roomba for my birthday, and it really works. I keep waiting for the hubby to build me a robot that can cook. Not good at it, and don't like to do it.

    Pam, I agree 100%.