The other day a woman told me she loved to read. I asked the obvious, “What sort of books do you like reading?”
“Things that are real,” she replied.
I decided not to tell her I’m a writer. I did ask her about specific books she liked and we had a good conversation about good books.
I’m currently reading several books about real things: The Business of Being a Writer by Jane Friedman, The Women of David Lynch: A Collection of Essays, The Future of the Mind by Michio Kaku, and The Writer’s Map by Huw Lewis-Jones. I recommend all of them, and if you want to be a published author, definitely read Friedman’s book, like right now.
Books about so-called real things can be amazing. I admit I’m always a bit stumped by people for whom reading is either/or. You either like reading real things or you like reading fantasy but presumably not both. And by real, they don’t usually mean just non-fiction but also realistic fiction.
Ultimately, like what you like. If you don’t enjoy a certain type of story, you don’t. The world of books is deep and wide and no one can enjoy venturing into every corner of it.
I’ve said that I don’t read horror or romance, but the truth is that I have read both from time to time and been completely sucked into those worlds. However, I love stories with strange, inexplicable things, bits of magic, or wild romps of imagination. What an amazing gift the imagination is. Isn’t it? You could imagine pink emerald starfish dancing around one of Jupiter’s moons or a time traveling unicorn or a pea-sized princess that lives between the ears of a giraffe. You can imagine things that might happen in the future or that never happened in the past or that can not happen at all anywhere (unless there’s just the right parallel universe somewhere). What other brain on the planet can do that?
I don’t know. Maybe a minnow is swimming around composing stories about Super Minnow fighting the evil Catfish of the lake. Well, we can’t know her story any more than that little minnow can know ours.
Thanks for reading. Be nice to the minnows.