Whether you’re reading a romance novel, a mystery, a work of literary fiction, an inspirational, or erotica, some people prefer the stories they read to be set in an exotic locale – perhaps a big city, a country on the other side of the world, a culture different from any they’ve experienced. Others, who prefer to read about the girl or boy next door, like the settings of the books they read to be familiar, comfortable, everyday places that they already know and love.
I like to read stories written from the perspective of someone like myself, where part of the fantasy is to dream, “if it could happen to her, it could happen to me”. Since I’m a small town girl at heart, I prefer books set in quaint, picturesque villages, preferably in the Midwest, where my roots are. I like a good Southern character once in awhile, where the strong family and religious morals (or lack of them) play into the plot.
Conversely, big city characters in books or on TV shows like “Sex in the City” are so mystifying to me that I have trouble getting into their heads or relating to their problems. Given the rising popularity of paranormal and fantasy genres, I would guess that many readers find an alternate reality to be more enticing and stimulating than my “slice in the everyday life of” scenarios.
When I occasionally do choose a book set in a far away place, it is most likely still a somewhat familiar place, or a setting like Europe, where my heritage lies. The characters are still normally common, small-town folk, with strong family ties.
When my favorite authors veer away from their traditional settings to say, Hawaii, Russia, or Brazil, I will probably go along for the ride. But ultimately, I can’t wait to get back home.
What about you? When you choose a book, do you prefer to escape to a unique place, a different age, even a distant universe, or do you like to snuggle up with characters so familiar you feel like you know them better than your own family by the time you reach page three?
Night and Day, released 2/27/09