Why do you read Fiction?

What do you think about when you pick up a story?  I hesitate to say ‘pick up a book’ because stories are accessed in many ways today.  The most obvious answer is entertainment, a peek at, and an opportunity to enter someone else’s world for a while. To become a part of another experience and by the time the last page is perused a sigh perhaps of satisfaction, or frustration, or contemplation.

Most of us have favorite authors we depend on, knowing what we will get, not necessarily in the events contained within, but a guarantee of familiarity.  What I like to think of as the Comfort Food of literature.  Some of you follow the top sellers keeping abreast of what’s in, providing opportunity for new experiences and thoughts.  I make it a point during my weekly library trips to include new authors, at least to me, and when a book is recommended by a friend, I read it.  I am not much for romantic themed or erotic stories and therefore have never read Fifty Shades of anything, the series that brought shades of education and blushes to the cheeks of females who otherwise may never have admitted publicly taking delight in sexual adventures.  When pressed by many acquaintances to at least give a read, my response has consistently been that I do erotica, I don’t read it. Ha Ha.  Whether that is true or not is not for discussion, but it was a glib enough response to satisfy and take the encouragers off on another path.

My Comfort Food Fiction list is fairly extensive and is the source for rereads as well as waiting in anticipation for the next volumes to appear.  Included are Koontz, Crichton, King, Cussler, Meyers, Rowling, Buck, and Dickens.  Of course those that have passed on can only stand as rereads and that is fine.

Comfort is hard to come by with a few authors and yet I embrace them heart and soul.  Reality in fiction can be sad, even depressing but the struggle, or rather surviving the struggle is a story worthy of notice.  I wonder in this western culture of pursuing happiness, if we have done ourselves a disservice and weakened our ability to survive by believing that happiness is indeed the gold ring of achievement and not survival itself.

Reynolds Price wrote a book published in 1998 called Roxana Slade which was referred to me by a friend.  It almost seems that this man merely channeled the voice of Roxana who at ninety odd years relates her life tale and takes you, the reader on a journey of struggle, loss, and survival.  His (the author) is so skilled that you quickly embrace Roxana and fold her being into your existence.  Whenever I put the book down for a bit, the characters and situations stayed with me, and I found myself thinking about them throughout the day until I could again curl up and turn another page.  Now that is amazing writing.

I have another favorite author that I simply cannot allot to my Comfort Food Fiction list, and that is Patricia Cornwell.  Her Scarpetta Series and characters are as familiar to me as my own family, but I seldom feel a sense of comfort.  The most recent read is ‘dust’.

Cornwell is a must for me even though I know there will be questions, anxiety, and frustration from time to time.  All of her characters are flawed and not in the cute little way popular fictional hero characters are flawed but overcome, but in a haunting kind of way that strikes me at times as too real.

As a Chief Medical Examiner Kay Scarpetta always has a mystery to solve but the story is more about the struggles and survival of our characters, the things they battle internally to still carry and on and succeed.  People get unjustly fired, are not well liked, have struggles with what they wish life was like and is not.  Justice does not always prevail.  Solving the mystery, catching the bad guy is often anticlimactic to the process, the living, the surviving.

Frankly, for me, experiencing the discomfort of some of these stories, the reality and the survival helps me keep my own reality in perspective.  There are sad, bad, unjust, horrible things in life. But there is much more to be valued.

Have you found the same thing?  What do you get out of Fiction?  Why do you read Fiction?

6 of 7

One of the great pleasures of serial stories is the satisfaction of starting a reread from the beginning and not having to wait for the publication of the next edition. There is flow with anticipation dependent only upon your rate of speed in gobbling up the goodies served with each novel. There are a few series I enjoy, the latest being Harry Potter. My sis had acquired all the books I was missing to complete the set of seven and what a thrill to close one book and immediately pick up the next. Even if completion of one occurred in late evening I immediately started the next, just for the satisfaction of reading what came next. Well imagine my consternation and confusion when I went to the book shelf and could not find number six, ‘The Half Blood Prince.’
It wasn’t enough to cause a case of cursing but it threw me off my stride. Where could it be? A quick search through out the place revealed nothing except for a missing sock, which I assumed had been eaten and digested by the washer sometime ago.
Through the course of the reread I had also completed two of the Stieg Larsson series about ‘The Girl’: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl who played with Fire. I am patiently waiting for the third and last book as it winds it’s way through my reading group. It’s a reasonable wait, but number six? I was sure I had all my ducks in a row so to speak.
I reached out for the seventh book, The Deathly Hallows a few times, but it just didn’t seem right you know? I searched my data memory bank and am pretty sure it was in a load of reading I had taken to my sisters. At least I am counting on it being there. Last night I started number seven, too impatient to wait but the universe is a little askew. There is an uncomfortable feeling like the way you feel when you know you should have done something and did not, or you did something and should not. It’s nothing major in the big scheme of things but it niggles. Niggles is such a perfect for those little irritations, which makes me think of muggles, which makes me think of number six.  Sigh

11 Famous Successes That Stemmed From Failure

I have seen this list a number of times and find it inspiring and then forget about it, so am putting it front and center
11 Famous Successes that Stemmed from Failure
Peter Legge

http://www.healthywealthynwise.com

The pursuit of success is full of some failures. In fact,
the more we fail, the greater our success. History is
chock-a-block full of people who might never have made a
success of their lives without some big challenges.
See if you can figure out who’s who in these descriptions.
(Answers found at the bottom.)
A.) He failed the sixth grade and was defeated in every
single election for public office until he became Prime
Minister at the young age of 62.
B.) He was booed from the podium when he first released his
ideas, and was considered an outcast by his peers and the
scientific community.
C.) In the first year of her contract, she was dropped by
her producers because they thought she was unattractive and
couldn’t act.
D.) He did not speak until he was four years old, and
couldn’t read until he was seven. His parents thought he
was “sub-normal.” He was expelled from school and his
teachers described him as “mentally slow, unsociable and
adrift forever in foolish dreams.”
E.) He was fired after his first performance at the Grand
Ole Opry and told by the manager, “You ain’t going nowhere
son, you otta go back to driving a truck.”
F.) She was broke, living on welfare, severely depressed,
divorced and a single mother while attending school and
attempting to write her first novel.
G.) After a screen test, the memo from the director read,
“can’t act, can’t sing, slightly bald, can dance…a
little.”
H.) A professor suggested he drop out of the English
department and college altogether. At his very first job,
he was paid in cases of shaving cream, soda and nail
clippers. His first book was rejected by 27 publishers
before printers accepted it.
I.) Enduring a rough and often abusive childhood, she faced
numerous career setbacks including being fired from her
first job because she was unfit for TV.
J.) He was told by Emperor Ferdinand that his operas were
“far too noisy” and contained “far too many notes.”
K.) They said he was too small and didn’t skate well
enough. Yet, he set the standard for grit, courage, skill
and humility.
Answers:
A) Winston Churchill; B) Sigmund Freud; C) Marilyn Monroe;
D) Albert Einstein; E) Elvis Presley; F) J.K. Rowling; G)
Fred Astaire; H) Dr. Seuss; I) Oprah Winfrey; J) Wolfgang
Mozart; K) Stan “Steamer” Smyl – Vancouver Canucks.
If you never fail, you’ll never succeed.

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