Random Rants and Rambling #29 | How Real Life Affects What I Read

Random rants
Random Rants and Rambling is a feature here at Lilybloombooks where I.. well, Rant or Ramble about Random topics!



I think it’s safe to say that there are genres (or topics) many of us will not read – for whatever reason. Some, don’t read Young Adult. Others, Erotica. Some might not like overly dark novels about touchy subjects or novels with cheating or a love triangle. For me, there is more to it than just not wanting to read a certain genre, or something about a particular subject. I want to talk about how my REAL LIFE and my life experiences affect what I read. And why.

Military Romance

This is probably the biggest one. See, my husband served for 5 years, 1 of which, he spent in Iraq. The military is not always a glorious thing to be apart of. It’s not all sexy, alpha males with PTSD and scars, looking for THE ONE or even finding THE ONE to heal this heart. Not all military men are “alpha type” – this is such a bad stereo type. They are strong, hardworking, loving men that are partially broken and good at hiding it.

Being apart of the military is about the love of your country and sacrifice. Being away from your loved ones. Watching your friends, family and comrades either get seriously hurt, killed or watching helplessly as they spiral down into depression upon coming home.

No woman or love can fix that.

I’ve seen grown men fall to the ground when a balloon popped, witnessed their night terrors when thunder strikes in the middle of the night. I’ve seen more relationships get torn apart, fellow soldiers take their life and watch as my husband yearns for his friends – both dead and alive – than seeing a “broken” military man finding a woman that’ll heal his wounds. It’s the cold, hard truth and no romance novel will EVER make me change my mind about that.

Yes, I have read a few. Majority of the ones I have personally read, didn’t offend me and were actually written really well. But as an overall consensus? I stay away.

Fluffy Young Adult Contemporaries

It’s nice to read a book that is sweet, cute and just full of fluff, especially after closing a book that has dark elements. Yet – some of them most of them are just too fluffy and sweet to ever be realistic in my eyes.

I wasn’t a wild child by any means, but I wasn’t innocent either. And to be honest, there weren’t many people I EVER thought were just THAT sweet, innocent and naive. Maybe at 13; even 14. But at 16, 17 and 18? Forget it.

Jessica made some fantastic points in her post about The effects of being a YA reader and teacherTeens cuss. They have sex. They spread rumors. Even the “sweet” ones aren’t always so innocent. Making a novel too light, too fluffy and too innocent does nothing for me, and in my opinion, teens. It’s just not realistic. Call me jaded.

I think I am officially a no fluff zone.

Teen Pregnancy

To be fair – I have only read 2. One, portrayed the girl as a stupid, naive and immature teenager that fits every single teen mom stereo type you can think of. The other, felt like I was reading MY OWN story (shout out to Kristen). It was such a large contrast between the two, my mind is still reeling from just thinking about it.

Pregnancy and being a mom at any age, is hard. Whether you are 17, 27 or 37. Do I think it’s harder for teens? Not necessary. But I do think they are held in a different stigma than someone who followed the go to college, get married and have babies formula every seems to push.

Since I experienced it, both sides, it’s just not something that I can bring myself to read, since the subject is TOO close to me. Realistic or not.

Anything based on a True Story

It’s weird – because I can read about dark, touchy realistic fiction all day. About suicide, rape, child abuse etc. It’s hard, I’m not saying it’s easy to read and it’s hard to even say I ENJOY them; even though I do. But there is an element to the story knowing that THAT particular story is based on true events, that I just can’t do. I just can’t..


There are a few other small elements that make me a little nervous – and there are things that happen that I either automatically agree OR disagree with. But these 4 are the main ones.


Tell Me Your Thoughts

Are there specific genre or topics/subjects in novels you don’t/won’t/can’t read? Why or why not?

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20 thoughts on “Random Rants and Rambling #29 | How Real Life Affects What I Read

  1. Candace

    Good subject to talk about! First of all, I think there’s quite a lot of contemporary fluff that is still realistic. Where they still curse, have sex, etc. It’s just not as full of drama and angst. I personally love them. Though not every author can pull it off.
    I don’t like erotica or even sex on the page. I just don’t like reading that part. But I can skim so as long as the romance has somewhat limited sex scenes I still consider reading it.
    I can see why you wouldn’t read military romances. I’ve never had an urge to read them myself but I’m not exactly sure why. They just never appealed to me I guess. I’m the same with anything with cops or FBI or other agencies. I’m not sure why, but they don’t appeal to me. Though I have read some that did work.
    Personally I’m currently burnt out on YA. Most all YA at the moment. Even some of the authors I usually LOVE. I’m just not feeling it so much anymore. 🙁
    Candace recently posted…Review: Nearly Departed in Deadwood by Ann CharlesMy Profile

    1. tonyalee

      I guess there are some YA fluff that is realistic – but that would depend on what your definition of FLUFFY is. Your version of fluff may be different than mine, ya know? I am not saying that ALL YA books should be angst – but every teen life has some sort of drama.

      That is kind of funny you mention sex because I am actually doing a post about it on my other blog. I think there is too much sex these days – and a lot of EXPLICIT sex. It sells, so that is what authors are pushing out.

      I am starting to get burnt out on YA, too. So i feel ya

  2. Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    I can definitely see how your life experiences would affect your enjoyment of certain types of books. If you can’t believe a book, based on your own life, then it’s hard to enjoy it. I actually don’t have any specific topics that I don’t enjoy, for some reason. I was actually a pretty good girl in high school – not perfect, of course, but I did well in school and was relatively naive when it came to boys until my senior year in high school, when I met my future husband! I did have some unpleasant issues with my home life, so it’s not like my life was perfect or anything, but I can understand naive and innocent characters to some degree. But I also don’t mind seeing characters who are different than me. Oh, wait! I actually don’t like books with just plain unlikable main characters. Does that count?

    Anyway, I love that you’re talking about this because it helps us all to get to know you better as a person and as a book blogger! Great discussion!
    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction recently posted…Things I Know by Heart by Jessi Kirby – 5 Star ReviewMy Profile

    1. tonyalee

      I think that is the biggest thing – reading something that I CAN’T relate to. I may feel that a particular character is too naive and too sweet to be realistic, but you could be seeing yourself in that character. Make sense?

      Yet, I can relate to military romance and teen pregnancy and wont read those, to some degree.

  3. Lola

    I usually avoid dark subjects and I stay far away from any notion of suicide, that’s the one topic I can’t stand to read about. If the blurb even hints at that, I won’t give it a try or a chance. One I recently discovered is my dislike for torture scene, they make me really uncofmrotable and I don’t like reading about it. Also in movies, it doesn’t matter if we don’t get details, I can’t stand thsoe scenes and will skip over them.
    Animal death or torture is also a topic I avoid. I love animals and books about bad stuff happening to them can really hit me hard, so I try to avoid those. If a book I am reading includes a scene with it, i skip over it. Another one is when someone’s husband/ wife/ boyfriend or girlfriend dies, that thought makes me scared and emotional and I don’t want to read about that. I also stay away from too dark stories or gruesome details. There is a thin line to what I can stand and what not, but I can’t really vocalize what things I am okay with and what not. I have DNF’d a book or two because of that. In general I don’t like feeling too strong negative emotions when reading and avoid topics that call up those emotions.

    Like you I prefer realistic stories above the too cute and innocent ones, but I do like those now and then as well. It just depends on my mood. I think every characetr ahs issues and being a teenager is hard and I would like to see that in books too as it feels more realistic. I also find that sex and cussing are realistic, not everyone has sex at that age, but they do come into contact with the topic at least.

    Like you I also don’t like stories based on a real story. I don’t read a lot of non-fiction if any. Great topic and post!!
    Lola recently posted…Sunday Post #122My Profile

    1. tonyalee

      I can understand why you would want to stay away from darker subjects. For me, it depends on the author/book/scenario. I do skip them if I can’t handle it though.

      I have never considered myself a mood reader – so I can’t even say that I enjoy those books based on my mood.

  4. Sharon

    I agree with you on most of these genres. I’m not adverse to any topic in particular but I do have a problem if some has an illness and the author hasn’t done their research on that illness to be able to express what they’re dealing with.
    However, I agree with you about the YA one and the Teen pregnancy books you’ve mentioned . Becoming a mother at any age is hard regardless of your circumstances. I don’t mind a fluff read occasionally but that is usually when I’m looking for something that’s unrealistic to escape.
    For me though, I’ve had enough of erotica. I’ve read so many that have been very mediocre that I’ve decided to shelf them for the time being. If they don’t have more of story to them than the sex scenes well then they should be labeled ‘porn’ instead.
    Great topic!
    Sharon recently posted…Deceived – Part 1 New York by Eve Carter – ReviewMy Profile

    1. tonyalee

      Yes, I agree about the illness in novels. I haven’t come across many that I have found to be off.

      It seems like there used to be so much GOOD erotica out there before it became mainstream. now, it just seems like SEX SEX SEX with no plot. I haven’t read a good one in awhile!

  5. Liza Barrett

    This is a spectacular post, and I think it brings up some really good points. I can’t relate to the military romance — I don’t really read those, and I certainly have never had a romantic interest who has served. But I DO remember what it was like being in high school, and yeah, no one is that fluffy, naive, and innocent. I’ve started to get really picky about my YA for just that kind of reason.

    One of the things that currently really gets on my nerves lately is paranormal romance where there’s more lovey dovey than plot/action. There used to be a great balance, but publishers have figured out that (go figure) sex sells. If I want to read erotica, I’ll read something in the erotica genre. If I want paranormal, I’ve been turning to UF instead. Obviously there are lots of GREAT books in the paranormal romance genre that don’t do this, but so many have soured me to them that I’m just not willing to try a lot of them anymore — and they used to be my favorite!
    Liza Barrett recently posted…Monday Morning Musings: What Is It About Book #3?My Profile

    1. tonyalee

      Yes agreed. I know there ARE people that relate to that kind of YA – but I don’t. And I think that is a HUGE thing when it comes to reading and connecting to a character/story.

      I haven’t read many paranormal romance lately – only a few. But I agree. It just seems like romance is taking over EVERYTHING, ya know?

  6. Heidi

    Great topic. I was especially interested to read your thoughts on military romances real life vs. fiction. I don’t read many of those and I appreciated your view point. I personally like to read to escape so I don’t like to read a lot of dramatic, angsty books with broken people healing through romance, basically yoru typical NA romance is not for me. I also don’t like anything with animal abuse or cruelty, that breaks my heart. I don’t read erotica because to me sex is personal and when I read pages and pages of explicit detailed sex scenes I start to feel like a dirty peeping tom. Those are a few of the books I steer clear of.

    1. tonyalee

      You are the first one to mention the military romance. One would think since I have experienced it, I would relate to it but it never comes off that way. There was one I read that was so off base that I actually emailed the author. Probably shouldn’t have, but man, do some research.

      I am over NA. I have high hopes for the genre, and I am constantly looking for ones that are unique and stand out. But it’s getting SO HARD.

  7. Kristen

    I agree wholeheartedly with so much of this… and I’m glad that LIFE INTERRUPTED touched you, even if it’s a one-time read that has to be put away and forgotten. I have those, trust me. I teach highschoolers, my kids ranging in ages 13-19, and I can tell you, life is an asshole no matter how old, young, rich, poor, popular, etc. you are. For most of them, finding that ONE person, male or female, friend or foe, makes or breaks their high school career. I haven’t traveled to the ultra dark side yet, because this is a reality that I live daily and I CANNOT watch the harsh reality go all the way in my books. Maybe that’s why I write–because I get to save the girl who didn’t want to live at the end of my story… her story, the real life one? It’s always up to her, no matter how much I wish it were up to me. I need to breach the barrier, be more honest in some aspects, but it’s hard, like reading reality is hard. I just need that control right now, to prove that there’s love and hope, even after all the shit. Props, girl, I love this ramble. <3
    Kristen recently posted…Friday Favorite #7: Dr. SeussMy Profile

  8. Jessica@Lovin' Los Libros

    I love this post! I definitely understand where you’re coming from. I’m not a huge fan of things based on true stories either. There are always going to be topics that are more sensitive than others and will effect everyone differently. I have a few genres I won’t read just because they’re not for me. I don’t really like women’s fiction or chick lit.

  9. Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight

    Fabulous post! I agree with you so much, our lives really do have a BIG influence on what we can handle when reading. I can’t do fluffy either, but for kind of different reasons. I was actually the goody-goody, even at 18. I know I was the exception, but I was very slow to grow up, to even want to do anything non-innocent. The thing that makes it hard for me to read is that none of those good, fluff worthy things ever came to fruition. And when I am reading about someone encountering their true love and all that stuff, it makes me feel so, so bad about my life. So I stay away from them.

    I mainly stay away from Middle Grade, because I have found that I simply do not mix with it. I’ve tried but I just can’t connect, ever. Even the young side of YA is just too much for me most of the time. I haven’t read Erotica, and I really don’t ever see myself doing so. Not for any reason, I just don’t find it particularly appealing.

    Fabulous post, you really have me thinking about why I read the books I read!
    Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight recently posted…This Week At Midnight (58)My Profile

  10. Discussion on How Real Life Affects What I readLilybloombooks

    […] my last Random Rants and Rambling post, I talked about topics in novels that I avoid – but do you ever think about a few genres that you wish you COULD read (more or at all), but […]

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