Discussion Post: Why I don't read gritty books

I have a confession to make:

I don't read gritty books.

Well, not often.

I don't like reading books that involve mental illnesses (except anxiety, as I can relate to that), illnesses, sexual abuse, death and other difficult topics that many people have to face in this day and age. I know many people will disagree with me but this is how I personally feel towards this subject. 

Reading is something I've always enjoyed. It allows me to be people I could never be and go to places that I could never visit. It's a way to enter a new world and befriend incredible people. I feel as if I don't want to read books dealing with such "gritty" subjects as there's so many of these tragic happenings occurring in the world every single day. If you switch on the news there's things on wars and illnesses and all kinds of tragic things that make me sad because I can just imagine how terrible and horrible it must be for these people experiencing it. I think that's why we find reading so appealing, it helps block out the painful predicaments that often occur in reality.

It makes me sad to think that the aforementioned things actually happen. And no, I'm not turning a blind eye to it, I'm acknowledging it and I know about these things, but that's why when I pick up a book, I don't want to be reading about the horrible things that frighten me about this world, I want to be reading about beautiful things and worlds with minor problems. I want to visit fairyland, camp-halfblood and Narnia, where the terrifying things happen to be facing monsters which isn't nearly as scary as some of the events taking place in reality. It gives me a chance to focus on fictional things instead of realistic things, even it just for an hour a day.

Like I said, don't think I'm ignoring these problems. I will, at times, read books that deal with real life problems (take The Fault in Our Stars, for example) and you know, it's good to read books like that as it helps us empathise with people going through those situations and if we are going through a similar situation it makes us feel as if we're not as alone. It helps us develop compassion and understanding and makes us grateful for what we have. I have panic disorder and sometimes it helps reading a book where the character also experiences that as it makes me feel as if they understand. Even though I know they're fictional, they feel real and I know that the author must have some understanding of it to write such an accurate book about the subject, which makes me feel better as I know there are actually people who have experienced this before or can imagine (accurately) how it is to have said issues.

I know that there are people out there whose houses have been bombed or they have been sexually abused or lost someone close to them and these people find books written on this topic and it helps them feel as if it will be okay as the characters in the book are eventually okay. It helps them feel as if somebody understands and I think we all need that. So although I may not read those particular books, there are people who find them incredibly helpful and nourishing as it feels like what they are experiencing isn't just happening to them. Even people who aren't experiencing these things like reading them as it gives them an insight into how and why these certain things happen. Books help us understand things and books dealing with "heavy" matters are no exception. They help us learn about these issues and how we can help ourselves and others.

It's a good thing to read books dealing with heavy subject matter and sometimes I do read a book like that, if it comes highly recommended and if it won't worry me too much (I'm a hypochondriac. If I read a book about an illness I start worrying I have that illness, quite ridiculous but unfortunately that is the way my brain works), there are definitely some exceptions and it's good to read these books to be aware of the things happening in our world and how we can try to improve the situation. However, I prefer reading books that don't contain too much heavy matter because it gets me down, although the reading experience is often enriching. I mainly like reading fantasy and contemporary books that aren't too dark for this reason.

So, that is my opinion. I think many people will probably disagree with me, but that's my feelings on the subject. What do YOU think?


  1. I totally understand what you mean, but I am the complete opposite (LOL). I love books that just completely wreck me, because I feel like those are the ones that change me. That make me see the world in a new light. They're the ones that really make me think and evaluate. So even if I'm a bit of a mess by the end, I'm grateful for the experience and tend to feel like I've learnt something, you know?

  2. I definitely understand why you won't read those books! It's really a personal choice. I like to read them sometimes but at other times I just want to escape into a fantasy world. So I'm on both sides of the spectrum! But you should never read something you don't want just because others think you should...

  3. I totally understand where you're coming from. I, personally, love the grittier stories. I love ones that deal with realistic issues and the terribleness we face today. BUT THAT SAYING. I can't watch the news. I just can't. It stresses me out astronomically. So I think the reason I don't mind reading it (but won't watch/hear of it IRL) is because I know the books are fake and I have a very clear line between them and me.

  4. Great topic! I think for me it depends on the kind of gitty tale... I struggle with books in which vulnerable people are mistreated and there's no way for them to protect themselves because idk it's hard to face as a thing but I do push myself to read what makes me uncomfortable. Other grittiness, death, the works, I am all over. Frankly books that can destroy me are often the only books I read. :)


  5. I don't like gritty books much either. I don't like the heavy, depressing things. I like the fun and happy and action-packed books. Reading is my escape, I don't want to be weighed down by dismal matters. I'm okay with character deaths in fantasy/action books, but I really can't handle suicide and the dark stuff. Awesome discussion!

  6. I'm also not a fan of gritty books. For example, I don't intend to ever read anything by Ellen Hopkins due to the fact that her books seem so harsh and depressing (although I've heard great things about her writing). I'll read the occasional book that deals with mental illness, but even that can be depressing. I definitely prefer the lighter, happier books, too!

    Montana @ The Book Belles


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