Monday, April 25, 2011

(U) Urban Fiction

I think I can honestly say I've read every genre, except for Urban Fiction. I've read a Western (Stephen King does count). I've even read Erotica. But one genre I've never read, and cannot bring myself to read is Urban Fiction.

Urban fiction, also known as Street lit, is a literary genre set, as the name implies, in a city landscape; however, the genre is as much defined by the race and culture of its characters as the urban setting. The tone for urban fiction is usually dark, focusing on the underside. Profanity, sex, and violence are usually explicit, with the writer not shying away from or watering-down the material. In this respect, urban fiction shares some common threads with dystopian or survivalist fiction.

I'm not a snob by any means, but I feel this way. I live in an Urban area, I'm surrounded by Urbanites all day, every day, why would I want to open a book (which is a form of escape) to read about what can see outside of my window?

Actually, the little I've read of some Urban Fiction, it is much more violent than anything I experience. I just don't like to read about excessive violence, I don't even like to watch it on TV.

There is an author by the name of Relentless Aaron. Who used to sell his books outside of the subway station in my neighborhood. My mother brought one of his books in Harlem one day. She raved about it. While at her house, I picked it up and read the first chapter. I cringed at the thought of reading 300 pages of that.

I went up to Aaron one day and spoke with him. He wanted to know if I was interested in buying one of his books, I told him I wasn't. I was nice about it. He asked me if I read a lot, and I told him yes. He asked me what I was reading at the moment. I can't recall exactly but it was a classic, so it probably was something by Edith Wharton (The House of Mirth) probably. You can imagine the look I recieved.

The bookstore has a whole table dedicated to this genre.  I sit on the subway and many African-American readers as well as some Latino readers are so engrossed in their Urban fiction books, it is amazing.  I'm glad to see so many people reading, but personally, I cannot get behind the genre.

These books have titles like:
A Hustler's Wife
Baby Momma Drama

I will leave it for the younger generation. It is a culture I suppose. I'm not (nor have ever been) into the Hip-Hop culture. People assume that if you are African-American you automatically become part of the culture which includes reading the genre, but I'm so far removed from it, I don't even know what is going on. If I did read an Urban Fiction book, I probably wouldn't understand half of it.

However, I do think people should read whatever they enjoy. We go through High School and college reading all kinds of stuff we have no interest in. So read what you like...just read.


Wall-to-wall books said...

I did it, I friend requested you on nook!

Lauren jonczak said...

I am a huge fan of urban fiction books. I also love very scary books and movies. My life is very normal and plain so I like to read things that are very out of the norm. Escape life for a little with an exciting read.