Books Israel

Foreign or Familiar? Does it matter?

I’ve read two recent blog posts about foreign settings in books – one by Rachelle Gardner, the other by Nicola Morgan.

In my son’s English class, when he was about nine, the pupils were made to read an American book written totally in a dialect I found hard to follow. My son didn’t understand it at all. When the same book was suggested for my younger son’s class, I complained and the book was changed.

There’s no point in reading a book you can’t understand, but as long as you can, does setting matter? Personally, I like to read about places I’ve never seen. I also like to read about places that are familiar.

What about other readers? Are they usually interested in books set in foreign places? Apparently, Americans are less willing to read books with foreign settings than readers in other countries.

I have another question about setting. I generally set my stories in England, where I used to live. I would like to write stories set in Israel, where I live now. But I think readers generally expect specific topics to appear in any book set in Israel: war, political conflict, etc. I think they believe Israel is one of those countries where it’s impossible to lead an ordinary life. Am I wrong?