For most of my adult reading life I have avoided fiction. “Avoided” is perhaps a bit strong, but I have certainly preferred nonfiction for its grounding in “the real.” That is a silly preference, because good fiction is as real as Bowling Alone or Fast Food Nation, maybe even realer.
The past month I have ridden my bike to work while listening to audiobooks that I purchased as companions to Kindle editions of novels. Middle England, The Rotters Club, The Closed Circle, The Dearly Beloved: I have read more novels in the past month than in the past decade. I recommend them all. Their authors know what “real” is, and their skill for describing it makes an important contribution.