NY Times bestselling author of 8 books, TEDx speaker, journalist, podcaster




“Durable writing...considered essays [and] useful analysis... ” 

-The New Yorker


-USA Today

“Shockingly amusing and periodically poignant, Reality Matters gives college-educated reality show fans permission to smile about their devotion to America’s guiltiest lowbrow pleasure.”


“If there’s anything more entertaining than experiencing the guilty pleasure of reality TV firsthand, it’s reading a bunch of brilliant people trying to rationalize their obsession with the genre.”


Shirtless Machiavellian men determined to win at all costs. Giggling girls transformed into sobbing wrecks in the back of limousines. Pillbox hat-wearing fashionistas creating dresses out of leaves and twigs. Say what you will about reality television – the form of entertainment that’s dominated our small screens for the past decade – but there’s no denying the fact that it gives us characters that make the fictional ones we follow seem downright dull. Ridiculous challenges, hair-pulling catfights and hot tub make-outs dripping with the kind of regret that a viewer but not a participant can see are only part of what makes reality TV addictive for anyone interested in pop culture, people, or life. In this collection of wry and moving essays – curated by novelist and media watcher Anna David – a cast of leading young writers explores the programs we obsess over, cringe at and occasionally feel inspired by. From a Real World casting call and American Idol tattoo to an in-depth analysis of what makes one woman a “Heidi” and another a “Lauren,” a slew of best-selling authors dish on the shows that have left them speechless, triumphant, or both.