Item 1: Chetan Bhagat often gets letters from readers who don’t understand what a novel is – for example, the person who sorrowfully reprimanded him for revealing the name of a girl who engages in pre-marital sex in Five Point Someone: “You’ve ruined Neha’s life; her family and others will guess who she is; who will marry her now?” (More in this post)
Item 2: Aarushi Talwar’s father tells a policeman that his murdered daughter had been reading Bhagat’s The 3 Mistakes of My Life. The cop responds: “Hah, you’re saying she was reading this book because she has made three mistakes in her life? What were the three mistakes?” (As reported by Patrick French in India: A Portrait; also excerpted here.) A case of a policeman clumsily bullying a suspect? Probably, but also possible that the man had little understanding of a book as a work of fiction unconnected to the circumstances (or mental state) of the person reading it.
Item 3: Orhan Pamuk discussing certain types of literal-minded readers in his new book The Naïve and the Sentimental Novelist: "Completely naïve readers always read a text as an autobiography or as a sort of disguised chronicle of lived experience, no matter how many times you warn them that they are reading a novel."
But at the other extreme, Pamuk tells us, are "completely sentimental-reflective readers, who think that all texts are constructs and fictions anyway, no matter how many times you warn them that they are reading your most candid autobiography. I must warn you to keep away from [both types of] people, because they are immune to the joys of reading novels."