Friday, September 19, 2008

Am I Taking The Easy Road? And Is That A Bad Thing?

Beautiful birthday flowers from Mom...

I've been feeling kind of guilty about my reading choices lately. I mean, it's been a long string of pretty light fluff. Normally I don't give it a second thought, but since I've been keeping track of what I read, I'm starting to feel like I'm really letting myself 'off the hook' so to speak.

I love any sort of reading -- backs of cereal boxes, Reader's Digest, those funny health magazines at the doctor's office, brochures and pamphlets... I'll read them all. Up to and including fine literature (not that you'd know that judging from my reading this year).

Well, I have read a few longer, headier books. But mostly, it's been the fluffiest of fluff. And I have to say, I've enjoyed every page. Should I be worried? I do actually enjoy more difficult reading (Turn of the Screw not included, darn you Henry James), but really all I've felt like reading is pure entertainment.

I guess that it hasn't been the easiest year on record, so maybe this pull towards total escapist reading is not so mysterious. I just feel like lolling in complete self-indulgence (as far as books are concerned). I have a list, in the back of my mind, of more 'grown-up' books that I'd like to read, but really all I want to do is finish this string of thrillers, and then move on to a month of ghost stories. Is that so wrong?

Maybe I'll just complete this year of abandoning myself to whatever silly book whims I have, and then next year add in a few more serious books, just to keep the ol' brain sharp. I mean, I guess it's not like I haven't been thinking at all this year, what with the Physiology class and all. And next term I take Neuroanatomy, so I'll be using the noggin again. And deciphering Lyme disease treatments takes quite a bit of concentration. But I'm starting to feel like I'm missing the art of beautiful grammar and imagery, of books that make me think, rather than books that simply entertain.

Not that there's anything wrong with that. Oh no. I am completely loving my trashy books. I am just starting to feel as though I've eaten a few too many pieces of chocolate, if you know what I mean. But I'm not to the quitting point yet.

Maybe I'll just sneak a classic in here and there among the fluff, and see if the tides start to turn. Winter is always a better time for really meaty reading anyway.

For now, I've got two more books in this series I'm completely hooked on, and then my month of scary reading begins. I can't wait. Then, as the weather turns (as much as it does here in California; I've never gotten used to the lack of seasons), perhaps it's time for some slower, more contemplative reading. That sounds nice.

I also had a goal of reading 100 books this year and I don't think I'm going to make it. Perhaps I'll modify that goal to 75. And work on 100 for next year.


Eva said...

I wouldn't worry too much! BUT, if you're looking for incredible book suggestions, may I recommend Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie? Both of her novels are compulsively readable and achingly beautiful.

I like a mix of fluff and substance! Like a s'more...gotta have the graham cracker AND the marshmallow. And then your favourite authors are the chocolate....ohhhhhh.....I think I've stumbled upon a perfect metaphor.... :D

Can you tell I'm giddy over the fact that I have nothing to do the rest of the night but read whatever I want?!

Daphne said...

Eva: you are funny. I'll look up Adichie, thank you!

D'Arcy said...

Ryan once asked me why if I love to read so much I don't read the classics. I told him it was the same as him with his love of movies - he doesn't just watch the classics, he watches what catches his interest. For me, it's mostly the fluff that interests me. It's a hobby, for heaven's sake, something I'm doing for enjoyment. It might be the only area of my life where I just do what I *want*, not what I think I *should*.

Daphne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Daphne said...

Absolutely, D'Arc. Generally, I really do enjoy the classics, but it seems like, well, I can read those later. Supernatural murder thrillers, however, must be read IMMEDIATELY. :)

Nymeth said...

I wouldn't worry too much either. It's good to indulge our reading whims. I've noticed that if I try to force myself to read more "serious" books when I'm not in the mood for them, I end up completely ruining the reading experience.

Kate said...

No, no, no! Don't buy into the snobbish assumption that only "good" literature counts! I'm all about the democratization of literature - you read what you want. I just wish I could remember where I heard the phrase "emo readers..." (i.e., if it's not painful to read it's not worth reading) - don't buy into that crap.

I find that my reading really goes in phases, and it's best not to fight it. All I want right now are creepy books (I've got two fictions on Salem right now, go figure) and the romance reading is sort of out the window. It'll come back. So will Shakespeare. So will Terry Pratchett. It's like what D'Arcy says (right on!): read what you want, not what you should.

Daphne said...

..."emo readers"... I love it.

Well, we are all in agreement then. Whatever grabs me next, I'm reading. To heck with the Lit list. :) Although I *do* feel like I'm ready for a bit more 'substantial' reading... but maybe next year. I'm having way too much fun this year reading all these goofy spooky exciting stories.

Thanks, everyone. You have soothed my ruffled reader's soul.

D'Arcy said...

I think you've hit the nail on the head, Daph, and so have the rest of us in various ways. If you *feel* like reading a big, serious work of Literature, then that's what you should read. If you feel like reading ghost stories and thrillers, then THAT'S what you should read.

The one time I gave in and read what I thought I *should*, or more accurately stopped reading what I thought I *shouldn't*, was when I was pregnant with Sammie and was reading lots of murder mysteries. I got worried about what those kinds of storylines being in my head so close to her birth was going to do to her. So I started reading "chick lit" and discovered I really like a lot of that, too!

I didn't worry about it with the other pregnancies, and so far no one seems scarred for life by Mommy's pre-natal book choices :)

Allison said...

It's okay to embrace the fluff! Sometimes we just need an escape that goes down smooth. I feel this conflict between reading fiction and non-fiction at times. I like to get a decent mixture of both, but sometimes I get a whole lot of fiction going on and start to feel guilty.