Discussion, Reading challenge

What! The Books I Mostly Read are Pigeonholed “Trash”!

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More and more I hate it when readers refer to popular fiction books as

  • Trash
  • Fluff
  • Frivolous
  • A Guilty Pleasure
  • Brain Candy

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And even beach read or comfort read while not as bad, (and I’ve used those terms myself) have a certain ring to them. Literary fiction or classic literature is seen as ” what the discerning reader” picks up to read. Really!  That annoys me. Mostly because it’s said with a certain tone or attitude as well. Said without attitude, then maybe I could accept it.

 

If they were to say “I prefer to read classic or literary books” or “I like a mix of classic and popular fiction” – no judgement in tone – fine!

One reader’s trash might be another person’s treasure!  And I’ll just whisper this! Sh! I am more likely to put literary books in the DNF basket! Well I find them boring or so uninspiring … it  takes the pleasure of reading away from me. But if its for you – go ahead, enjoy it. Just don’t go all snobby on me.

Ah yes! I have read trash – believe me! From 8 or 9 year old boys, who bored me silly with stories that go on page after page of guns and fighting. What is that! Or one boy who insisted on calling every character in his story Bob and wouldn’t shift! Well his family shifted away – thank goodness!  That was in my early days of teaching, I soon learned to steer students away from writing more trash than I could bear!

Popular fiction sells! So there must be others out there like me who want to get lost in a book that they enjoy. I read for entertainment – sure. But in the books I read I am not only entertained. I am made to think, and to experience so many diverse points of view, I love the values that are embodied. Often my heart is opened in compassion.

The struggles of characters and the challenges they face engage me. The hope popular fiction brings, the way goodness is valued.  I love the imagination and creativity that an author brings to writing popular fiction. These authors are writing excellent novels in their own right. Such talent. Their voice rings out. Maybe one author’s voice appeals to me, another to you. Whatever! I respect them whether its to my taste or not. You love a cozy mystery, someone else appreciates a thriller and  I love a good romantic suspense.

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I’ve always had a penchant for a satisfying romance novel. Maybe a discussion another day on that genre, it  warrants a discussion all by itself.

Maybe I’m a bit too sensitive. Perhaps I fear being “looked down on”. No – I know I do! However that acknowledged I believe popular fiction is not given the respect its due. Smart, intelligent people write these books and as a reader I’m not lacking in intelligence either. One author whose work I love and respect was told by a good friend that her books were good and she’d probably be able to write a real novel if she tried!! A backhanded compliment but this author already writes real novels.

Your viewpoint? Your experience?

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I am linking up with Nicole at Feed Your Fiction Addiction and It Starts at Midnight. Check out all the discussions for March.

36 thoughts on “What! The Books I Mostly Read are Pigeonholed “Trash”!”

  1. Like you, I tend to get bored when reading literary fiction. It’s just not for me. I don’t begrudge anyone else who wants to read it, but it doesn’t interest me. (Neither do thrillers or mysteries or most adult romance novels, by the way.) I think we all have books that appeal to us and other types that don’t. Why anyone has to look down on anyone else’s reading choices is beyond me.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am a HUGE romance reader, and people are always coming for my genre. Back in the day, I was made to read all those highbrow books for school, and some were ok, but now, I am reading purely for entertainment. Therefore, I am going to pick the books that make me happy, make me smile, leave me feeling satisfied. When reading a book feels like a chore, I DNF. It’s about the pleasure and the escape for me, and I don’t care what others think about my book selection.

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  3. A well-written post, Kathryn! I hate book snobbery – it’s just great if someone likes to read, whatever kind of books they prefer! I sometimes listen to the NY Times Book podcast but they can be more than a bit book snobbish. I used to listen all the time, and now it’s just once in a while.

    The terms that drive me crazy are chick lit or women’s fiction – how silly to say that only one gender would enjoy a particular book! And I think it’s often used in a derogatory way.

    Great discussion – enjoy your books, whatever they are!

    Sue

    Book By Book

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  4. Man, I hate it when people get judgy about what other people read. Read what you want, let other people read what they want, and we’ll all just be happy. There’s no need to judge. I love Brussels sprouts, but I don’t judge other people for not eating them. Everyone has different tastes.

    And what does it matter if a book is light and fluffy? Big deal. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I adore John Steinbeck and Charles Dickens, but I absolutely do NOT want to sit around reading them all the time, nor do I want to sit around eating bowls of steamed Brussels sprouts all the time. Sometimes I want pie. Sometimes I want pizza. Sometimes I want a four-star gourmet meal, sometimes I crave steamed broccoli, and other times I want the really gross microwaveable macaroni and cheese that bubbles over the side of the container. My reading life is exactly the same as that: sometimes I want highbrow literature or in-depth non-fiction, other times I want a fun-to-read paperback that I don’t have to think about while I read. And it’s no one’s business other than my own what I choose to read and when.

    Those judgy people can’t be having much fun in life if that’s how they spend their time. I’ll be over here, enjoying whatever awesome book I’m reading. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This discussion touched me, because I feel like the books I choose can be dismissed as just “genre” reads. I’ve admitted many times that I don’t enjoy reading what most consider “the Classics” or all the books labeled literary fiction (though I do read those if the plot is appealing). I enjoy mainstream crime fiction or mysteries and I don’t want to apologize for that. Plus lately I’ve been reading a ton of contemporary fiction, previously called women’s fiction or chick-lit. I’m making my way through the Grace Valley/Virgin River series. Those readers who put down romance readers, etc. should get a life. Whatever we read, we share the love of books and that’s a special bond we shouldn’t break!

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    1. Rita firstly nice to hear from you. And well said. And think of all the hard work the authors do who write those crmes and mysteries. I admire their creativity and imagination. Exactly – we share the love of books and that could bond all readers without any snobbiness!!

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  6. Good post. I do occasionally refer to a romance as fluff but I don’t usually mean it negatively. Just as “light”. I haven’t used the other descriptors.
    I enjoy well crafted romances and mysteries. And of course entertaining sci fi and fantasy.
    I try to read something from the ‘literary’ genre every now and then. Sometimes they are fine, others not so much. I’ve long since determined it is okay to read what I like. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Love this, I am guilty of describing things as trashy or fluff, but only affectionately. I hate when people tell you you shouldn’t like something because it’s not “good”. If something’s enjoyable I’d class that as good, although if the writing is really bad it does put me off. Some of what I’d call my comfort reading includes classics, anything I love and is familiar and not too serious. I can’t cope with literary fiction but each to their own.

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  8. I’m right with you. I find myself getting very defensive about what I enjoy reading and I hid the fact that I read romance for years. I read for pleasure and not to impress other people though sometimes I have to remind myself of it. This is the reason I don’t like the term guilty pleasure for books or TV. I like what I like and am really just trying to embrace it. Love this post!

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  9. Fantastic post, book snobs make me want to HIT THEM LOL 😉
    I remember waaaay back when I took over the General Fiction book club for B&N.com I had several book snobs, “oh I’d never read anything released by Harlequin” bla bla bla
    Well i fooled them, on one of our monthly group reads I selected a book published by Mira 😉 and being book snobs they didn’t know it was an HQN imprint he he he, when they were done and praised it I dropped the very satisfying bomb 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Yeah I totally get this! When I tell people I read like 8-10 books a month they ask why I waste my time. They think its much more high brow to take a month to read a book (and shhhh but it tends to be such a boring book I totally understand why!) I try not to take offense, to each their own… but I do wish other would stop judging… Though it today’s climate everyone seems to feel that its okay to judge others. ❤

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  11. Love this post!!! So very true. And this “Perhaps I fear being “looked down on”. No – I know I do!” This is so me. Sometimes I feel inhibited even in reviewing books online because of this stigma. And like you, I agree some literary fiction is just bleh. Thanks for taking the “brave” stance and saying what so many of us probably feel. 🙂

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  12. I say guilty pleasure! But then I mean that with all books really, they are my guilty pleasure, in a good way. I will take my book and ditch everything else hehe

    Ugh on peeps who see a “trashy” cover and is all why do you read that? Well finger to you person who has not read a single book in 10 years

    Liked by 1 person

  13. So agree with you Kathryn. I read a wide range of books – from romance to YA, MG, to fantasy, mystery, scifi, paranormal, dystopian. I usually have several books on the go – with different genres being read at once. A good read is a good read – I don’t pay attention to what others say, unless I really respect that person’s judgement. I need different books at different times – and lately “trash” is what gets me through stressful days. So many good stories to take me away from worry and stress.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Totally get this! I actually love a lot of books that aren’t super serious literary type deals… I agree with you, so many of the really high brow stuff is just… dry! Reading can be entertaining and still have value besides that. People who snobby about it, too pretentious!

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      1. I do think it is supposed to be slow paced, heavy on description or dialogue… I think oftentimes it is intended to be less entertaining for another purpose…

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  15. Great post! You raised up my “hackles “ with your thoughts, and I couldn’t agree more.

    I love a variety of genres: contemporary fiction, thrillers, and cozies. I also like nonfiction, especially memoirs.

    I don’t care for fantasy or science fiction, but I applaud those choices for others.

    I think we all need to enjoy the escape reading that takes us away from life’s troubles.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Great post, Kathryn. These days I read for escape and pleasure mostly because my life is pretty hectic and emotionally draining. If anyone wants to judge my reading list, have at it. I don’t care! I don’t feel the need to justify my reading choices. I don’t think anyone should and it says more about the person doing the judging than it does about me. Plus, I just don’t want to waste my time on books others deem worthy – unless it sounds like one i really want to read.

    Liked by 1 person

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