Reading Ruts and the Time and Place for Fluffy Novels
Obviously we all read for a myriad of reasons; for thrills, for comfort, to learn, to expand our horizons, and any other thing you could possibly think of. But sometimes you just need pure, simple, unadulterated FUN. Brain candy. Fluff novels. Whatever you like to call them, you know exactly what I'm talking about.
W.H. Auden has an oft quoted idea about this:
"For an adult reader, the possible verdicts are five: I can see this is good, and I like it; I can see this is good, but I don't like it; I can see this is good and, though at present I don't like it, I believe that with perseverance I shall come to like it; I can see that this is trash, but I like it; I can see this is trash and I don't like it"
We know fluff novels aren't high literature. They aren't feeding our brains in any deeply meaningful way, but it doesn't matter! That isn't the point of fluff novels and you should never feel guilty or embarrassed about reading one.The point of fluff novels is pure, easy, delicious enjoyment, and escape. Honestly, we all need that from time to time, and fluff novels have an important role in our reading lives for that exact reason.
Sometimes you just read a bunch of heavy novels and need a brain candy break, sometimes you aren't in a season of life where you have the attention span for lofty literature, sometimes life gets overwhelming and the idea of starting anything "real" feels too daunting so your book stack stays untouched... and that's exactly when you need to break out a fluff novel.
Personally, I did a lot of this in college when my brain was fried with reading for school and all I wanted from a book was easy, comforting, pleasure. I didn't want hard or time consuming or thought provoking, I wanted a break. I wanted neatly tied in a bow romances or snarky gossipy novels. I wanted simpler adventure stories. I wanted to not think. To just escape. The same thing happened after I had my son, and I was sleep deprived and overwhelmed; I just needed a simple, sweet escape. This still happens to me, when my reading life feels too heavy, or I've spent too many hours wrapped up in heavy classic literature. Thats when fluff novels shoot to the top of my TBR. They're like a reset button, a palate cleanser, and sometimes an ice breaker when I've been away from reading for a while and are just what I need to get me back into the groove.
And you know what? That's perfectly okay, we all need books that keep the simple joy in reading. So break out your extra silly YA fantasy, your regency bodice rippers, your cheesy romance novels, and enjoy the absolute hell out of them. And don't let anyone tell you they aren't worthwhile.
What are your favorite brain candy reads? When do you break out the fluff?