Thursday, March 19, 2015

Taking the guilty out of guilty pleasure reads

Taking the guilty out of guilty pleasure reads Discussion
Melissa Cassera at Tiny Buddha re-defines a “guilty pleasure” as something that ignites and electrifies you in a way that should be totally illegal, but isn’t. She thinks it's should be something you should enjoy every day, with wild abandon. 

I could not agree more.

Today I have three wonderful readers, bloggers and fellow champions of guilty pleasure reads on the blog. Say hello to Jules from Jules Bookshelf, Mishma from Chasing Faerytales and Sydney from A Daring Adventure!
Taking the guilty out of guilty pleasure reads DiscussionNUZAIFA: The notion that somehow certain books are more worthy than others is utterly ridiculous. The idea that one should be ashamed of reading mainstream books that entertain/amuse readers is silly. If the book that you choose to read is one that teaches you a life lesson, takes a position on social issues or if it is an award winning one, that's all well and good.

However, the snobbery about what constitutes literature and what doesn't needs to end. 

Every reader should be be able to pick up and read a book of their choice without having to put with all the condescending looks and patronizing comments. Whether it's chick lit, Young Adult, erotica or formulaic fiction, one should be able to say that these are their favorite books without the fear of dismissal or criticism. 

A lot of people seem to have the kind of mindset that serious fiction could not possibly be enjoyable. An enjoyable book is not in anyway an inferior book. I adore books that challenge me emotionally and intellectually. My favorite novels are the kind that push me out of comfort zone and teach me something. 

At the same time I love the crap out of genre fiction and best-sellers that engage me and sweep me off my feet into a fictional world. I've been at the receiving end of condescending smiles and offhanded comments about my reading tastes, especially because of my love for Young Adult. But you know what? I refuse to defend my reading choices because I shouldn't have to.

I refuse to conform to someone else's idea of what I should be reading. I am definitely not okay with defining my reading tastes because of someone else's view. I can like both Leo Tolstoy and Lisa Kleypas, I can quote both Harper Lee and Veronica Roth. And I sure as hell can read both Sylvia Path and Suzanne Collins.

It shouldn't matter what you like because what matters is why you like it.

Taking the guilty out of guilty pleasure reads DiscussionJULES: If you visit my Goodreads page or my blog you’ll see that I have vast collection of books that I’ve read, and in the world of blogging, you need to be able to be fair and unbiased when it comes to reviewing books but I have a very hard time being unbiased. 

For a hopeless romantic as myself, I’ve always been more inclined to read books with romance in it. In my defence, there’s nothing nothing’s bad with romance novels, especially when the story is unique, and the characters are well rounded. There is one particular aspect that a lot of people dislike in romance novels. However, it is this aspect itself that draws me to romance novels. So what’s this aspect, you ask?

The biggest cliché in romance novels - The angsty bad-boy-meets-good-girl trope.

I know, I know.

 I mean c’mon, whenever the boy gets too cheesy, I get annoyed, but at the same time I can’t help but swoon. And my blogger friends would already know that I love my angsty romances. I hate it when girls get too sappy over their love life (that much is true) but I love it when the guy gets sappy over the love of his life (which is a bit hypocritical but I can’t help it). 

I love it when the guy does a lot of cheesy, swoony things to get the girl’s attention. I love it when they love each other so fiercely, I love reading New Adult because it’s full of angst.  I love it when with when the male protagonist is so hot it is almost unbelievable (especially if he has dimples, DAMN dimples).  As a blogger I know that it quite hard to expect originality in these angsty romances and that everything is so over the top.

Honestly, though guilty reads shouldn’t really be guilty reads. I may be a reviewer, but I am a bookworm first so I should be able to read WHAT I WANT because at the end of the day we don’t really read to please other people, do we?
Taking the guilty out of guilty pleasure reads Discussion
MISHMA: Guilty pleasures is something we all can relate to,huh? Despite the fact that we are supposed to be 'guilty' over it, we all have our own guilty pleasures - especially bookish ones. I personally think that bookish guilty pleasures are books, genres,concepts and authors we enjoy and love to read but don't want to admit to others. The main reason is because, our guilty pleasures are normally a complete opposite of our regular tastes. We like to create a stereotype of what we love in books, and when some of our tastes go against that cliche,they are normally considered as guilty pleasures.

Personally,my guilty pleasure is a genre. I normally read both YA and NA and my go to genres are contemporary and urban fantasy. I like to say that I like my books intense and complicated, with a beautiful writing style and realistic characters. And normally the books I read and love eventually fall into this category. But one thing I don't want to admit out loud to people? I have a huge secret passion for historical romance!

The ironic thing is that the genre doesn't match up to any of my criteria of a favourite genres or book. I normally hate heroes who are rude to heroines but historical romance are full of arrogant heroes.I normally don't go for cheesy and light romance stories but my alter ego is a huge fan of Julia Quinn's hilarious Regency Era romance novels. And I hate it when heroines spend too much time musing over their feelings for the hero but in historical romance heroines are often found nursing a broken heart which is a result of their unrequited love.

See? The genre's attributes go against all the qualities I normally love in a book. But I still love this genre. In fact it greatly confuses me as I can't understand it myself.

And this is why,we keep such things as guilty pleasures.If I go admit to everyone that I am a secret romance junkie who loves unrequited love stories,highland romances and Victorian period courting tales,they will be appalled!Especially if they know my regular tastes.

But do I think that it should be kept as a secret? Not at all! So if I like something which is out of habit of me,what's the problem with it? Why shouldn't I rebel against my own boundaries and go like something outrageous?And most of all, why in the world should I care what others might think of my preferences in books?

We should be proud of our favourites-whether it's an author, a genre, a book or a concept. We don't have to hide our tastes from others.

Now you may ask,  “What are you going to do with your guilty pleasures? ”. Well, I am proud to say that I am making an effort to not let it remain as one. I just wrote my first review for a one of my favourite historical romance series ever - it's the McCabe brothers trilogy by Maya Banks few days ago,and it will be published in my blog some time later. It's amazing,and I'll recommend it to everyone! Go try it out-  I'll be proudly admitting that I have a passion for the genre.

On a last note, I'd like to say to you: Don't be guilty of your pleasures, be proud of them!
Taking the guilty out of guilty pleasure reads DiscussionSYDNEY: For me, reading has always been a very personal experience. It's about what I enjoy reading: What stories interest me, what characters I feel for, what plots surprise me, what romances make my heart beat faster, and what challenges me. Books are meant to be enjoyed and explored, and all types of books at that. 

I adore comic books (specifically Brian K. Vaughan's crazy weird Saga series), and I adore fanfiction (particularly the kind between a certain hunter and his angel). I love New Adult romances that make my heart hurt, that make my toes curl. And manga? There are so many original and crazy stories to be found in Japanese manga, and I encourage everyone to try some!

Some might consider these "guilty pleasure" reads. I mean, comic books? Fanfiction? Romance? C'mon. But for me, they're the best kinds of reads. They're the reads that take me away from the monotony that can be my reading schedule at times, and they shake things up a bit.

Don't make someone feel bad for what they love to read. They love to read it for a reason. Don't make them feel guilty or weird or awkward because they're reading a story about two enemy space beings in love, or a story about a hunter and angel who have the best love story ever told (well, in my opinion of course), or a story with "cliche" romance and lots of sexy times.

Love what you love and read it like a boss.

As bloggers, I believe that we can play a huge part in removing this awful literature snobbery and there should be no room for guilt in reading. What's your stance on 'Guilty Pleasure Reads'?

Readers, have you had to defend your reading tastes?

Join us in banishing guilt from reading by sharing a picture of you + your favorite pleasure reads! Use the hashtage #GuiltFreeReads to join in on the fun! :)

Happy Reading!


  1. Love this! Just read an interview from The New York Times on Jeffrey Eugenides. On asking him if he has any guilty pleasures, he pretty much said that he was a bit of a book snob (he just can't with detective stories, because of their lack of literary devices). And I get it - kind of - a writer of his calibre must surround themselves with the rich, luxurious, chocolatey reads. And I guess you're allowed the small pleasures in life (like being elitist with your reading) - however I'm more of a follower of the Gaiman philosophy (which is the philosophy of many other people's writers such as Ray Bradbury) which is to read all the books, the good and the bad. And if the bad are appealing, then go for it! In the same way Eugenides chooses to read only the creme de la creme because he prefers that, I prefer reading ya contemporary. I think many genres and types of books have a lot to give if people start reading them and asking more from them - I don't think any genre, by definition, can be just a "guilty" pleasure, I think they've all got potential. And I think that, regardless, you call the shots.

    1. I love Gaiman's thoughts on reading and I agree with him. As a writer I would definitely want to read the good and the bad because I imagine that's the only way you'll learn to write better. As a reader, I'd say HELL YES to his philosophy for sure! :D

      Thanks for stopping by, Mawa - Now I must read Eugenides's interview! ;)

    2. Ditto haha, I may have a favorite genre, but I dip my feet in other kind of reads as well. And as you say, we shouldn't categorize a genre as guilty. :D

  2. Nuzaifa: You're absolutely right! I'm one of those people who don't give a crap about what you read, as long as you're passionate about it and as long as you love it. There's nothing wrong with YA, and to be honest there are a handful of YA books that have the same (if not more) depth as classics and adult reads. :)

    Jules: Haha, I know how much you like that trope, Jules. :) I'll admit that there are a handful of times when that trope works for me too. ;) I'm a big fan of romances too, and as long as they're swoony, I couldn't care less if they're cliche or original!

    Mishma: I haven't read an adult historical romance yet, but I have Maya Banks' books on my TBR. :D And I do know how it feels like to like something that you normally wouldn't, especially in YA contemporary. There are so many tropes and cheesy lines that I've fallen for if the author does it well. ;)

    Sydney: I LOVE FANFICTION (Percy/Annabeth mostly), MANGA (Lovely Complex is my fave) AND KB RITCHIE. Girl, we must be book twins. ;) And I'm totally proud to say that I love these things also, because if it makes you smile, then it's nothing to be ashamed of. :)

    I'll find time for that selfie, too. Awesome post, Nuz! <3

    Aimee @ Deadly Darlings

    1. ergerd. I can't wait to see your selfie Aimee! :D haha, actually when I saw that Sidney love KB as well, I thought that maybe we were twins by books. hahaha, I guess now we are triplets! :D

  3. "Every reader should be be able to pick up and read a book of their choice without having to put with all the condescending looks and patronizing comments."

    OH MY GOSH YES. I remember when I used to smirk at people who picked up books that I thought were "inferior" but I want to mentally slap Younger Ana because no one should police what other people choose to read for pleasure. Now, I'm just all "if it's really good, I want to hear about it!" even if it's a book I would have normally passed up.

    1. Ditto Ana! I'm sure we had those times that we became condescending, but its okay as long as its in the past and we know that reading any kind of book shouldn't be degrading or embarrassing.

  4. YES! I love this post. I love everything about this post. I've constantly had people push me to read 'older' books or 'serious' books and it annoys me so damn much. I've had condescending glares thrown at me on the tube for reading New Adult but I don't care. I'll read what I love. I'll read what I want to read and as long as I enjoy what I'm reading then that's all that matters.

    Adults constantly say that more teenagers should read for pleasure instead of for school but then they want to push teens away from YA because it's too childish? or it's not 'good' literature? What is with that. They either want us to read for pleasure i.e. read books that we ENJOY or we can stick to the 'good' literature that they are making most teens read for school.

    And Jules, I totally get you with the love for the bad boy meets good girl trope. I just can't get enough.


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