One night my brother came over for dinner, and while I worked in the kitchen, he picked up my Kindle from the table next to the couch. I didn’t think a thing about it until after he left —when I realized he’d pulled up my list of books, scrolled through it, and found something to read before dinner.
Agh! That’s so embarrassing!!
Granted, he’d pulled up John Green’s popular (and acclaimed) The Fault in Our Stars. But I’m familiar with my list of books and knew exactly how many fluffy romance novels and self-published YA novels he’d had to scroll past to find it.
I’m pretty open about my reading tastes–or lack of, depending on who you ask. But like all self-reported data and internet shares, what I make public is still filtered quite a bit. I don’t tell my friends, blog readers, or even my Goodreads account about ALL the books I read.
Why?? Why do I hide some of the books I love to read?
Am I worried you’ll judge the quantity of books I gobble up (a number that makes it obvious I don’t spend my free time cleaning my house)? Or do I suspect the type of books–and writing–I enjoy or at least deem acceptable will cause you to question my qualifications as a writer and editor?
Yes. Definitely. But I also simply wish I were a different kind of person–the one who reads Austen and Hemingway and those make-you-think books on lists from Oprah or NPR or my smart blog friends. Truth is, though, I’m NOT the kind of person who craves diving into a heavy, thought-provoking classic.
Not often, anyway. And I do like to read OFTEN.
Since I don’t go a week without a trip to the library (or its website) or spend many days without a book (or Kindle) in hand from the breakfast table to the doctor’s office to the school pickup line, I’ve got a lot of reading time to fill.
More often than not, I fill those gaps with fluff.
“Fluffy” books often feature werewolves, clumsy girl detectives, Greek demigods, and crooked cops or politicians. They’re also usually real page-turners – not because of their compelling plots (although some of them HAVE that, thankyouverymuch!) but because the words are a tad shorter, the sentences a touch simpler and–sometimes–the print a smidge larger.
These “fluffy” books are quick reads–which means this busy and often overwhelmed mom can sneak in a few chapters here and there, easily finishing a novel in a few days. And when my never-ending to-do list gets the best of me pretty much every day of the year, I will take that accomplishment–even if only by reaching the last page of a cozy mystery, silly romance or middle grade monster tale – every day of the year.
“Fluffy” books also tend to have those embarrassing covers–the pink, sparkly kind with loopy fonts or the kind with ridiculous couples doing things you don’t want displayed on your coffee table. They make you roll your eyes and turn them face down and wonder WHO ON EARTH DESIGNED THIS, because it doesn’t even reflect the snappy dialogue or clever mystery you enjoyed in the book, anyway.
“Fluffy” books, though, share the same themes that move more serious readers: love, identity, justice, loyalty and more. A few weeks ago as I finished the third book in a young adult trilogy, I was both amazed and annoyed to realize the entire second half was dedicated to the concepts of unconditional love and forgiveness —two things I was personally struggling with that week.
“Fluffy” books might not make any best-of lists or book club calendars. But I love reading. And that includes a few “respectable” classics, biographies and thinkers even the snootiest book critic would appreciate–and a whole pile of “fluffy” books I enjoy more than I usually admit!
So, today I’m going on the record to declare that I love reading fluff. My secret’s out, and I’m okay with that.
Anyone else out there a fan of silly, simplistic, self-pubbed, unrealistic or otherwise “fluffy” books?