Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Guilty Pleasures Blog

I was scrolling through my Facebook homepage the other day and came across a post from Goodreads about guilty pleasure reading, and at the end of the post they threw in a question asking their readers what guilty pleasure books they enjoy. I scrolled through some of the comments and read what other people's guilty pleasures are. I always enjoy seeing other's opinions on books and have taken some great recommendations from these types of posts. However, I very rarely participate in these types of comment threads. Books are very open to interpretation and opinion and no two people's views are the same. So, while I enjoy reading and reviewing I do not enjoy feeling as though I have to justify my opinion to others about my likes and dislikes of books. 

I'm not going to lie, a lot of my guilty pleasure's are also at the top of a lot of people's 'worst books' lists. And that's ok. I am well aware that a large majority of readers hate the Twilight books, but I don't. A lot of readers hate Fifty Shades of Grey, again I don't. And in the past when I have voiced my opinion to fellow avid readers about how I have enjoyed both of these series' enough to have reread them both multiple times (enough that I can almost quote them verbatim) I am met with disdain and ridicule. As though my opinion should coincide with popular opinion and I should automatically see the "horrible writing" and "unhealthy relationships" that these books contain. 

I remember quite a few instances where people have gotten offended at the fact that I enjoy reading Fifty Shades of Grey, specifically. I have had to defend myself a few times as the conversations have gotten quite pointed as the other person accused me of being complacent to reading about physical abuse and rape, none of which I perceived as happening in these books. But it certainly begs the question, since when does reading about a certain subject matter, and enjoying the book as a whole make the reader a party to the misdeeds that the author writes about? I sometimes enjoy a good fantasy novel, does that make me a witch? I have been known to enjoy a good murder mystery, does that make me a murderer? Why does reading about a co-dependent BDSM relationship and genuinely enjoying the book make me a bad person? Why does it call my personality and moral compass into question? It's baffling to me. And it's led me to distance myself from admitting to enjoying these lesser regarded books as it never ends well.

I often tell people that Jackie Collins is one of my favorite guilty pleasure reads authors, and she is. Her books always include over the top sex scenes, mystery, murder and debauchery; and she was never one to mince words. Her books are all fantastic. And oddly, people seem more apt to accepting this than some of my poorer rated and more mainstream selections. It feels like whenever opinions of mine jibe with the opinions of whomever I'm talking to, then they're accepted. Danielle Steele is a great example of this. I don't think I know a single female who hasn't read a Danielle Steele novel. She always creates a beautiful idyllic world where her female main characters experience heartache of some kind and then work their way back to happiness by overhauling their lives and in the end get the happy ending that the reader wants them to have. You can tell any female that Danielle Steele is your favorite guilty pleasure author and the response will almost always be "I love her books!", because who doesn't love a courageous story with a happy ending tacked on at the end? Especially when she adds a heavy dose of 'girl power' in them. 

Another guilty pleasure of mine, that I almost never reveal to anyone is Harlequin romance novels. I remember once an elderly neighbour of mine gave me a box of books that she wanted to get rid of and they were a solid 85% HR novels. This was my first exposure to the culture of Harlequin. And it really is it's own culture. At the second hand book store that I frequent Harlequin has it's own section away from the rest of the romance novels. I don't own many, actually come to think of it I may not own any at all, and I never buy them. But if one happens to be passed on to me, I definitely give it a quick read before passing it on to someone else. And I have yet to read a HR that I didn't like. If you've read my reviews I'm sure you're not surprised by this revelation, I'm clearly a sucker for romance. And based on my previous confessions of my enjoyment of Fifty Shades and Twilight the more passionate and unrealistic the love story is the more I love it. 

That's what a guilty pleasure read is all about. It plays to your likes, your wants, your fetishes. It satisfies something within you that you shouldn't have to be embarassed about, but you are; which is why it becomes a "guilty" pleasure. I accept the fact that my guilty pleasures, likes and dislikes may not correspond with everyone's, and I think that's great. I am always open to considering other people's opinions. But please, don't make people feel bad for liking something that you may or may not agree with. We are all different, and see things differently. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm feeling inclined to reread Twilight for the millionth time. 

Have a good day and thanks for reading!

Opinionated Bookworm

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