No Guilty Pleasures

It’s easy to look down on something. You tell me your favorite book is by Nicholas Sparks or James Patterson, and I judge you as a particular kind of reader. This happens a lot for people who love YA. Even though I’d go to the ropes with anyone over whether or not there is excellent writing in YA (of course there is!), a lot of times adults talk about reading YA as if it’s something they should be ashamed of. And even if you’re not reading the most cutting edge, well crafted novel, shouldn’t that be okay too? Why can’t we let people read what they want to read?

At Stacked, Kelly has a fantastic post up about taking away the judgment in book choices. Really, I want to quote half her post here, but I’ll limit myself to one part I liked in particular:

“I have a huge problem with the notion of a guilty pleasure. If something brings you pleasure, there should be no guilt associated with it. The reason people find themselves talking about guilty pleasures is because someone has taken their right to enjoyment from whatever it is that they like doing. It’s because someone has asserted themselves as an authority, as a person with privilege, and cast judgment upon an activity.

No one has the right to tell you what you should or shouldn’t like.”

I love that Kelly takes issue with the idea of guilty pleasure reading. Not everything you read has to be some impressive tome or work of experimental fiction. Sometimes you’re in the mood for something a little fun and lighthearted. Heck, maybe all the time you’re in the mood for something a little fun and lighthearted. Maybe the rest of your day involves caring for your ailing grandparent and when you get home, all you want to read about is sparkly vampires. Or maybe you just enjoy sitting on the porch with a glass of lemonade and an action-packed pseudo-spy novel. That’s okay, too. Not everyone needs to love Infinite Jest.

It’s kind of like not everyone has to love baseball. Or curling. Or sports in general. Why impose such harsh moral judgments on what is, for most people, a leisure activity? Again, I’m guilty of book judgment. I think we all are. But it’s so important to remember that your history, likes, goals, and values as a reader aren’t the same as anyone else’s.

Make sure to check out the full post for lots of other de-shaming goodness. Do you ever feel judged for your reading choices?

One thought on “No Guilty Pleasures

  1. Oh my gosh! I was JUST thinking about this the other day. I love what Kelly said about guilty pleasures. It sucks how we sometimes let other people make us feel bad for liking what we like; but at the same time, we do the same thing to others, even if we don’t mean to. From now on, no pleasure of mine will be guilty 🙂 Awesome post!

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