“I am eternally grateful for my knack of finding in great books, some of them very funny books, reason enough to feel honored to be alive, no matter what else might be going on.” ~ Kurt Vonnegut
Book and Blanket Weather
Hello friends! And Happy Monday! Have we survived the weekend? Did we survive the snowstorm?!?! It was a little lack luster here in the mountains of New England, though we did have the crazy wind Saturday night, but very little snow. NOT that I am complaining. Because thanks to the wind being so fierce, I didn’t have to shovel any snow, because it was Mother Nature did my job for me! Thank you Mother Nature! It is now freezing, again, but supposedly, allegedly, we are going to get a warm up. I am praying for that friends, hard core! I can not take this negative degree temps much longer!
All this being written is also a great segue to todays topic. Winter, especially this past weekend meant it was the perfect time to spend cozied up in blankets, and while I was working, and in photo editing purgatory, it would also have been the perfect time and weather, to curl up with a book. As it was, I did get some editing done on my novel, so does that count? Maybe?
No Bad Book
I have actually been wanting to write this post for several years, because it is a subject I am passionate about, as a romance writer and a reader in what is considered a more “Frivolous” genre by the literary world, and yet it is not only the most read, but also the most profitable beating out other genres by billions of dollars. And yet, there is a lot of judgement with romance novels. There is a lot of judgement as far as fiction goes in general, especially if you are an adult. I was talking to a friend recently, and she informed me she was to “educated” to read anything that was fiction, she only read academia and books that “taught” her something, As a writer, and even a reader, my heart broke a bit. And it brought back memories of when I was a child, and being judged for what I read, because teachers deemed me to “smart” to read certain books, and I had to only be reading books that matched my reading level, which also happened to be all educational books, which don’t get me wrong, there is value in those, but there is just as much value in fun reading as well.
They say that every good and bad experience teaches you something, and I feel that way about books as well. There are NO bad book. There are no bad topics. There are no bad genres. Even the ones that are horribly written (ahem Twilight) not only teach you something, but even if they don’t resonate with you, they might resonate with someone else (ahem again Twilight). Literature is open to interpretation, and EVERY genre has importance and value. In fact I know many writers, who depending on what they are working on at the time, will choose to read a completely different genre then the one they write in, so as not to influence their writing. As any great writer knows, even WHEN writing, you still have to continue reading. You can’t be a writer, if you aren’t a reader.
We NEED Frivolous Reading
Growing up, I hated all the required reading books, they were stuffy and boring, (I have since changed my tune and revisited them, though I will always loathe Dickens) yet I loved to read, and I am grateful to be part of the generation that put Young Adult on the map, going from one or two shelves when I was ten years old, to its own section in the bookstores and libraries. To open up a world that may not have been considered educational or of particular value, because they weren’t Newbury and Pulitzer Prize winning books, but is no less important to a reading repertoire. Looking down upon any genre or book does the literary world a huge disservice, whether it is autobiographical, self-help, fiction books, especially YA, and romance, they are all just as important to society, growing up, and adulthood, as “Text books” or “Classics” are.
Now, more then ever, we NEED books that allow us escapism. It was why JK Rowling at the time I was growing up, (I am well aware things have changed with her recent comments) was so successful. She created characters that we could all identify with as we grew up, because her characters were ALSO growing up right along with us. Allowing us to disappear into a world that was as much fanciful, as it was relatable. And that in its own right, is knowledge. It may not give facts and dates, but it does give us emotional and mental knowledge and many of the themes in her books were incredibly prevalent to life. Her books and others like them, made us feel seen and heard, and let us know we weren’t alone when dealing with abuse, bullying, grief, friendships, and so much more that were addressed in a way that was still entertaining and relatable.
No there are not real dragon’s or wizards (unfortunately, still waiting for that letter!) but the lessons of overcoming adversity, friendship, sacrifice, right and wrong, and the most importantly; love, are all prominently featured themes in every book. It may not be a history lesson on World War II, but the fight for good against evil, is just as essential and creates an emotional metaphor for life that a history book fails to touch on. Even with all the magic and dragons, it is a book that the READER can relate too. And THAT is the importance of reading.
If You Love it Read (or Write) it
There was a time when people would ask me what I was writing and I would hem and haw, turn as blushing red, as one of my female protagonists and talk around the question, because my writing wasn’t considered of “value.” I quickly learned two things, if people were judging, I not only did not want them as a friend or acquaintance, but they also were not going to be a reader and I was okay with that. Not everyone is going to like you, but that in no way devalues my work or the genre I write in. Those who want and even need my words, will find them, and will read them, much like so many incredible authors I have discovered through out the years who have shaped not just my writing, but also my life. Prose is so incredibly powerful.
It doesn’t all have to be black and white and boring. It doesn’t have to be old English to the point you need a dictionary because the metaphors just go on and on (though I do love my metaphors). It can be fun, it can be frivolous, it can be escapism. It is why Romance is the number one genre. Everyone wants to believe in love whether they are in it, seeking it, or taking the first steps in a new relationship. Books are lessons. Maybe not always in the most conventional of ways, but characters and the worlds they live in many times give us hope and they give us a clarity to our own worlds and life we are living even when we don’t realize it. So I say read whatever you want, and whatever your soul is craving, if it is escapism, a little bit of factual knowledge or history, self-help, going down memory lane of childhood, WHATEVER it is, enjoy! Happy Reading dear friends!
How do you feel about frivolous genres? What is your favorite Genre to read? What is a favorite book of yours?