On Guilty Pleasures

Bry left a comment on one of my recent blog posts (of which there are two) which not only welcomed me back, but also got me thinking about something:  guilty pleasures.  Granted, the wonderful proprietor of Literary Wonderland didn’t exactly use the term – he merely mentioned that he enjoyed Mitch Albom’s books, but wasn’t proud of the fact that he did.  It nevertheless had me mulling over the idea that there are readers out there who are uncomfortable liking certain books.  We all have reasons for this, I’m sure.  Despite the fact that I try to live by the adage “a pleasure is a pleasure, no matter how guilty”, I still found myself cringing a few minutes ago when I realized which book I chose to bring along today (it’s a 2-in-1 Harlequin romance book).

It’s not that I’m really ashamed of my patronage of such books.  I’ve been into romance stories since I was eight and found an old Harlequin romance novel which I thought belonged to my mom, but more likely belonged to my aunt.  I like reading about two individuals who find each other, and then find a way to make a life together work.  I admit, not all love stories work out as well as some others; but I love the principle and the fantasy of it nevertheless and I will defend the genre to the death if I could.  The “problem”, I believe, is that somewhere in the back of my mind I know that people will judge me for liking such run-of-the-mill tales.  And, as a person who has also indulged in being a judging judger who judges (I could barely get through the first hundred pages of Twilight, and I’m still flabbergasted at its success), I dread the judgement of other people.  I cannot say the same for other people of course – for all I know, their discomfort in liking something that they don’t think they should is just a matter of self-perception.

But I mostly think it’s the judging.

A picture of an owl, judging all of us.
“I thought you were above such trifles. You have disappointed me for the last time.”

Yes, I totally think it’s about the judging.  But that’s neither here nor there (or it shouldn’t be) because, at the end of the day, we like what we like.  I like what I like, and you like what you like.  We really have no business trying to change each other’s minds.  NEITHER OF US IS RIGHT.  There is no right or wrong when it comes to liking something – I already I discussed this in two previous posts.  This is why I think, by extension, we should be more PROUD of whatever it is we like reading.  It doesn’t matter that right now I’m reading something along the lines of “The Greek Tycoon’s Booty Call” (I would pay good money to actually read that, if it exists) and most of my serious reader friends are probably cringing inside at the thought of it.  What matters is that it’s making me smile right now.  And frankly?  I LIKE feeling happy and fuzzy once in a while, even if it’s over something that most people find useless.

So yeah.  I’m leaving that 2-in-1 Harlequin book out on my desk right now.  I don’t want to be guilty of THAT particular pleasure anymore.

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