Debbie's World of Books
My book reviews, book news & random rants

Am I in the minority in reading books just for fun?

December 11th, 2008 by Debbie's World of Books

I think I’ve mentioned before how I have gotten hooked on book blog hopping.  I swear it has sucked up hours of my life as I go from one blog to another. 

But that is beside the point.  I noticed when reading reviews on a lot of books that people talk about the writing style being horrible or the over use of metaphors, what literary devices a book uses, etc.  I think this was most noticeable when reading Twilight reviews.

I have never been a good writer and I know my grammar is horrible but when I read a book I don’t even think about that unless it’s glaringly bad.  I look more at if a story grabs me and keeps me wanting to read to the end and if I care about the characters and what happens to them.  So I will openly say I liked reading Twilight and some romance novels.  Yes, I know romance novels are not going to be a piece of literary work that will become a classic and I’m not reading it for the sex scenes.  I enjoy seeing the characters fall in love and I especially loves the ones that make me laugh.  This is one of the reasons Julia Quinn and Julie Garwood are two of my favorite romance authors.

When I was going to school for my Master’s in Library Science I had a teacher who shuddered at the thought of reading popular paper back fiction and it just seemed so snooty to me.  He and a few other students were talking about how popular fiction rots the mind.  If that is the case then call me rotten because I enjoy them and will continue to enjoy them.  Guess, I should stop my ramblings here an  move on to something more productive.

Posted in Books, Random rants

9 Responses

  1. Kristina

    Interesting thoughts. Being an English Language Arts teacher, and even before I became a teacher, I always noticed grammar and writing style. It’s not just the teacher in me, but because I also love writing and language. The main reason I read a book is just for fun, and I certainly would rather read popular fiction than “LITERATURE”, but I find I appreciate it more if I found the writing to be clever and smart as well. It’s not a conscious thing that I do (analyzing the writing style), but over the years it has become sort of automatic for me to be thinking ahead as I read and try to figure out where the author is going and what to expect. I find if I can figure out the plot and where it’s all going (particularly in mysteries) before I get to the end, it gives me hope for my own desire to author a novel one day.

    That professor sounds like an idiot. Heaven forbid someone should read for something other than educational value. My father-in-law is the same way (though I won’t call him an idiot). He won’t read unless it’s useful to him. He considers reading a waste of his time, unless he’s reading the bible or a manual, etc. I pity people who have given up on reading just to stimulate the imagination and enjoy stories about life. I’m no TV snob, but I think more people should turn the TV off and try reading for fun instead of watching the tube all the time.

    Finally, about the reviews you’ve been reading on various book blogs that focus on writing, I can say, at least for me, that the only reason I started my blog was to keep a record for myself and my poor memory of what I’ve read. I never really expected people to find it and publicists to start offering me books to read, etc. I never thought I’d become part of a community, but it has certainly been a nice bonus. The second major reason I started it was for the opportunity to practice writing for thought (and my only opportunity lately especially now that I have a baby and have no time for much reading, let alone writing). I started my blog wanting my reviews to be discussion-worthy and cause a reader to consider something deeper about the book, rather than just knowing “I liked it.” For me, reviews have got to be more along the lines of “I liked it because…” So in that sense, I wanted the blog to be more literary in a way; it’s also why I’ve tried to keep my personal life out of my blog for the most part and stick to reviews with an occasional personal post saying something along the lines of “FYI, I just had a baby, thus I’m not blogging much, in case you were wondering.” ;)

    Anyway… just a few thoughts your post brought out of me ;)

  2. dsuzuki

    Thanks for giving me some insight. I totally understand what you are saying and I didn’t want to give the impression that I don’t like those reviews. I actually find most of them really interesting although they do give me a complex sometimes :)

    I know what you mean about not having time for reading with a new baby. My daughter is a handful and the only reason I get to read as much as I do is I have an hour commute going to work and an hour commute coming home.

  3. PaBast

    I agree that some of the reviews I read give me a complex too. Like you, I am not the greatest writer. I have problems with grammer and other mechanics of writing. I read everyone’s wonderful reviews and think that mine are terrible. I have come close and stopped blogging, but something keeps me going. Maybe I am trying to prove to everyone who said I can’t write that I can.

    My sister-in-law is a book snob. The only books she wants her sons to read are the classics. I don’t care what my daughters read as long as they read. I want them to fall in love with reading and develop that love as they get older. I believe this is way my eldest daughter is a reader and my younger one is developing into a reader. I don’t think my nephews are much of a reader. I hardly see them with a book where as my eldest daughter always has a book with her.

  4. Katie

    I was an English major in college, so I knew a lot of book snobs. I like my share of the classics, but I love a lot of ‘good old’ novels. I just like books that draw me in. If I don’t like a story, sometimes it’s because of the writing style. I just don’t often think that deeply into it. I’m sure some critics would rip into some of my favorite books – tear them apart and say they weren’t written well…but I say, if someone enjoys a book, then it was written well.

    Also, I have a very hard time reviewing books. I just often can’t put into words what it was about a book that I liked or disliked (I guess this is why I’m the reader, not the writer?). Sometimes it’s obvious, but a lot of times I just really enjoyed a book, and didn’t think at all about HOW it was written.

    Ok, that’s just a bunch of rambling, but yes…I know what you mean!

  5. dsuzuki

    You know I keep on writing how I feel about a book even if my writing isn’t the greatest because I’m mostly doing it for me. It’s happened so many times that I’ve forgotten that I’ve read a book. So I’m keeping track by doing this.

  6. twiga92

    I’m with you – reading is for pleasure for me. I read it for the story, for the characters, the plot, the suspense or the romance. I do read non-fiction – mostly for self-improvement. But if I’m not enjoying reading, why bother? For me it is a hobby not supposed to be a chore.

  7. sheerysplace

    Well, I don’t know if you’re in the minority but if you are – than so am I. Reading is an enjoyable escape, first and foremost. If I’m not liking the book – for whatever reason – than I’m irritated and I usually stop reading it.

    As for the literary side of it – I think some people just take themselves much too seriously. I was an English major in college and a couple of my professors were so ridiculous and uptight about what ‘should’ or ‘should not’ be written and/or published. Geez – lighten up!

    One of my favorite authors is Nora Roberts. Is she a ‘literary’ writer? No, but I could care less because I love her story telling ability. I pick up a book of hers and I know I’m guaranteed a chunk of delightful hours lost in the world she’s created.

  8. Suey

    I’m definately a read for fun kind of person. That’s the whole point of it I think.

    Hey, I just remembered you had started The Book Thief. And? So what do you think? :)

  9. p1nk g33k

    Well, what other reason is there to read? :D

    I do love to read for fun. I don’t do it much, though, because I’m very impatient, and once I’m into a book, I like to hurry up and find out how it ends. Usually, I’m too busy to devote that much time to a book. But, when I do, I like mystery novels.

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