Thursday, January 22, 2015

Twinkie Reader

Gommie and I were discussing books this morning and her recent book group.  I had just confessed something I'd realized recently when yet another person expressed surprise that i hadn't read some book or another:  I read for plot, narrative, historical detail, entertainment.  I don't like emotional, psychological character-driven books (or movies/tv.  Or art.  Or drama, which is probably why I like musicals more than plays.)  Yep, I'll take Harry Potter over Room, mysteries over award-winning books in trade paperbacks. So Gommie read me a quote that someone had read at the book group, about people who read for plot being those who suck the cream out of the Oreo, instead of being those whole-Oreo eaters who read for character and emotions (not that she agreed with the quote, but she does like the whole Oreo, can't even imagine reading a mystery or fantasy novel.  Which I guess means she just eats the cookie, not the whole Oreo??  It's an odd metaphor.)  

In life, I like the chocolate cookie; but, yes, in this metaphor, I'd eat the cream.   (I miss the Twinkie analogy; eating a whole Oreo just doesn't sound that much more wholesome.)

Truthfully, I don't mind being an indulgent reader. I like a good story.  I'm just not that interested in made-up emotional human drama (I read enough real tragedy and drama in the paper and talk about the difficulties and issues in my friends' lives.)  It certainly isn't relaxing or entertaining, which is what I'm looking for in my fiction books (as opposed to non-fiction, when I read about hospice or history.)  I read poetry when I'm looking for emotional insight.  But it puts me well outside the circle of well-read people following the Man Booker, National Book Award, Pulitzer, Nobel, and various Reviews of Books.  I guess with my Ph.D., it surprises people that I'm not a great reader (nor do I listen to NPR; I read it.)

And I'm rather tickled by all the moralizing that ranks which books are better than others.   Especially since two hundred years ago, the moralistic readers eschewed all fiction, focusing on poetry; only silly low-class girls read novels (unless the novels were high-minded satire, like Fielding's, but then low-class girls didn't read those!!)

The best books for me are the books I like.  The best books for you are the want you like to read.  Period.  Anyone who says otherwise, just has issues about their own bookshelves (or education)--guilt, regret, insecurity, even envy.  I spent the first three decades of my life reading what I had to for class.  Now I get to choose . . . .and right now, it's the medieval English history Hild and the 1920s Australian mysteries featuring Phryne Fisher.

Happy reading!!!

1 comment:

  1. Interesting that you used the word 'class' , meaning social class, a few times; I always had the idea that USA boasted it is a classless society......................then I lived there.

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