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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Post Labor Day Argument for Guilty Pleasures

So here we are. The day after Labor Day. Summer is over. For many, that means the end their time for "guilt pleasure" reading.

But why should it end?

I have always found that patrons are less willing to read what they see as "fluff" outside of summer.  It is as if these guilty pleasures are seen as acceptable in summer, but an embarrassment for the other 9 months of the year.

This is just silly. Read what you want, read what you like, all year long!

Let me back up a bit though. As readers of this blog know, I have a complicated relationship with the term, "Guilty Pleasures," as it applies to reading choices.  Click here for a recap. But basically, I hate how judgmental the phrase inherently is, while still admitting that it has its place in my work with readers.

Despite my conflict with the term, I whole-heartedly believe that "guilty pleasures" are something we all need throughout the year. A guilty pleasure makes you feel uncomplicated happiness and joy.  The only guilty part comes from others perception of your enjoyment of something seen as "low brow." You should be able to enjoy a book just for the fun of it in any month of the year.

And, while we are talking about this, why not consider dropping the guilt?

Take this post by The Guardian UK's regular Book Blogger, Rick Gekoski, in which he publicly professes his love for Lee Child. With this essay, he has shook off the guilt and embraced the pleasure.

Other well known people who have publicly declared their guilty pleasure can be found in the on-going series entitled, "Guilty Pleasures" on NPR Books.

Hey, and sometimes a guilty pleasure can lead you to great things.  Take this weekend's Hugo win for John Scalzi and his novel Redshirts. From a post by a former student John (found here):
Redshirts builds an entire novel around the premise that on the television series Star Trek, the actors known as extras—usually wearing red shirts—who accompany the main cast members on away missions, invariably die a horrible death at the hands of whatever space monster is threatening the crew that episode.
Many would call this entire novel fan fiction, the ultimate guilty pleasure, yet Scalzi's novel keeps winning awards and making best lists. So who's guilty now?

Seems like it is time to join the trend. Stop being guilty. Pass on books for pure pleasure any day-- for yourself AND your patrons.  Don't let the fun stop as soon as the beaches close.

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