Friday Coffee Chat (20)–Why so serious?

Why so serious?

Last week on Friday Coffee Chat we talked about quotes from books that really moved us. If you have any quotes that you’ve thought of since last week, make sure you go back to the chat and let me know. I LOVE wonderful quotes! After you comment on this week’s Friday Coffee Chat, head over to Jennifer’s blog, Girls Gone Reading and comment on her Friday Coffee Chat topic, Comfort Reads.


This week on Friday Coffee Chat I want to talk about serious reading v. reading for fun. I know this has been a topic of conversation on Twitter and all over the blogosphere off and on and the topic may be beaten to death, but let’s visit it just one more time, shall we?

There are serious readers. You know, those readers who only read literary fiction or complicated non-fiction and they tell you that any other books are meaningless and therefore not worth the paper they are written on. I had someone in college tell me that all fiction was ridiculous because people should focus on what is real rather than made up situations that people went through. Even historical fiction didn’t count for this person. He felt that non-fiction was the only worthwhile thing out there.

Then there are the literary fiction readers who wouldn’t be caught dead with a trashy romance novel or paranormal fantasy book. They like to read all the award winners and classics. It may just be what they enjoy, or they may feel like those grocery store reads aren’t worth their time. Who knows?!!

On the other end of the spectrum are those readers who spend all their time reading “for fun”. They don’t want to delve into some psychological exposition on human nature like Dostoevsky writes. They want something they can blaze through like Dean Koontz or Charlaine Harris. Literary fiction and non-fiction are sure to send them into a coma for three months and should be avoided at all costs.

So what is the big deal about this? Well, as we all know people take their reading seriously no matter if you are a serious reader or an escapist reader. It’s part of what makes talking to other readers so interesting. We are all different and enjoy different things. Every once in awhile people will get offended when someone turns their nose up at the newest vampire novel or when someone calls another person a book snob for reading Tolkien over Rowling. We all love our favorites and never want to hear that someone else doesn’t like what we hold dear.

My questions for this week are:
  • Is there a happy medium? Is it possible to enjoy both serious AND fun books, or do people tend to choose one or the other?
  • Do you think books should be enriching all the time and must have redeeming qualities, or is it ok to read a trashy fun novel at any time you feel like it?
  • Do you ever turn your nose up at a literary reader or an escapist reader? (Come on now…be honest…you know you want to—we’ll be respectful of what you say)
  • If you are a one or the other reader, tell us all why you feel the way you do and if you think it’s ok that people read whatever they feel like reading.


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