Thursday, February 25, 2016

Book Banter #8 Depth vs Fluff


It's been awhile since Suey and I had a good ol' Book Banter. We wanted to do one for my Adult Literature Month but couldn't come up with a topic. So bear with us as we make a bit of a stretch for our Book Banter to match up with my Adult Literature Month.

Most adult books have a bit more depth to them. Some symbolism, a moral or message. YA books can have this too but often our more shallow. (Just go with us on this.) So today Suey and I are going to banter about depth vs fluff. I'm all about a message or moral (not to be confused with agendas. I hate agendas) in a story. So if you're new to our blogs this is how this works. Suey will name 3 things in defense of fluff and I will rebuttal those reasons here. If you check out Suey's blog you can read my 3 reasons I love a message or moral to a story and see Suey's rebuttal. Make sense? OK. Here we go!

Suey
In Defense of Fluff
My part in today’s debate is to argue why fluff and books with no point (though I’m not sure there’s such a thing) or shall I say… books with no obvious message are just as valuable as books with a point and or message.
1 Escape. People read books for many reasons, and lots of people read books to learn, to understand the world, to figure something out and to gain some insight. But I maintain that one of the biggest reasons to read is to escape real life, to immerse oneself in another world, whether that be a fantasy one or a real one it doesn’t matter, just a world that has no real resemblance to our own. If this reason is valid, then I think that the book doesn’t necessary need a point to it… for the whole point is to read said book and escape.

Me
Yes, I've heard this before. I guess what really matters here is what your idea of escape is. I know most people would say escape is when you can just turn off your brain and not have to think or be present. But what if your life or job is a bit mundane and boring? Wouldn't an escape for you be reading something that wakes up your brain? Gets it thinking about new and exciting ideas? Gives it the depth and intricacies it craves? I know in my life I've been at a job or surrounded by people who wouldn't know and idea if it slapped them in the face. There is no intelligent discussion, no ideas, nothing! So for me, escaping into a book was reading something with intelligence oozing from the pages.

Suey
2 Brain Candy. Not only do we read sometimes to escape, but we read sometimes to give our brain a rest. If we have to be figuring out the point of the book, or what’s going on, or who’s who, or trying to understand a complicated plot, then our brain is working. Not to say that’s bad, but if you want to rest your brain from all that thinking then a book with no point, or a fluffy book, is just what you’ll be looking for!

Me
Yes, I suppose if you need a break, a fun fluffy book is just what you need. Or is it? Did you know our brains are more active while sleeping than watching TV? I'd much rather binge watch a TV show than read if my little brain needs a rest. Reading in and of itself takes a bit of effort so why not learn a little something, relate to a characters troubles and see a way out of your own, learn a new way of thinking while you're at it?
Suey
3 Happiness. I like to finish a book with a happy feeling (though yes some of my favorites are definitely not this way) and often the books that have more meaning are the sad, depressing ones. I mean, not always, but often. Does this make sense? And thus, I think those books that simply leave you feeling light and free and happy are worth it too, even if they didn’t leave you with some deep thought about the world.

Me
Nope! Sorry but I think what really makes me happy when reading a book is seeing a character learn something about themselves. Maybe they conquer something they never thought they could or they finally learn to stand up for themselves. Maybe they win against all odds. That's what makes me happy. Harry Potter is a great example of this. While there a tons of tiny lessons scattered through each book the great overarching lesson, in my opinion, is good vs evil. While some books left us a heart broken (Half Blood Prince)  and it seemed like evil was conquering, you just new good would win in the end. Didn't it make you happy that it did? That Harry learned and grew and became the boy that (with a little help) could conquer such great evil?  

Don't forget to go to Suey's blog and check out my 3 reasons I need a message or moral to a story! 

16 comments:

  1. I'm more of a "depth" reader, but sometimes I need a little fluff to balance things out. I like to stick a good comedy or a light chick lit novel or just something fun in between heavier novels. That way I don't get too overwhelmed by big, dark, weighty themes. For me, balance is the key.

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    1. Yes, I agree we need balance. But even in fluff I like a tiny bit of meaning.

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  2. Ah, you did the back and forthing this time... good job! I was too lazy! :)

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  3. I’m more of a “depth” reader as well. I don’t mind reading a fluffy book now and then, but they don’t stick with me very long. I can see why they are appealing; they just don’t work as well for me. I love to see character growth in the books I read and I feel like that happens more in books with depth. Like you if I need to relax I usually turn on TV show or a movie. .

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    1. Exactly! Thank you for getting it!

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  4. I like both, but I prefer to read to escape. By the time I get home from work, I don't want to think a lot. And, life can be so depressing sometimes that I need that fluff and romance to help me feel happy about something. I'm not saying my life is bad, because it's not. But, sometimes when trials and tribulations are all around you, you just don't want to deal with that stuff in books too (unless it's fighting an evil wizard or slaying dragons, etc.) because you have to deal with it in real life. I guess it just depends on my mood. But, I'll usually choose fantasy over contemporary issue-y books every time.

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    1. Just to clarify. I don't like deep depressing books. I just like a little moral or point to it all, you know?

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  5. I like to have both in my life! I like to give myself a nice balanced reading diet -- any time I'm in the mood for fluff, I can be certain that I will soon be in the mood for very intense nonfiction or some really thinky novels. But I am alive to both your arguments. :)

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  6. I definitely like to have both. Sometimes I am in the mood for one... and something for the other. Balance is key!

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    1. Yes, after reading all adult books in February, I'm ready for fluff! Just fluff with a purpose. ;)

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  7. Interesting discussion! While I agree that fluff is valuable, I don't see the point of books with no point. Granted, I've only read one, but didn't finish it as I was bored out of my mind! I need a point/plot/something to keep me reading!

    Sometimes I want to be challenged by a book, sometimes I want to be educated, sometimes I want a HEA, and sometimes I want to go along for the ride as our heroine chases vampires!

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    1. Well, as long as something is happening, right?

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  8. +JMJ+

    I'm with you on this, Jenny, though I've definitely indulged in a bit of fluff now and then! ;-)

    A few years ago, I learned a useful formula for writing reviews. Every review should say three things: 1) what the book is about; 2) what your opinion of it is; and 3) what message or higher meaning the writer was trying to get across. It is the answer to #3 that explains why I love or hate some books.

    But it is also #3 that gets left out a lot--possibly because, as a friend of mine has argued, there are lots of books that don't have some higher meaning. (He's right, but I have hacks for those when I review them. ;-P) But I've also found that a lack of #3, when it actually applies, makes even reviews fluffy rather than substantial, and quite tiresome to read.

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  9. I admit I need some fluff books and times when I just turn off my brain and the guy gets the girl by the end. I can enjoy a story with no depth, just fun. That being said however, I totally get your point about what different people consider "escape from reality". As you said, some peoples lives are such that they need a thought-provoking, adventurous, mystery to allow them to get swept away. A pointless, fluffy story will do nothing for them. And I've had moments of this as well.

    So I suppose this means I agree with both of you? :)

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