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!
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.
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.
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!
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?
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.
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!