Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Reader's Guilt

My goal last year was to read more nonfiction than fiction—I'd noticed, because I love playing with statistics on Goodreads, that I tend to skew towards fiction; more recently, that's been a skew towards YA fiction. There's some truly excellent YA fiction out there, but let's be honest—I read a lot of drivel as well. (Not all of it, I will note, YA.)

One thing I learned from my reading in 2014 is that I have a much higher tolerance for lousy fiction than for lousy nonfiction—in nonfiction, whether it's memoir or something more academic, if I'm not into it, I stop reading. With fiction, and especially with YA fiction...well, often by the time I decide I'm over the book, I'm halfway through it anyway, and it won't take more than a long walk or a commute home to finish it. Why not? Add to that my guilty-pleasure teen-issue YA fiction and...well. It's a weird mix.

But I don't have the same goal this year. (In fact, the first two books I read* were both (YA!) fiction...precisely so that I wouldn't feel compelled to keep going, to see how long I could take the thou-shalt-not-read-two-works-of-fiction-in-a-row rule.) It's funny, though; I find myself feeling rather guilty when I read two novels in a row. It's not even that the nonfiction I'm reading is of particularly high calibre; some of it's been excellent, but there have been some distinct clunkers. I gave up on Her: A Memoir the other day when I was out walking and felt a thrill of oh shit the only other book in my bag is fiction run through me.

Presumably this will pass. Maybe I will even get around to reading heavier stuff more regularly. For now, I'm making my way through The Girls Who Went Away, which is a different kind of heavy...and precisely the kind of book that makes me want to read more nonfiction, more, more.

*Gloss and Summer Scandal, both by Marilyn Kaye

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