I think most readers have a "guilty pleasure" read they turn to when they just need to relax -- kind of like chocolate or potato chips for the mind.
Before I start on this topic, I want to say that I don't think there's anything wrong with this. Reading should be fun, and it doesn't always have to be difficult to be rewarding. I have my own guilty pleasures, which I will discuss in a minute.
I do have a problem with the way some people try to condescend to those of us who read romance in general, or who read particular types of romance ("fluffy" types especially), as if that makes us less intelligent. Judging people on the basis of what they read is just rude, in my opinion. (And on a side note, this has happened to me several times. I get very annoyed when someone who's reading the latest trendy whatever tries to "elevate" my tastes. Like reading generic trendy "literary" books is any better than reading romance, lol)
And now, back to your regularly scheduled blog -- Guilty pleasures.
When I'm tired, stressed, or just not in the mood for a deep, thought-provoking read, I have a few go-to plotlines I like to seek out. Just like chocolate, they lift my mood and make me feel that all just might someday be right with the world again.
One of my favorite guilty pleasures is the immediate connection. Normally, I'm annoyed by characters who are practically in love right away, but if the storyline is done right, and I'm in the right mood, I like it. Even as a cynic regarding love at first sight, there are times I enjoy reading about it.
Another guilty pleasure of mine is stories featuring children. Secret babies are a big no for me no matter what mood I'm in, but if I'm feeling down a cute-child-helps-couple-connect story seems sweet rather than cloying.
The aforementioned "fluffy" stories have a place in my guilty pleasure stable as well. I consider a story without a whole lot of conflict, or with an easily resolved conflict, to be fluffy. Everything's resolved fairly easily, and the ending isn't just happy, it's glowingly so. I can't read too many of these. Like donuts, I really only want one at a time. Still, like the donut, I enjoy myself immensely while I'm devouring the story.
Probably the biggest of my guilty pleasures is what I like to call "angst overload." I'm talking country-song-to-the-nth-degree level angst and drama, not regular romance level. When I'm having a rough time, sometimes I paradoxically want to read about horrible things happening to other people. By the time I get to the happy ending, I will have cried a few tears, and I'll feel better than even such a sad situation can have a hopeful resolution.
What are your guilty pleasures? Do you have any secret baby books lurking at the bottom of a bookshelf? Are you a sucker for stories about royalty, or millionaires, or cowboys?
Gay romance with a heart of gold