Do you have reader’s guilt? If no, head immediately to the comments section and share your secrets. The rest of us could use them. if your answer was yes, time to pull up a seat, because support group is about to start
It’s hard to determine the start of reader’s guilt. Maybe when the second book was published. Maybe the third, because that’s likely the first time that a reader had to choose which book to read. They may have vacillated over reading book number two or book number three so long that, by that time, book number four came out, which maybe had a blurb for book five, and all the while, there is the plague going around, and maybe invading Huns to fight. Maybe the reader was one of the Huns, and there was invading to do, which probably involved finding book number six in the midst of all that invading, and this is getting to be a lot of pressure here, people.
Note that we are not talking books in a series here. That, most of us would agree, is not a subject for debate. Those get read in order, buuuuut does that mean in chronological order of when they were published, or chronological order of events in the story, because that is sometimes different, or in order of when one can get their mitts on them, because some were published a long time ago, Karen, and it’s not always easy to get what we want, when we want it, okay?
Apologies for that bunny trail. Some of us are working through a few things over here, namely reader’s guilt. The struggle is real. Never before in human history has there been a greater number of books available to the average reader, which means that menacing TBR piles feature strongly in many of our lives, and on many different levels.
Do we read the hot new release that everybody is talking about, or do we go for the comfort read that we know so well, that we could almost recite it word for word, or, at the very least, give a pretty decent and thorough summary, to anybody who asks, and, more than likely, a few people who didn’t. Hey, some stories are worth sharing like that. I refuse to apologize, because doing that is doing nothing wrong.
Speaking of apologizing, can we talk about the term, guilty pleasures, for a minute? This term is often applied to romance reading, often with a self-deprecating giggle, and terms like “little” or “just” or even “steamy” and my big question is…why? Why the need to diminish the pleasure? Okay, steamy can get some wiggle room, because differentiating a sexy romance from a sweet one is important to some readers, who prefer only one or the other, but there are also lots who love both :raises hand: but do appreciate knowing what flavor we’re going to get before taking a taste.
Back when I was a baby romance reader, cover art was a big deal. It still is now, but in a different way. As today, not every reader wanted to whip out a clinch cover on the subway, or sport some bare male pecs in the middle of the DMV. Not because they were/are ashamed of others knowing what they were reading, or, more entertainingly, coshing them over the head and absconding with said book, because dang, that back cover blurb is intriguing, but because they would like the basic human courtesy of being able to read in peace. Thus built up the presence of book covers, fabric or faux-leather, but those, in turn, beg their own comments, soooo…
Excuse that second bunny trail, it’s late, and I am consumed by guilt over the fact that I have not yet read all of a book a friend lent to me, even though I have been really meaning to, and, at the same time, I am alllllmost done reading another, and my queue of books on my Kindle are so many that I suspect they may try to unionize while I’m not looking.
So, how do we deal with reader’s guilt, in all of its forms? For me, that last one is the worst one, especially when somebody I care about is affected by when I read what, which, in turn, breeds more guilt, and that is why there has to be a solution. As for me, I haven’t found it yet. What I have found is a bunch more books. Those things are everywhere, and there are people whose entire jobs are to make books more appealing. They, are apparently, very good at those jobs.
The best I can come up with so far, is to read what I love. I was originally going to type, “read what you love,” but maybe you and I don’t love the same books. Well, maybe not all the same books. If you’re reading this, you’re likely a romance reader, and I’m a romance reader, and so there is bound to be some overlap, somewhere along the line. Maybe you’ve dealt with reader’s guilt, too. Maybe you’ve found a way to eradicate it from your life, but, more realistically, we’ll sit here, together, hiding from unread books, and adding more titles to the TBR list, from each other’s shelves.
So, dear readers, I turn it now over to you. Do you suffer from reader’s guilt? Do you enjoy every minute of it? What books are you hiding from, right this minute? Pull up a chair in the comment section and tell us all about it. There’s room for everybody at this table.