Up For Discussion- Feeling Bad For Reading What You Enjoy

Yesterday, I saw a link to an article (source: Dear Author) that really got me thinking.  Brenna Clarke Gray, a teacher, wrote an article for Huffington Post calling for readers to stop apologizing for reading what they like. I love what she has to say on the matter:

You should not apologize for what you like to read. The person you are apologizing to can only fit into one of three categories:

1. He or she shares your joy.
2. He or she doesn’t give a good goddamn.
3. He or she thinks less of you for what you read in which case don’t apologize to that person because he or she is clearly a douchebag who doesn’t deserve your obeisance.

Number 1 requires no apology. Number 2 requires no apology. Number 3 neither requires nor deserves! an apology.

So what, then, do you do when someone you respect or even admire, mocks your choice of reading material?  The first time I really felt bad about what I read was in my 9th grade lit class.  We had a list of required reading for the semester, and in addition, we were to read additional books of our choice.  See that last bit?  Of our choice. At that time, I devoured Harlequins, fantasy, and sci-fi.  That’s it.  That’s pretty much all I read.  Back then, I read even more voraciously than I do now. I didn’t have a 60+ hour a week job, no puppies, no ponies, no responsibilities.  I lived for my mid-week trip to the local bookstores with my mom, where I would snap up the latest releases from my favorite authors.  I was looking forward to that class, because I loved to read, and I figured it would be an easy A.

Imagine my surprise when the teacher showed distain for my book selections.  She wrote condescending little notes at the top of my papers that I shouldn’t waste my time reading such tripe.  I was embarrassed.  Then I was pissed.  I read more books than 99% of the population, and this lady was going to make fun of what I read? I am a person who tries to avoid confrontations, and back when I was younger, I was so shy that I rarely spoke in class.  So after stewing about those nasty notes, I decided to alter my choice of reading material.  Good-bye, tame Harlequins, I would not be reading you for this class.  Hello, John Norman, you naughty creator of GOR.  You , I will read.  And Sharon Green?  Hello, Terrilian series and Jalav, Amazon Warrior series.  Yes, I will read you, too, because I know that the teacher will hate you all. (She did, but I still got an A)

I was fortunate that my mom encouraged my reading, and she didn’t really care what I read.  This made it even more puzzling that a stranger would feel the need to show disapproval of what I read.  I thought that the goal of the class was to encourage reading.  My bad.

Today, I don’t care what people think of my choice of books.  If they think that I am wasting my time reading about zombies or unicorns or fluffy pink bunnies, whatever.  Those are not the people I choose to spend my time or energy on.  I continually strive to make new connections with people who enjoy reading, without passing judgment, and those are the people I will try to form friendships with.

Has anybody ever made fun of what you read?  What did you do about it?

Book Blogger Confessions–Managing Deadlines

 

 

Book Blogger Confessions is a newish meme hosted by Tiger’s All Consuming Media or For What It’s Worth.   On the 1st and 3rd Monday of every month they discuss a topic that effects book bloggers and then give other bloggers a chance to vent, share their opinion, or offer a solution.

If you want to participate just grab their button and include it in your post with a link to either Tiger’s All Consuming Media or For What It’s Worth.   They will be providing a linky at the end of their posts so people can "hop" to see all the participants answers.

Today’s topic is:  Deadlines for reviewing and blogging. Do you set them? How do you keep them? What do you do if you can’t meet a deadline?

This is something I struggle with all the time!  Deadlines!  They stress me out!  I find it amusing that even though I hate being under pressure and having to meet deadlines, it is such a huge part of my book hobby.  That just doesn’t seem right, now, does it?

Here’s how I deal with those deadlines, which can dangle over my head like the Sword of Damocles.  I have a daily planner just for blogging.  I have tried to keep one online with Google Calendar, but I just can’t seem to make a virtual calendar work for me.  I mark down the dates of firm deadlines, and then I keep a sheet, updated weekly on Saturday, of looming deadlines.  Interview post dates don’t stress me out like review commitments.  I love reading author responses to my interview questions, and have a lot of fun with these posts, so they are easier to deal with.

Now reading and reviewing can cause a lot of apprehension.  I try not to make many firm commitments for book reviews.  When I am feeling pressured, I don’t enjoy reading as much.  I don’t enjoy blogging as much.  I can’t find my blogging mojo, and during those times, there are fewer reviews on the site.  Maybe Real Life is intruding, and I just don’t have the time or the attention span to write that review.  That’s never a good thing, so I keep my schedule for book reviews more flexible and fluid.

My biggest piece of advice to new bloggers: don’t over commit.  Blogging will quickly become a chore, and you won’t have fun doing it.  If you don’t have fun doing it, you will quickly stop blogging altogether.  Work out a schedule that works for you.  I work long hours to pay the bills, so reviewing and blogging activities happen mainly on the weekend.  I squeeze in as much reading as I can after work during the week, but some nights I am so tired that I actually fall asleep with a book propped up in my hands.  This tends to scare to crap out of me when I drop the book I was reading when I doze off.  Oops!

Set realistic goals for yourself, too.  I tend to be to a bit overly optimistic with how many books I can read in a month, but by posting a projected reading list at the start of each month, I feel that I at least have a plan to work with, and I work better with a plan.  I don’t beat myself up when I can’t get everything read, but at least I have a goal to work toward.  So setting goals for yourself that are realistic, and not over committing will keep your blog a more enjoyable activity.  If you lose the mojo, take a break.  Step away from your blog.  Take a deep breath.  This is supposed to be fun!

How do you manage your deadlines?  Leave links and share.

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Booking Through Thursday-Fluff

This week’s Booking Through Thursday asks:

You’ve just had a long, hard, exhausting day, and all you want to do is curl up with something light, fun, easy, fluffy, distracting, and entertaining.

What book do you pick up?

Sadly, this is my life right now.  Lots of stress!  Everywhere! Stress at work, scary, life-changing medical issues for the one person who is the pillar of my existence; this has not been a good year for us.  It left me frightened.  It made me feel helpless.  It made me realize how precious and fragile life really is.  My reading habits reflect this, and I have started reading lighter, fluffier fare.  I have turned back to an old stand-by for stress reduction – Harlequin romances and lighter contemporary reads.  Right now I need happy endings, and I need books where all of the protagonist’s troubles are resolved in easily consumable chunks of about 200 pages.  Humorous reads are especially sought after right now.  If a book makes me laugh, it gets extra brownie points. 

What about you?  What’s your comfort food for reading?