I'm of the opinion that there's no wrong way to read. Well, unless you're taking your library book into the bathtub with you. Probably don't do that. What I mean is, as long as you're reading, you're doing it right. I often hear parents discourage their kiddos from taking yet another graphic novel and ask them to read "real books." To that I say, graphic novels and audiobooks are as real a bookish experience as chapter books are. That isn't to say that you shouldn't read things that challenge you or your kiddo. It's okay to want them to branch out. However, a lot of the time when I see people trying to get kiddos to branch out, what they're really doing is saying that there's a right and a wrong way to read. There are "books" and there are "books that aren't good enough."
We carry that attitude towards "guilty pleasure" books. These are our YA romances, our popcorn books, our comics. Books that aren't in the esteemed literary cannon. I have an entire other blogpost that goes a little further into this, so I won't touch too deeply on it here. Other than to say that if you're reading and you're enjoying your experience, you're reading right. As an adult with ADHD, I felt a lot of shame for a long time about how difficult it is for me to read through an entire print book. I would feel guilt when I picked up my favorite easily read YA title instead of whatever new Adult Literary Fiction was sweeping the book club landscape. I've long since worked through that. Life is too short to read books I'll never finish or books that I hate. Instead, I present to you a few of my go-to books. These are all books I'd previously have labeled "guilty pleasure" before deciding that I was done justifying how and what I read.
Fruits Basket was one the first manga series I really fell in love with. It follows the story of Tohru Honda, a positive and resourceful teen. When her grandfather needs to renovate his house, Tohru decides that she's going to strike out on her own so she doesn't burden any of her friends or relatives. After the tent she's staying in is buried in a landslide, Tohru winds up staying with the Sohma family. A family with a secret...
Fruits Basket is an absolute delight of a series. Both the manga and it's two anime adaptations are a must-watch to any avid shojo manga reader.
Continuing on that trend we have another favorite of mine!
Ouran High School Host Club is an absolute fever-dream. A must-read sort of fever-dream. After starting at a new and very elite school, Haruhi Fujioka finds herself in a bit of a pickle. She accidentally breaks a very expensive and rare vase owned by the school's host club. Why does a high school have a host club? Ehh don't worry about it. With a price tag looming over her head that she can't possibly hope to pay, Haruhi decides to join the host club disguised as a boy in order to pay off her debts. What could possibly go wrong?
I haven't read this book since middle school, so if it doesn't hold up like I think it maybe does, don't @ me. Uglies is a post-apocalyptic look at a world in which people undergo an operation when they turn sixteen to turn them into "Pretties." The operation gives everyone extensive plastic surgery in order to achieve their society's beauty standards. When people become Pretty, they're then moved to a high-tech playground for the rich and famous to have all sorts of frivolous fun. Tally and Shay are friends quickly nearing their sixteenth birthdays. When Shay runs away, Tally is exposed to a new world she never thought possible. When I first read this book in middle school, I remember adoring the audiobook. I spent the entire winter break in 6th grade hidden away peeling through any audiobooks I could. This one left an impact on little me. I have yet to re-read this series as an adult, but even if it doesn't hold up to my childhood experience, there's no shame in reading it.
What are your favorite popcorn reads? Your frivolous fancies? Your un-guilty pleasures? Let me know and I'll add them to my personal to-be-read list!