I remembered a recent blog post by author Matt Haig last night. It’s called 30 things to tell a book snob and you can read it here. In the post, he talks about people fearing enjoying certain books because they’re told they’re not good enough. I like his first point the most “People should never be made to feel bad about what they are reading. People who feel bad about reading will stop reading.”
The reason this post came to mind was that I finished a book yesterday that I loved. It’s called SLAMMED by Colleen Hoover and it was one of those books that grabbed hold of me and didn’t let me go until the last page. I even shed a little tear at the end. SLAMMED is a story about a girl called Layken who moves to a new town with her family and falls for her dishy neighbour Will but a shocking revelation halts their romance and they have to decide whether to fight for their love or let each other go. It’s got romance but also deals with tragedy too and all of it is wrapped up with slam poetry. I can’t even explain why I enjoyed it so much and for me that means it’s something special. I don’t really want to think about why I like something or why others don’t – I just want to feel it.
Each chapter in book has lyrics from The Avett Brothers and this one stood out for me:
I love books that make me feel something. They don’t have to be considered high-brow or be literary masterpieces, they just need to make me feel something – happiness or sadness or just that feeling when you question life and love. Sometimes the books that have kept me turning the page feverishly have been panned by critics and I’ve realised that doesn’t matter. I loved them anyway. The same goes for music and films and TV shows or even art – anything creative really. Some of the things I enjoy might be critically acclaimed or popular or neither, it should’t matter if you find something to enjoy in it I don’t think.
As a writer, I long for someone to feel something after reading my work. I’d love them to read the last line of a book that I’ve written and feel they just read something special. To just enjoy my book. Because that’s what all creative things should be about – yes they could make you think, make you question things, show you something new but really what it’s about is making you feel an emotional connection to them.
So I’m not going to call things a guilty pleasure anymore – if you enjoy something there’s nothing to feel guilty about.
Have you ever been made to feel guilty about liking something?