I can’t quite remember when I first started reading Harlequins; sometime in my late teens, I think. I had never thought of them as worthy reading material until I saw that they were regular fare for one of my smartest friends. Oh yes, and I had a roommate who had to read one and analyze it for a university course. So I gave them a try and they soon became an occasional part of my reading diet, sorta like a literary bag of chips: not much substance, done with quickly, and guiltily satisfying.
The trouble with reading Harlequins is that consuming too many is unhealthy. Seriously. One summer I was reading quite a lot of them and I could actually feel my view of the world getting skewed. I knew that the way relationships are portrayed in these books was completely unrealistic, but I was getting sucked into the idealism. I decided I’d better leave off the Harlequins if I didn’t want to damage my real-life relationship, and I went back to my staple of children’s literature, which is at least wholesome.
I still occasionally read a romance novel on holidays, though usually ones with a little more substance to them than the Harlequins. And these days, there’s always some “chick lit” available if a different kind of fluff is called for. But, just as healthy meal preparation has become more important since Jade started eating with us, reading choices in these times of limited leisure time are also more — I don’t know, what’s the word? — nourishing.
I guess that makes me a bit of a snob, but when faced with scarce resources — and time is certainly that — one must be at least a little picky. Of course, one of my main sources of reading material these days is not from books at all, but from the 40 or so blogs I’m subscribed to in my feed reader, the majority of which are mommyblogs. The neat thing about it is the ability to interact with the “characters” I’m reading about, getting to share ideas and to commiserate, which is something I find truly nourishing. Even when I end up going to bed late after catching up with everyone.
What are your favourite reads?