Ok, I confess... I don't always choose the high quality literature for my free time reading. For the most part, I certainly focus on books that are well known for their caliber and are widely recognized for their brilliance. But after reading Les Miserables, for example, I was craving something light, entertaining, and easy. So I picked up Eat, Pray, Love.
Now since reading her book, I have talked with several friends about it. They tend to nit-pick her writing and complain about a lack of depth, but I don't have these objections because I had a different expectation. I didn't decide to read Eat, Pray, Love because I thought it would be full of breathtaking writing and valuable insights. No, I read this book because I wanted to enjoy some fluff. I love reading. I actually think it's fun. This may be crazy to some people, but maybe others feel the same way. You see, sometimes working my way through a massive book like Les Miserables takes the fun out of reading. Sure, it's immeasurably valuable, but it requires considerable effort. Sometimes I like to escape in an easy, fun book just to escape. It's a way for me to relax, like taking a bubble bath or camping out in front of the TV. I try to focus on the classics, (and sometimes they are light and quick and enjoyable as well), but I give into the popular books too.
My number one guilty pleasure reading is John Grisham. I like to read his law-related novels, even though I recognize that he will probably not be making a "Classic American Literature" syllabus anytime soon. It can be so satisfying to fly through a book. I like to feel as though I'm making progress in my reading, and when I read his books, my mind is set to hyper-speed. I whip through the pages without even noticing, cruising past the chapter markings without realizing it has passed. I can get wrapped up in the story, intrigued by whichever lawyer is disillusioned and in trouble. I see nothing wrong with this. :)
So now, while wincing slightly from potential attacks, I will repeat one more time that I liked the book Eat, Pray, Love. Yes, she left her husband and gave into a year of self-indulgence. Yes, parts of it can be a little hippie-ish. Yes, her writing is somewhat cheapened by colloquial language and crude comments. Yes, she practically made out with a tree. HOWEVER, I still had fun while I read it. I chuckled at her jokes, drooled over her descriptions, and smiled at her romance. It doesn't make my Top Ten List, but it was good for me at the time; I needed a break. I don't ever want to get to the point that I'm so wrapped up in serious, analytical reading that I forget to have fun with it. We need to hang on to that. In small doses, fluff is good too.