Shannon Stacey

Does anybody read for fun anymore?

Must all books be dissected and autopsied like fermaldahyde-drenched frogs on a waxboard? Should we be including a lesson plan or syllabus with every book?

Entertainment. Escapism. That’s what I want as a reader and that’s what I try to provide as a writer.

Maybe it’s just me, but not everything has to be taken so seriously it sucks the enjoyment out right like a giant spinal tap needle.

20 comments to “Does anybody read for fun anymore?”

  1. Kerry Allen
      · June 3rd, 2008 at 10:18 am · Link

    People read in different ways and for different reasons. Some are thrilled by an engaging story, some by beautiful language, some by ripping it to shreds, which is why many book discussions leave everybody wondering what book everybody else read.

    For me, a book is entertainment. If that same book is the sociopolitical propaganda of feminist oppression to somebody else, nothing I can do but say “oh-kaaaaaay” and leave them to their version of fun.

  2. Annmarie
      · June 3rd, 2008 at 11:30 am · Link

    *I* read for pure pleasure. I read blogs where a book is dissected and wonder why they waste their time. If I felt that way about books, I’d find a new hobby.

  3. Amie Stuart
      · June 3rd, 2008 at 11:30 am · Link

    What Kerry said….I”m not big on dissecting books, and to that end, usually write crappy reviews :boogie: <–I want to steal that smiley!

  4. Charlene
      · June 3rd, 2008 at 11:50 am · Link

    I read for fun. Sometimes I will dissect why something did or did not work for me, but that’s purely for my own purposes as a writer, analyzing story. In general, though, I just want to be entertained and to imagine a world without diapers. Like Annmarie said, if it wasn’t fun I’d find a new hobby!

  5. Jaci Burton
      · June 3rd, 2008 at 12:18 pm · Link

    Calgon, take me away!

    I started reading romance because it was escapism from reality. I started writing romance because I wanted to create escapism from reality.

    That’s why it’s fiction. Not real. Fiction. If I want real I get blasted with it in the news, in the newspapers and everywhere I go every day. I don’t want reality in what I read, I want fantasy, thank you.

  6. Bev Stephans
      · June 3rd, 2008 at 12:38 pm · Link

    I have always read for fun. If you must dissect everything you read, you should be a reviewer. I don’t think reviewer’s have any fun. Look at how they are always disagreeing with each other. It can be very hard to buy a book based on conflicting comments. Of course, there is always the next “Great American Novel” that every reviewer finds wonderful and the reader finds unreadable. :gaah:

  7. Jill Sorenson
      · June 3rd, 2008 at 12:56 pm · Link

    ~If that same book is the sociopolitical propaganda of feminist oppression to somebody else, nothing I can do but say “oh-kaaaaaay” and leave them to their version of fun.~

    Totally! I’m as enlightened as the next gal, but in romance, I want a hot guy, not a feminist manifesto.

    ~I don’t think reviewers have any fun. ~

    Haha. It seems that way sometimes to me, too.

  8. Karen Templeton
      · June 3rd, 2008 at 1:09 pm · Link

    So I had a very nice comment which would have ganked the #2 spot, but it wouldn’t load.

    So now all I have to say is…yeah, what everybody else said. I spend enough damn time picking apart my own stuff; when I *do* get time to read, I just wanna escape.

    But methinks those dissecting types aren’t writers. Writers just wanna have fun. :boogie:

  9. Rhonda
      · June 3rd, 2008 at 3:17 pm · Link

    Pleasure, fun, stress relief, escaping my real life, pretending those kids hollering mom belong to someone else at least for a few minutes with a good book. Do I notice stuff? Sure I do. But do I dissect it – hell no. It helps me see stuff in my own writing sometimes. And occasionally I’ll zap a positive line to the author if it was something about the writing I just really loved above and beyond the story itself. I did it recently with a book that was sprinkled with some of the best ‘one-liners’ I’ve read in ages.

  10. Annmarie
      · June 3rd, 2008 at 7:27 pm · Link

    Well…I am a reviewer. I might not be a New York Times book section reviewer and I wouldn’t want to be. I am a reviewer that will tell you if a book makes my heart go pitty pat or if I wept or if I was left a melted puddle due to the intense sexual heat. I don’t dissect what works or doesn’t work. If it doesn’t work, I’ll briefly say why. But, frankly, I am easy to please. Just don’t have the h/h cheat, the h/h die or the plot go off on some moral or political tangent and I’ll be happy.

  11. vanessa jaye
      · June 3rd, 2008 at 7:33 pm · Link

    Shannon, bless.

    Ditto what everyone else said. :clap:

    I’ve been skimming a lot of long-assed reviews disguised as treatise for months now (when did this trend start?). I don’t mind a meaty one every now and again, but most of the time I’d prefer an opinion to a thesis thankyouverymuchly. :-P

    Entertainment & Escapism.


  12. Ann
      · June 3rd, 2008 at 9:34 pm · Link

    I love to escape into a good book, always have. And while I can dissect books with the best of them, the reviews on my blog tend to be rather straightforward, this is a good book and here’s why. :boogie:
    P.S. So…have you read any good books lately? :groucho:

  13. Natalie J. Damschroder
      · June 3rd, 2008 at 9:57 pm · Link

    Well, I apparently totally misunderstood the question.

    I took Shannon to mean “dissect” from a writer point of view, as in analyze the craft and figure out what makes it a good or bad book. Once you become a writer, a lot of that is unavoidable, such as noticing POV changes and awkward sentence structure and telling versus showing, and a lot of writing instruction tells authors to do it with every book they read. And I’ve always resented that and therefore avoided it. I never read a book for anything BUT pleasure.

    But I never have. In school, I failed my test on Intruder in the Dust because I refused to read a five-page sentence. I’ve never liked reading stuff I’ve been told to read, and that has carried over into adulthood.

    So for both interpretations of the question…yes. I read for pleasure, and only for pleasure. :)

  14. Shannon
      · June 3rd, 2008 at 10:14 pm · Link

    I enjoy reading reviews (even though I have ZERO ability to write one.) I was talking more about some of the…hmm…just nitpicking not so much stories, but the author’s responsibilites and the reader’s responsibilites, I just want to shout “Just READ”.

    I’m also having a rather bad day, so I might feel differently in the morning. But right now I just feel like too much “roundtable-ish” discussion is killing the joy.

  15. Karen Templeton
      · June 3rd, 2008 at 11:16 pm · Link

    Ah, but for some sites, nitpicking is their raison d’etre. :roll: I tend to skim a lot when I visit those places, although I do sometimes find the diatribes amusing, even elucidating at times. I tend not to take much of it very seriously, however.

    And some people just aren’t happy unless they’re analyzing everything to bits. Much as I love the Big Name Author whose quote started that whole discussion, I can’t read her treatises on writing without my eyes crossing. She’s just one of the Deep Thinkers. I’m not. :groucho:

    I just write (with much :gaah: and :bang: ). And I just read. If that makes me uncool or whatever, I can live with that.

    Oh, and book rec? Just finished ADIOS TO MY OLD LIFE by Caridad Ferrer, last year’s RITA winner for Single title, even though it’s a YA. If you love American Idol and its ilk, this is a lovely, fun book, about a high school junior who finds herself making the cut for the Latino version of Idol and the life-alteration that ensues.

  16. Michelle (MG)
      · June 4th, 2008 at 12:14 am · Link

    I like to read for the joy of reading and when I was on my reading binge a few weeks ago that’s what I did. For a few months all I seemed to do was analyze and it was so nice to read just to read. Of course, I read Forever Again during that stint. Loved it. It made me sigh in happiness for the pure, old-style contemporary romance with no fancy shoot ’em up or suspense (which, of course, I normally thrive on! :nod: ).

  17. Nora Roberts
      · June 4th, 2008 at 6:39 am · Link

    ~She’s just one of the Deep Thinkers. I’m not. ~

    Me neither.

    I’m delighted for the Deep Thinkers, and believe they can add some juice to the genre.

    But me, I don’t want to analyze. Writing makes me happy, and what I write makes some readers happy. My first order of business is to write an entertaining story. It’s also my last order of business. I’m not sure what’s in between except a lot of work.

  18. Melani Blazer
      · June 4th, 2008 at 9:26 am · Link

    Amen to reading for pleasure. Number one, Between day job and trying to write when I’m not cooking, cleaning, laundering, etc, well, why WOULD I want to do something I can almost classify as work, such as analyzing and dissecting a book? I wanna get away from it all, thankyouverymuch.

    My neighbor, husband and I just had this convo about movies over the weekend. We’d seen a bunch of negative reviews about IndyJones and decided the reviews that cited plot holes and inconsistencies were probably there for way different reasons than we would be. We want action, fun, some off the wall stunts, some escapism. TO BE ENTERTAINED. C’mon, It’s Indy, not something written for a deeper meaning and to have an affect on society.

    Movies that make ya think are…good, sometimes, but please, be it a book or a movie, I wanna sit back, pop some popcorn, sip my soda and enjoy some kickass storytelling.

  19. Jaci Burton
      · June 4th, 2008 at 9:34 am · Link

    Karen – I read ADIOS too and I loved it to pieces! :clap:

  20. Shannon
      · June 5th, 2008 at 11:02 am · Link


    (What Nora Said.)

    I’m still annoyed by the authors who are so intelligent they can’t even tolerate most romances. On the positive side, not reading comments has freed up more time to write my fluff.

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