This is a periodic discussion feature here at Snuggly Oranges about the bookish things that steal my heart.
#9. BanterfluffIf you follow this blog, by now you’ve probably noticed that I am a huge fan of the fluffiest of books. Today, I want to talk about the value of fluffy books (to me) and introduce you to some of my favorite titles so hopefully you can discover and revel in the fluffy as well!
The Case For Fluffiness
What gets me is when people read these fluffy books and only ever give them 3 stars. Now I’m not saying that every fluffy book is a masterpiece – there will be varying degrees of quality, just like with any genre. But I’ve been around the blogosphere and seen it often enough that people give a fluffy book 3 stars, but in their review don’t have a single negative thing to say, aside from, “It was just cute.” A book being cute does not seem like a problem to me, first of all, but on a larger scale, I wish people would give these books some more credit. They didn’t promise you heartbreaking character growth arcs or strained, complex family dynamics or whatever, and if you picked it up looking for that… well. It promised fun and cuteness, and if it succeeded in that mission, putting a smile from ear to ear on your face and leaving you in fits of giggles, I think you should praise that. I mean, it might not be the most meaningful book in your life in the long run, but it would be fair to distinguish the different levels of quality of fluffy fiction – and if you only ever give it 3 or 4 stars max, your friends & followers could miss out on the greatest, fluffiest, most happy-making book.
I wonder if people are just scared to embrace the fluff – that they think it would diminish their status as a reader because the books are largely uncomplicated. Just because it’s uncomplicated doesn’t mean that it can’t be extremely well executed, which is worth mentioning. Or that they feel they need to be critical and can’t LOVE a “guilty pleasure”. Though these books will probably never win any literary awards, you can say you love them. And you should. Let’s embrace the fluffy! 🙂
Why I Read Fluffy Books
It’s often not only that I want to smile and relax though. Fluffy books are usually heavily character-driven novels, which I am a huge fan of. And arguably, characterization is one of the hardest things to get right in novels – so again, I feel that deserves praise. Miranda Kenneally, for example, excels at characterization. Even when I can’t directly relate to her characters, she creates such depth that I understand them thoroughly and am completely enthralled when they get their happy endings.
I guess what I like is that the characters are all so real (at least in my favorite fluffy books). They may not have a tough backstory of abuse, trauma, or broken families (though some do), but more than anything, they’re living their lives and finding joy and amusement in the little things. Often they do still grow in small, yet significant and realistic, ways. I find it much easier to relate to the characters in these fluffy books than, say, a dark contemporary “issue book”. The normal day-to-day struggles they go through are relatable and can get me to reflect on my own life and choices. The family dynamics tend to be strong and healthy, and often there’s really touching friendships too. And I’d like to believe that life can be better – that, like these quirky characters, I too can find an uncomplicated happy ending.
Banterfluff basically means that not only is the book light and uncomplicated, there’s a massive humorous undertone, usually due to fantastically witty and sarcastic characters. The ships in these books are my shining stars. They can easily use my favorite trope of hate-to-love romance to really up the feels. They tease each other, perhaps deny feelings, but, underneath it all, they understand and care for each other very deeply. It’s the dialogues in these books that get me laughing out loud and grinning ear to ear. I mean, usually they directly reflect my sense of humor. So, yeah, they are among my favorite books ever – and I know I can always turn to them for a quick reread to lift my spirits when I need it.
My Favorite Banterfluff Books
The Distance Between Us by Kasie West (my review)
“Is that your subtle way of saying you missed me last week?”Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally (review coming soon!)
“I’ve missed my hot chocolate. I just think of you as the guy who brings it to me. Sometimes I forget your name and call you hot chocolate guy.” The Distance Between Us by Kasie West
“Congratulations, Mommy,” I say, dropping the doll into his hands. “You could’ve told me I knocked you up.”Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (my review)
“My bad. I thought you’d force me to get an abortion,” Henry replies, taking the baby and cradling it as if it’s real. “He has your eyes, Woods.”
“And your hair.” The doll is bald. “Can we name him Joe Montana?”
“Hells no, his name is Jerry Rice.”
“No, his name is Joe Montana.”
“I was in labor with him for fourteen hours!” Henry exclaims as he rocks the baby back and forth. “His name is Jerry Rice.”
I grin. “Fine.” Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally
“Har. Bloody. Har.”
He smiles. “Oh, I see. Known me less than a day and teasing me about my accent. What’s next? Care to discuss the state of my hair? My height? My trousers?”
Trousers. Honestly. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins