Don't get scared. I'm not about to announce a break from my blogging activities or anything extreme like that! No, I've been pondering. And I present my pondering to you in a scattershot approach.
Two of my Twitterpals - @nextread and @niallharrison - have been having a discussion. Niall mentioned the fact that he wanted to read more on Chinese dynasties and matters like that in order to immerse himself fully in the reading experience that is Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay. Gav asked whether this was necessary to enjoy the book, and Niall said: "Ignoring depths is to do a book a disservice". He indicated that he always seeks to look beyond the immediate and really plumb a book for all those themes and weighty matters that might not be apparent initially. Gav wondered whether he ever reads a book just to enjoy it as is - and I am finally reaching the point of my ponderings.
When reading a book that has some depth, I will critically analyse as I proceed through the novel - but I read some styles of book without any type of analysis. I take breaks from my "work" while reading by cracking open something by Jilly Cooper, or a novel in the urban fantasy canon. I rarely, if ever, look at these types of books in a critical fashion and just enjoy them as is. These are my marshmallow reads, if you will - light and fluffy, full of sugar and delicious, but will never ever satisfy me long-term or fill me up. In comparison, a novel by China Mieville would be the food equivalent of sitting down to a three course meal in a Michelin-starred restaurant. Both have their place, for sure, but I read one type to take a break from the other.
What I'm interested in finding out from you is: do you take breaks from your critical reading? Or do you feel that every single book deserved the same level of respect and analysis? If you do take breaks, what genres do you enjoy dipping into?