What is it about these books that, though they appear to have little value, keeps us coming back and cracking the covers?
As a college student, I don't get to spend much of my time on leisure reading. I barely get to spend any time reading things I choose myself during the semester, actually. When I finally do get to pick up a book... When I've put away my Aristotle, closed my Dostoevsky, and placed my Hemingway on the shelf, the last thing I feel like reading is anything that could possibly be categorized as "a classic." I give a little shiver of horror as I pass Fitzgerald, Lawrence, and Morrison titles in the bookstore.
I used to binge on classics in high school. Sometimes I would spend entire months on Wilde, Austen, and Vonnegut. When I was done, I was sick of books crammed with substance.
Now, like in high school, I turn to books with titles such as Sugar Queen and Rocky Road Break-up. I know they're not going to add anything to society. I know they'll probably fall into obscurity pretty quickly, if they ever make it out of it. I know they aren't exactly good for me. But, after all of those "healthy" books, I just want something that's like candy for my brain. I don't want to be challenged intellectually; I've done that enough already. I want something to lull me asleep. I want the comforting bliss of a neat, happy ending.
At some point, no matter what our reasons, I feel we all want that. So we will continue to tuck books in odd places, only to break them out again after a particularly rough day.
*Fluff books are books that are read for enjoyment alone. They typically don't have an innovative plot, and they don't tend to address controversial issues. They don't really have anything substantial to them.