Guilty Pleasures

by Miriam

Browsing NPR.org’s Book section, I came across this and it made me think about my own literary guilty pleasures. Given that I take pride in being an eclectic (some might say schizoid) reader, I don’t generally feel guilty about many of my choices but every once in a while I find myself sneaking around with a book that I think will raise eyebrows on the train or lead to outright taunting by my rude friends and family members. Usually, this has to do more with the cover art–certain romance novels leave very little to the imagination–or provocative title than with the actual content, but I find that I tend to feel a little guilty reading certain pop culture blockbusters such as the Twilight series. It’s positively unseemly to be swooning over vampires, along with millions of teenaged girls. Or is it? What are your guilty pleasures?

14 Responses to Guilty Pleasures

  1. Amalia T. says:

    Twilight is definitely one of my guilty pleasures, along with the EU Star Wars books. I just can't stop myself from reading them even though I know it will never compare to the Original Trilogy movies…

  2. Mary Witzl says:

    Robert B. Parker's detective novels. I don't normally read detective novels, but I badger the librarian for his latest books — as long as they're Spensers.

    I had a boss who loved Harlequin romances. She wasn't the least bit ashamed of pulling them out on the train in front of everybody. She read all sorts of literary things too, but had a real passion for bodice rippers. I admired her endlessly.

  3. Angie Ledbetter says:

    Just rip the covers off those bodice rippers & bloody fang covers and nobody's the wiser.

  4. Steph Damore says:

    That's funny, as soon as I read the post's title I thought of Twilight, or rather vampire novels in general. I was never into them until I read the Garnet Lacey series by Tate Hallaway. Romance and vampires? Definitely my guilty pleasure.

  5. Matt Heppe says:

    Ann Lawrence (http://www.annlawrence.com) is one of my critique partners. She's a wonderful writer, but I had to rip the cover off of one of her novels before I could read it. Just couldn't read a novel with a buff half-nekkid dude on the front cover.

  6. Dara says:

    I'd say a good number of the romance novels out there…the stories are intriguing but why there has to be half naked people on the cover…well, that's what tends to make me shy away from reading them in public.

    Another guilty pleasure of mine–reading manga 😛 Especially the girlie shojo kind that's definitely aimed at younger teens. Oh well–I love it!

  7. kanishk says:

    I just can't stop myself from reading them even though I know it will never compare to the Original Trilogy movies…

    Work From Home India

  8. Donna Gambale says:

    I proofread on the side, and one time I was proofreading a very explicit scene in a romance novel while on the train — these were huge 11 x 17 pages, so not subtle at all. I just prayed that the person next to me didn't peek over my shoulder to see what I was marking with my red pencil.

  9. DGLM says:

    Yeah, it does seem that most of us are embarrassed to be seen reading romance novels, but Dara's comment made me remember that I also love comic books and not always the cool, ironic superhero ones. Yes, I'm thinking Archie comics…

  10. Amber Tidd Murphy says:

    Sophie Kinsella is my guilty pleasure. (Well, until I saw the Shopaholic movie. I'm kind of over it now.)

    The books were so GOOD. The movie did not do them justice, but that is so often the truth.

  11. Malanie Wolfe says:

    I am so over being embarrassed of my guilty pleasure (Twilight) that I am proudly wearing a Team Edward T-shirt to see New Moon this weekend. Did I mention I am a 38 year old mother of four?

  12. Elizabeth Lynd says:

    There's a book I've read two or three times called A Knight in Shining Armor, and my best friend and I have passed it between us a few times. The title makes it sound like a cheese-fest, and there is certainly some cleavage on the cover, but you know what? It inspires that same longing the scene in While You Were Sleeping, the moment Sandra Bullock realizes she's no one's type, not Peter Gallagher's, and certainly not his brother Bill Pullman's (though she is! she is!), the heart in the throat rooting for the heroine–so the book does its job. And isn't that a prime reason we read? To feel something beyond our own day? Cleavage or not, it does its job.

  13. Amalia T. says:

    I also love comic books– but I feel much less guilty about them than I do other things.

  14. Christine says:

    Right there with you on Twilight! In some ways I'm lucky in that most of my friends are avid readers, but out of our whole group, there are only 3 of us who liked/loved the Twilight books and the rest just kind of raise their eyebrows and shake their heads. I was rereading New Moon before going to see the movie (tonight! =) and I brought it to the doctor's office last week. I don't know why I felt like I had to hide the cover as I read, but I did. One of my friends who's going with me to see the movie said she did the same thing when reading on her lunch break.
    Another little Twilight story – I was reading a different fantasy novel while in the checkout line at the grocery store (one of Jim Hines's princess books) and the check out woman asked me about Twilight and what I'd thought about it. It felt like she'd just asked what political party I identified with! If you say loved it, you're now on x side of the line. If you say you hated it/don't understand the hype/have no interest in it, you're on y side. I was on x, she was on y (a very strong "hated it" part of y), and like most political situations, we talked about it until we found we were at an impass, wished each other well, and she went about bagging and I went back to reading.

    Oh! And I have to say that I love that you guys are blogging more frequently now!

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