Category: guilty pleasures

You’re Reading What?!?!?

I read a lot – obviously, which always encourages people around me (friends, family, random strangers) to ask what I’m reading. Most of the time, I’m happy to relay this information. Sharing is a good thing, after all. But there are some times when I hesitate, when I pause before opening my mouth, because I’m just a little bit embarrassed to tell the truth.

In my mind, any reading is good reading. If it gets you to turn off the television, fabulous. But sometimes I feel like the reading choices I make aren’t the “right” choices or the “good” choices – that the books I’m reading aren’t “literary” enough.

In some cases, it’s because I get the sense the person I’m talking to has very particular reading habits. In other cases, it’s a rather vane desire to look like a serious reader. Whatever the reason, there are times when I get this uncomfortable feeling that tells me I should be reading “better” books.

It’s completely ridiculous, of course, because everything is relative. What’s better? What’s good or right? It all depends on the person, on the book, or even on the situation. Why should we have to defend our right to like whatever books we want to like? Why does it sometimes feel like a contest to see who can read the “best” books?

So I’m throwing off the proverbial covers to come clean:

I like Twilight. And Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, historical romance novels (or really any romance novel), chick lit, Judy Blume and most books that would be classified as children’s or young adult books (even though I stopped being a young adult years ago).

I also like Jane Austen, Shakespeare, Orson Scott Card, Kurt Vonnegut, James Joyce, Ian McEwan and Margaret Atwood.

I refuse to choose between what some people consider “good” and “bad” literature. I like what I like. Sometimes that means a book that’s award-winning and critically acclaimed. Sometimes that means a book that’s simultaneously incredibly popular and derided by critics. Why should I have to choose, when the most important thing (i.e, the act of reading) is the same, regardless of what you read?

I’m well aware that there are people in this world who fervently believe that it does matter what you read and who believe you should only be reading “good” or “quality” books. And that’s okay. They’re allowed to think that, because we live in this great place that lets us believe whatever we want. I happen to have a different view of things and that’s okay, too. We’re just going to have to agree to disagree.

Tell me, bookworms – do you ever feel like you have to hide what you’re reading, because someone might find it lacking? Have you ever embellished the truth when someone asked you what you were reading? What books or authors do you hide sometimes?

[Photo Credit: Getty Images]

Literary Guilty Pleasures

Shhhh! If you promise not to tell, I’ll let you in on a little literary secret. You promise?


I love romance novels. They are my literary guilty pleasure. Now, I’m not talking about books by Nora Roberts or Debbie Macomber (though I do have quite a few of those on my shelves as well). No, I’m talking about the Harlequin books, the ones you get for $5 at the grocery store or Target.

There are the number of different imprints under the Harlequin name, but I’m partial to Silhouette Desire and Silhouette Special Edition books. They have ridiculously outrageous titles like Ruthless Billionaire, Forbidden Baby and Marrying the Virgin Nanny. The men are almost always impossibly handsome, independently wealthy, arrogant, demanding, and stubborn. The women are beautiful and lonely, just waiting for some nice man to come along and save them from a life of dreariness. The men want sex; the women want love. And in just a few short chapters, usually after a few minor mishaps and misunderstandings along the way, they all live happily ever after.

These are not “literary” books by any means. The publishers churn out multiple titles a month and while many authors return again and again (often times writing a series of books with cross-over characters), none of the names are well-known outside of the romance novel world. I’ve even found grammatical typos in a few books, which probably points to harried editors. These books are fluff, pure and simple. But they are absolutely irresistible fluff.

Sometimes, I don’t want to focus on plotlines or character development. Sometimes, I just want to read. I don’t want anything complicated or strenuous. I just want to get lost in someone else’s life – however unrealistic – for awhile. That’s when I read the Harlequin books. I read a lot and these romance novels are not the staple of my reading diet, by any means. But just like any other diet, sometimes you need a sweet treat.

What about you, bookworms? What’s your literary guilty pleasure?

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