The Book of Guilty Pleasures (Weekly Geeks 2010-40)

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This week, Wendy asked Weekly Geeks to ‘fess up to our less-than-lofty reading pleasures:

Recently NPR aired a Guilty Pleasures episode where writers talked about the books they loved but were embarrassed to be seen reading. It got me thinking about all those books I love but don’t necessarily want other people to know I love them. Given that the holiday season is filled with eating the foods we love (but shouldn’t eat), parties that last far into the evenings (way past our bedtimes), sipping those holiday drinks (fat with calories but oh so delicious), and curling up in front of our fireplaces with books that take us away from the holiday stresses…I thought it might be fun to share our guilty pleasures with other readers:

  • Tell us The Books that you Love but are Embarrassed to be Seen Reading
  • Tell us WHY you love them
  • And (just for fun) tell us your favorite guilty snack that goes perfectly with all that guilty reading

I’ll be honest – my interest in reading books targeted to young adults has rekindled during the last couple of years, but for the most part, I tend to read them at home (thank you, 24-Hour Readathon!). Unless their covers don’t make it obvious that they’re novels written about, and marketed to, teens, I’m still not terribly comfortable being seen publicly reading books that I look a good thirty years too old for – because at some level, I still feel that I’m supposed to be too old for them. And yet, some of the best books I’ve read this year are YA:

Mockingjay  (yes, I was mostly satisfied with how The Hunger Games wound up)

…and I’ve acknowledged that both here and on LibraryThing, so I guess that at some other level, I’m not all that embarrassed about reading them.

However, there’s another type of book that’s far more embarrassing to me than YA: the celebrity memoir. Stacy posted a quiz on her blog recently, asking participants to name the authors/subjects of 16 of these books. I had the highest score; I’ve starred the ones I answered correctly. I have very mixed feelings about the fact that I correctly identified so many.
1. Audition: A Memoir Barbara Walters
2. Wishful Drinking  Carrie Fisher *
3. Prairie Tale: A Memoir  Melissa Gilbert *
4. How to…Make Love Like a Porn Star: A Cautionary Tale  Jenna Jameson *
5. Put on Your Crown: Life-Changing Moments on the Path to Queendom  Queen Latifah *
6. Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain  Portia de Rossi *
7. Down Came the Rain: My Journey Through Postpartum Depression  Brooke Shields *
8. A Little Bit Wicked: Life, Love, and Faith in Stages  Kristin Chenoweth *
9. Losing It and Gaining it Back One Pound at a Time  Valerie Bertinelli *
10. Stori Telling  Tori Spelling *
11. Everything About Me is Fake…and I’m Perfect  Janice Dickinson
12. Cancer Schmancer  Fran Drescher *
13. Send Yourself Roses: Thoughts on My Life, Love, and Leading Roles  Kathleen Turner *
14. A Lotus Grows in the Mud  Goldie Hawn
15. Growing Up Laughing: My Story and the Story of Funny  Marlo Thomas *
16. Between a Heart and a Rock Place  Pat Benatar *
I actually haven’t read any of these myself, although I do have Carrie Fisher’s in TBR, and I bought Pat Benatar’s for my husband (he’s a huge fan). I’ve heard good things about a few of the others; Portia de Rossi’s book has been praised for its honesty about eating disorders, and I’d consider reading Valerie Bertinelli’s and Melissa Gilbert’s because, in some ways, I grew up with them both (except that they were on TV). But because I follow both book and pop-culture news pretty closely, I tend to notice when they meet. I’m not usually drawn to tabloid stars and their stories, but if the memoir is by a celebrity I genuinely like or who has led an especially interesting life, I just might want to read what he or she has to say about it.

There are a couple of books that my husband has been trying to get me to read for months; he enjoyed them both, but they languish on my nightstand despite that. Why? Because they’re celebrity memoirs – Bruce Campbell’s If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B-Movie Actor and Craig Ferguson’s American on Purpose. And since I have a strict “review every book I read” policy, I would blog about them once I read them…and that’s why I haven’t done it.

However, now that I’ve owned up to my interest in celebrity memoirs, perhaps you won’t judge me too harshly if I read them every now and then?

And if I indulge in a guilty-pleasure snack while eating, my choice will depend on the time of day. At night it will be something sweet and probably chocolate – cookies or brownies, most likely; in the afternoon, I’ll go for a bowl of Chex Mix.

Do you have any types of books that you hate to admit you love?

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