Five Guilty (Book) Pleasures
You read that right. Five books I love, that I feel a little bit guilty when I read. Maybe because they’re pulpy, maybe because I enjoy them so much…maybe for no good reason. They’re not quite Cheeto reads, but they’re still guilty pleasures.
* Stephen King’s It You know, it just doesn’t get any better than this monster. I really think this is King at the top of his game, even if I stop reading the moment Bill puts Audra on the bicycle. For me, this read is all about the Losers growing up, and I love every minute of it, even the terrifying parts. You know, it probably says something if this is one of my comfort reads. I’m just not quite sure WHAT it says.
* Nancy Price’s Sleeping With the Enemy Forget that silly movie with Julia Roberts. The book is seven different flavors of awesome. I think I love it for some of the same reasons I love Frankie & Johnny–not so much for the main characters as for the glimpses of life that go on around them, and the characterizations of the secondary and tertiary people in the story.
* Charles Bukowski’s Factotum On nights when I can’t sleep, Bukowski helps. Yes, the book is about the adventures of a misogynistic, alcoholic, ugly, and emotionally stunted individual. It is also one of the most searingly honest looks at poverty and wage slavery around. And even though I hate Bukowski’s attitude toward women, I also think he was terrifically talented as an honest writer. Oh, and Post Office kicks major ass too.
* LJ Smith’s Forbidden Game series I love LJ Smith’s YA novels, specifically the Forbidden Game and the Dark Visions series. I loved them like candy and read them over and over again. Her Vampire Diaries series is enjoying a resurgence, but it didn’t set me on fire the way the other two did.
* Last but not least in any way, Peter Hoeg’s Smilla’s Sense of Snow, quite frankly one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read. From the very beginning (I can quote bits of the opening chapter from memory and get a chill each time I do) to its inexorable conclusion, to everything in between–it’s just gorgeous, and Smilla herself is one of the best female characters in fiction. Hoeg’s other stuff hasn’t really impressed me the way Smilla has, but I keep coming back to this book over and over again–and, like White Oleander, I buy copies to give to people.
There you have it, five of my guilty pleasures. Some of them are books that I enjoy and luxuriate in so much it feels, well, sinful. (There’s the Puritan in me struggling against the chains of reasonable hedonism. I like to sip a mint mojito while I watch that struggle.) Others are books that just feel like eating junk food, but won’t make me feel slightly queasy afterward. (Much better than junk food.) And all of them, I think, are worth a try.
So, what’s your guilty reading pleasure?