A discussion about classic books that you hated inspired me to ask about the flip side - what books have you read and really enjoyed, but that you would have felt compelled to hide if your old English Lit professor had suddenly walked into the room?
I read a lot of serious stuff, but I always look forward to a new book by Janet Evanovich; her zany, not-quite-real characters and their off the wall adventures are a great brain break for me.
What's your guilty literary pleasure?
I'm embarrassed to admit that I love the Sookie Stackhouse books by Charlaine Harris. I hate the television show based on them, though. The books are so much better--and not as sex-filled and bloody--as the shows. So I get to be embarrassed and snooty at the same time.
I also love James Rollins's books. They read like great action movies rather than literature, but that's great. I'd rather imagine my own movie than see one that has been Hollywoodized.
I admit to being addicted to John Grisham for many years. I got big into him in junior high and high school and thought he was the greatest novelist ever. But he really helped me grow into a more active reader though, even if his stuff is incredibly formulaic. But hey, if I could spit out a #1 every other year with the same general structure and make millions and millions of dollars....can't blame the guy.
I also dig a bit of sci fi like the Game of Thrones series by Martin. The show is fantastic too.
I, and a few of my fellow teachers, are addicted to the "House of Night" series. Think Harry Potter meets Twilight. I also like Anderson's novels ("Speak", "Twisted", etc). It is sad that most of the guilty pleasures are passed onto me by my 13 year old daughter, but they are great reads!
When my students were all hooked on the Twilight series a few years ago, I didn't think there was anyway I would be interested in reading them, but on a long layover in the Vegas airport, I was bored and picked up the first book in paperback at the newsstand.
I knew as I was reading that this was not great literature, but I was still hooked, and actually became a bit of a "Twi-mom". I finished the whole series in a few days. Oops! ;)
Being a teacher, I still keep up with the occasional teen novel. When I am at a doctor's office with an hour to kill, I always search out a People magazine. I still love to pick up an old DC comic from the late 1960s when I was avidly reading them; they don't have the same effect as they did when I was 12 years old, but it sure gives me a warm, nostalgic feeling when Batman or Superman comes to the rescue once again.
I've actually enjoyed most of John Grisham's novels, and truth be told completely, I have not read many of them, but listened to them on CD in the car on long road trips.
Other than that, I wonder if David Sedaris could be considered another of my guilty pleasures. I read and re-read his books and love them every time.
Major confession time: I really like trashy fantasy novels that give me a break from more intellectual reading pursuits. They do give me a real break and escapism, though I sometimes feel I need to detox on a classic afterwards. I really enjoy The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan, and do actually think that often fantasy is a genre of literature that is often looked down upon unfairly by literary types.
All books by Harry Turtledove and SM Stirling. They're pulpy alternate universe type books. I can say that they make sense for me as a history/social science type because they explore ideas like how the world would be different if X happened or how people would act in the case of a sudden breakdown of civilization, but they're still pulp and not the sort of thing I want people seeing me reading.
I tend to read children's fiction as a guilty pleasure (I'm a teacher- it's allowed!) I am enjoying Suzanne Collins The Hunger Games at the moment. I enjoy re-reading The Borrowers series. I also read each new Jodi Picoult because I think that the storylines are compelling.
I don't have any one author I follow or enjoy, but I will occasionally pick up a "fluff" novel that can be finished in an afternoon. That's long enough to feel like I've actually taken a break but not so long that I'm wasting my life on ridiculous writing. Not sure if I should read everyone's posts here and be tempted to distraction!
P.G. Wodehouse and his Jeeves books are wonderfully amusing as the British wit is so delightful. Thank-You Jeeves is a favorite of mine. Great escape literature that provides much healing laughter.
I would definitely have to say my guilty pleasure books would be romance novels. I tell people that I do not like them at all, only to turn straight to them for a quick read. Many that I have recently enjoyed include most anything by Nora Roberts, Nicholas Sparks, and, I'm sorry to say it, but I really truly enjoyed reading the 50 Shades of Grey series.
I harbor no guilt reading anything, as I feel that all reading -- whether the literature is "good" or "bad" -- can be edifying in some way. But if we're using the popular meaning to "guilty pleasure," then I guess comic books are the closest thing. Batman and X-Men, especially. Yes, comic books are ridiculous, silly, overly dramatic, and set an unrealistic standard of masculinity, but, dammit, I love 'em. At their worst, they're pretty bad and a waste of time. At their best, however -- if we're dealing with the likes of Frank Miller or Alan Moore -- then they're right up there with the greatest myth-makers of all time, from Homer to Disney.