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We all partake in guilty pleasures, and something about summer seems especially fitting for easy, breezy reading of guilty pleasure books. I try to practice moderation in all things, but that doesn’t mean I don’t occasionally eat an entire bag of Tostitos in one sitting. I savor each bite of crunchy, salty goodness and the heat of my favorite salsas for what it is: pure indulgence. So for every work of literary fiction read, and for every high-brow short story anthology perused, I balance my love of reading for craft and structure with an equally important love of reading fast-paced fluff.


Cover image of Stories I Tell my Friends by Rob Lowe


Like all preferences in life, our tastes for guilty pleasure books shifts from time to time. My current obsession makes sense given my love of reality TV and popular culture. At the start of this year, I made the commitment of listening to one AudioBook a month. I’ve found I either gravitate toward literary fiction I’ve previously read or celebrity memoirs. Let’s face it, attention spans can waver when it comes to listening to books while out walking the dog. So far, memoirs I’ve listened to this year incude Tina Fey’s Bossy Pants, Dan Harris’s 10% Happier, Robin Roberts’ Everybody’s Got Something, and of a more serious nature, Malala Yousafazi’s I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban.

My newest download is Rob Lowe’s Stories I Only Tell My Friends. I’ve had a crush on him ever since I was a little girl, and I’m not afraid to admit my heart still goes pitter-pat every time he’s a guest on Ellen. Talk about great genes! His writing has received generally positive praises, and now that he’s just released a follow-up memoir, I figure it’s time I read the first. Nearly my entire audiobook wishlist includes celebrity memoirs. Typically, their narratives are segmented and jump around to various anecdotes in the celebrity’s life.

Like millions of others, I found myself binge-reading Stephanie Myers’ Twilight Series over a long Thanksgiving break from teaching back in 2008. I’ve already covered that bout of Reading Fever in a guest post for fellow writer A.K. Andrew. The funny thing (or maybe not so funny thing) about guilty pleasure books is that they tend to make for even worse movies. I have no desire to re-read Twilight, but I can appreciate its out-of-this-world high drama and sappy portrayal of love. Yet, when translated to film, it comes across as totally campy. The same can be said for Lifetime’s recent made-for-TV movies of Flowers in the Attic and Petals on the Wind.


Original cover image of Flowers in the Attic


As a teen and pre-teen I gobbled up entire V.C. Andrews’ series in weekends of binge reading. The highly-formulaic stories of rich families with deep-dark secrets perfectly matched my teenage need for titillation and soap opera quality drama. Now the the recent disappointing translations to the small screen, I find myself tempted to re-read Flowers in the Attic again just to see how my adult self would react to the pulp that kept me engrossed for hours on end back in the day. Lesser guilty pleasure books of mine also include any kind of horse or dog story. I’m almost positive I will re-read the entire Black Stallion series one of these days.

Oddly enough, I also have a hankering for westerns. Maybe it’s because a good deal of my youth was spent watching Clint Eastwoood and John Wayne movies with my dad. So just know for as much as I proclaim my general aversion for reading most sci-fi and fantasy, I proudly partake in a good deal of other guilty pleasure reads. GoodReads even maintains a list of Popular Guilty Pleasure Books.


Okay, time to fess up. What are some of your guilty pleasure books?



Join me on Wizard of Words for my latest guest post–Book Review: 10% Happier by Dan Harris.

The cover images used in this post are for promotional purposes only and comply with fair use guidelines.

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