Sunday, January 19, 2014

Guilty Pleasures. Or, Books I Fell in Love With That I Tried to Resist.



I'm a book snob. You know the type. I pooh-pooh book recommendations from people who choose their reading from the bestseller list. I ignore authors who have made a mint. I look for the obscure, the long-lost, the small and little-known books.

Mostly.

Every now and then, I run across a book that has been overhyped. I falter in my will. I start to read. Suddenly I find I have fallen in love with a book that has been around the block. And back.

I just can't help myself.

Here are a few of my guilty pleasures:

Me Before You
This is the book that prompted this little essay. I'd seen this red cover all over the place here in the blogosphere and that's usually a warning to me to Put the Book Back on the Shelf and Walk Away. I didn't listen to that inner voice this time and I'm glad I didn't. A good story, thoughtful without being heavy-handed, with real characters. Just right for a cold January evening.

Hunger Games
I had no idea what I was in for when I picked up this book. It was early on, before the HG was all over the universe. What a great read. Action. Adventure. Life and death struggles. Loved it.

Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum Mysteries
No one on the planet would call this good literature yet I can't seem to stop myself from buying the next mystery in the series. What is it about this series, with Stephanie Plum attempting to bring in bad guys when she can't even seem to hold a gun or keep her car from being blown up, with Stephanie's two dark bad-boy boyfriends, with zany Grandma Mazur who likes to get in on the action and loves to visit the dead at funeral homes? None of this really explains Stephanie Plum appeal, yet it is there.

Game of Thrones
I should have hated this book. Violence. Cruelty. Lust. Revenge. Everything I loathe in real life is here. Yet it seemed perfectly suited for this story, set in some sort of awful alternative universe to Earth where the Middle Ages still reigns. It was wicked and terrible and magnificent. Go figure.

The Fault in Our Stars
I had read a John Green a long time and I missed somehow that Something that everyone else seemed to find in his writing. Then I picked up Fault in Our Stars and, oh my!  Forgive me, John Green, for judging you harshly, based on a single bad experience. I'm so glad I didn't set Fault in Our Stars aside.

Eleanor & Park
The misfits who find each other. I could have so easily passed on this one. It had all the earmarks of a Lost Teen Story and, of course, it was (aren't all teens pretty lost?) but it was so much more, too. So nice to see a chubby girl find love.

Anything Paris
This is a generic category. I can read anything Paris and forgive it all its faults. Paris casts a rosy glow over any awful book, somehow. I've yet to read a single book set in Paris that I've hated. Yet I know in my heart that most of the Paris books I've read are using Paris to stoke up the book.


Are you a little bit of a book snob, too? Do you find, like me, that you have your soft spots for less-than-literary books? What are your guilty pleasures?




22 comments:

  1. I am definitely picky about what books I read so I guess I am a snob. :)

    THANKS for this great post.

    Elizabeth
    Silver's Reviews
    My Blog

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  2. I want to be picky, but I don't want to miss the great books. Tricky.

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  3. I know exactly how you feel about hyped books, and I sometimes succumb to the buzz. Your guilty pleasures look like my wish list, although I did buy both the Game of Thrones and The Hunger Games at a bargain price on Kindle. The Fault in Our Stars has called my name forever. Thanks for setting us all straight on these books! And increasing my TBR pile!

    Suzanne @Chick with Books

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  4. I can be the biggest snob or the most plebian reader on the planet. I'm not sure I have any in between though. ;-) I do have a few on my radar that have been overhyped and I want to read them but I also worry that they've been, well, overhyped. Know what I mean? :-)

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  5. I did enjoy Me Before You...and only picked it up when I saw it everywhere. I haven't read any of the others you mentioned, except a few Stephanie Plums. We all need our guilty pleasures!

    Thanks for visiting my blog.

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  6. Oh, I'm so with you on both Eleanor & Park and Game of Thrones, but I fell head over heels for both (well, make that all six...if we're counting the whole ASOIAF series, which I've read...some of them multiple times).

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  7. I enjoyed the Stephanie Plums up to about no. 14, when the sameness of the characters and their situations failed to continue to hold me. I may look at the latest to see if there is any change.

    Game of Thrones is not in the genre of books I normally read but I'll be willing to give it a try!

    I have read and reviewed a yoga cozy, the only one I know of - Death Strikes a Pose. Eagerly waiting for the next in the series.
    Harvee
    Book Dilettante

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  8. Stephen King is my guilty pleasure and anything dystopian. I love my classics but sometimes I need something a little 'lighter'. After all even King called himself "The Big Mac" of the literary world.

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  9. I have the same problem with the Plum books but I have learned to add them to my wish list at PaperBackSwap and wait to get it from there.

    Game of Thrones and Hunger Games just don't appeal to me but my kids love them.

    Have a great week!!

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  10. My guilty pleasures as a teen were Louis L'Amour books. Now they're probably a lot of crime noir fiction, I'm guessing, for example, anything by Donald E. Westlake.

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  11. I think we do definitely all need our own guilty pleasures. I think the old a change is as good as a holiday comes into play a bit here. Sometimes the novelty value of a different kind of book is needed, and so that novelty value is then welcome.

    I read a couple of those Stephanie Plum books quite a few years ago, and enjoyed them, but of course they are very samey-samey, so I couldn't maintain enthusiasm beyond a few. I'm really hoping to read The Fault in Our Stars this weekend. I'm just hoping that I haven't now seen so much hype that it can't possibly live up to it. And as you know I'll forgive anything set in Paris too.

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  12. I'm 100% with you on Janet Evanovich. I LOVE the Stephanie Plum series :)

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  13. I'm with you on Janet Evanovich. I LOVE the Stephanie Plum series :)

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  14. Love Hunger Games!! But didn't get on board until Mockingjay was being released & I got the first book as a free Nook book -- totally hooked!! Game of thrones is on my list. I have tended to read mostly YA mostly because of the ages of my kids. I have resisted most best sellers as well - reading older stuff again or for first time. Some of the self-help stuff out there now has been kind of meh for me.

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  15. I am absolutely a book snob! I felt the same way about Me Before You.

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  16. I've never been big on hyped books like the Twilight series, Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, etc. Now, the Stephanie Plum books...I've loved those from day one and I have no idea why since Stephanie drives me crazy not being able to choose between Morelli and Ranger.

    Mainly I choose my reading by whatever strikes my fancy - mainly cozies these days.

    Have a great week!

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  17. I'm a romance reader, so I've never considered myself a book snob. But I do sometimes resist books that seem over-hyped. So, yeah, I maybe need to give The Fault In Our Stars a chance!

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  18. I indulge in Stephanie Plum books too. Can't help myself. It's all so zany and wonderfully escapist! Have you read The Paris Wife? I enjoyed it. Now to read A Moveable Feast to follow up.

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  19. I have read 3 of your guilty pleasure books. And I basically agree with your assessments of all 3. Me Before You was simply terrific. I gave that a 4 out of 4 and will read more of her books. I read The Hunger Games only because, as a book blogger, I felt I should. I was very surprised at how well-written it was. And I very much enjoyed the store. Game of Thrones I read because I swapped choices with a friend of mine. I'm not crazy about fantasy. I liked it and thought it was well done. I didn't like it enough to read any of the others in the series, but I wasn't sorry that I had read book 1.

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  20. I have read 3 of your guilty pleasure books. And I basically agree with your assessments of all 3. Me Before You was simply terrific. I gave that a 4 out of 4 and will read more of her books. I read The Hunger Games only because, as a book blogger, I felt I should. I was very surprised at how well-written it was. And I very much enjoyed the store. Game of Thrones I read because I swapped choices with a friend of mine. I'm not crazy about fantasy. I liked it and thought it was well done. I didn't like it enough to read any of the others in the series, but I wasn't sorry that I had read book 1.

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  21. Me Before You, Eleanor and Park, and The Fault in Our Stars may all wind up on my Best of 2013 list whenever I get around to posting it! Still need to give Game of Thrones a try...

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  22. I had to give up on Steph at about 15. They are all the same book. Fun though and a great guilty pleasure.

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