Guilty Pleasures

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Guilty Pleasures

24 Jack Bauer 003Last night I had the place to myself and fired up the first two episodes in the latest season of Fox’s long-running, melodramatic, completely unrealistic counter-terrorism show 24. And I loved it.

I resisted the adventures of Jack Bauer for a while, despite the claims of friends and family that I’d eventually come to not only enjoy the show, but also yell at the screen in joy, anger, or pure, raw emotion. A friend said, “Trust me, if you watch it, you’ll find yourself screaming out Jack’s name.” He was completely correct.

24 is not art. Let’s get that straight right away. In my DVD collection, the seasons I own are hidden away behind things of more merit. And to be honest, it hasn’t been great since Day 5. But what can I say? I enjoy it.

We all have our guilty pleasures. Whether a show about the ridiculous adventures of a gun-toting patriot, films featuring talking animals, or Shania Twain albums secretly mislabeled in our iTunes library as Megadeth (these are just hypothetical, people!), we all have those indulgences we enjoy but we’re a bit embarrassed by.

This happens to me with books, too (in case you were wondering where I was going with all of this rambling). For my job, I try to read books that have been successful so I can get an idea of why they work and how they fit in the children’s market. With many successful books, including most involving vampires, I’ll read one in a series and put it down, content that I understand the appeal or, in some cases, remain completely baffled, without having to know if the heroine choices the one bad guy with fangs, the other bad guy who also has fangs but they’re different or something, or maybe some third bad guy who is like made of fangs or some junk.

In truth, I don’t have time to get overly invested in a series, since I have manuscripts and queries to read, blog posts to write, and episodes of 24 to watch. Sometimes, however, I’ll find myself reading the first in a series with the intention of seeing how a work fits into the market and find myself being pulled in. These, too, I consider to be guilty pleasures, because I’m no longer reading for work, but because I find myself enjoying a story aimed at 10 year-olds and want to see what happens. I can’t help it, people, if Greg Heffley is so darned funny or I need to know what crazy situation Percy Jackson will find himself wrapped up in next!

So how about you? What books do you hide away and pull out when no one is around? And what appeals to you about these little secrets?

  1. Oh Jack Bauer…(sighs) there is no normal life for that guy, is there. Now you asked about guilty pleasures…a loaded question..how can I answer that? But I’ll try…for me I suppose it would be a good historical novel (tudor) with a nice glass of merlot all to myself. Or a good bio about the Beatles…well, you DID ask. I love picture books and am the only one with them on my library card as the kids are now reading more adult literature..like boy in the striped pyjamas…want me to stop? lol!

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  2. Oh, I totally know what you’re talking about with 24. My dad and my brother sucked me in several seasons ago, and now I can’t stop watching it.

    As for books, one of my guilty pleasures is The Baby-Sitters Club. I have an entire shelf in my library devoted to Kristy, Mary Anne, Claudia, Stacey, Dawn, Mallory, and Jessi! I think the close relationships between the girls pulled me in when I was a kid. They made me feel like they were my friends. Plus, depending on what mood you were in (I’m really relating to Kristy’s tomboy personality today), I could pick whose story I wanted to read.

    The BSC books also had the same reliability as a 22-minute sitcom. No matter what happened, I just knew that by the end of the story things were going to work out. And who didn’t love finding out what kind of funky outfit Claudia was wearing?!

    Wow, I’ve really spilled the beans on myself. Off to do some work….”NOW!”

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  3. Hiding Megadeth under Shania Twain made me laugh so loudly that I scared my dogs.

    When I was very young, censorship was the rule not the exception in my household. I stopped hiding what I read/listened to/watched the day I left home. My favorite childhood trick was pulling the covers off acceptable books and slipping them onto the ones I wasn’t allowed to read. Ah, the good old devilish days.

    My adult son likes to give me grief over my eclectic book, music and DVD collections. He says my tastes aren’t discriminating enough. I have both Shania and Megadeth proudly in my iTunes library. 😉

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    • The Shania Twain/Megadeth caper is completed fabricated, I promise. I have neither on my iTunes. I did, for a time, have to deal with the shame of seeing ABBA as the first artist listed alphabetically; a girl from my past dragged me to see MAMA MIA! and I wound up liking the music more than I thought I would, which is, to say, a tiny bit. They’ve since been purged, however. Whew!

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  4. OK, I’ll admit to Sisterhood of the Pants series. I read the first to see if my daughter would like it and got hooked. We even saw the seriously flawed movie versions (and I rarely see movies of books I like).

    While I’ll understand the fascination of 24, and sat through the first season in one day, it’s too intense for me because I’m a wuss that bites her nails. But Gilmore Girls…my daughter and I bonded over that series, and for that alone I’m grateful. Another guilty pleasure.

    But as a serious music buff I will admit to no guilty pleasures. My tastes are impeccable and if I like it, it’s good. End of story.

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  5. I don’t read books, but do Nerf guns count as a guilty pleasure?

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  6. I have read all the Percy Jackson, except the last one. (I will get to it.) And I still love RED GLASS by L. Resau. I don’t feel badly about loving YA over adult books, because one of the ladies at my friendly indie bookstore unabashedly loves them too!

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  7. Guilty pleasures is a completely loaded question. I did read all of the twilight books to see what all the hype was about. I’ve even read some Nicholas Sparks book (omg! i can’t believe i’m admitting this). Now i’m reading Dan Brown’s latest- The Lost Symbol because i’ve never read any of his books. Before that I read The Lovely Bones- subject matter freaked me out and sort of wish I didn’t read it. I also enjoyed and really loved, Dear Genius, the letters of Ursula Nordstrom (which led me to track down a copy of The Secret Language which I plan to read again). I do read normal books too.

    I also find myself watching Nitro Circus or America’s funniest home videos (worst show on earth that isn’t even funny. I’m so horrified when I watch it my 111 LB dog rushes over to protect me every time I “oooh and ahhh” in horror).

    I try to record 60 minutes and Minnesota High School hockey. I like watching NHL on the fly when they review all the fights from the latest games. But the creme de la creme is watching New Adventures of Old Christine….Any of that with a fat glass of white wine and I’m set with just a few of my guilty pleasures…..

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  8. The funny thing is that I think of books in the adult genre as guilty pleasures. I’m right now reading Raymond Chandler’s THE BIG SLEEP and I do feel a little guilty that I’m not reading in my genre, but darn it if that book didn’t suck me. in.

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  9. I love Harry Potter fanfic — that’s probably one of my guilty pleasures. As far as published books go, I don’t feel guilty about any of those — if I love it, I just do 🙂

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  10. The Bee Gees. And Grease 2. The original Grease is a classic and therefore totally acceptable. There’s no excuse for Grease 2.

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  11. 24: hooked me completely in first season then lost me bit by bit in the second. Haven’t watched it since.

    And I feel absolutely no guilt in reading every single Percy Jackson and Gregor the Overlander books. Proud to be an inner middle school reader.

    My guilty pleasures: looking at pretty pictures of beautiful clothes and accessories. (yeah, like I’m going to glam up to sit in front of my computer every day.)

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  12. Star Trek. No, no, I don’t dress up and I don’t speak Klingon. Roj.

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  13. Oh Oh OH….I forgot about the Twilight books..now THERE was my guilty pleasure…for sure. I spent the summer before last just eating those books up like it was going out of fashion. My kids said ‘Mum WHY are you reading about Vampires..??’ everyone else looked at me and asked why I was reading Teen fiction. My answer was simply because it was a good story. Which it was. I’ll read and enjoy kids literature if the story is good. But WHY was it so good…well, I felt completely lured in by Edward and was on the edge of my seat all the way through.
    Okay…I’m going to go away now and let othe folks have their say. lol

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  14. I’m always toting around a MG/YA novel since that’s what I love to read and write. Like Shaun, I don’t think of those books as guilty pleasures. Now, when I pull out one of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander books, you may see a little pink creep into my cheeks. Could be because of the size of these doorstopper books or perhaps because of the, ahem, steamier scenes.

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  15. Guilty pleasures = Rob Zombie movies, Reeses Dark peanut butter cups, and rereading all the Walter Farley and E.L. Konigsburg books of my youth . . .

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  16. Re-reading Baby Island and Shadow Castle, beloved books from my youth, are my guilty pleasures. I have about 20 books from my childhood that I’ve kept and read dozens or scores of times and plan to continue to do so until I die. For some reason I don’t feel guilty when I re-read Secret Garden, or Anne of Green Gables, or Phantom Tollbooth, or Witch of Blackbird Pond, or any of the others that I totally love. I guess because they’re pretty well-established as classics and great literature?? But I do feel a little guilty with Baby Island and Shadow Castle, even though I love them almost as much.

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  17. When my friend asked me recently which books I most love to read, I told her the truth. I love books with mysteries and recipes. She about died laughing and thought I was making it up! OK, I’ll read about a chef’s life story as well, as long as there are recipes inside. I love them. She is still telling people about my answer and laughing her head off. Apparently it’s an embarassingly simplistic genre. But I still dig it.

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  18. My wife calls me a thirteen-year-old girl because I love me some Taylor Swift. And I shouldn’t admit this, but I’ve read about 10 books by Clive Cussler.

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  19. I’ve read every one of Robert B Parker’s Spenser detective books several times. (I’m not embarrassed about reading them — they’re well written and worth reading. But I am a little embarrassed about rereading them.) While the plots tend to be formulaic, I find that comforting. And I relish them for the great, snappy dialogue and the sure knowledge that the evil and pompous will get well and truly stomped on.

    My family won’t let me watch 24 with them anymore; they claim I get too excited and make too much noise.

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  20. Survivor. God, how I love that show. It’s passe these days, what with it going into it’s 20th season. But I adore it. More shameful still is the fact that I want to be on it. Like, with all my heart I want to be on that show.

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  21. *sigh* Twilight Series, Percy Jackson series, Sisterhood of Traveling Pants series, Stephanie Plum bounty hunter series, any Hallmark made-for-t.v. movie, iCarly t.v. show, American Idol, People Magazine, . . . the hours spent on my therapist’s couch trying to reclaim my less obsessive self . . .

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  22. Watching Toddlers and Tiaras, about families that enter their little kids in beauty pageants. It’s like watching a train wreck.

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  23. Gotta say I don’t consider 24 a guilty pleasure. No guilt involved! It sucks me in and keeps me glued to the screen (ok, except for the storyline with the blonde that’s ridiculous this season) and that’s skillful. I feel like 24 is a plot-based show. It’s all about what comes next, so I’d never read spoilers – unlike The Gilmore Girls or any Aaron Sorkin show that’s all about dialog and characters and I’ll scour the Internet for spoilers just to make sure my characters are ok. I mean, hypothetically I’d do that.

    Project Runway is my guilty pleasure – or Models of the Runway – even guiltier.

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  24. Mine would be the Sunfire romance series published by Scholastic in the eighties. Each title was a girl’s name, set in a different historical context. Quite a few were OOP when I was collecting them, so I went on an Ebay bender when I found out I was pregnant with a girl, using the excuse that she could “learn something of historical value” from them later. Then I read the ones I’d missed as a kid.

    The whole set is now safely stacked on my shelves, hidden behind Barbara Kingsolver and Primo Levi, awaiting a six year old to achieve an interest in boys and the appropriate reading level.

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  25. Harry Potter, love the books and the movies. Still reading them.

    Watch The Princess Bride every time I’m sick.

    Have the opening lines to Star Trek memorized to the horror of my husband. “Space the final frontier…”

    Watched The Dark Crystal not too long ago when I had mono. The Codeine made it so beautiful…

    I feel so much better now.

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