Friday, February 22, 2013

Reading Guilty Pleasures

A book that's a coffee table, did I mention I like coffee table books!

Reading Guilty Pleasures
By Brad R. Cook

We all have them… though we may only admit it to certain people. They’re the novels we can’t stop reading, the books we keep buying more of, and the covers we rest in our laps so no one will see. Guilty pleasures, the dark chocolate of the book world.

Some, like comic books, have moved from hidden pleasure to mainstream literature. Others, like erotic novels, became some of the bestselling titles of last year. Maybe, these secret, guilty pleasures are really everyone’s favorite books, and we shouldn’t have to hide their covers when waiting at the doctor’s office. There are many cover avoidance tools from the book within a book, to the paperback fold over.


E-readers have made the consumption of guilty pleasures so much easier. No one needs to know what we’re reading, and there is no cover to give us away. Plus, the lower price point means we can snatch up more of this brain candy without so much of the guilt.

The beauty of the guilty pleasure is that they allow our minds to have fun. We call on our brains all day long, but when we read something just for the fun our minds get recess. It’s universal everyone loves recess – ask any kid. Yes, this means that fanfic is the recess of literature.

I read a lot of books that are not within my usual genres. I love it, from friend’s books, novels to review, as research for author interviews, magazine articles, essays, and more, it’s one of the joys of being a writer. We all read what we want, but I’m not referring to a favored genre, a guilty pleasure is genre you like but don’t want everyone else to know you like.

So, what is your favorite guilty pleasure read? Let me know in the comments or use tell us on Twitter using @writerslens

My guilty pleasure reads – I have two… that I’ll admit too  
Really Old Books (I recently reread The Three Musketeers)
Coffee Table Books (I stalk the oversized bargain racks at bookstores)

Brad R. Cook is a historical fantasy author and President of St. Louis Writers Guild. Please visit or follow me on Twitter @bradrcook


  1. Children's books but only those with bunnies in the leading role. I also collect these.

  2. I hope you don't mind me changing the subject, but where do you get the time for pleasure reading? Bouncing between revising my manuscript, creating a social media website for agents to read, reading how to publish & market my book, perusing the Writers Lens (that's you, Brad), reading helpful articles in the Wrtiers Market at the library, entering short story contests & checking to see that I didn't win, etc., and of course, more etc.--all this keeps me busy. I started to read "Bright Lights, Dark Shadows: the Story of Abba" last spring when I bought my Kindle ereader. Now I don't remember how to use the ereader anymore. Are there any doctors you can recommend to me?

    By the way, have you read about the fourth Musketeer? I may get to that when I retire from being retired.