Thoughtful Thursday: I’m guilty

With a new job that requires a commute, I’m listening to a lot more NPR than I have recently. In between penetrating interviews and brilliant commentary, I was fascinated to hear the newest installment in their semi-regular series, My Guilty Pleasure, that has writers talk about the books that they are embarrassed to admit that they read but secretly love. Every long time reader has it – that one book that gets hidden behind the impressive hardbacks on the bookshelf, or that you put in a different slip cover, or toss behind the couch when someone walks in the room. In the spirit of sharing, I’ll let you know about my guilty pleasure. For this confession, I have to step outside of our beloved fantasy genre, because my guilty pleasure is that I love regency romances. I know, I know, but there’s something about the clothes and the language the completely impractical social structure (okay, so maybe this is just fantasy of a different type) that is the literary equivalent of eating bonbons in a bubblebath.  You probably shouldn’t do it every day, but once in a while, it just feels so nice.

So ‘fess up, beloved readers.  What’s your guilty pleasure?

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RUTH ARNELL (on FanLit's staff January 2009 — August 2013) earned a Ph.D. in political science and is a college professor in Idaho. From a young age she has maxed out her library card the way some people do credit cards. Ruth started reading fantasy with A Wrinkle in Time and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe — books that still occupy an honored spot on her bookshelf today. Ruth and her husband have a young son, but their house is actually presided over by a flame-point Siamese who answers, sometimes, to the name of Griffon.

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  1. Hmm…I think the closest I come to a guilty pleasure is the manga I read. Bookwise, there’s nothing I’d be embarrassed to admit I read. But I am a little embarrassed to admit to my enjoyment of Vampire Knight by Matsuri Hino. It probably sounds odd, with my self-professed hatred of vampires. But Vampire Knight reminds me why vampires became such a sex symbol in books to begin with–they’re dangerous. Or they’re supposed to be, but often they’re not in fiction anymore. However, they are dangerous in Vampire Knight. And sexy too.

  2. I never liked the expression “guilty pleasure”. I always feel like it implies that some entertainment is better than others. If you enjoy something, enjoy it – that’s all that matters. There are people who would consider everything we review on this site trash. If you feel guilty about mentioning a book to other people, you’re talking to the wrong people :)

  3. Well, I wouldn’t admit it if I read Regency Romances. :)

    Actually, I have read a few, but they were kind of all the same (I guess I think that about most romance novels). I might read one maybe every 5 years for a break. Sort of like I eat about one Twinkie every 5 years.

  4. Yep. Regency romances are the literary equivalent of a twinkie. Absolutely no nutritive value, but a fun treat every once in a while.

  5. Well I’m not embarrassed to admit that I round out my urban fantasy addiction by reading the occasional Sci Fi novel, but I do think the whole Sci/Fi community should feel deep collective shame at the name of the subgenre: space opera. Contrast that with fantasy’s newest subgenre: steam punk. Not that we need any more proof of fantasy’s supremacy.

  6. Space opera is awesome. Some of my favorite science fiction is space opera. Though of course, my tastes are now automatically suspect.

    That said, is steam punk really new? I admit it seems to be having a resurgence, but it’s been around for a while.

    • Yes, I suppose hottest might be better though technically speaking urban fantasy is the hottest (as it should be). Perhaps we should refer to it as a surging genre or a subgenre receiving a lot of recent press or something.

  7. There are some regency romance authors whose characters could jump into an urban fantasy novel and not seem out of place… Same attitude, less swearing :) Have you tried Georgette Heyer?
    Everyone needs to eat bonbons in the bubble bath once in a while.

  8. “as it should be” … pffft. :)

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