Maybe I’ve been living under a rock, but last week was the first I’d heard of NPR’s “My Guilty Pleasure” series on All Things Considered, in which “writers talk about the books they love but are embarrassed to be seen reading.” The series has been airing since May 27, 2009, and you can listen to archives here.
A few highlights: Kate Christensen (author of Trouble) likens reading Janet Evanovich to eating Twinkies. Lizzie Skurnick (author of Shelf Discovery) loves Peter Benchley’s Jaws, which she calls “Peyton Place by the sea.” David Sax (author of Save the Deli: In Search of Perfect Pastrami, Crusty Rye, and the Heart of Jewish Delicatessen) can’t get enough of Eat, Pray, Love—also known as “a scented candle of new age wisdom.”
No surprise here, but “My Guilty Pleasure” has me thinking about my own guilty reading pleasure. My philosophy is that reading should never inspire guilt, but a particular series does come to mind: Anyone ever race through Jean M. Auel's 1980 novel Clan of the Cave Bear? What about under your desk during chemistry class? Let’s just say that, in the words of my grandmother, this pre-historical novel includes a lot of “R.” And as a high-schooler, I loved it—although I’d blush if anyone asked what I was reading.
What book do you love, but you’re embarrassed to be seen reading? Spill all in the comments.
Related in BookPage: Read an interview with Evanovich, a hand-written Q&A with Benchley, an interview with Skurnick or an interview with Eat, Pray, Love author Elizabeth Gilbert.
What a wonderful coincidence – Louisa May Alcott was born on this day in 1832, the same day as Madeleine L’Engle, in 1918.
Alcott was a favorite author of mine before I even knew how to read; my mom read Little Women to me out loud. When I did learn to read on my own, L’Engle was the author who best held my attention. From A Wrinkle in Time, to A Ring of Endless Light, to her memoirs, I think I read (and re-read) about 20 of L’Engle’s books.
Trisha reviewed the biography Louisa May Alcott, by Harriet Reisen, earlier in the month. On comparisons between Alcott and her heroine Jo March, she wrote:
the real Louisa was just as intelligent, hot-tempered, rebellious and ambitious as her fictional counterpart. But the true story of Alcott’s life is both more tragic and more triumphant than anything she cooked up for her favorite little woman.
The book has been adapted by PBS for their American Masters series. (The film debuts Dec. 28.) After the jump, watch outtakes from PBS’s "Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women."
Revisiting childhood and teen favorites seems to be a trend right now. In Shelf Discovery: The Teen Classics We Never Stopped Reading, Lizzie Skurnick writes about beloved YA novels. (Read an interview with Skurnick.) In Everything I need to Know I learned From a Children’s Book, Anita Silvey asks over 100 people to choose a book from childhood that changed their worldview.
Alcott and L’Engle certainly inspired my love of reading. What books or authors are your childhood favorites?