My Secret Shame

Last week, Dan wrote about vanity reads, but I’d like to talk about the opposite side of the coin.  Have you ever found yourself reading a book that you were a little embarrassed to find yourself reading?  Maybe even becoming so interested in the story that you added your name to the hold list and waited anxiously for the next book in the series (these books always come in a series) to arrive?

Yeah, me too.  I’ve always been a voracious reader, and I do love a highfalutin literary classic, but sometimes your mind needs a break!  Several years ago, I was browsing the fiction section of the First Floor New and Featured department when I came across a book that looked so out of my reading realm that I’m still not sure what possessed me to pick it up- vampires, the rural south, and mind-reading waitresses were definitely not interests of mine.  But for whatever reason, I started reading Dead Until Dark and I was hooked!  I found myself defending the story and characters in my mind, against imaginary critics.  I angled the cover away from people on the bus.  And of course, I waited anxiously for each new installment in the series.  In the days before True Blood, there was never a very long wait after each new publication.  Then supernatural fiction exploded, Twilight happened, and suddenly it was very easy to find fellow fans of the genre.

My latest “secret shame” is a series that includes elements of historical fiction, time travel, romance, 18th century Scottish men in kilts, and a plucky WWII nurse.  It may not be a vanity read, but it’s definitely compelling!  Of course, the fact that these “embarrassing” reads are so often on the bestseller list and frequently have hold lists that number in the hundreds shows that I’m not the only one enjoying these books.  So what’s your secret shame?  Have you read any books in a genre that you thought you’d never enjoy?



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9 responses to “My Secret Shame

  1. Eric

    YES! The “Cat in the Stacks” mystery series pretty much has me hooked. I’ve read all three and am on the lookout for more. I NEVER thought I’d be into them! Hahaaa! Great post.

  2. When my wife began writing and publishing romance, she asked me to read some titles to understand the genre, so I could be a beta reader for her and advise her on her plotting. I found I actually enjoyed some of Nora Roberts’ books, and every so often think about picking one up on my own.

  3. Maria

    My secret shame is–I can’t believe I’m admitting this–romance novels! But I recently read Nancy Pearl (of Book Lust fame) say that you should NEVER be ashamed of your reading habits so I will try not to be! :)

  4. Lisa

    I’m also a romance reader (historical preferred, regency adored). I’m betting that someone, somewhere has done a thesis on just why romance is stigmatized as being so very un-literary when the truth is that some are very well written and others are dreck, much like any other genre.

    By the way, Irene, I was an “early adopter” of the books by Gabaldon and recommended them to many women, young and old, all of whom fell deeply in love with Jamie. Gabaldon was quite clever to make him such an interesting, well-rounded character.


  5. Since some of us (at least) are coming clean about “secret shame” series, I’ve got to admit the JD Robb “In Death” series has be fully hooked. Now, I admit that the story lines are a little thin, and more than a little repetitive, but Robb (Nora Roberts, there I said it) has a masterful way of making characters live and breathe. More than one of her stories has made me mist up, or yell at the characters, or cheer for them.

    As a writer myself, I could do much worse than building addictive character-driven tales.

  6. bibliokaren

    You are so not embarassed to be reading Outlander. Right?

  7. This post made me laugh out loud! There is a young adult book called THE HERO AND THE CROWN by Robin McKinley that I read one afternoon out of sheer boredom. It belonged to my best friend’s daughter, she was 9 at the time. I have to admit that I bought the book and I have read it at least twice, and never in public!

    My excuse, it reminds me of my youth!!!

  8. Pingback: Recently Unearthed for Week 38 « Livia Ellis

  9. Mary Long

    Good heavens Irene! No reason to feel ashamed of loving brawny, muscular-thighed red-headed Jamie!! My secret shame is Maeve Binchey books, for which my co-workers make merciless fun of me. They are big fat books that
    usually end happily. Can’t beat that with a stick, as my Grandma used to say.


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