[Unpopular Opinion] “Guilty Pleasures”

I was recently “tagged” by Just Another Rabid Reader, and while I won’t be participating in the tag itself, I found the question she asked me really interesting: “What is your go-to “Guilty Pleasure” book?”

Because, of course, I can’t take anything at face value, I immediately asked myself what a guilty pleasure even was, and I quickly realized that guilty pleasures are all about the people you surround yourself with. For me, a “guilty pleasure” is something that you don’t tell people  because it makes you feel “guilty” to enjoy something that you don’t think other people will understand.

So, if I was, say, talking to my boyfriend, whose favourite book is The Great Gatsby and believes that Harry Potter is a children’s series (don’t blame him, he hasn’t read past book four), basically everything I read is a “guilty pleasure,” which is probably why I so rarely talk to him about the books I’m reading. But, when I’m hanging out with a group of HPers, Harry Potter is definitely NOT a guilty pleasure: it is a way of life.

If I was chatting with some of my book friends who I know to be big disapprovers of the Twilight series and everything surrounding it, then the fact that I can actually enjoy Twilight (and by that I mean the actual book by that name, not the entire series)* would be my guilty pleasure in that situation. Ditto with the Cassandra Clare novels.

If asked by a professor what my favourite books were (which has happened), I would not respond with some of my favourite mangas because it has PICTURES and I do not want my professors who are grading my essays thinking that I read picture books,  so they could also be guilty pleasures in the right circumstance.

Guilty pleasures exist because of the judgement of others or because of our expectations of being judged by others. Now whether those judgements are fair or not is questionable, but I think it’s pretty impossible to not judge others based on things like their reading tastes, especially in a situation like reading blogs where all we really have to go on is each other’s reading tastes.

What books would you consider your guilty pleasures, and why?

*Haha look, can’t get past the guilt even now. Needed to make sure y’all understood that I do not enjoy New Moon, Eclipse, or Breaking Dawn because that dratted expectation of being judged thing.
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About megtao

Student. Writer. Nerdfighter. Fights for love, justice, and awesome.
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10 Responses to [Unpopular Opinion] “Guilty Pleasures”

  1. Haha! Nicely done! I thoroughly enjoyed reading this one. I think, at one point or another, I will probably answer a lot of the questions I asked in that post, too. I just figure, what the heck, seems like something to do on a day I don’t have any other content to go up or something.

  2. Candice says:

    Wow… I honestly never thought about what a guilty pleasure is! Until just now, that is. For me, a “guilty pleasure” when it comes to reading is probably “grocery store” books – what my mom and I call books w/ half-naked men and women on them. I don’t really feel “guilty” for reading them, but I certainly wouldn’t go around talking about “hey, did you get to the part with Reginald’s quivering member?” Because… not appropriate.

    You’re right though that guilty pleasures are pretty subjective (or objective – I get them confused); it depends on what the reader’s peers consider to be “lesser” literature. Since I read mostly YA lit, I’m always hesitant to rave about a book outside my blog. I always think people will say “Okay, but have you read a REAL book?” Sometimes I get it… because not everyone has the same opinion as what justifies “real” books, but others I think it’s a little sad that we feel almost ashamed to express love for our favorites, despite what they are. However, I will say that sometimes expressing love for a book to someone you think may look down on it will surprise you; I was talking to a friend who I think reads political history books FOR FUN about some of my favorite authors and he expressed that he’s not only READ Harry Potter, but actually enjoyed it. Candice = FLOORED! Needless to say, I no longer feel embarrassed (for the most part) when talking books with him.

    • megtao says:

      So, why do you think erotica is generally such a guilty pleasure because that was honestly the first thing that came to mind when I thought guilty pleasure although I do not read it myself? And do you think books like that new Twilight fanfic turned published erotica becoming so popular will change some of the views on erotica or only make them worse?

      • Candice says:

        I don’t really think the romance novels I read of as erotica… They’re more romance novels. I try to stay away from the ones that are purely erotica/sex stuff. But to answer your question, and this is really only a general answer, I think erotica is thought of as a guilty pleasure because it’s sort of a taboo subject. I think more graphic sex in novels is becoming more accepted, but books that are strictly there for erotic purposes – ie more sexual in nature – are still a little more taboo. But if you add a definite plot and story line and the sex scenes are just added to enhance the story, that’s a little more acceptable.

        I honestly don’t know what to think of 50 Shades of Grey (the book you’re referring to) and what it means for books of that nature, but I hope that’s not the way literature is turning. While I like sexy times as much as the next person, I prefer substance over sex. I can’t say what viewpoints of erotica novels will be with the popularity of 50 Shades; I don’t really know what they are now. I just know what I think. 🙂

  3. I honestly don’t really have guilty pleasures. I like what I like. If others think I’m weird for that, then that’s their problem, not mine. *shrug*
    I dunno, maybe it’s because I’m such a big believer of letting people have their own opinions on things and liking what they want to like.
    They may like something I don’t like, but I’m not going to make them feel guilty about it. I’ll only mock them a little to myself if I feel like it.

  4. reutreads says:

    This is so interesting! What an awesome point about guilty pleasures.

  5. Heidi says:

    Love this post, Meghan! You’ve pretty much hit the nail on the head…guilty pleasures are all about who you surround yourself in. Honestly I was a total closet reader of my favorite things for years because I didn’t read the same type of things as anyone around me. I’m still happy to have an e-reader to counter those embarrassing fantasy covers, but I’ve also really quit caring so much.

    Yes, I’d label Twilight as guilty pleasure. I can recognize all the problems with it, but I still absolutely devoured the series and loved the ride. Same with Lauren Kate’s Fallen series. This year I’ve finally let go of some prejudices and started reading romance. For years I had the opinion that that was a genre too guilty to touch, but you know what? I love it. I hang out with mostly guys, so admitting that I read this stuff? Still kind of awkward. Luckily, I have the blogopshere to let my freak flag fly. The greatest thing about the internet is there will always be a group for YOU no matter your guilty pleasure.

    • megtao says:

      I think this is an excellent point! One of my favourite things about the Internet community is being able to find people who understand what would otherwise be guilty pleasures.

  6. Loved your post! I never thought of guilty pleasures as being subjective before, but you bring up a lot of good points. Twilight is the 1st thing that comes as one of my guilty pleasures, but I’m finally starting to be okay with the fact that I like Twilight. I think it mostly stems from the fact that it’s “cool” to not like it. But at the same time, life really is too short for me to feel guilty about my reading choices.

    Thanks for posting this- it’s given me a lot to think about!

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