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.