Monday, December 08, 2008

Guilty Pleasures

I spent this weekend organizing things. Saturday, I put together a bookshelf. Sunday, I put together a massive cd rack that now holds my entire collection (with room for more). It's almost too big. My 19 inch tv just looked small before; now it looks tiny.

Anyways, the new bookshelf is in the living room. While I don't have too many people over, I did want to make sure that the books I leave on display are a decent representation of what I read (or what I want people to think I read, at least). It may be the sort of vanity that only a geek would engage in, but it was vanity nonetheless.

So there might be a little more poetry on the new shelf than in the rest of the collection, more capital L literature than I'd normally have. Also, there are no guilty pleasures.

Guilty pleasures. We all have them. I mean, one can't read Joyce and Tolstoy every day, can they? So there are the books that don't make it onto the shelf. If they do, they wind up in a bottom corner or "haphazardly" placed so the spine can't be easily read.

I'm talking about genre fiction, the pulp novels one reads. The harlequins and spy novels, Harry Potters and Tom Clancy's. Candy books is the way I look at them - they provide a quick rush but are just as quickly forgotten. We all have them.

The one good thing about moving last spring is that most of my guilty pleasures didn't quite make it along for the ride. I went through my collection and got rid of most of the books I'm not likely to touch again. So gone are the Andrew Vachss novels. Also gone are the Harry Potters (happily, they wound up in the hands of a young family at my old building).

Which makes things a little tougher for me. I wanted to talk about guilty pleasures but my shelves are fairly bare of them. This won't last for long, of course.

On closer inspection, I did manage to dredge up two prime examples of the guilty pleasure - Slash's autobiography and Pamela Des Barres groupie tell all "I'm With The Band". What can I say? I grew up listening to 80's metal and 60's and 70's rock. They're prime examples of the guilty pleasure - books that were enjoyable but that I'm not likely to namedrop in a conversation (but I'm willing to blog about them. . . ).

But there I go justifying things when I really shouldn't have to. Do I feel the need to justify myself if I watch a sitcom instead of a documentary?

Sometimes I like to read trash. I'm not one for manifestos or slogans but that is mine for today. And sometimes I like to get paid for work. And they won't pay me unless I show up. And I'm running late so I will leave it at that.

One last thing. Now that I've offered up a couple of my ink and paper indulgences, I'm curious. What have you been reading?


Barbara Bruederlin said...

Oh my dear, you have opened a can of worms, as I am currently reading a book that is excruciating - Virginia Woolf's Mrs Dalloway. It is starting to finally get a bit of a storyline after about 75 pages, but I almost didn;t make it here.

Normally I love what I am reading!

And you are far more high-brow than I am. I consider Harry Potter to be very acceptable reading.

Remi said...

I tried to read Mrs. Dalloway in first year university. Turns out, I am afraid of Virginia Woolf.

John Mutford said...

I don't believe in the term "guilty pleasures," but I'm sure I've read plenty of books others would classify as such. How about Stephen King? He seems to slip back and forth between acceptable and not. It's getting so the snobs don't know what to read anymore.

Remi said...

Stephen King definitely falls into a big grey area. I personally witnessed Margaret Atwood sing his praises last year.

I don't think it's about snobbishness, though. While, I truly believe that any reading is good reading - especially in these media saturated times - it's just that not all reading is equal.

It's the same for movies and music. Can you really say that the third American Pie movie is of the same calibre as Welles' Touch of Evil? Or that the Stones' Exile on Main St. is no better than the latest autotuned confection?

Besides, I like the notion of guilty pleasures. They're indulgences and that's part of what makes them fun.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Turns out, I am afraid of Virginia Woolf - oh bravo!