Tuesday, July 28, 2009

My Guilty Summer Pleasures

When it comes to my summer reading list. I'm a bit pretentious. How pretentious? I started out this summer reading Huckleberry Finn (again) and Wuthering Heights. Yeah. No kidding. I don't often hit up the New York Times Bestseller's List (on purpose anyway)- even though some great books end up there. I just don't want people to think I'm reading a book because it's mainstream or popular. I don't want to fill my thoughts with the same stuff everyone else in the world is reading.

Usually, I prefer historical fiction or fiction that is oozing in foreign culture. But between law school and my job in the legal field, my brain has turned to mush outside the hours of 9am to 5pm. And, I feel like reading accordingly- mush. All mush.

It started when I began to dabble in the overly cheesy, pioneer woman fiction novel. You know the ones with the religious undertones? I'm talking all out Janette Oke, people. The stuff my conservative grandma would read. But... it's....Feel Good! And oh geez. The men in those books are such a turn on. How can you NOT fall in love with a devout, strong and gentlemanly Canadian Mounty straight out of the 1910s? Seriously? How! He goes to church- your mom would approve!

But from there, I fell down the slippery slope. I picked up some Debbie Macomber novels. I can try to justify this guilty pleasure by saying that I'm just supporting the local artists- she lives ten minutes from me, or that I read it for the geography- she writes about Seattle and my own city. But really, I read her books for the cheesy romance and the sexy men (and the borderline-harlequine novel quality doesn't hurt). After starting my fifth book of hers in the past month, I can almost predict what the characters will do next and the words she will choose to describe it. She's even reusing some character names. Definately not high quality literature.

But OH! When the stubborn man finally pulls the leading lady into his arms after chapters of tension and bickering and trying to convince the world he doesn't love her- it's just unbearable! That's how good it makes you feel. And seriously, some of her men characters are enough to drive you wild- rough and tumble ranchers, fearless and mean mercenaries with an unexpected tender side, duty-filled and honorable navy men risking their lives for their country. I fall in love with each one and then I kick myself for reading the book too fast. There is one male character in particular that I can't get over, he is seriousy the Perfect Man. Figures he would only exist in fiction.

While the men are pretty dreamy. The female characters drive me mad. The writer is a bit on the conservative side and each female character is about the same- inexperienced sexually, emotionally weak, petite, good cook and seamstress, with a classic female job (waitress, librarian!, teacher)- and wants the same thing: to be romanced off her feet and have all the guy's babies so she can be a stay at home mom. Nothing's wrong with that of course, but if I were writing a romance, my female heroine would be tough as doornails, confident as hell and thriving in a "man's" world.

The best/worst part of these Debbie Macomber novels are the blatant sexuality in the characters. Man, I never read a sex scene before- and when I'm reading in public, I have to put the book down lest I get all hot and bothered on the spot.

Yup, Guilty Pleasure.

Who knew it could be so much fun down here at the bottom?


LL said...

Hahaha, I love guilty literary pleasures as well. The Diana Gabaldon series is my very favorite, but if you want something really fluffy with a slightly stronger heroine (and dashing, perfect hero) try Shanna by Kathleen Woodwiss.

jls said...

it's funny how law schoom affects what we like to do with our spare time. i used to scoff at romance novels, but now i too love a good romance novel, and the trashier the better. LL turned me onto diana gabaldon, and she really is fantastic-strong female lead, totally sexy men, and their relationship remains sexy over a period of decades--not an easy thing to do!