Books and Literature

Reading Guilty Pleasures

I’m sitting here with Espresso in my lap (you know, my big fluffy orange cat I named after coffee), a glass of riesling in my hand, staring at my bookshelf forlornly (one of them anyway). I just finished reading A Thousand Nights yesterday, and now I’m at a loss of how to proceed.

Confession: I have a soft spot for A Thousand and One Arabian Nights retellings. I’ve read The Storyteller’s Daughter, The Wrath and the Dawn and The Rose and the Dagger (and all the novellas), and now A Thousand Nights. I have yet to be disappointed.  I have even more of them on TBR list.

The stories differ drastically but the main point is the same every time- evil king, cunning queen, nights of storytelling that soften and save the king and the kingdom. Predictable. Comfortable. Easy, breezy, beautiful COVERgirl.

Get it? Books? Covers? CoverGIRL?

Right. So. My point is, it’s a guilty pleasure of mine to read classic books retold in new and exciting ways even though I know how the book must end– because it ends the same way every time, let’s be real here. It’s like reading a book I’ve already spoiled for myself but there are some twists and turns in the middle that I don’t know that hit me like a freight train.

It’s awesome. I am a sucker and I don’t even care.

The problem is, once I get sucked in I have so much trouble pulling myself back out. I would continue reading in a spiral until I’ve dried the well up but that is just too big of a problem to have. If I read it all, then I can’t return to it without rereading and that just isn’t right at all. It spoils the fun.

Therein, the conundrum. How does one get out of this?

More guilty pleasures, of course– and sampling just a few of them until something new and shiny and different pulls me back out again.

The process goes a little like this:

  • Finish guilty pleasure book. Gush. Dream. Determine I must read all of the books.
  • Realize the next day that in reading all of the books, I will effectively have no more new reading material of the same genre/story/characters and that is just not right because this train needs to go on way longer.
  • Grab a historical romance.
  • Powerhouse through that sucker. Grab another. Rinse and repeat up to three times for best results.
  • Move from romance to historical fiction– something long and slow but attention grabbing.
  • Once completed, jump into something a bit more fantastical and off the beaten path.
  • Continue reading new, uncharted and inexperienced reading material until the itch to start the guilty pleasure process over again starts.
  • Bonus: Reread an old favorite when all else fails, preferably one that makes me cry so I remember that reading is painful and sometimes the things we love must be kept a fair distance.

So, that leaves me sitting here with a copy of Tessa Dare’s Romancing the Dukeglass of wine that was originally nearly overflowing now half gone, filling you all up with this hopefully useful information.

Call it the reverse of the reading slump; this is more the reading BACK THE HELL UP because you are about to dive head first into a spiral that can only end in a tormenting mixture of satisfaction and disappoint.

Not to fret, all. I have done this many times and though the path I read my way through is wrought with peril, my trusty romance novel and wine glass shall see me through to a brighter future.

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