I was watching the newest episode of The Goldbergs earlier today and it featured the song The Safety Dance, which as far as I know has never been a cool song. It is one of those songs that everybody knows, but no one ever admits to liking. It was the Mmbop of the day (I will admit to having owned Middle of Nowhere, the CD that had Mmbop on it and it is even on my Ipod).
Mmbop was one of my favorite songs when I was in 6th grade and I even had a t-shirt with their picture on it. I know most people joked about these guys looking like a bunch of ugly girls–one of my classmate’s dads was horrified to learn that they were boys–but I loved them. Unfortunately, I was one of the only ones and they never really took off.
This all got me thinking about guilty pleasure books and what exactly makes them guilty pleasures. Did they start out that way or did they becomes them as we got older? I know that’s how I feel when Mmbop or Barbie Girl comes on the radio. I cherished those songs as a kid, but now I take them for what they are: cheese. Highly enjoyable cheese. There aren’t all that many books that I consider guilty pleasure–I think the total might be 4 books. The first three are a series by Candace Camp.
I love this series, but it is so crazy that it can only be called cheese. If you’re unfamiliar with the series, it follows siblings Alexandra, Marie Anne (a.k.a. Marianne), and John (a.k.a. Jack/Gil), who were presumed dead when their parents’ home was lit on fire during the beginning of The French Revolution. The first book, A Stolen Heart, is Alexandra’s book, in which we learn that all three kids escaped the fire and were returned to London only to be taken away again before their grandmother could find out. This book involves highway men, a runaway hot air balloon, and a bordello run by a woman who liked to dress in the pre-Revolutionary style (white face powder and all).
The second book in the series, Promise Me Tomorrow, is Marie Anne’s book, which isn’t quite as crazy as either the first or the third books in the series. This one only has the highway man and a collapsed coal mine–and sex in said coal mine.
Last is, Promise Me Tomorrow, John’s book–although he doesn’t know he’s John and goes by Jack. This guy is thought dead not once, but twice–how very soap opera-y of him. First, his family thought he died in France and then his girlfriend thought he died when he was thrown off the side of a cliff into the rapids below.
Despite all of this, I love this series. It is like crack to me. I can’t not read it. Even writing about it now has me wanting to delve into them again. I can’t help it.
The last book that I consider a guilty pleasure it Heather Graham’s If Looks Could Kill. This book was about a young woman, who as a girl psychically connected with her famous mother at the moment of her death and who ever since has been able to see through the eyes of killers. This is actually a really cool sounding plot, but there are things that just put it in the guilty pleasure category. There is the fact that the hero is the heroine’s step brother and that they grew up together. Plus, he thinks she’s a witch because she just so happened to see his dead wife’s death (he knows this because the dead wife saw her there and told him before she died).
The first time I read any of these books, I must have disregarded all of this because it was only in later readings that I even noticed them. Maybe that’s how it starts. What do you think? Do you have any guilty pleasure books?