Trashy Books I've Loved

The trashy reads I've loved. July 2013.

I want my fiction to make me think, see something differently, understand the world in a new light. When it entertains as well, I’m transported. That’s literary wizardry. Magic.

Fluff that has little to no intellectual value?

Pass.

To me, books that provide nothing more than a lark take too much time. I keep mindless entertainment to magazines and movies.

Yet I have encountered a few trashy texts that I thoroughly enjoyed:

Katherine by Anya Seton

A couple decades ago, a friend came at me charged up to read this book—a romance set in the 14th century.

I feel trepidation about historical fiction and I avoid romance. The book had fallen out of print, so the friend found one at a used bookseller and mailed it to me in London.

So I had to read it.

And I couldn’t put it down. The story is gritty, dark, and doesn’t go in any of the ways you’d expect.

Duncton Wood by William Horwood

I feel relatively certain I’d hate this book if I reread it.

Horwood’s novel came highly recommended during high school by a respected friend, who gifted me a paperback copy. So, again: I had to read it.

I remember it as a well-written, captivating read into an alternate universe that the author had entwined well enough into the story to make it feel natural.

O’Reilly Factor: The Good, the Bad, and the Completely Ridiculous in American Life by Bill O’Reilly

I cannot stomach Bill O’Reilly or anything from the Fox News organization. I never would have read this book if someone in a family book club hadn’t put it forward as the monthly read.

I almost refused to read it.

Yet I couldn’t counter the discussion that would ensue if I didn’t.

Wow. O’Reilly’s book is more ridiculous than I could ever have expected. I chuckled every fifteen minutes. I laughed so hard I cried.

And no, O’Reilly didn’t intend humor. He intended to give we paltry, commoner Americans guidance on how to live and what to do. Want an example? In this passage, he discourses on people’s expectations of marriage:

“You know what they are: a big house, late-model cars, and expensive “with-it” clothes, great sex between hard bodies, varied and healthful foods, separate space but mutual interests, stimulating conversation that helps each partner “grow,” fun parties and swell vacations, exceptional children who can be bragged about on social occasions and at the office, constant hugging and supportive endearments, old-fashioned considerate behavior and also trendy progressive thinking—and don’t forget the intelligent, cheerful, gifted pets.”

What, you didn’t expect all that from marriage? What about the part about varied and healthful foods? How about intelligent, cheerful, gifted pets?

What are your favorite trashy reads?