My Guilty Pleasure
Writers talk about the books they love but are embarrassed to be seen reading.
January 2, 2013 The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec by Jaques Tardi features a beautiful, gun-wielding detective and a horrifying prehistoric monster. Author Rosecrans Baldwin explains why this is no ordinary comic book. Do you have a favorite graphic novel? Tell us in the comments.
October 24, 2012 Adele Geras' Troy has everything The Iliad doesn't: graphic details and some really bad writing. NPR intern Annalisa Quinn explains why that's exactly what she wanted. What is your favorite remake of a classic? Tell us in the comments.
September 26, 2012 Pop. 1280 is the perfect noir thriller, featuring a murderous, corn bread-loving sheriff from a small town in the South. Author Stephen Marche explains why the book is genre fiction at its best. Do you have a favorite tale of twisted justice? Tell us in the comments.
August 27, 2012 The Magus is the story of a man who wished for adventure — only to be disappointed when that wish comes true. Author Nick Dybek says he identified with the book when he read it at age 20. Was there ever a time you longed for a more interesting life? Tell us about it in the comments.
August 13, 2012 The Psychopath Test is a fascinating look into the minds of the deranged, but author Carol Rifka Brunt says she read it not to understand the psychology of madness, but to prove she wasn't mad herself. When have you compared yourself to books or characters in them? Tell us in the comments.
July 2, 2012 The Black Jewels trilogy flips everything you thought you knew about fantasy on its head. But NPR editor Petra Mayer says it's still a wild ride of mystery, erotica, violence and even true love. What is your favorite book that defies the conventions of its genre? Tell us in the comments below.
June 1, 2012 NPR editor Krishnadev Calamur didn't expect to like Hindoo Holiday. It looked like a tedious colonial book about India, full of dust and poverty and elephants. But the book's charm and silly characters made it a favorite guilty pleasure.
April 17, 2012 Long after the final bell has rung, the echoes of high school hold a fascination for us, even into adulthood. Author Meg Wolitzer recommends a guilty pleasure read that reminds her of the pain of being a teenager. Do you have a favorite book you read as a teen? Let us know in the comments.
March 19, 2012 Bergdorf Blondes is a book about the lives of New York socialites. It might not be the most highbrow of novels, but when author Cristina Alger suffered a bad breakup, she found this fluffy tale comforting. Have you ever gotten over an ex with a great book? Tell us your story in the comments section.
February 27, 2012 Get ready: In 2013, an alien race called the Boov are going to invade Earth. Or, at least, that's what happens in Adam Rex's vision of the future. Author Gin Phillips says that The True Meaning of Smekday stuck with her. Do you have a favorite book about aliens? Let us know in the comments below.
January 25, 2012 Howard A. Jones isn't just a geek — he's a fantasy geek, and his favorite book is packed with violence, romance and metafictional conceits. It's Roger Zelazny's Chronicles of Amber series.
December 26, 2011 We're often told that our teenage years are for forging our identities — even if it doesn't feel so great at the time. Author Jennifer Hubbard recommends a book that charts the complexities of growing up.
September 28, 2011 Is there life beyond high school? Better yet, is there life beyond Earth? Author Stefan Block recommends Arthur C. Clarke's Childhood's End, a guilty pleasure that has the power to transcend the terrestrial mediocrity of everyday life.
August 24, 2011 Being a teenager is hard. You're misunderstood, your hormones are surging, and you just know that the girl down the street is the one. Author Ben Dolnick recommends revisiting this time with Scott Spencer's romance, Endless Love — a novel that brings you back to that amorous teenage angst.
July 27, 2011 Can a graphic novel written for children, about children be worthy of the time and critique of an intellectual writer? Though he keeps it a bit of a secret, author Darin Strauss believes the Amulet series is so thrilling, you won't be able to put it down.
June 29, 2011 What could be more embarrassing than an obsession with a star? For author Jon Reiner, it's not the glamorous Elizabeth Taylor who occupies his thoughts — it's her sometimes husband, Richard Burton. In Hellraisers, Reiner finds his boundless hunger for the leading man satisfied — almost.
May 10, 2011 Based on The Count of Monte Cristo, Alfred Bester's saga The Stars My Destination will transport you off the couch and into a roiling world of futuristic teleportation. Author John Baxter says the book injects new life and energy into a classic tale.
March 14, 2011 Literary theorist Stanley Fish is obsessed with Frank Sinatra — and he's not afraid to admit it. For his Ol' Blue Eyes fix, Fish reads James Kaplan's lengthy biography Frank: The Voice. The story isn't new, but he can't resist imagining himself in the high-flying world of the legendary crooner.
February 4, 2011 Destiny Times Six: An Astrologer's Casebook is a melodramatic memoir full of soap opera intrigue by astrologist Katherine de Jersey. Writer Karen Abbott says the book helps her understand her own personality — even if she's too embarrassed to tell anyone what she learns.
December 10, 2010 Crosley says the novel by Irvine Welsh — also the author of Trainspotting — aces every category of "dirty" we have. Reading it, she explains, is like watching "a rusty car careen into a garbage dump of filthy phonetics and explode into a strangely beautiful ball of flames."