The Most Addictive "Guilty Pleasure" Books, As Recommended By 15 Avid Readers
When it comes to books, everyone has a guilty pleasure. Don't get me wrong, I obviously love to read serious, thought-provoking, and challenging works of literature and nonfiction. But sometimes you just have to throw caution to wind and read something fun. (And I'm not saying that those two categories don't intersect. They do!) So, in an effort to expand my TBR list, I asked 15 avid readers to share their favorite guilty pleasure books.
As I talked to people, so many of their recommendations began with the words, "I don't usually read this type of book, but..." I suppose it just goes to show how fun and exciting it can be to switch up your normal reading routines. Sometimes the things that comfort us aren't what you would expect — after all, isn't that what makes guilty pleasures so incredibly scrumptious?
A good guilty pleasure read takes away from your own life and your own problems. While real life can be so incredibly stressful, there's something so purely satisfying about drama that isn't your own to deal with. Plus, it's the mark of a good read when you keep flipping pages, even though you know what's going to happen next.
So don't be shy and take a dive into these recommendations for good guilty pleasure reads — because seriously, when it comes to reading, you don't have to feel guilty about anything.
Kathryn, 26: 'Grimm's Fairy Tales'
"It makes me feel like people who are careless or cruel will be adequately served up a steaming plate of karma."
Quinn, 27: 'The Magpie Lord' by KJ Charles
"I was super depressed for a while and I wrote my friend 'I need gay romances because I need something happy and I need something gay,' and now I've read all of KJ Charles."
Sara-Jane, 27: 'Once and for All' by Sarah Dessen
"Sarah Dessen's books have grown up with me. She has created a world that is easy to go back to, with characters that are sweet reminders of my adolescence. In a way, it goes back to escapism. When I was a teenager, I could read her books in a sitting. It's the same now."
Jill, 24: 'The Wrong Mother' by Sophie Hannah
"Not sure what the genre would technically be called, but I call them 'mom books'... Just anything with a crazy dramatic story line that is a fast read."
Athena, 25: 'Anna and the French Kiss' by Stephanie Perkins
"I don't normally go for contemporary YA romance (like literally never) but I happened to read this since I kept seeing good reviews for it... The characters are very well written and the romance part is depicted in a very realistic manner. I laughed so much reading this book!"
Natasha, 32: 'Deception Point' by Dan Brown
"The chapters are just so short! I always feel so accomplished... Deception Point was an over the top kind of bad-good."
Pamela, 50: 'The Hot Rock' by Donald E. Westlake
"You can always count on Dortmunder to come up with the perfect plan, and you can count on life to mess it up. I guess the thing I like best is that whatever messes up his plans are the same type of Murphy’s law problems that happen to us all."
Marina, 24: 'Enchantment' by Orson Scott Card
"I read it when I was in high school, and then again in college, and then again a year or so ago... It's comforting/familiar, but also I like how I read the story differently each time..."
Rachel M, 25: 'The Martian' by Andy Weir
"I like how realistic it is while also being a completely foreign environment. It's a good escape while also not being completely far-fetched."
Leah, 26: 'Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea' by Chelsea Handler
"When I was in Peru, I brought a textbook with me, and I ended up reading my friend's Chelsea Handler books instead."
Rachel E., 27: 'Dead Until Dark' by Charlaine Harris
"I like [The Southern Vampire Mysteries] because they're short and easy, yet have a lot of action packed in. They're episodic so you know it's all going to be wrapped up by the end, but it's fun to see how exactly (it is a mystery after all). The supernatural world building is super fun, too, since they introduce vampires and then other creatures. (Full disclosure: I am a vampire apologist.)... And of course, the soft erotic scenes that are peppered in to varying degrees in each novel... as I get older I feel like I totally empathize more with the whole 'middle aged housewife reading romance novels' thing. The whole thing is written in first person so it's easy to get swept up in it."
Rosie, 30: 'Monday Mourning' by Kathy Reichs
"I love high-stakes crime thrillers that are completely unrealistic and implausible. I also appreciate the beautiful, polymath heroines."
Catherine, 22: 'Outlander' by Diana Gabaldon
"It's so dumb and 'dramatique' but I let go and get into it. I still don't understand why there aren't many scenes of her boiling everything she touches so she doesn't get the plague, though. The premise is ridiculous, but engaging."
Jay, 55: 'Legend' by Marie Lu
"I don't normally like dystopian fiction, but I was drawn into Legend by the two strong lead characters, each who had above average intellectual and physical competence and compelling personal problems and flaws. The fast pace of the story was another plus. I read this in a couple of hours."
Jacob, 24: 'Me Talk Pretty One Day' by David Sedaris
"Or memoirs of comedians designed to be sold at airports."