Guilty Pleasure or Private Information?

There’s been a lot of Guilty Pleasure conversations recently.  On my morning radio show the topic was “Guilty Pleasure” artists, or specific songs.  I remember listening and laughing, but feeling like I really don’t have any.  I don’t care who’s standing in front of me.  I’ll just say what I like, because my music tastes make me who I am.  I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m in my 30’s and I love The Wanted, or New Kids on the Block.  I’m not ashamed to say that I’m all about pop music.

I have no musical guilty pleasure.  I don’t have any guilty television shows or movies either.  Yes, I watched The Jersey Shore.  I currently watch Total Diva’s.  They’re funny and interesting.

I actually went through life thinking that I was incapable of feeling guilty about my pleasures. That is until my friend pointed out that my guilty pleasures might be in printed and bound form.

It all started with a question, one that readers either love or hate, depending on the book in their hands.

“What are you reading?”

I’ve been told that it’s rude to respond with, “A book.”

I suppose that it does come across as vague and dismissive, which are not adjectives that someone would use to describe me (I hope).  I can’t help it though.  For some reason it’s my default response and it flies out of my mouth before I even think about it.

That question, what are you reading, recently led to a conversation as my friend and I were driving home.  (Carpool guys, save the planet!)  My friend said that she was asked, and she gave the appropriate response of explaining the book she had in her hands.  I explained my quick flippant answer, and that led to us analyzing why my ingrained response is vagueness.

What we finally determined is that, while part of it is not wanting to pause reading to explain the synopsis (see the many blogs about interrupting a reader), the larger part of it is that I just don’t want to verbalize what I’m reading.

I am not ashamed of my reading selection.  If people ask I will tell them that I love books with romance, any romance, but that in the last few years I’ve really gotten hooked on M/M romance novels.  I’ll list those genre’s as easily as I’ll say ‘Fantasy’, or ‘Contemporary YA’.  When asked about my book, 50% of the time I will explain the synopsis easily.  I’ve no problem explaining the synopsis of Crooked Kingdom.  However, the same may not be as true when I’m reading a romance novel.

Picture me at work, one large room of desks, 6-7 people all able to listen into the conversation:

“What are you reading?”
“It’s this really good book, about this one character who has a lot of sex with this other character.  It’s called, ‘Sexy Lover Man’.  Wanna see the cover, it’s two people having sex.”


Maybe it’s just me, but if I even tried I’d be red-faced and stuttering two words into it.  I don’t like to think I’m a prude, but in front of acquaintances I’m definitely more reserved.

This is when my friend pointed out that she believes we’ve found my guilty pleasure, and even now I balk at the title.  There’s nothing guilty about it.  I’m not hiding it.  Everyone knows what I read, what I enjoy.  I have a public Goodreads profile.  I write reviews here, and there, and they share on Facebook with my friends, family, and coworkers.  A guilty pleasure is something that you keep under wraps and I’m not hiding my light under a bushel.  Unless you ask me what I’m reading to my face, in public.  In which case…

“A book.”





About Birdie

Don’t look for her in any bar, club, crazy raging party, or anywhere there may be a large gathering of strangers. She’s more likely to be found tucked into the corner of the couch watching one of her favorite shows, or preferably under a comforter with her current novel.

8 Responses

  1. tcriggs

    You brought back memories of high school! lol. I wouldn’t get the “What are you reading?” I would get, “What’s that? Are you doing a book report or something?” One time, it was the Egyptian Book of the Dead that I was reading, another time it was ‘The Scarlet Letter’ (for the 15th time). lol. I always responded, “Yeah, of course!” And changed the subject. It was social suicide in high school to admit that you would read ANYTHING not required by the establishment, not even comic books (which I NEVER carried to school, but had a selection of favorites that I followed).

    Funny how much control society has on us… great post! 🙂


  2. My response depends on who I’m talking to, and the context of the question. Everyone I work with knows I’m a reader, but not yet a parent. Instead of “how are your kids?” like everyone else on my team, I get “What are you reading now?” If I think the question is just small talk to pass the time, I’ll give a title but nothing else. It’s hard when you don’t think people will understand or appreciate your choice in literature!
    I respect and understand your responses. Keep up whatever makes you feel comfortable and happy.


  3. Oh, man. Pop music is the bane of my existence. I tease my co-worker about listening to it, but that’s only because she teases me about not listening to anything from this decade. LOL

    I’ve never been hesitant to tell people what I read. I did have a friend tell me once that she didn’t realize how much of a big influence I was on her. ‘I READ now.’ LOL That was waaaaaaay back in high school, though. I’m amazed I can remember that far back!


  4. Ah, great. I love the question of “guilty pleasures”. :3 ❤ I think it is very inspiring to verbalise your love for something.
    I admit a few years ago I had my doubts to tell people what I read in particular. but after a while I thought: why? It something I like. If people aren't well with it, they can tell me. But feeling ashamed for reading – for example because I do – male or in general gay romance? No way… Sure, it is a bit annoying to hear people talk about issues with a light sneer, with a nasty tone. But I don't care those or I try to have them understand WHY I like it and what's so special FOR ME about it. 🙂

    I often hear that especially the cover of books with (more or less) intimate poses/actions cause great shame, people are a bit timid in reading those books openly… I have a light "I don't care" behaviour. xD It sounds a bit snobby and maybe arrogant but it is what it is. xD

    Mikku 🙂


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