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Apple

Top five guilty pleasures

This one was Ann's suggestion back on the original "back to our roots" thread, and personally this could potentially be an interesting one, seeing what crappy books we are ashamed to own/have read which we have enjoyed.

I am going to do these in reverse order this time, rather than just list them, so coming in at number 5 we have the Geordie queen of easy reading Catherine Cookson with her novel The Round Tower, set in the unusual (for Catherine Cookson) time period of the 1950's & 1960's. It’s a sweet little romance about a sixteen year old girl who gets seduced by her rich fathers friend and becomes pregnant, and is disowned by her family, the family's housekeepers son who is ambitious young man who wants to climb the social ladder tthrough hard graft, takes pity on her and marries her but she is faced by fresh hostility from his family when he takes her to his humble working class home.

The Round Tower probably Cookson’s most in-depth look at class differences in mid 20th century England and the turmoil caused by the idea of someone wanting to change their socio-economic strata through hard work.

At number 4 another is entry from Catherine Cookson, The Invisible Cord, this one is set during World War II and tells the story of a young woman called  Annie Cooper who married Georgie McCabe for one reason only: she was expecting his child. Georgie is not the brightest lightbulb in the box but he was a hard worker; and as time went by, the family prospered.  The story follows the disturbing relationship between Annie and her eldest son Rance (short for Terrence) in all Annie and Georgie have 4 children but its first born Rance who has some kind of hold over his mother, she shields him continually, when he kills another boys rabbit as a child, and when he kills his father by kicking him down the stairs when Georgie finds out he has been robbing him blind in his business, the story progresses into the 1960's and the final straw comes when Annie discovers Rance is a drug dealer and addict she goes to turn him in at the police station and he runs her over killing her, after this he suffers a complete mental breakdown and ends up in Broadmoor.  Its a very dark story of an obsessive love between a mother and son at the expense of the rest of her children and her husband and one which I return to from time to time.

At number 3 a somewhat surprising entry considering the first story in this trillogy made the top worst book in my top 5 worst books ever read, at number 3 is Fifty Shades Darker the second in the 50 shades trillogy its appallingly written and is so far fetched it is laughable BUT there is something about it which gets into your head, the back story of the male character comes through more and you start to discover why he is like he is.  I did mention this book in the fifty shades thread I started which can be found here: http://bigreaders.myfastforum.org/ftopic1860-0-asc-20.php

Number 2 is the third book in the 50 Shades trillogy Fifty Shades Freed, again REALLY badly written, as were the other two, and the story in this one veers off into la la land it gets so incredulous, BUT there are moments of brilliance which are quite beautiful, where the male character cannot control situations and you see how lost and out of his depth he is and then he finally comes to terms with his past. What I wrote about it can be found here as well: http://bigreaders.myfastforum.org/ftopic1860-0-asc-20.php

Taking the top spot at number 1 Angels and Demons by Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown, I loved this book I had enjoyed the Da Vinci Code but I found this one even better, I loved the vivid imagery and the careful balance Brown maintained while discussing scientific and religious points.  It is fast paced, and a real 'page-turner'  I have to say the story goes a bit weird at the end when the evil priest goes mental (yes you read that right!) but for pure entertainment it was spot on, this also occupies the top spot for the fact of how berated Dan Brown has been on this site, hardly anyone (apart from me) seems to have a good word for the man and his work.
Apple

Ok so I was wrong in thinking this could be an interesting thread, maybe not then! - or is it just people are not willing to divulge their guilty pleasures  Wink
Chibiabos83

Sorry, Apple, nothing personal - I wanted to reply, but it doesn't really apply to me because I don't feel remotely guilty about reading anything. I'm aware that some of what I read is not what anyone would call highbrow, but if I felt guilty of reading stuff like Harry Potter or Mills & Boon (not that I've read much of the latter) then I wouldn't post about it here, I'd keep it quiet. Even the pornographic books I read I review on the board. I have no shame Smile Anyway, even stuff that isn't very good can be pleasing to us, so we need not feel guilty about reading. The character Amanda in Noel Coward's play Private Lives has a famous line, 'Extraordinary how potent cheap music is.' The same applies to literature.
Mikeharvey

Gareth, you say you've not read 'much' Bills and Moon, which suggests you have read some.  What about Barbara Cartland?
Chibiabos83

I read a novel called Permission to Love by one Penny Jordan a few Christmases ago. My brothers have taken to buying Mills and Boon novels from charity shops as ironic Christmas presents. This year I received The Prince's Waitress Wife by Sarah Morgan. I tried to read it in a moment of boredom and managed about a page and a half before I became conscious of my will to live ebbing away. If I had any commitment to the people with whom I share my birthday, I would have read some Cartland by now (I think she was celebrating her approx. 115th on the day I was born), but I have never been that curious/desperate.
Mikeharvey

I was at a performance of HELLO DOLLY once in which Carol Channing played Dolly Levi. Present in a stage-box was Barbara Cartland.  It was difficult to decide who was the more outrageous.  Cartland appeared to be wearing the accumulated feathers from several flamingoes.
Ann

I've only just seen this Apple - sorry. I'll try and put five of mine up soon.
MikeAlx

I'm afraid I am completely shameless about what I read, so cannot summon any guilt!
verityktw

I'm struggling to think, though I'm sure there must be lots. When I was a teenager I loved Sweet Valley High, which is probably quite embarrassing. Will see if I can think of anything else...
Green Jay

I'm trying to think, too. I'm not very good at compiling lists.
Thank you for posting this, Apple. When people don't respond quickly it's not for lack of interest - this is the first time I've been around to see this since you posted, which is not that long ago. Even when I can't think up lists I like to read others'.

I'm not quite sure what this section means. Is 'guilty pleasure' crap we've loved aginst our better judgement, or books we return to guiltily? Or just something we think we "shouldn't" be reading? Like others, I'm pretty guilt free when it comes to books. Now, if it was chocolate and red wine.... I've been feeling very guilty over the last couple of weeks!  Very Happy
Caro

I haven't got specific books I think of as guilty pleasures, though there are some books I prefer to be seen reading to others.  Sometimes, though, I will take into public defiantly books I know won't be thought highly of.  

I suppose my guilty reading secret is my preference for slushy romance rather than the gritter forms of writing.  So even though I know The Other Boleyn Girl is pretty poor history I did enjoy a lot the romance between Mary and William (or was it Thomas?).  And although Anne of Green Gables is considered the best of LM Montgomery's series it is Anne of the Island and Anne's House of Dreams I like most.  And in the days when I did read the Hardy Boys (never again - appalling stuff!) I liked the little tiny romantic bit at the end and was disappointed if it wasn't there.  

And while some of those queens of crime writers haven't appealed to me on modern rereads, I still really enjoy an Agatha Christie when I read one.  

I don't think Georgette Heyer has to be considered a guilty pleasure though even with her I like the frothy romance more than the historically accurate account of the battle of Waterloo.
Sandraseahorse

I'm not sure that I can muster five guilty pleasures but one book that did obsess me in the 1980s was Jackie Collins's "Hollywood Wives."  I loved it and would constantly re-read it.

This insider's look at the Hollywood elite was packed with lots of bitchy one-liners and put-downs.  There was also the thrill of working out who was who in this roman a clef; who can be the revered Hollywood film star renowned for playing the "good guy" with a highly-regarded French wife, harbouring a secret past as  a callgirl?  I think I can hazard a guess but the board's administrator probably wouldn't thank me if I did so here.  Easier to work out was Doris Andrews (or was it Julie Day?), the star who plays goody-goody parts but has a life not quite so pristine.

I think what I enjoyed was the depiction of "ladies who lunch" and how insecure many of them are.  They are prepared to put up with their husbands' infidelities and neglect as their status rests on being the wife of a famous man.  

For decades my parents lived in an affluent part of the Home Counties, which had many TV and pop stars as residents.  When my mother did Citizens Advice Bureau work, she was astonished by how many women came to the bureau who lived in mansions worth several millions.  They were desperate to leave their husbands but had no money in their own right and feared that it would take years of wrangling with their husbands' accountants and lawyers to get a financial deal.  Also, they were so used to being seen as X's wife that they lacked a sense of identity and self-worth.

"Hollywood Wives" is trashy but it has a ring of truth about it and captures the wife trapped in a gilded cage syndrome well, IMO.  I went on to read "Hollywood Husbands" but that was trash with no merit in it.
Apple

Green Jay wrote:
I'm trying to think, too. I'm not very good at compiling lists.
Thank you for posting this, Apple. When people don't respond quickly it's not for lack of interest - this is the first time I've been around to see this since you posted, which is not that long ago. Even when I can't think up lists I like to read others'.

I'm not quite sure what this section means. Is 'guilty pleasure' crap we've loved aginst our better judgement, or books we return to guiltily? Or just something we think we "shouldn't" be reading? Like others, I'm pretty guilt free when it comes to books. Now, if it was chocolate and red wine.... I've been feeling very guilty over the last couple of weeks!  Very Happy
Very Happy There should NEVER be any guilt involved when it comes to Red wine & Chocolate!!!

Anyway, this one was one of Ann's suggestions back on the "back to our roots" thread when I suggested this, the way I took it was a mixture of two of them - crap I have read and against my better judgement enjoyed (ie. 50 shades darker & 50 shades freed) AND stuff which I have enjoyed which has been almost universally slated as complete rubbish but I thought was good (ie. Angels and demons).  I don't reel guilty about anything I read, but there is a lot of stuff I read which I wouldn't dream of talking about on here, as nobody would be interested, for example my Catherine Cookson books.
Green Jay

Very Happy There should NEVER be any guilt involved when it comes to Red wine & Chocolate!!!

[/quote]

Thank you, I'll take your advice, Dr Apple!   Laughing

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