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Guilty Pleasures: Essential Reading

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February is a month dedicated to chocolate, flowers, and little lacy things. Here at Literary Mama, we expose our guilty pleasures -- from the bookstore. These range from vampires with a taste for teenagers to chick lit to glossy magazines and beyond.

Download the list to find it fast at your local bookstore or library.

Alissa McElreath, Columns Co-Editor, says, "What's my guilty reading pleasure these days? I'm not a teen, that's for sure, and I don't normally gravitate toward fantasy novels, but I have to admit that I am thoroughly enjoying Stephanie Meyer's Twilight Saga. The books aren't great fiction, and I'm not sure anyone who reads them expects them to be. I finished the first book in two days and found the car steering itself in the direction of Barnes & Noble shortly after that so I could buy the second book. I found the third book at my favorite local second-hand bookstore about a week after that. Then, a good friend enabled my habit by mailing me final book, which I finished in three days. The guilty part of the pleasure I derive in reading the books is that a large part of me is fully aware of all the plot/character problems (and Bella's pathological dependence on the men around her? Don't get me started on this--I just feel like shaking her by the shoulders sometimes) and screams in outrage at these transgressions, yet a larger part of me just doesn't care. I'm not sure I'd read a fifth book if one were out there, but the series was fun while it lasted. Also, check out my recent column featuring my guilty reading pleasures!"

While fiction Co-Editor Suzanne Kamata also recently read the first book in the Twilight Saga at a good friend's urging, (and then guiltily ordered the next two books in the series) she admits, to her real guilty pleasure. "One that I'm embarrassed to admit to, is that I sometimes read those chick lit romance novels in the vein of Sex in the City. For example, How to Be Single by Liz Tuccillo. A bit fluffy, but fun!"

Ezine Co-Editor Jessica DeVoe Riley, enjoys Heir to the Empire from a trilogy by Timothy Zahn. "Those particular books came out over ten years ago, but no Star Wars geek is complete without having read them. I don't know what it is about that galaxy far, far away that I find so compelling, but I've read about ten different books with more to go."

Kate Haas, Creative Nonfiction Co-Editor, writes, "My guilty pleasure is the Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon. In Outlander, the first and best, British ex-WW2 nurse Claire Randall steps through a stone circle in Scotland and finds herself back in the 18th century, where she encounters the very manly, hot, witty, tender, be-kilted highlander Jamie Fraser. Ooh, the sparks! The adventure! Outlander is not only delectably romantic with a realistic and occasionally grumpy heroine, but also funny and fascinating, with plenty to learn about the medicine, food, weaponry, music and social structure of Scotland 200 years ago. Plus that witchy, chilling time-travel element."

Assistant Editor in Poetry, Ginny Kaczmarek says, "I'm kind of a magazine nut. I find it so easy to read an article here or there while my son's watching Clifford the Big Red Dog -- talk about guilty. I keep a variety of magazines on hand from serious literary to pop-culture, but when I'm really going for it, I plop down with Glamour or Lucky. These are the literary equivalent of a hot fudge sundae topped with whipped cream and M&Ms: tastes good but leaves me a bit nauseous afterwards!"

Christina Marie Speed writes poetry and creative nonfiction. Her work has appeared in a variety of online and print publications, including Caper Journal, The Minneapolis Star-Tribune Online, and The View From Here. She lives with her husband and two sons in a sunny fourth-floor walkup in Brooklyn, New York.

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