why i read trashy books
I’ve always found it stressful when someone asks what my favorite book is. My problem with the question is that it’s often asked so that the asker can tell you what their favorite book is, which, if the speaker is a man, is usually Liars Poker or Independence Day, depending on whether the guy is in his 20s or 30s, and if it’s a woman, is probably One Hundred Years of Solitude. It would be really refreshing if one day, someone was honest and just said Catcher in the Rye. I feel like that’s everyone’s favorite book but no one ever admits to it, because they’re scared they will sound like they haven’t read a book since the 7th grade. So anyway–the book question presents a no-win situation. Either the asker doesn’t care what your answer is, or if they do care, they are going to judge you harshly for your answer.
My brother, who is two years younger than me, is an undiscriminating womanizer by day and a closet academic by night. He has dissected Faulkner’s oeuvre and generally knows more about literature than most of the true academics I know. So the last time he asked me what my favorite book is, I think I panicked and lied. I probably said Wide Sargasso Sea. A semi-serious choice, although it is, at its core, a romance novel. Or maybe I said Dune, which I have probably read ten times, but my God, it feels like a real tragedy to admit that your favorite book is a work of science fiction. So I hope I didn’t say that.
Anyway, I like those books, but I don’t LOVE those books. Not like I love this book:
The thing about my life is, a lot of it’s drudgery. I mean, it’s not that bad, but I’m overworked and exhausted and tired of agonizing over burning questions like whether a glass of orange juice has too much sugar in it to feed to my kids. So in my downtime, when I’m reading, I don’t want to read about someone else’s hard life. No. I want to read about someone else’s glamorous life. And this book is perfect for that.
The heroine, Liberty Jones, is a poor orphan raising her little sister in some Texas trailer park. Yes, a trailer park. But she fights her way up, works her way through beauty school, and ends up working for an old Dallas tycoon who may or may not have some connection with her past. In the midst of all that, Liberty is being fought over by two hunks, both millionaires. I’m sorry that my plot summary does not do this book justice, because this book is AWESOME. I could say that I read this book lazily on a beach chair somewhere, but that would be a lie, because I think I inhaled it on my sofa on a Monday night in just under four hours.
About a year ago, my husband read The Road by Cormac McCarthy. I didn’t read it, but from what I understand, the book involves an apocalypse, a mother’s suicide, cannibalism, and a young boy and his father struggling for survival in a world without sunlight. Tom told me that he finished the book in a coffee shop and started sobbing in public. And that makes me sad for him. Because why would he want to subject himself to such sadness, when life is already so hard? If I have to read about someone else’s troubles, I don’t want to read about cannibalism, I want to read about troubles like Liberty Jones’s–like whether to choose the scrappy cowboy-turned-millionaire (Hardy) or the sexy businessman-turned-millionaire (Gage). Now those are troubles I can get behind.
If you have a favorite trashy novel, I need leads. So spill.