Staff Confessions: Our Favorite Guilty Pleasure Reads


We all try to read books that enlighten us, teach us something about the world, or give us insights we might otherwise have missed. We think it’s important to read great literature and culturally important works. But let’s be honest: we also want to read books that entertain the crap out of us. And sure, we may judge other people on what they read — whether it’s books that could have us running for the hills or sidling up with our sexiest face on — but that doesn’t mean we’re saints ourselves. Just like anyone else, we indulge in guilty pleasure reading: books we know are about as good for us as an enormous chocolate sundae, but also equally delicious. Click through to see some of our most treasured lowbrow treats, and then if you feel emboldened, admit to your own guilty pleasure reads in the comments.

“My current guilty pleasure is this series of Turkish detective novels by a British writer called Barbara Nadel. The prose is dreadful, but the characters are great and the stories are real page-turners. I’ve been buying them and devouring them in about a day and a half. (Literary) God forgive me.” — Tom Hawking, Music Editor

“The Alphas YA series. It’s terrible — there’s an island boarding school where teen girls are trained to be perfect supermodels. There’s secret jets and jet packs and cat-fights and mistaken identity and holy god these books are incredible. (P.S. I mean c’mon my favorite author is Bret Easton Ellis so obviously my life is guilty pleasure.)” — Russ Marshalek, Social Media Director

“I listened to Rob Lowe’s autobiography on tape recently. I laughed. I cried. I shared with no one.” — Allison Pottasch, Designer

“I am generally against the idea of guilty pleasures, because I don’t think we should be ashamed of the books we love, no matter how silly or lowbrow. That being said, there is occasionally a book I find it humiliating to read on the subway — and nine times out of ten, it’s one of those teen-girl novels that make all YA literature look bad. I don’t read them often, but when I’m fresh off a difficult book or a stressful period of life, I’ve been known to dive into a sub-Cecily von Ziegesar series to give my poor brain a break. Life is just so much simpler for rich teenagers with silky hair, you know?” — Judy Berman, Deputy Editor

“I’m not totally sure if you could consider Elmore Leonard to be a guilty pleasure, but I guess since he’s one of those writers that gets his books into airport stores, that might count. Then again, Saul Bellow liked him.” — Jason Diamond, Flavorpill NYC Deputy Editor

Texts From Last Night: The Book . There can only be two thoughts while reading these: ‘soooo stupid!’ and ‘that’s what I would say!’ … which is really not comforting.” — Alex Kim, Lead Designer

“Ugh. The Sookie Stackhouse books. Read them all. But, remember when True Blood was really good? That’s when I started reading the source material. Also, in my defense, my ROOMMATE at the time bought them and I borrowed them from her. You can read like 3 in 1 day, so it’s also good cabin fever/snowstorm reading (hard to think about right now, I know!). — Leah Taylor, Group Managing Editor

“I will devour anything by Marian Keyes. I think the fact that she’s Irish makes it feel a little more sophisticated than standard American chick-lit — or maybe that’s just what I tell myself. Anyway, she’s got a terrifically dark sense of humor, a knack for writing interesting female characters, and it seems like she’s always publishing something new, so you never run out of options.” — Caroline Stanley, Managing Editor

“When I was a senior in college, I was working on my thesis and in my spare time reading From Pieces to Weight . By 50 cent. The rapper.” — Patrick Letterii, Venue Partner Manager

“I was pretty into the Gossip Girl book series when I was in high school. IDK if they would hold up today (or then).” — Sophie Weiner, Social Media Manager

“So I read Portrait of An Addict as a Young Man , which is that trashy memoir about superagent Bill Clegg, his rise to fame, the rampant sex, gay prostitutes, blow. And then there was his affair that killed the marriage of Jonathan Galassi, editor in chief of FSG, and a movie Clegg’s long-time boyfriend showed at TFF this year, Keep The Lights, which is pretty much about the whole crack binge. This is New York’s gay literati if there ever was one. When headlines broke, it turned out Michael Cunningham knew about it the whole time, duh.” — Geoff Mak, Sales Designer

Gay Men Don’t Get Fat comes to mind.” — Tanja M. Laden, Flavorpill LA Managing Editor

“I have been known to force unsuspecting friends who visit my apartment to join me in dramatic readings of Tintin books. It’s really awesome: one person can do Tintin, and one person can do everyone else (provided they’re good at voices). No one comes over anymore, but that’s okay, because I can read them out loud to myself. I’m good at voices.” — Emily Temple, Literary and Weekend Editor