Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Guilty Pleasures

One of the best pieces of advice you'll receive is this: read in your genre.
However... sometimes it's beneficial to read outside of your genre. Not to mention therapeutic. I can only read so many YA novels before I have to take a break. I do read Adult paranormal and Urban Fantasy, and I love light humor (I read waaay too much dark YA, serious at the very least, very rarely something that is all humor), which is why I enjoy cozy mysteries and light adult paranormal.
I only talk about YA and Adult para/UF on my blog because those are the genres I represent and know the most about (and learn the most about). This may the only post that I deviate from my genres.
When I need a break from reading (without actually taking a break--I think I might have a nervous breakdown if there isn't a book in my purse), I read (or listen to) Susan Elizabeth Phillips. I've read other women's fiction in the past, but I'm stuck on the one author for a while. It fulfills a part of me that can't be satisfied otherwise. I randomly picked up a book on tape at the library and fell in love with the first sentence. I've recently complete Phillips's entire Chicago Stars series and am about to dive into all of her other books. When I finish with her, I'll probably find another author to listen to in my car, but the prospect of not having Phillips's humor and witty plots (yes, I said witty plots) as company in car rides is more devastating than having no more Harry Potter books to read (don't burn me at the stake for saying that please).
Your turn dear reader. When you need a break from your research, writing, comparable books, what are your guilty pleasure books?

Do you read them for the sake of research (see if there is something from other genres you can add to your own to give it a fresh take)? Read them purely to give you mind a break for a while? Read them because secretly you wish you could write it?

Happy reading!


Gina Ciocca said...

I hate to admit it, but romance novels. Sometimes I need something super cheesy to take me away from all the teenage angst I ingest. Works like a charm :)

Unknown said...

I agree with Gina- I'm a sucker for a good romance (I tend to devour Nora Roberts books). I also really enjoy the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich- a little romance, a little mystery, a lot of laughs. They both help me let my mind wander and recharge.

Juliana said...

It depends.

I have to in the mood to read a genre that is completely different than the one I write. Btw, I write New Adult UF and PR.

I read a few good thrillers and super tense spy books, but I would never write them. It's not my style.
I also like chick lit and sweet romance, but those also have to come in small doses.

I read other genres because I know it's important for me as a writer, as a researcher. Sometimes I read other genres because a friend recommended. But mostly I read other genres because I like to read. And, I'm human (unfortunately), which means I need a break from the magical worlds within my genre every now and then.

Right now, I'm reading a cozy romance, very light and humorous. It's good, but not something I would fall in love with.

Stephanie Allen said...

I'm going to admit to Philippa Gregory. Mostly because I spend so much time filling my head with real history (when I'm not writing papers for school I'm reading non-fiction and listening to podcasts for fun...) that sometimes I need something trashy that I don't have to think about.

Although on occasion I've been known to pick up historical romances set in Scotland when I'm at Goodwill because they're super cheap. Yup.

Julie said...

Agreed with Stephanie, Philippa Gregory is a fav of mine. But I don't have anything in particular. Mostly I pick up whatever non-YA book I've been dying to read. The Gargoyle, by Andrew Davidson was absolutely fantastic. If you're in the mood for a YA break, check that out!

But from what other people are saying, sounds like I might have to try out a romance novel or two... I'll admit, I've never even tried that genre!

Also, my reading is always for pleasure ( :

Anonymous said...

In woman's romance, Nora Roberts/JD Robb is my favourite.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with Gina too. Romance novels are my guilty pleasure. I like to mix it up so I go back and forth between YA and romance. For my romance fix though, I love Susan Mallery and Toni Blake. I do read them for pleasure but I think any reading you do (if you're a writer) is research. Or maybe I am just trying to justify it :)

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

I read things that interest me. I don't think I've ever paid attention to genre.

Unknown said...

Yay! Susan Elizabth Phillips is SOOO GOOD! Also Robyn Carr and Jennifer Crusie. SEP is good for bashing her MC's over the head before building them back up. Carr is full of small-town comfort. Crusie is witty personified.

Besides--all genres have romance, so reading straight romance isn't exactly outside your genre, right? It's research! :)

Delia Moran said...

I enjoy a nice dive into the romance, sci-fi, and horror pools, and I'll admit it freely. Sometimes you just need a Jennifer Crusie or Joe Hill.

Stephsco said...

Funny, I have a Susan Elizabeth Phillips audio book on hold at the library as a break from all the YA I've been reading.

It's only now that I've been writing that I've been more focused with reading. I used to be a bit all over the place, now I'm more selective. I've been trying to venture out into some historical romance or contemporary romance, but I'm super picky. I won a book from an online promo earlier this year that was something I'd never personally buy and ended up liking it a lot. I will pretty much take a chance on any genre if a book is recommended to me by a discerning reader.

Joel Q Aaron said...

I think you have to read different genres because at some point in time, as you write, your manuscript will contain elements from each. Romance. Mystery. Even some creepy stuff.


Anonymous said...

I think I tend to veer toward books that have been recommended to me or talked about. I generally read YA but find myself reading in other genres too. Anything that captures my attention.
Every time I finish a book and start a new one my hubby always seems to say, "Another book?"
Can you tell he's not much of a reader??
I'm like you, I always have to have a book in my purse. And man am I glad when I have to wait for an apt or in line:)

Shell Flower said...

@Stephsco, for an awesome Historical Romance Women's Lit Adventure (really) try Marge Piercy's Gone to Soldiers. I have read it 5 times and it still calls to me from my bookshelf.

For a break I read Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse books. To me, those are the ultimate guilty pleasure. Plus, there's the True Blood show, which is so NOT like the books, but good in itself. I also read classics, which I find refreshing after so much in-your-face action.

B.E. Sanderson said...

I read most everything, but when I need to step away from what I write, I usually turn to historical romance. It's far enough removed from my chosen genres to give me a break, but it's also got a different style of writing I can learn from (because when can't you learn from history?)

Anonymous said...

I usually swing to plain romance and high fantasy vs the paranormal I write. I love reading paranormal so much it's tough to stray...I feel like I'm cheating or something. LOL. But it is good to rest the brain and read outside the genre you write.

Cambria Dillon said...

I totally know what you mean! If I'm writing a first draft, I HAVE to read outside my genre or else I'm afraid I'll pick up some of the writer's voice. So I usually turn to writers like Kresley Cole, Gena Showalter, or Jeaniene Frost. But if you like romcom as a palate cleanser, you should try Kristan Higgins - she's hilarious! Or Tessa Dare -- she writes historical romance but has really snarky, witty heroines.

Marsha Sigman said...

I write YA, urban fantasy/paranormal. When I want a break from reading YA/middle grade, I read anything from Stephen King or Laurel K Hamilton. Which I guess isn't a break from paranormal.

I watch Criminal Minds, does that count? It's pretty realistic.