I’m the first to admit I have some obsessions that are potentially embarrassing. I would never play my music on shuffle for a roomful of people, and at least half my DVD collection is thoroughly ridiculous. My tastes are ¼ snob, ¼ misguided snob, and ½ philistine. And that’s the way I Iike it.
But books? I don’t know. I mean, yes, I was into Anne Rice’s vampire oeuvre to a perhaps extreme degree. And it’s possible that I’ve tried to convince many inconvincible people that The Outsiders is not just a fond childhood memory, but also a work of real art. But am I embarrassed by either? I don’t look back and laugh at young Lauren’s appreciation of those things. I’d happily re-read The Outsiders this weekend and report to you how my heart breaks for the greasers. (Especially the thoroughly underappreciated Sodapop.)
I just don’t have the “oh, man, I loved that, didn’t I?” mortification when any book bubbles to the surface in my mind. So when Rachel shared this post from The Awl in which writers reflect on their cringe-inducing early book loves, I couldn’t really come up with my own. Even though I loved, loved, loved some of the books mentioned (Rice, VC Andrews, Camus, Sweet Valley High), I’m not embarrassed at all to have felt that way. And ever since I read The Fault in Our Stars a few months ago, I’ve wanted to go out and buy a truckload of its tackier, formulaic cousins, the Lurlene McDaniels books. When it comes down to it, that stuff all seems like harmless fun or an attempt to aspire to some lofty intellectual heights, and I just don’t see what’s to be embarrassed about in either. I hope I never reach the day when I’m troubled by my own love of trashy fun or pretension, because I’m going to have so much shame to live down that I’ll probably just have to move into a therapist’s office.
Whether or not you have cringetastic books in your past, it’s worth checking out the link, even if just for Justin Halpern’s response. Who among us can say they’re not kind of curious to read that one now?
For the record, I’m pretending The Perks of Being a Wallflower didn’t appear on that list.
P.S. Stay gold.