A Game Of Guilty (Literary) Pleasures
In the past, I have had very strict rules about the covers of the books I will be seen reading in public, including: no silver or gold lettering, no photos claiming to be from the “major motion picture” and no author names longer – or in larger font – than the title itself. Also, no weaponry, no mythical creatures, no jewelry, no lipstick, no stilettos, no exclamation marks, no pun titles and no flames. The list is long.
So imagine my horror when I recently became instantly addicted to the ‘Song of Ice and Fire’ series (also known as ‘Game of Thrones’). If you’re not familiar with this series of books (and the subsequent TV series they have spawned), all you need to know is that it’s ‘Middle Earth’ meets ‘The West Wing’ and then gets all its clothes off … and that the first book has a dagger on the cover. Yes, people: A DAGGER. It makes me want to wear a hat that says “This isn’t my genre. No, really!” when I’m reading it on the train to work. Except I’d then have to wear a t-shirt that said “I’m not really a Hat Person. No, really!” and god knows which personal real estate I’d use to declare my position on slogan t-shirts.
Still, the fact remains that I’m addicted. It’s become my guiltiest of pleasures and I basically resent doing any activity where I can’t read at the same time – for example: working, driving, sleeping and talking to my tax accountant. Indeed, these books could very well be a gateway drug that leads me to devour other genre fiction series and ultimately drive around with ‘T34M 3DW4RD’ personalised number plates.
Mostly, my friends have been very accepting of my new addiction but when I recently confessed to one friend – prefacing it with my usual caveat (but not hat) of “It’s not my genre. No, really!” – I was surprised by her angry reaction.
“Do *NOT* talk to me about that series!” she practically shouted. “Fantasy *IS* my genre! I *LOVED* the first book! So did *MY WHOLE BOOK GROUP* when they read it!”
Yep, she sure had a lot to be angry about there… Turns out, however, that there was a bit more to the anecdote than that. You see, the next book her book group did was a beautiful and incredibly worthy novel by a first-time author from a third world country…. which apparently nobody read because they were too busy reading the other four books in the ‘Ice and Fire’ series.
“George R. R. Martin killed my book group!”, she concluded, adding that she’d vowed never to read another book in the series “on principle”.
Even though I felt sad for her and the journey she’d never take with the Starks and the Lannisters and the Targaryens (etc, etc, etc), I also had to admire her strength of character. For the record, the second book in the series has a crown on it and the fifth book may well have a dragon wearing lipstick and I’m so hooked that my principles quite frankly won’t last the distance.
What’s your latest guilty literary pleasure?
The formerly fashionable NDM had three children and discovered that brown is the new black the hard way. The force behind the once-was-blog Not Drowning, Mothering, she now very occasionally writes for the sometimes-blog The NDM. In her spare time, she enjoys baking cakes, cyber-hassling advertising executives and collecting photos of unusual objects made out of paperclips. Oh, and reading books with pictures of daggers on the front cover.