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The Embarrassing Book From Your Past

We’ve all got one right?

Maybe it was when you got into that romance novel kick and read that series with Fabio on the cover. Or maybe you can’t help it, but you just really dig that super awesome self-published novel called The Moon People. Or you always said you wouldn’t read Danielle Steel, and then you read one of her novels on vacation last year, and your sister made fun of you, but you kind of liked it, maybe, just a little bit.

We’ve all got a book that we’re embarrassed to call a part of our personal literary history. I’ve even written about my battles with embarrassing books in public.

For me, well, it seems to be an obvious choice. For those of you who’ve read this blog for a while, you might remember my foray into Judy Blume’s Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. As a man in his mid-30s, that was not my proudest of moments.

But, oh, the things I do for the Time list. At least, though, I read the Margaret book out of obligation to the Time list—not really by choice. I can’t say the same for Snookie’s biography, A Shore Thing. Just kidding, I never read that.

In fact, I’m struggling to think of a book I’m embarrassed to have read by choice. I’ve certainly read a lot of meaningless fluff in my day—sports biographies, “foodie” books, and so on. But novels? I can’t think of one, and I’m honestly not trying to escape my own question.

But what about you?

Dare you come out to the world today and proclaim with confidence the book that you are most embarrassed to have read? Dare you take such a stand?

This is your moment!

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43 Comments Post a comment
  1. I used to devour Catherine Cookson books, when I was about 13!

    Like

    September 28, 2012
  2. I imagine anyone would be embarrassed if caught reading “Fifty Shades of Gray” in public.

    Like

    September 28, 2012
    • What if it was a guy? Even more embarrassing.

      Like

      September 28, 2012
    • sylviemarieheroux #

      Given the number of people (euh, mostly women) that read these books on public transit, I guess embarrassment is not a factor.

      Like

      September 28, 2012
  3. I read the Sidney Sheldon books as a young teen. The Other Side of Midnight was particularly racy for its time! I don’t think my mother really knew what all was in the content.

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    September 28, 2012
    • I also read my mom’s Sidney Sheldon. Loved The Other Side of Midnight! I got the sequel for my 16th birthday. (Not as good of course). Otherwise, I got into some “just for girls” romances in junior high–things from the Couples series like “Fire & Ice” and “Teacher’s Pet.” Ugh! Way more embarrassed about these than Sidney.

      Like

      September 28, 2012
    • I read that one too! Holy cow, haven’t thought about it in more years than I care to admit 🙂

      Like

      September 28, 2012
  4. imo, each book is a step in the journey of what makes you, you. I guess the most embarrassing books I have (and read repeatedly despite much ridicule) are the Twilight series. They’re the “mashed potatoes” of my library when I don’t want to delve into Dickens or Ayn Rand or something of that nature.

    Like

    September 28, 2012
    • But aren’t mashed potatoes filling?

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      September 28, 2012
      • I think of it more like “comfort food”, and I supposed I find those books “filling” in some way although I really couldn’t tell you what way in particular. People ask why I read them, and all I can do is shrug and say I like the books. I do not, however, like the idea of sparkly vampires. I’m sorry, but that is just ludicrous. I put up with it though.

        Like

        September 28, 2012
  5. Like the real housewife above, I loved Sidney Sheldon at an age much younger than I should’ve. I will never forget how one of them started with a baby being born with a huge penis. Yep. That’s how it all began.

    Like

    September 28, 2012
  6. bba #

    I read The Horse Whisperer in college b/c Robert Redford was coming out with the movie and I figured it must be like another River Runs Through It. It was not.

    Like

    September 28, 2012
  7. ciaraconwayc #

    Twilight series. I wanted to see what the hype was about…and they sucked me in!

    Like

    September 28, 2012
    • There are many flaws in the Twilight series but entertainment value is not one of them. 🙂

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      October 2, 2012
  8. cannot think of one – which is odd since I read so much–oh I know – The Secret- now that is something to be embarrassed about

    Like

    September 28, 2012
  9. I’m not sure I’d list any books I was embarrassed to have read. I’ve read many poor ones, but how else can you know what a book is unless you read it? Or at least start it. I’d rather not censor any books before reading them. There’s nothing wrong with simply wanting to know what something is.

    Like

    September 28, 2012
  10. I post my embarrassing reading material weekly. This week I confessed to having read way too many Harlequin romance novels. When I get in one of those moods, I’m thankful for the kindle so nobody can see the Fabio-esque covers and know my secret shame!

    Like

    September 28, 2012
    • pjuli #

      Hehehe … you are not alone wordsforworms.

      Like

      September 30, 2012
  11. I’m ashamed to say I read the first ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ book. In an attempt to justify this, this was when the hype was just beginning and it was at the top of the amazon bestsellers list, but I hadn’t heard anything about it yet. And the blurb is very deceiving, I thought it would just be a romance. Wrong.

    Like

    September 28, 2012
  12. I was just thinking about this on the T the other day. I requested a galley of a gay romance book (which I really don’t read) and I thoroughly enjoyed it and have now found the other book so far in the series. But I know the only reason I did read it was because it was on my kindle and NO ONE KNEW!!! Muwhaahaahaahaa. I mean let’s face it I grew up reading the Star Wars books and everyone thought I was strange, so with the rise of the e-Reader people can read whatever they want without being judged, unless of course you’re nosy like me and try to see the title on other peoples readers 😀

    Like

    September 28, 2012
  13. The Thorn Birds was one I found while babysitting. At age 13 it seamed the wrong thing to be reading. Did enjoy the way Colleen McCullough wrote this love story. Thanks to Google I could let you know about this fond memory. This is so much fun. Thanks 😉

    Like

    September 28, 2012
  14. Siuon #

    It is a book called Saving Rachel, a short thriller that starts alright but ends in an utterly stupid manner. It was actually my first Kindle ebook. I was sad when I checked my ebook purchase history just to find that book in ny list.

    Like

    September 28, 2012
  15. I don’t think anyone should ever be ashamed of their reading material! Reading anything is better than nothing and only snobbish people will judge you. That said, I read A LOT of fantasy and science fiction as a kid, as well as Mary Higgins Clark mysteries. The most “embarrassing” thing I read now is the occasional romance novel, but I tend to flaunt the Fabio covers rather than hide them.

    Like

    September 28, 2012
  16. eek. John Saul. Dean R. Koontz (yeah, he’s too cool for that R now, isn’t he?), VC Andrews. Oy. I read my share of Cookson, too and others of her ilk. But one has to start somewhere. Now when I read cheesy crap, I think I enjoy it more for its own sake than I did when I had no idea it was cheesy crap. : )

    Like

    September 28, 2012
  17. Oy, VC Andrews. How did I ever believe that incestuous crapfest was great reading?

    Like

    September 28, 2012
  18. sylviemarieheroux #

    Many of my teenage years were spent reading thinks like Sidney Sheldon, Danielle Steel, Barbara Cartland, Harlequin romance and a huge amount of cheap paperback sci-fi. Not exactly high-brow stuff. In early teen years, I liked Catholic novels by Berthe Bernage (in French). I am not sure when the switch in genres occurred… and none of that fit my current “cool intellectual” personal ;-).

    Like

    September 28, 2012
    • sylviemarieheroux #

      Oops, “persona”.

      Like

      September 28, 2012
  19. There was this book called “The White Rose” which was an incredibly thick romance novel that took place during the industrial revolution and detailed the affair of a female doctor and a rascal/criminal. I devoured it. That and the Christopher Paolini books – started when I was a teen and now have to see how it ends.

    Like

    September 28, 2012
  20. My mother allowed me to read a series of books – “Mandingo” – about a slave-breeding farm. She thought I could read it because I was “mature.” Trust me – I hope and pray that my daughter will always be too mature to ever even consider reading anything even remotely like those books.

    Like

    September 28, 2012
  21. OMG! I’m not embarassed to read anything. I don’t always like everything I read but certainly I don’t care who knows what I’m reading. In comments I sense a bias againist popular, entertaining fiction. For shame! These books are putting meals on the table for countless authors, giving me review material and giving me reasons not to watch lousy TV..

    Like

    September 28, 2012
  22. I’m guilty of a VC Amdrews period when I was a teenager, and I cringe when I remember the “incestuous crapfest” (awesome description, notesfromrumbelycottage!) that it was. It’s come in useful, though, when worried suburban moms approach me at the library asking how harmful the current cyborg/werewolf/romances are for their fourteen year olds. I ask if they ever read VC Andrews as a teenager (they blush every time) and they invariably end up letting their teenage daughters borrow the steampunk/paranormal romance.

    Like

    September 28, 2012
  23. I am not embarrassed of any book I have ever read. I will freely admit to reading whatever I have read, even if I currently believe the piece of literature should have a label on the cover warning potential readers of how terrible it is.

    Saying all that, I will admit to reading all of the books in the Twilight Saga at least twice. I do not regret my actions because reading the Twilight Saga eventually taught me how abusive relationships can easily disguise themselves in the glitter of love (and/or supernatural abilities). Of course, the author’s intentions was not that message at all, but she still managed to convey the message through her main characters’s actions.

    Like

    September 28, 2012
  24. I’m not sure I’ve ever been embarrassed about anything I’ve read. I read the entire Twilight series, but I’m not embarrassed to say so.

    If I was forced to pick one…well…I sometimes have a hard time explaining why I read Dubya’s memoir. I get a lot of wrinkled noses. (I wrinkled my nose a lot while reading it, too.) Hahaha!

    Like

    September 28, 2012
  25. I still hate myself a little bit for reading the Fifty Shades of Grey books. The first one was an obligation to a book club, but because they’re not really three books but one horrible steaming pile of crap spread out between 3 volumes, I wasn’t really “finished” with the book until I’d read all three. I wish I didn’t have the compulsion to finish every book that I start. It would have saved me the pain of those books.

    I also read Danielle Steele, but whatever – it was the 80s, I was a teenager, and that’s just what you do. I blame the bad 80s hair.

    I am proud of the fact that I never have and never will read the Twilight “books”, though I suppose having seen one of the movies may comprise my most embarrassing literature secret. I can’t even tell you which one I saw, and I only went because my sister was dying to go but hates going to movies alone (another way in which we differ: I love going to movies alone!). So she bribed me with lunch, a free ticket, and $50 worth of clothes from Talbots. I told her if she ever wants me to accompany her to another Twilight film, she’ll have to buy me the entire catalog.

    Like

    September 28, 2012
  26. I embarrass myself over so much, but I think I’ve always been confident in my books…

    Like

    September 29, 2012
  27. When I am meeting somebody smart or on a first date, I would not take a James Bond or Robert Ludlum novel.

    I was NOT ashamed to read “The Da Vinci Code” by Dan Brown because I thought it was a really gripping thriller. But then I also had finished it in two days, so not many people saw me with that book.

    Like

    September 29, 2012
  28. brookegouldvsbipolar #

    My current addiction is trashy predictable romance novels for my kindle. You know. The no more then $3 ones. I try and justify it to myself by saying its just coz I’m on a bit of a sabbatical from work. But really I’ve been doing it for months! I even found myself asking my partner last night to treat me like one of the guys in my books would treat his girl. I think it was then that he realised. My obsession is going too far!!

    Like

    September 29, 2012
  29. I’m embarrassed to admit that I read Russell Brand’s autobiography (yes, it is actually called ‘My Booky Wook’!) by choice. Definitely should have tucked that one behind ‘War and Peace’ when out in public…

    Like

    September 30, 2012
  30. beefhearts #

    As a nearly 30 year old man, I read the first Twilight book. I’ve been petitioning to get my man card back ever since.

    Like

    September 30, 2012
  31. I read ‘Paradise Lost’ on the tube. Got a lot of weird looks. Still, I was pleased because I thought they might think I was an intellectual. Then I dropped it on somebody’s toe. They were very fed-up….

    Like

    October 2, 2012
  32. Reblogged this on RAGHUBIR NEGI.WORDPRESS.COM.

    Like

    October 5, 2012
  33. The entire Twilight Series. I hated it while i was reading it and yet had to keep reading it. I even bought a couple. To this day I have no idea why I stuck the series out. I loved the werewolf concept, and was hoping it’d get better? No clue.

    Like

    October 8, 2012

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