Friday, September 12, 2008

FYI: Jane Austen books and Jimmy Stewart films don't count either

I picked up the third of the Twilight books last night. So much for Web-based library reservation systems allowing me to indulge in the ridiculousness of teenage vampire love in private... When I scanned the shelves of the "Holds" area, there was a decidedly Eclipse-sized gap in the section of the alphabet where my book should be. I looked; I looked some more; and then I went to log in to my account on a library computer to make sure I hadn't remembered the date wrong and in fact, Eclipse was supposed to be on hold for me through September 11 at closing time. After verifying all of the above, I finally went to the circulation desk and casually jingled my keys to get the librarian's attention.

Me: Um, I'm supposed to have a book on hold through today, but it's not over on the Reserve shelf. There seems to be a gap right where it should be, though, so...

Slightly sketchy-looking male librarian: Can I see your library card?

I handed over my card, and he scanned it in their little system. Then he smiled and handed my card back to me.

SSLML (chuckling): That's a special book. It's so special, in fact, that we keep it... (pause while he hunts around the shelf behind the circulation desk) ...back here!

I'm not sure what the slightly sketchy-looking beady-eyed librarian was actually telling me. It's feasible, I suppose, that those ridiculous Twilight books are in high enough demand that they need to keep the reserved copies out of the general public's eye to avoid theft or angry jealous revolt. But I saw a copy of New Moon hanging out seemingly peacefully in the "F"s of the Reserve shelves, so I highly doubt that is the case. More likely, they'd just removed it from the hold shelf already, assuming I wouldn't come to get it before closing time. Or maybe Slightly Sketchy Librarian is reading the Twilight series himself, in fits and starts as reserved copies are returned temporarily to the shelves.

Either way, I refused to be embarrassed about it. Hello, my name is Stefanie; I am 34 years old, and I am reading a young adult vampire series. I am not the only one, clearly. I see no reason to hide in shame.

Still, the incident brought me back to a conversation at the Pizza Farm Tuesday night. The topic was "Guilty Pleasures." I thought it would be a fun game for everyone to play. Unfortunately, while some people came out with "Ludicris" and "Talking to oneself in a Sean Connery voice" (which is really more "secret single behavior" than "guilty pleasure," but it's amusing anyway), the best answer a particular too-refined-for-her-own-good friend of mine could come up with was, "I really enjoy popular fiction... you know, things like The Time Traveler's Wife."

The Time Traveler's Wife? Are you kidding me? John Grisham or James Patterson I'll give you. Harlequin romance novels? Certainly. But The Time Traveler's Wife? I'm gonna call that fully valid modern fiction and claim there's no shame in adding that title to your reading queue. Dear, dear Carrie. Lovely Carrie. You are brilliant and fabulous and good at lots and lots of things, but I'm sorry: you suck at this game.

I haven't done a Friday Five in a good long while, so I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to enumerate something at my own expense. The problem is I actually have very few secrets here. I've probably already admitted each of these somewhere within my archives before. Also, I'm sure I could come up with more shameful admissions if I'd just give it a bit more thought. Off the top of my head, though, here they are. Five guilty pleasures o' mine.

  1. Kraft Singles (straight from the fridge, or torn in pieces and scattered on a tortilla--microwave for 30 seconds and then roll up like a yoga mat. Um, an edible yoga mat. Mmm.)

  2. Linkin Park

  3. McDonald's Filet-o-Fish

  4. Various long-canceled hits from the WB: In particular, What I Like About You, Reba, and yes, Dawson's Creek

  5. Wham! (Seriously. Every time I for any reason think of them, I vow I will buy this on CD. In fact, fuck it. I am adding it to my Wish List right now. Come on, don't you want to buy it for me?)

You know what would make this game a whole lot more fun, though? If all of you played along, too. Come on, spill it. What's your guilty pleasure? And none of this valid modern authors nonsense.


nancypearlwannabe said...

My library has four copies of each of the four Twilight books, and currently every single one of them is checked out. Special, indeed.

As for guilty pleasures... I do occasionally love some Wendy's french fries dipped in a Frosty. I know.

Anonymous said...

I am abb about pleasure- the guiltier the better.

Phish Food icecream- straight from the container

Buying Halloween candy too early (like in Sept) and having to replace it many times before Halloween

Judge Judy!

Girl poer hits- like Kelly Clarkson's "Walk Away"

Courtney said...

Ooooh! You're reading a SPECIAL book! Good for you!

I agree that TTTW is totally legitimate. No guilt there.

But last summer I had an unhealthy obsession with "I Don't Like Your Girlfriend" by Avril Lavigne. I'm not proud.

-R- said...

You surprised me with the Linkin Park confession!

I like Chicken McNuggets, but I'm not embarrassed about it, so I don't think it counts as a guilty pleasure.

Like Monkey, I enjoy some good girl power hits.

I occasionally cookie dough before just to eat the raw dough.

Again, I am not embarrassed about this, but I love Dolly Parton.

Carrieo said...

My answer was actually "mainstream literary fiction," and I offered it SO ironically, but you already knew that! My real answer is bad pop music, and reading People magazine at the dentist's office.

Jess said...

Wait, why would you be embarrassed about reading the Twilight series? Everyone I know is reading that, no matter their age.

Um, let's see. My guilty pleasure might have to be rereading crappy books from my childhood, like Sweet Valley Twins.

Stefanie said...

NPW--Mmmm. I have done the french fries in a Frosty thing. I concur.

Monkey--Judge Judy? That one I don't get. But then, I watched "Temptation Island" on purpose more than three times, so I'm in no position to judge.

Courtney--One of the people I had this conversation with pointed out that one could make a case defending an appreciation for just about any pop music, so I guess no shame is necessary.

R--Do you like Patsy Cline, too? I wouldn't be embarrassed about that either.

Carrie--Whatever; it totally didn't sound like you were being ironic. People magazine is a good answer, though in your case, that could be deemed legitimate research to gain modern pop culture literacy. ;-) (I love you, Carrie. Really I do.)

Stefanie said...

Jess--Oh, I'm not embarrassed. But the smirk on the librarian's face made me wonder if perhaps I'm SUPPOSED to be! Also, can you believe I have never once read a Sweet Valley High book?? It's absurd, I know.

badger reader said...

Bon Jovi. Mind you not just occasionally rocking out to the radio or local dive bar juke box, but that I own music videos from the 80s on VHS and I still pop them in and dance around my living room laughing at their obscene hair and tight pants.

I also missed the Sweet Valley High series, though I was all over the Babysitter's Club (well until they went crazy on the super specials, the mysteries and the little sisters spinoffs). Since I have already finished the Twilight series, maybe I should start checking out some of the SVH from the library. Jess, any recommendations of your favorites?

lizgwiz said...

Kraft Singles? Really? (Note my disdainful tone.) I prefer Easy Cheese. (But never straight out of the can into my mouth. See, I have SOME dignity.)

Is anybody listening? No? good, 'cause I'm about to admit that...I've been watching "New York Goes to Hollywood." Oh, the shame.

Aaron said...

Wait, what the hell is wrong with talking to yourself -- or others, for that matter -- in a Sean Connery voice?! I do it like, every damn day! Poor Mara has been told "Absholuteleh, Mish Munehpenneh" so many times it's a wonder she puts up with me.

Noelle said...

I'm stuck on how gross the idea of eating a yoga mat sounds.

Anonymous said...

I took the lazy route and posted my guilty pleasures in my own return of my Friday Five. Thanks for the kick in the pants I needed to get back to the Fives.

Anonymous said...

5 Guilty Pleasures of the Moment:

* I love Money (on VHI) - Don't judge, ju don' know me.

* Freecell

* You can thank me later.

* Frozen yogurt for dinner. Dairy is good for you! Especially in mass quantities.

Anonymous said...

Crap! That was only 4 guilty pleasures... uh... how about..

* Popping zits, especially on someone else's back!


Neurotic Grad Student said...

I listen to country music. My newest favorite artist is Taylor Swift. There's nothing like rolling down the windows and screeching bad breakup songs at the the top of my lungs while driving fast.

I am rereading the Harry Potter series over AGAIN for about the dozenth time. I just can't let go.

Buying newborns driving caps at Baby Gap because they are so cute, but knowing that the parents will return them because they are useless.

And, of course, McDonald's french fries. I love them. I crave them. I sneak them about once a month, complete with airing out the car and a stick of chewing gum to cover the fry breath.

It feels good to have all this off my conscience.

One Smart Cookie said...

I am going to agree with badger on Bon Jovi being a guilty pleasure. Then again, I grew up in NJ, so it's practically in my blood to love Bon Jovi.

Sauntering Soul said...

Going to You Tube while I'm at work and watching episodes of old black and white tv shows. Today I watched 20 minutes of "Father Knows Best" while my boss was out of the office for an MRI.

the blogger formerly known as maliavale said...

While I ADORE cheese burritos as described, and I ADORE torn up American cheese, I do not adore American cheese burritos. But I get you on that one, I do.

Tress said...

Oh, Stefanie. I like it here. Can I add you to my blogroll?

I've been wondering what the heck those books were all about...I see people everywhere with them. I have not read a series of anything since high school when I was all dark and Anne Rice-y. My fifth grader and I agreed that I would read the Harry Potter books as she finished them so we could discuss. She's been on book #2 since May. So, yeah.

Mickey said...

I guess watching "So You Think You Can Dance" makes me feel somewhat ashamed of myself.

flurrious said...

I like a lot of stupid stuff, but I'm not really embarrassed about it, so I guess I have no guilty pleasures, just ... stupid stuff that I like.

Stefanie said...

Badger Reader--I never read any Babysitter's Club books either. Can I get a shout-out for Little House? Anyone?? ;-)

Liz--Please. Are we really going to scrap an otherwise lovely friendship over a Kraft Singles/Easy Cheese divide? I say no.

Aaron--That IS a wonder, isn't it? (Kidding.)

Noelle--I know. I probably could have come up with a better visual, right? Sorry.

Pam--And now that I'm commenting back to you, I realize I never made it over there yet to check your list out! I was determined to catch up on my feeds over the weekend, but that was about as successful as my being determined to get my garage painted. (For that I thank the rain. For the delay in getting caught up on blogs, I blame... TV?)

Anonymous--The yearbook thing? That's ten minutes of my life I can't get back. ;-) (Kidding. Thank you.) As for the zits? EW.

Grad Student--Wait. McDonald's fries are something we're supposed to feel guilty about? (Oh yeah. Right. That's why I was ashamed when a friend called me on Saturday and asked what I was doing and I had to admit I had just had my one Big Mac value meal for the year.)

Cookie--You're right. That sounds totally reasonable if you're from there. No shame in that at all.

Sauntering Soul--OK, that cracked me up. Do you have to fill out stupid time sheets? Because that's MY problem with frittering away work days with things like that...

Former Malia--Wait. What? So you're saying you do or you do not like Kraft Singles burritos? Either way, I know you eat the singles, so we're all good. :-)

Tress--Hi. Welcome! Glad you like it here. Of course you can link me if you'd like. I never read Anne Rice, but the Twilight books are oddly addictive. Poorly written, but addictive nonetheless. Go figure.

Mickey--As well it should. (Kidding. Thanks for sharing. You're among friends here.)

Flurrious--And you've written about lots of it, and I've appreciated every admission. Personally I'm glad you have no shame.

Craig said...

As the monument to perfection that I am, I have no guilty pleasures to speak of. (or maybe I'm not so perfect, and I'm just drawing a complete blank. We'll pretend it's the former.) I do however have to agree with Aaron who said that there is nothing wrong with speaking in a Sean Connery voice. Granted, when I do it it is usually filtered through the SNL Jeopardy skits.

I also have to disagree with the idea of TTTW being an unacceptable guilty pleasure. I realize I'm vastly outnumbered here, and I don't want to take up much space, so I'll just say that, aside from being designed just to be a tearjerker, other problems were (a) the Mary Sue female lead, (b) the complete disregard for the grandfather paradox and (c) the woman actually wrote a scene where a teenage boy has sex with a slightly future version of himself. That's just really messed up.

michelle of bleeding espresso said...

Totally with you on Kraft singles--YES they actually have them in Italy, the land of (actual) cheese. Probably blasphemous how much I enjoy them, but whatever.

Also? They just started showing Dawson's Creek from Episode 1 here...far too addicted.