DAY 7: A Guilty Pleasure Book

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Hmm as a general rule I am rarely ashamed of books I have enjoyed reading. I don’t feel that it is right to make someone feel bad about something they like, it’s wandering into book snobbery and that is not okay with me. Reading shouldn’t be a chore, or a test and one harsh comment can put off an early reader for life. I understand book snobbery is impossible to steer clear of completely, I myself have been know to turn my nose up at chick-lit, (which is why I was surprised when I loved the I Heart Series so much) but I always try to put it in check and I never want to make people feel bad about what they are reading.

So, I stand tall and proud when I say that I am a fan of Nicholas Sparks books. 😀

I have to say, I think this writer gets a lot of unfair criticism and although I don’t find reading his work to be a guilty pleasure, I know a lot of other readers would see it as one. Yes, he writes soppy love stories with sweet endearing characters and others that are in need of a bit of redemption, and maybe his books have somewhat fairytale endings where everything ends up happy with sparkles, unicorns and rainbows… but they’re GREAT books.

*Inserts awkward unnerving video which is somehow hilarious and horrifying at the same time:*

Yes, this is how I would describe a Nicholas Sparks book.

Most people take issue with Sparks work because it is formulaic, which is true. It usually starts with two unlikely people falling in love (one tends to have some kind of issue to get over), everything goes great until a tragedy strikes, they break up or have a massive fight and in the end they overcome it or they don’t.

So yes, it is safe to say his books all follow a formula, but so what? I mean, if you really think about it who’s don’t? What about Dan Brown? Jodi Picoult? Sarah Dessen? Heck you can even formula the hell out of Jane Austen and Charles Dickens, because lets face it a lot of their books have very similar storylines or themes running throughout them. You can justify most authors in the world as being formulaic if you want to. There are even theories that say there are only a set number of stories. One suggests there are only two, 1.) A hero goes on a journey or 2.) A stranger comes to town. Equally another says there are only seven – Overcoming a monster, rags to riches, the quest, voyage and return, comedy, tragedy and rebirth (metaphorically or literally).
So take that Nicholas Sparks haters *shakes fist and tries to do an angry face but fails.* 😛 What really matters is whether the author can tell a story in a compelling way with enough of their own touches and additions that readers can enjoy!  The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks

Anyway, now that unplanned rant is over, (whoops) I have read three of Nicholas Sparks’ books, Dear John, The Choice, and my favourite so far, The Last Song. It follows a girl named Ronnie with a serious attitude problem. When she is sent to spend the summer with her estranged father she drags her heels all the way. But with the help of her family, a change of scene and a dashing young love interest she begins to let go of her anger and mend some of her strained relationships.
Obviously there is a lot more to it but the less you know the better the book will be. 🙂

As you can probably tell, The Last Song is mostly about love (in various forms), music and healing and I am a sucker for all that stuff! Ronnie along with many other characters in the book found a special place in my heart. They made me laugh, they made me angry and they even made me cry. (If anyone has read this and remembers the scene at the end about the glass windows and the light, omg, I bawled like a baby!!!! O_o)

I’ve also wanted to get my hands on The Notebook and A Walk to Remember for the longest time *sigh.* Maybe sometime, someday, maybe. 🙂

Do you have a guilty pleasure book? (I won’t judge, promise. :)) An opinion on Nicholas Sparks? Or any thoughts on the criticism of formulaic writers? I would love to hear them!

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40 thoughts on “DAY 7: A Guilty Pleasure Book

  1. I’ve never read any books by Nicholas Sparks, but I don’t like books which feature romance as the main thing so I’ve never considered picking one up. I’ve been racking my brain and can’t think of a single book that I read as a guilty pleasure. I read whatever I want and I don’t actually care what people think of me. I’m still going to keep thinking about it though. If there is one, I imagine that it will pop into my head at some inopportune time like during a board meeting.

    The pink fluffy unicorns dancing on rainbows song was surreal. I think that might be stuck in my head for the next few hours. 😀

    • Hmm, if your not a big fan of the romance I would definitely steer clear! While there are other elements going on and issues tacked like war, death, illness etc. the romance is always central to the story holding the whole thing together.

      I felt pretty similarly! It took me quite a while to come up with Nicholas Sparks, especially as I haven’t read one of his books in quite a while. I 100% agree with you, I could care less what others think about my reading taste and choices, everybody is unique so I refuse to take notice if someone turns their nose down at one of my choices. I’m me, and I can’t be anybody else! 🙂
      Let me know if you think of one!

      Haha that’s certainly one way of describing it! I think the first time I watched it I just sat staring at the screen, my expression frozen in place! Mwuhuuuu, my work is done. 😉

  2. Quite a few people think Dan Brown is trash, but I liked The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons. I liked James Bond as well. Ridiculously sexist, but so what?

    Quite a few literary folks dislike Stephen King’s work as well. Fair enough, his writing can be clumsy at times and he can’t write endings for half the stories he starts.

    But as you said, making characters who are interesting, who you care about and feel for is more interesting than any literary shortcomings.

    I never feel guilty about what I read; I’m not asking other people to read it, it’s for my enjoyment and if you don’t like it: {blows raspberry at them}.

    • Yeah, I’ve heard that from a lot of people. I bought the books to read and then started hearing all this negativity and became nervous about picking them up! But some people obviously like them or they wouldn’t have sold as well and if a story or set of characters are good enough, I’m willing to overlook some bad writing or a bit of sexism, lol.

      Hehe stuck up people! Just because it’s horror and there are some general issues with it doesn’t instantly make it unworthy or bad. It’s a bit unsettling how some critics set out on vendetta’s against specific writers. Interesting what you’ve said about his ending though, that might annoy me a bit.

      That’s great, Tony! I’m glad you feel that way, it’s the best way to be. 🙂

  3. Oo I’ve never read any Nicholas Sparks stuff but they completely sound like my kind of books! Think I’ll add some to my ‘Buy’ list. Thanks for the tips!

    Notice how I’m glossing over the unicorn video? No words.

    • Well this is definitely an author to check out while you’re on you chick-lit binge! He ticks all the emotional, cute and slightly predictable boxes. 🙂 No worries!

      Haha you know I did, it’s pretty…….intense, LOL.

  4. I admit, I’m not a huge fan of Nicholas Sparks but I respect people who read him. I just see it as I don’t like the type of book and they do, just like I read certain kinds of books that other might not enjoy. I’m all about not feeling guilty for reading something that others might make fun of, because what’s important is that we are reading. Reading anything (even the back of a soup can) is better than not reading, so good for you! I think it’s great that you weren’t afraid of what other people might think!

    My guilty pleasure is probably… the Twilight series. I definitely don’t think it’s the greatest love story ever but it’s a comfort read for a rainy day and you know what? People can make fun of it all they want but at the end of the day I read for MY enjoyment not theirs. Great post and thanks for sharing! 🙂

    • That’s ok. 🙂 The thing with Nicholas Sparks is that because his books are similar both plot and tone wise if you don’t get on with one, you probably won’t get on with any of them! I agree, just as I respect those who don’t like Nicholas Sparks. I’m glad you have a positive attitude about it though, it’s surprising how many people don’t!
      I think I did go though a phase when I was self conscious about what I read (after Twilight I think) but it didn’t last very long, mostly because I didn’t like it! I wanted to read what I wanted to read. I totally agree, the main thing is that people are reading, full stop. Thank you. 😀

      Hehee, I thought you might say that. 😉 The main reason I didn’t use Twilight for this is because I plan to use it for the ’embarrassing book’ day. People do go overboard with the Twilight hate. Thank you and I’m glad you enjoyed!

  5. I love Nicholas Sparks as an author! Like you say they mainly follow the same formula but so what. At least you know what to expect. As well as the ones you mention I would recommend Safe Haven and The Lucky One. But like you The Last Song is my favorite closely followed by Dear John. And I watched all the movies of the 4 I just mentioned and all are just as amazing as the books.

    • He’s great isn’t he Helen? He sure knows how to tug at the heart strings! They are very similar, but he still manages to add another aspect each time or tweak it to make it slightly different and just as entertaining.
      I watched the film version of the lucky one and thought it was really good, so I’m sure I would like the book! I seem to enjoy all the Nicholas Sparks adaptations just as much as the books themselves. 🙂

  6. I recently read Safe Haven, my first Nicholas Sparks book and I have to say even though he isn’t a great writer (let’s be honest), he does know how to tl a compelling story that will keep you turning pages. I have seen most of the movie adaptions of his books though and am totally guilty of watching them at home in my pajamas eating ice cream and sobbing uncontrollably. 😉

    • I haven’t read that one yet so I’m glad to hear you enjoyed it. 🙂 I agree, something about his writing makes his books hard to put down, the pages whizz by so quickly and before you know it you’ve read the whole thing!
      I’ve seen quite a few of the movies adaptions too and I’m never disappointed, they make great pj fun night in films! Ohh yes, the tears! So many tears!

  7. OK, I can’t believe I’m actually going to type this, but my latest guilty pleasure was reading Fighting Destiny by Amelia Hutchins because of the sexual tension and the hot, intense, awesome sex scenes. Don’t get me wrong, this is the first in a really awesome fantasy series and it was well written, but holy crap!!!! 🙂

  8. I’m going to have to agree with Lindsey and (jeez, for the how-many’th-day-in-a-row) profess my guilty pleasure of Twilight (books, movies… but I feel no guilt about the soundtracks! Those are outright good soundtracks!… *darts eyes around*). I’ve only read one Nicholas Sparks novel – A Walk To Remember – and really did not like it, but then again, I didn’t like the movie, either. This got to be a real problem at sleepovers in high school when all my friends wanted to watch the movie (OVER AND OVER) and I whined and begged to watch a comedy. However! I will say… I’m not the biggest fan of the Notebook’s storyline, but ERMAGERD I love Ryan Gosling and I did enjoy the movie overall. Holy mackerel. I could stare at him all day… *snaps out of it*
    I think it’s great that you rock whatever books you like and don’t worry what others think about your reading tastes. That’s really the best outlook to have because at the end of the day, “no two people ever read the same book.” I forget who said that, but it’s true! If it speaks to you, then by golly, you read that book, girl.
    Great post and OHMYGAWD love the video insert! xD

    • Hahaha, it’s following you around!! I actually love the soundtracks too, they’re really atmospheric and have some unusual song on them, I never ended up getting the Breaking Dawn ones but I have all the others, I still listen to them now. 🙂 I may or may not also have one of these day challenges dedicated to Twilight along the line. 😉

      Ohh no, that’s a shame! I haven’t seen the movie but I think judging by the other I’ve enjoyed it will be no exception. HAHA, ohh god, I can imagine. It’s so naff when you stay at a friends and they want you to watch something that you’re really not into, it’s a bit of a fun killer. Still, they shouldn’t guilt you into watching it every time when they know you don’t like it. Are you just not a fan of romances in general or is it something specif to Nicholas Sparks?
      Mmmmm, Ryan Gosling, yum. 😛

      Thank you. 😀 It wasn’t always that way, but I’ve had that mindset from around the age of 15/16 I think. That such a great and apt quote! There’s always that one floating around, I can’t remember it exactly but it’s something like ‘never read a book that won’t make you look good if you die in the middle of it’, and it really irritates me. That just seems like such a horrible way to live to me!.

      Hahaa, I will and yay for liking the video! xD

  9. I’ve read a few of his books, and when it comes to the last two you mentioned – ‘The Notebook’ and ‘A Walk to Remember’ – I’m going to say one of those other things you’re not really ‘supposed’ to say: I think the movies were better.

    Horrific, I know. If you’ve seen the film version of ‘A Walk to Remember’ you’ll find it’s very different from the book. Both are good, I just preferred the film. The same goes for ‘The Notebook’, though I have to admit the opening page of the book contains one of the best passages I’ve ever read. Go for it!

    • Sacrilegious! (I kidd :P) You know, with Nicholas Sparks that actually wouldn’t surprise me, there is something about his works that really well on the big screen and well, the hot actors sure help. 😉

      I have a sneaking suspicion that I may end up liking the film version of The Notebook much more than the book when I get round to reading it, but we’ll see. 🙂 Thanks for the heads up about the difference with A Walk to Remember!

  10. Like you I don’t think anyone should be ashamed of what they enjoy to read. So I don’t feel guilty for reading or watching anything 🙂

    I haven’t read anything by Nicholas Sparks but I really enjoyed the film adaptation of The Notebook which I was pleasantly surprised by.

    • Exactly! We are all individual and therefore we are going to have our own tastes and preferences in literature too. 🙂 It should be a positive thing rather than a negative, how boring would the world be if we were all the same?!

      I loved The Notebook from the first time I saw it, sweet, dramatic and heartbreaking, I’m curious to see what the book will be like.

  11. I’ve never even heard of Nicholas Sparks but overly snobby people bore me to tears. If someone is unable to appreciate the literary equivalent of Terminator 2 then they’re dead inside.

    And that video is very weird. He sure loves his ukulele.

    • Never heard of Nicholas Sparks? Whoa, I’m shocked! Mind you he does heavily lean towards female aimed books so it’s much less likely that you would have noticed them or chatted about them with somebody. 🙂

      Damn straight, Terminator rocks! It gets painful if you over-analyse everything in life.

      Haha he does! And his cardboard keyboard.

  12. Hmm I don’t think I’m embarrassed by anything I’ve read either. I feel a little foolish when I read something with a very childish cover (I’ve recently read Artemis Fowl, The Princess Diaries and Fantastic Mr Fox in public) but then I realise that as long as I’m enjoying it then what the hell!

    • Haha I get what you mean, there are a few awkward covers out there that can either be a bit inappropriate for public or just look so childish for someone older to be reading. The enjoyment of a book as you say though, is always the most important! 🙂

  13. I’ve been embarrased about some of the covers of the books I’ve read, but never the books themselves.

    And I’m stealing that video for my friday post.
    Because how could I not???

    • That’s a very good point actually, there have been a few covers in the past I have felt awkwardly about parading around in public, lol!

      Haha, go for it! I’m glad you liked it. 😀

  14. Another great post! I personally love Nicholas Sparks, I’ve enjoyed every book of his I’ve ever read! and yeah I get what you mean about them being formulaic but like you said, you can say that about almost everything, I mean I read a lot of YA paranormal romance and nine times out of ten the premise is similar to another, it’s how the writer goes about the subject to make it a bit different.
    So while all his subjects may be similar each story is different and I find that they’re all compelling because you read it and think ‘that could actually happen to someone’. When I read The Last Song I cried at a few different points so I know how you feel!
    I think to be able to get a reaction like that shows the power of the writing, and most of his film adaptations are really popular too so he’s gotta be doing something right hahaha!
    “I don’t feel that it is right to make someone feel bad about something they like” I agree with you there! I’m the same, over the last two years or so I really don’t like the term ‘guilty pleasure’ if you like it who cares? 🙂

    • Thank you Sophie. 🙂 I totally agree, I’ve enjoyed all of his books to varying extents but I’ve yet to come across a bad one! It definitely ends up being what an individual author can bring to the mix, I honestly do feel like there are only so many stories out there, and it’s all about the writer’s style and the way they chose and order the story. Yes! That’s another reason I love them, because even with all the cheese and the fairy tale aspects to the story, it still feels like the situations could happen in real life. 😀
      That’s so true, his books always get an emotional rise out of me!

      Exactly, why should you have to feel guilty about something you like? You shouldn’t. 😛

  15. I agree with you in that people shouldn’t ever feel ashamed for enjoying a book. I really loved a Walk to Remember but I took a break from Sparks after reading one of his other books and not liking it that much… I really want to read The Notebook though, so many of my friends have recommended it to me. Love your thoughts on formula within fiction – it’s all about adding that extra ounce of emotional intensity and plot variety that makes writing wonderful!

    • So happy you agree Thomas, it’s refreshing. Glad to hear you enjoyed A Walk to Remember too, the film trailer for it looked so good but I’ve avoided watching the film because I’d like to read the book first. Which of his books didn’t you get on with? I’ve wanted to read The Notebook ever since I saw the film. 🙂
      Thank you, I find it so interesting trying to analyse what makes a book great, it could be debated for centuries and still remain unanswered!

      Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone

  16. After reading HP and Twilight in the NY subways and saw others doing the same, I don’t much care anymore. The only time I get shifty is when there is some shirtless guy on the cover OR when I was on the subway and there was a sex scene, I would bring the book closer because folks are notorious for reading over your shoulder on the subway – embarrassing!
    That Pink Fluffy Unicorn thing was mesmerizing!
    I have never read a Sparks book. I don’t know why. I will someday. I think it is just because most of the romance I read has witches or dragons or something paranormal about it. His are the true fiction though (says the romance cynic lol)
    I guess rereads are guilty pleasures. I don’t have the time, but it is so comforting! 🙂

    • Wow, that’s so awesome to hear that you weren’t afraid to read something like Twilight on the subways and that others weren’t concerned about it either. I honestly think that’s so great. 😀
      Lol, I can image! I get a little tense when I come across a uh, sexy scene and someone else is sitting really close to me and I would feel similarly about over-sexualised covers, it’s just part of our society I think and that’s always going to be there, but again, I admire those who just read them anyway! People read over your shoulder?! That’s so nosy!! I always try and peek at the book covers but never bother to look at what’s inside them.

      Hehee, glad you liked it!

      I know what you mean, most of my romance related books have supernatural creatures in these days too. Oooh that’s an interesting point, I agree. 🙂

  17. Excellent point about book snobbery. I myself am guilty of it (I tend to turn my nose up at Mills&Boon and Twilight) but I ain’t proud of it :-/
    My guilty pleasure book? Errrr, probably all those cheap paperback non-fiction mystery/crime books I own… 😀

    • Thank you Nisha. 🙂 Saying it is one thing but trying to implement it can be a lot harder! I always know when I’m doing it these days because I’m hyper aware of it, but even some books push me to my limits – like Fifty Shades of Grey, I really struggle accepting that one. All we can do is try!

      Heheee, well that doesn’t sound like something too guilty to me. 🙂

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  19. Hahaha oh I loathe Nicholas Sparks, but I completely agree with you. It’s the same with music/tv/movies. Who cares what someone is into? I’d much rather have a conversation with someone who loves a book I might not like over someone who doesn’t read at all because they don’t want to be judged.

    In saying that, I do disapprove of people who won’t try something new because its not what they usually read. There are numerous books taht I absolutely love and have recommendd to a friend, but she won’t touch because they aren’t chick lit. Such a pity, but mostly for her.

    My guilt read is definitely Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code. It’s trite ad over the top but damnit, it madkes me feel smart plus I like knowing I’ve finally been to the places he writes about.

    • Hehee you are entitled to your opinion, readers all have different tastes and rightly so, the world would be boring if we were all the same! I’m glad you feel similarly about the book snobbery, people should read, enjoy and be proud of it rather than miss out altogether because they feel awkward.

      I completely agree, I am always trying to push the boundaries of what I read my purchasing things outside my comfort zone. It’s one of the things that define me as a reader now I think. Like many people I can easily get stuck in a rut but then I make sure to pick up something completely different. Not to mention that I would get so bored if I read the same genre all the time!

      Ahaha, quite a few people have mentioned that one, I’m curious now. 🙂 I do own the book but have yet to get round to it. Glad you’re not afraid to admit it!

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