Ugh, I've bitched about it before but this week's By The Book column brings yet another reminder that the folks running it are decidedly out of step.
Of course I was not surprised that when confronted with the two super-odious questions that the NYT folks insist on including in the interview week after week, Gillian gave just-right answers.
Odious Question #1:
Any literary guilty pleasures?
Odious Question #2:
What books are you embarrassed not to have read yet?
Regarding the first question, the only appropriate response - at least, barring obscenities - is NO. Because if something contains words and is enjoyed by you, you should NEVER feel guilty. I don't care if its a Penthouse letter or a dime novel or a religious tract or one of my own novels - if you are enjoying what you read, you are practicing glorious literacy and you have NOTHING to be ashamed about. F#%K those who would have you believe that one form or genre is superior to another. There is superior writing (though even there you and I may politely disagree about what makes one piece better than another) but none of us on God's green earth gets to decide what type of writing is worthy of being read.
Regarding the second question - well, you can imagine what I have to say about that. I'll try to control my language and direct you, instead, to the delightful answers Gillian gave.
And to the anonymous constructor of the column, I have to ask...who made you feel so small that you have to go around constructing artificial scales by which to judge what you read? It makes me sad. I wish I could invite you to my house, where writers of all kinds of things often gather without shame, just to enjoy the community of people who love to read and write.