Ah, nothing better than heading into summer vacation with a guilty pleasure read, eh? Perhaps literally:
What is it about ribald romance novels, luxurious interior design, and frothy wedding dresses that often make women feel their desires come with a shadow of shame? In Avidly Reads Guilty Pleasures, Arielle Zibrak considers the specifically pleasurable forms of feminine guilt and desire stimulated by supposedly “lowbrow” aesthetic tendencies. She takes up the overwhelming preoccupation with the experience of being humiliated, dominated, or even abused that has pervaded the stories that make up women’s culture—from eighteenth-century epistolary novels to popular twentieth-century teen magazine features to present-day romantic comedies.
In three chapters—“Rough Sex,” “Expensive Sheets,” and “Saying Yes to the Dress”—that mirror the plot structures of feminine fictions themselves, this book tells the story of the desires that only the guiltiest of pleasures evoke. Zibrak reexamines documents of femme culture long dismissed as “trash” to reveal the surprisingly cathartic experiences produced by tales of domination, privilege, and the material trappings of the heteropatriarchy.
Part of the Avidly Reads series, this slim book gives us a new way of looking at American culture. With the singular blend of personal reflection and cultural criticism featured in the series, Avidly Reads Guilty Pleasures reclaims women’s experiences for themselves.
I also don’t personally believe in guilty pleasures. Like what you like and don’t feel guilty about it! Who care what other people think about what you’re reading?! Having said that…
THE TASK: As usual, I’ll be picking the winner at random. To enter, please comment and share with us your favorite so-called “guilty pleasure.” Mine is the Real Housewives Cinematic Universe — although, again, to be clear, I do not feel guilty about this and never have!
THE RULES: All entries must be posted in the comments of this post by 9 p.m. Pacific time on Friday. FYI, if this is the first time you’ve commented here, the system will automatically kick you into comment moderation, but don’t worry, I will rescue you. (Open to US readers only; all prizing courtesy of the publisher. We use affiliate links when available, like the one above to Amazon.)