Trashy novels are one of summer's greatest pleasures. I indulge without inhibition or guilt. Usually hard covers that are passed along to friends and family similarly obsessed. Generally, each finished in a day or two or three, even if it means staying up til the wee hours. At least a dozen, maybe more, in a season. I can’t get enough of them.
I do, of course, have standards. Trash does not mean junk or garbage. It does not mean slapdash or ill-conceived. A good trashy novel is well-written by an author, usually a woman, who knows her language and her grammar. She can weave a good story with characters who are interesting and maybe relatable. She has a sense of humor about her subjects and her story and makes me laugh out loud. (Lauren Weisberger calls American Girl dolls crack for five year olds.) Chick lit describes some but not all of them. The authors have no pretense and know exactly what they are writing and who they are writing for writing for. Me!!
Just in case you share my guilty pleasure, some already read and some in waiting:
Lauren Weisberger is always good. This year’s When Life Gives You Lululemons, with crazy descriptions of life in Greenwich, CT, is laugh out loud, bringing back a little Devil Wears Prada for added glee.
Erin Hilderbrand, The Perfect Couple. Does the zookeeper end up with the rich guy or his best man? And what's up with the dead maid of honor? And some really funny (competitive non-eating!)
Tayari Jones, An American Marriage. Not really trash at all in the classic sense but an interesting and well-written easy-to-read story about a black man wrongfully convicted, his wife, her close friend and marriage.
Joanna Trollope, An Unsuitable Match. A woman falls in love in her 60's but her kids aren't so sure. And what about her house? And how does money figure into it all? Trollope has good genes and tells a good story.
Emily Griffin. All we ever wanted. Next up. On my table.
Kate Quinn, The Alice Network. I am a sucker for World War I and II stories of valor, particularly of a network of female spies. Jaqueline Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs books, and her most recent one, To Die But Once, is of the same ilk about a female private investigator. I am addicted to her books too.
Bill Clinton and James Patterson's book, The President Is Missing, is actually a fun read. Of course, the chapters are generally not longer than three pages and the type is really big. But the story keeps your interest--and hopefully, not too close to reality.
So, no judging. I will get back to serious stuff in due course. For now, I am perfectly happy with my nose in my trash. (Please send along your suggestions—always on the lookout for a good one!)