Wednesday, July 27, 2011

What do you read? Don't be embarrased...

I want to tell you about my best friend, Stacey. 

Stacey is the smartest person I know.  She has a PhD in Medicine, is a researcher at one of the world’s most important hospitals, is invited to lecture all over the world, and helped found the most amazing summer camp for juvenile transplant patients.  I talk about Stacey all the time to my students as proof that studying, using proper grammar and punctuation, and four-colour pens really does pay off.

You should also know that Stacey is a major reader. Her favorite authors are Erica Jong and Phillippa Gregory.  In case you are not familiar with those authors, they both write books that are engrossing and intelligent and the main character is always a strong woman.  But they also all have a lot of heaving bosoms and bare-chested handsome men and are, well, smutty chick lit. 

That’s right, when one of the most intelligent minds in the medical field today is not making groundbreaking discoveries about organ transplantation, she is relaxing in a bubble bath with the smuttiest, trashiest chick lit she can find.  

But Stacey is not the only one of my friends who likes to spend her off-time with Fabio.  Last night, Stacey, along with five teachers (two of which are Special ed. and Reading specialists), two writers, another university professor, a women with a MBA, and another woman with a Masters in counseling, just to name a few, came over to my place to share and trade our dog-eared, water-logged copies of Eat Pray Love, The Other Bolyin Sister, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and other mainstream works of fun & fast fiction.
Some of the very sophisticated literature a very cultured group of women and I were discussing in my home last night over wine and cheese.  And something called compost cookies my friend, Sara made.

Why am I telling you all this?

Because of a conversation I overhead at BMV (one of my favorite used bookstores in Toronto) the other day:

Pseudo-intellectual #1 picks up a copy of Twilight

PI #1: This is that book I was telling you about; the one my customer gave me as a gift because she said she knew I liked to read.

PI #2: OMG!  That's not reading!

PI #1: I know.  The people who read this crap are one step above illiterate.  But what could I do?  She comes into my Starbucks all the time and I didn't want to insult her.

I know, right?!  Are you freaking out as much as I was when I heard this?  I mean, I read Twilight and I'm not illiterate. What the hell are these two reading in the bubble bath, The Fountainhead?  Come on, that's not relaxing, that's a workout!  

The whole fun of reading is to enjoy a variety of different genres.  I cried over Wuthering Heights but I also cried while reading The Rescue by Nicholas Sparks.  I laughed over Twelfth Night but laugh ten times harder when I read Calvin and Hobbes.  

I feel sorry for those two people in BMV; people who restrict themselves because they feel that certain books are intellectually inferior are really missing out.  Reading is one of the best ways to escape, relax, entertain, enlighten and maybe, sometimes, if you're feeling up to it, challenge our minds. And at the end of a long day, a lot of times I really don't have the mental stamina to tackle anything that has, or ever will, show up in a university-level English Lit course.

When Stacey and I had our first sleepover 25 years ago, we did not stay awake all night discussing the symbolism in Catcher and the Rye, but rather reading and re-reading every book in the Sweet Valley High series and discussing which Walker was the cooler twin.

Next week, I am going to Thailand and with me, I will be taking 
Sweet Valley Confidential: Ten Years Later, Rebecca, and the latest issue of People magazine.  And I know that after reading all that, I will be a happier, more intelligent woman for it.

Put that in your cappuccino and drink it, you pseudo-intellectual barista from BMV!

*Contest time!*
 Ready to come clean?  What is your trashy reading confession?  Add it to the comment space below, become a follower of my blog, and you may win my own personal copy of The Rescue.  

Good luck!  Contest closes on Friday, July 29th.


  1. Once again Cayla you enlighten me.
    Great job!

  2. I am compelled to post, not just because my cookies got a shout out, but because if my guilty pleasure read doesn't make you laugh your ass off, you need to have a cocktail. My book is "Can You Keep a Secret" by Sophie Kinsella. Actually, the best part of the book is the first 2 pages, and the wonderful people at Amazon will actually let you read them from the comfort of your own computer screen.

    Just admit that #12 made you laugh out loud and I'll be happy.

    Thanks for last night, Cayla. And after two more cookies for lunch, I've decided they ARE worth the trouble.