I'm always a little skeptical when magazines or newspapers run their perennial lists of what celebrities are reading, usually under the rubric of "guilty pleasures." I mean, if they're really guilty about it, they're not going to be totally frank, are they?
But Time magazine's July 23 issue has a nice twist on this: What writers are reading at the beach. Judging by some of the titles, they're being pretty honest. The biggest surprise: Joyce Carol Oates 'fesses up to being a huge fan of Mad magazine, concluding with this remark: "...the fatuously grinning Alfred E. Neuman with his perennial query ("What, me worry?") prefigured the improbable presidential cartoon character George W. Bush many years later." Ah, poor George. Talk about a legacy.
On the same list, I notice Nathan Englander recommending the mystery "Literary Murder" by Batya Gur. Sounds interesting -- anybody else read this?
I'm not sure I read anything I'd categorize as a guilty pleasure, since since most of it would probably be sneered at in literary circles anyway. I suppose anything by Stephen King -- although the man is a much better writer, and probably a lot more enduring, than he's gotten credit for. Speaking of King, his groundbreaking book "Carrie" is the guilty pleasure of author Martha Southgate.