I Know What You Read Last Summer – A List of Guilty Pleasure Reads

We’ve all done it. We’ve picked up that book and hurriedly checked it out and stuffed it furiously into our book bags before anyone can see. It’s that book that we probably wouldn’t advertise we were currently reading over on Goodreads. But still, under the deep cover of night, we’ve flipped frantically through the pages unable to resist wanting more. Such is the plight of the guilty read. And yes, as some of the people I polled for this article attested, why should we feel guilty for reading? We shouldn’t! However, there may still be a few titles here and there that we wouldn’t readily admit to reading. What are some of yours? Feeling embarrassed? In that case, let me be the first to confess one of my more guilty reads…


Brunette Ambition
by Lea Michele

I was never  a huge Glee fan… (okay, fine I watched every single episode). I am definitely not a huge Lea Michele fan by any means, however. Yet, I found myself picking up her “autobiography” and checking it out. The main reason for this is because she is besties with Broadway star Jonathan Groff (Spring Awakening, Hamilton), and I had heard somewhere that she discusses their friendship in her book, as well as his bout with skin cancer. Unfortunately, any mention of her and Groff’s friendship was pretty minuscule and almost nothing about his battle against cancer. Instead, the book is entirely fluff. It dedicates an entire chapter to photos of Michele doing her favourite yoga poses in her backyard and what she likes to eat for breakfast. Um…. So not quite an autobiography either. Brunette Ambition comes across as more of a lifestyle magazine disguised as a hardcover. This isn’t really a guilty pleasure, but I definitely felt lots of guilt for even wasting my time reading it!

I sent out a poll to SLAIS students and grads to see what some of their “guilty reads” consisted of and here are some of the titles I got back. All contributor names will be kept confidential in order to respect their privacy.



Act Like It
by Lucy Parker

“A smart, witty, and refreshing romance about two West End actors who agree to pretend to date for the publicity despite their dislike of one another. I’ve stopped calling things guilty pleasure reads, because I don’t think it’s worth spending time feeling guilty about reading or finding pleasure in it,” said one of my fellow classmates, who sent this in.

Here’s a more detailed synopsis of the book:

“Richard Troy used to be the hottest actor in London, but the only thing firing up lately is his temper. We all love to love a bad boy, but Richard’s antics have made him Enemy Number One, breaking the hearts of fans across the city.

Have the tides turned? Has English rose Lainie Graham made him into a new man?

Sources say the mismatched pair has been spotted at multiple events, arm in arm and hip to hip. From fits of jealousy to longing looks and heated whispers, onlookers are stunned by this blooming romance.

Could the rumors be right? Could this unlikely romance be the real thing? Or are these gifted stage actors playing us all?”

– taken from the Vancouver Public Library website



The Night Circus
by Erin Morgenstern

“I don’t know if I ever have guilty reads – I love reading soo much – but [this is] the one book I can’t wait to read again!”exclaimed a Lower Mainland librarian, who sent in The Night Circus as his pick. (I too have read this book and found it to be a wonderful and enjoyable read!)

“Le Cirque des Rêves appears without warning and only opens at night. Behind the scenes a fierce competition is underway between two magicians: Celia and Marco. They have been training for this competition since childhood, yet, despite themselves, they fall headfirst into love. But they don’t know that this is a competition in which only one can be left standing.”

– taken from the Burnaby Public Library website



The Veronica Mars spin-off books
by Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham

“I loveee the recent Veronica Mars TV show spin-off books, but I don’t feel guilty about it at all! (Okay, just a little.)” That’s what one SLAIS grad posted on Facebook about her guilty pleasure reads. This sparked a supportive comment from another person, who wrote in, “No guilt needed – I’m reading Mr. Kiss & Tell right now!” If you’re not familiar with the television show, Veronica Mars is about an amateur teen sleuth who helps out her private eye father with his investigative work. After the series ended, a movie came out and the books pick up from where the feature film left off.

“Veronica Mars is back in action, and with the help of old friends she’s ready to take on Neptune’s darkest cases with her trademark sass and smarts. But she’s struggling to keep Mars Investigations afloat on the scant cash earned by catching cheating spouses until she can score her first big case. When a girl disappears from a spring break party, it’s no simple missing person’s case; the house the girl vanished from belongs to a man with serious criminal ties. Soon Veronica is plunged into a dangerous underworld of drugs and organized crime – and a shocking connection to her own past.”

The Thousand Dollar Tan Line, taken from the North Vancouver District Public Library website



The DUFF (Designated, Ugly, Fat Friend)
by Kody Keplinger

“I read The DUFF, a YA romance novel, that I picked up because I saw the movie,” confessed another friend.

“Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper starts sleeping with Wesley Rush, a notorious womanizer who disgusts her, in order to distract her from her personal problems, and to her surprise, the two of them find they have a lot in common and are able to help each other find more productive ways to deal with their difficulties.”

– taken from the Surrey Libraries website



The Caster Chronicles series
by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

Finally, our last guilty pleasure reader wrote,”Honestly, I am a sucker for the Caster Chronicles series even if it is cheesy YA paranormal romance.”

Curious about these books? Here’s more of what they’re about:

“Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she’s struggling to conceal her power, and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town’s oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.

In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.”

– taken from the West Vancouver Memorial Library website

So what are some of your guilty pleasure reads? Or not so guilty? Let us know what you’re hiding in your book bag, and why you are or are not enjoying it! We want to hear from you!


Alan Woo is a new librarian who has just completed his MLIS degree. He has worked for North Vancouver District Public Library, the UBC Education Library, and Environment and Climate Change Canada. 

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