Saturday 18 December 2010

Embarrassment About Books

This is a first for me. Since starting my blog, I am unsure whether to review one of the books that I've read. I've just finished Firefly Summer by Maeve Binchy. Since discovering her novels age fifteen, I've read and re-read her tales about provincial Irish towns, usually set in the 1950s. The stories intertwine the varied eccentric characters of the village - dealing with alcoholism, friendship, childhood, love, abortion (against all the commandments of the Pope and Catholicism). These books are warm, lovable, gossipy and I adore them.

But I'm also vaguely embarrassed by them. I sat here for an age wondering whether ANY of the followers of my blogs would have any interest at all in reviews of these books - so instead decided to open up the question of embarrassment in books you read. Do you experience this at all? Are there novels you would never review, never recommend, hide to yourself? Would you want to see a review of Firefly Summer by Maeve Binchy?

I'm embarrassed in this case because of the slightly aged nature of them, the rife gossiping, the degree of cutesy Irish charm. The covers of many are twee and pastel. And yet I can't resist diving in whenever I am in need of comfort - in this case, the snowy weather that has kept me housebound had me reaching for a book that celebrates the nature of village life.

So, what makes you embarrassed about books?


  1. I can't say I've been embarrassed by a book, though if I'm ever talked into reading any of the Twilight series, embarrassment will surely kick in, hehe. I think I would get most embarrassed by paranormal romance novels, though if I've read it I will definitely review it :)

    I say go for it, I'll look forward to your review :)

  2. Not exactly. There have been a few books that I've read that I know I'll never do more than mention their names when I write my monthly summaries of the books read during that span, but those typically are specialist works that would take quite a bit of prior knowledge for the reader to grasp what the hell I'd be talking about, such as whenever I might re-read a Michel Foucault or Jacques Derrida. Something tells me that's not quite what you mean, though :P

  3. Part of me wants to say that it's your duty as a book lover to be honest about that you read but the other part of me that as never blogged about the poetry or non fiction books he's read says that you only need to share what you think will be interesting to others but you don't really know what will be interesting until you tell us ;)

  4. I love Maeve Binchy for those days that you just want to relax and read something easy. If that makes sense, I have a few .. Tara Road, and Circle of Friends that I reread ... and no I am not embarrassed by her books, would love to read reviews ... my embarrassing moment would have to come from reading Danielle Steele .. hehe .. that is definitely cringe worthy stuff! But I have quite a few, and re read when I need brain numbing stuff to relax with (like after I have been studying)

  5. I would love to see a review of Maeve Binchy. She was my Mums favourite - I think she had every book in Hardback and yet she is someone I have never read so I would love to see what you think of her :) I have been tempted just because Mum loved her so much.

    When I was a teen and really into Mills & Boons I used to hide them when I knew friends were coming round. Cringeworthy stuff but it was an addiction :P So I know what you mean ;)

  6. Ok... I will say that.... I also like Maeve Binchy. I have a few of her books on my shelves and pull them out for comfort reading now and again. I know what's going to happen, and that's why I read them. I'm not ashamed to admit I like her .... and I'll take the pastel covers over what some of those romance covers offer any day. :) There's no shame in reading what you like.

  7. I like Binchy too. she's great for a cozy, escape read. Pilcher is good that way too.

    about year ago, my neighbor (87 yrs old) died. I'd only known her for about a year, but she was a terrific lady. she had a prosthetic leg that had been bothering her and was wheelchair bound because of it. One day I saw her sitting on her patio reading in the sun. I went up and introduced myself and started talking about reading. I go to the library every week and I offered to get her large print books. one time, along with her selection, I brought her The Shell Seekers by Pilcher (a fav of mine) and she loved it. I then got her started on Binchy and we spent some good times dishing dirt about those books!

    Cindy S

  8. I read Star Trek novels. There. I said it. Actually, I haven't read one in years, but that doesn't mean I won't ever again.

    I've read some Binchy too. She's alright, and I'd be interested in seeing the review.

  9. I'm not easily embarrassed about what I read. I've got a lot of Maeve Binchy's earlier books (inherited from my mom) and read all of them :D
    Though I'd probably be embarrassed by those really cheesy romance novels, you know the ones with the Fabio-look-a-likes on the cover. Here in Holland they're called Bouquet-reeks. But then again, I've never read one of those, probably for that reason!

  10. I am faintly embarrassed of Heart of Stone, because it's fairly poorly written fantasy chick-lit which, despite the fact that it's really not that good, I did read to the end and quite enjoyed. However, it wouldn't put me off reviewing it - it's on the list to review at some point. I'd be embarrassed because it's... well, I'm not really sure it sits comfortably in either chick lit or paranormal romance, but one way or the other I'd feel that people might think that my reading of this one book showed that I really did like all such books, and my protests otherwise were null and void. But it wouldn't put me off reviwing it because reviewing it would give me the chance to explain why I liked it, and to say that if there had been any *good* books written on the same theme, I would have read them in preference.

    I guess what it comes down to for me is that I don't like being ashamed of things I like. If I like them and don't want to talk about them then someone else has taken control of me in an area where I should be utterly free: the way I feel about my own preferences. And I hate anyone having control over me, so I'd rather shout it from the rooftops than hide it.

    (Also: Yay! Thanks for adding me to the blog roll!)

  11. I must confess to some embarrassing reading material, but now with my Kindle I can hide it away successfully *winks* I will admit to Star Trek and Babylon5 tie-in novels, Irish chick-lit (especially Marian Keyes, Patricia Scanlon and Cathy Kelly), and Paranormal romance/Dark Fantasy, whatever label they're giving it this week! Comfort reads one and all!

  12. You've obviously already posted about the book, but I thought I'd weigh in anyways. :) I post about everything I read, even the stuff I consider kind of trashy, and I love to see others do the same. They're still books, y'know? They're still something to discuss in your own unique way; something that someone, somewhere, might be interested in. And even if a visitor isn't interested in the book itself, they may want to hear your take on it just because they like reading your reviews.

  13. I think I'm more embarrassed about reading material in the real world than online.

    I will happily read and review tie-in fiction series (well, Star Wars and Black Library releases - I don't read any others), but I tend not to show off the books when I'm reading them. Partly this is because I'm frequently surrounded by people who sneer at stuff like this, and there are only so many times you can hear criticism of something you enjoy before you start avoiding it or reaching for a weapon.

    Another reason is that some of these books are 'comfort-reading', so I tend to read them at home (and often very quickly). But, reviews still go up on the site, and I enjoy writing them. If they convince even one skeptic to pick up a Star Wars or Black Library novel, then I consider the review a success.

    If your blog's meant to tell people about books you enjoy, why not put reviews of Binchly's novels? If you enjoy them, then surely you should mention/review them? You can tell us WHY you like them, despite any faults, and let us decide on whether or not you've convinced us to try one out.