Right now on your night stand is a book (or e-book in your e-reader of choice) that you might not admit to anyone you’re reading. Or maybe it’s a book in your beach tote. Or a book tucked away in your purse for those random moments like waiting in line at the DMV, or your lunch hour, or the doctor’s office. It’s a book you’re reading for sheer entertainment. What I like to call my “Cotton Candy” reads.
Don’t get me wrong, my reading life doesn’t usually revolve around Cotton Candy reads. My favorite book happens to be The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak and I can talk until I’m blue in the face about the intricate plot, memorable characters, and the way I had to stay up until 3:00AM to finish it…sobbing, btw. But The Book Thief wasn’t an easy read. A great read, a thought-provoking read but not one I’d read in a bubble bath and yes, I tried. Something about Death and lavender scented bubbles didn’t really mix.
No, Cotton Candy reads are fun. Fluffy. Sugary. Not really good for you but fine in small doses. And you might even feel like you need to wash your hands after reading one. The Cotton Candy read that inspired this blog post is…don’t judge…pretty please…A Shore Thing by Nicole “Snooki” Pilozzi.
Yes, that Snooki.
I said don’t judge.
I’ll admit, even I JUDGED. I’m not a fan of Jersey Shore. Frankly, I’ve seen all of about five minutes of the show, and it sort of scared me. But the truth is I’m a Jersey girl and happen to LOVE the actual Jersey shore. I’ve stayed in a share house at Seaside before I knew better. I’ve ridden the Jet Star and imagined being throttled right out into the Atlantic on that first turn. I’ve had cheese steaks and fresh pressed lemonade from The Midway Steak House. Bruce. Bon Jovi. Need I say more?
And maybe that’s why I was so curious about it. Yea, yea, THAT’S IT. My novel out on submission also happens to be set in the Jersey shore, so I told myself reading it would be, um, research to suss out the competition. I never expected to actually enjoy it.
Odd thing is - I did.
As writers we need to read for many reasons. To study plot construction. To understand dialogue cadence. To see what works and what doesn’t. Reading helps us with our own writing in ways we’re probably not even completely aware. Sometimes the voices in my head are so loud when I read that it’s distracting. “Oh, here’s the inciting moment, there’s the first obstacle, here comes the point where everything goes really wrong and then only gets worse” You know what I mean because it happens to you too. (please say it does!)
Some of that even happened while I read A Shore Thing but not a whole lot. What I did find as I read it was I wasn’t really thinking about it at all. I was reading. Laughing. Being entertained. Is that really so awful? Nope. I don’t think so.*
Whenever anyone asks me to describe the book I say it was like Jackie Collins takes on the Jersey shore. Pure. Unadulterated. FUN. I completely got caught up in Gia Spumante’s search for the gorilla juice head of her dreams. I even had to Google some of the vocab like ‘gorilla juice head’ and ‘grenade’ and ‘smush’.
So wait, does that mean I learned something?
C’mon, fess up – what’s YOUR cotton candy read?
*In my defense, on the same weekend I read said book, I also saw the film “Barney’s Version” so I think the two sort of balanced my brain cells out.