I used to have a guilty pleasure that I haven't admitted to yet. I used to obsessively read murder mysteries. I didn't watch tv. It was before I got netflix and learned I could watch tv without a tv. It was actually before you could watch a tv without a tv. Anyhow, I read murder mysteries and thrillers. And I'm not sure I really enjoyed most of them. I had my favorites - LesCroart, and Elizabeth George, Sue Grafton, Laura Lipman - but after you've read a few they all get a little painful. LesCroart is entertaining and my mom and I still get excited every time a new story comes out, but he does write the exact same essential story line each time. Elizabeth George writes well written books, but everyone in them is miserable. So they are a little tough. And then there are the not so good ones. The ones that you read because they are there, but really you get absolutely nothing from them. They're kind of like eating candy, bad candy, just because it's sweet.
Then about five years ago a took a trip to Europe. I traveled first with my mom and then with a friend. I had some stupid book - I think it was # 3 of the Bourne books. And it was long, formulaic and really not so good. I think you could say it was painful to read. Both my mom and friend were actually reading interesting, intelligent books and I felt like my brain was turning to mush. At the end of the trip I vowed to turn a new leaf.
Somewhere around that time I was listening to an NPR story with a New Yorker writer. A little light bulb went off in my brain and I realized I could read the New Yorker! And it worked, the New Yorker is awesome. The articles are interesting, well written. And I read about things I would never ever read (or possibly care) about otherwise. But now there is a new problem. The New Yorker comes once a week and I don't throw things out well. I have a really hard time getting rid of the ones I don't quite get through. I sure each one contains an amazing article and if I get rid of it before going back and reading it, I will be much less of a person. However, I'm sure all of you find me much more fascinating now that I'm reading the new yorker, so I'm sure the piles of crap are all worth it!