Everyone has their dark secrets, right? This confession is not one of mine. My dark secrets are fairly light grey in hue, actually. I'm usually pretty vanilla.
Here goes nothing. I very much enjoy something that I call "book candy." Admittedly, I enjoy straight-up candy, too. On a crazy day, I might even enjoy some candy while simultaneously enjoying book candy. John Grisham novels are my literary Twizzlers.
Too often anymore, I get in reading ruts where the thought of starting a book isn't even appealing to me. I coast on my newspapers, magazines, blogs, and Yahoo stories. Books require a certain commitment that other media do not. In other words, sometimes I like to date around without entering into a serious relationship with something that takes thought and much effort. Book candy isn't exempt from this need. It may not be a long-term relationship but still one that is more than a little flirting. Book candy is dating but you don't really want to invite him/her along to your parents' house for the holidays.
I'm not a devoted follower of Tom Clancy or Nicholas Sparks, though I've read one or two of the latter. I'm not rabid about James Patterson or Jodi Picoult, though I hung with it through The Tenth Circle and watched the movie adaptation of My Sister's Keeper. Regardless, I understand why droves of readers do read all of these authors and others of their ilk. These are prototypical book candy authors. (Though my guess is that three of the four authors would disagree with my statement here; Nicholas Sparks knows that his work is spineless drivel that satisfies people the same way that American Idol shockingly continues to fascinate enough people that it's still on TV.) Their work is long enough for a sweet little beach vacation, cheap in a paperback form, generally devoid of truly disturbing social issues, and paint vivid character descriptions.
These authors are simply put good storytellers. And John Grisham is no different. In fact, that's the primary reason why I dig his work. A few hours ago, I just finished his latest, The Racketeer. If you're not clear about the overwhelming majority of Grisham's work (and in the last 20 years, he's been a busy little author bee), he writes about lawyers and legal stuff. Grisham is also a lawyer of sorts insofar as he used to be one. And while I could write a story about a lawyer on the lam or a lawyer who takes on torte reform or even some incarcerated ex-judges who are running a scam out of jail, I couldn't do it like someone who actually studied law does. Grisham is always the first to admit that he relies on fiction heavily, even at the expense of good lawyer-ing. But who cares?
Not me. I have a couple of English-y degrees and can represent some serious book cred on a good day, but that doesn't mean that I don't like curling up with a comfy blanket, some sort of baked snack (or Twizzlers), a steaming mug of Cafe Verona in the afternoon when the sweeties are asleep, and some book candy.