A survey carried out on behalf of the Costa Book Awards in the UK has revealed that:
Stephen King has beaten JK Rowling to the title of the UK's favourite literary guilty pleasure. ... the thriller writer is the most popular choice among readers looking for an indulgent read, with the adventures of Harry Potter coming a close second. ... 85% of those surveyed admitted to having an author they turn to for sheer gratification, but whom they might not admit to reading in pubic. Third place in the survey was tied between John Grisham and Dan Brown, while the fourth position was split between Danielle Steel and Catherine Cookson. Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels were placed fifth.And on the Guardian blog, Richard Lea asks which books you'd choose for hangover reading (or, I suppose, a bout of flu) and gets some interesting replies.
I've only read the first book in the No.1 Ladies Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith, but was so totally charmed that I will save the rest for a relaxing respite from books much heavier. I would read Stephen King and Rowling with great pleasure. Maybe I'd also add Roald Dahl to the list, and Nick Hornby.
I wouldn't be ashamed to read any of my choices in public.
But if those of you with an image to protect feel your choices make you look a little less high-brow or un-cool, those nice people at Costa Coffee offer you free dustjackets to print off and wrap round your embarrassment!