A friend of mine at university, who was studying literature and reading many heavy novels, used to take time off every now and then to gorge on the tritest gothic romances. She seemed to consider this a ‘guilty pleasure’ as if she should have stuck to Dickens or Trollope.
I think the reading I would put close to this category is cookery books. I love finding exciting new recipes, working out how to adapt the meat ones to be vegetarian and making out shopping lists of exotic ingredients. I imagine preparing curries that need spices I’ve never heard of, or baking (and eating) rich chocolate cakes.
Then I go into the kitchen and make the same stew I made last week.
Although they give me ideas for new ingredients and techniques to try, I rarely attempt the more esoteric recipes. The shopping lists get pruned to easily obtainable, and affordable, items, and next time we have a meal out we try a new restaurant that can give us Persian jewelled rice or Indonesian karedok – so much simpler than doing it myself.
The Jewelled Kitchen cover from Cherrapeno.