When only a tiny percentage of Americans pick up a book on a regular basis anymore, can anything between two covers be called a guilty pleasure, a trashy read? If you say no, you haven t wandered the hinterlands of a bookstore you haven t perused the remainders, marked down and placed in a bin on the curb, outside the reach of security, like a box of unwanted cats.
What we have here are four new quintessential trash reads, beach books, light, and in most cases, sort of hard to put down. Gently place each within the fold of a bigger book of more respectability, obscure the cover, enjoy.
Rickles Book: A Memoir (Simon & Schuster, 256 pages, $24)
Author: Don Rickles
It s a: feel-good tell-all.
It s about: how Mr. Insult, Mr. Hello, Hockey Puck, was given his start by Frank Sinatra, how he loves his mother, and he loves what happens when you get on stage; but not much about how he developed his infamous act.
Free taste: Dad has a lighthearted attitude about life. He took it the way it came. He was the guy who taught me all I know about car repairs: Pay someone to do it for you.
Think: Jerry Lewis Telethon.
I Love You, Beth Cooper (HarperCollins, 272 pages, $19.95)
Author: Larry Doyle
It s a: really funny, smart book, disguised as a quick, cheap lark.
It s about: the last day of class, everything going wrong during your last chance at looking cool, a coming-of-age tale, Dazed and Confused poignant, from a talented writer of The Simpsons.
Free taste: The temperature in the gymnasium was 123 degrees; four people had been carried out and presumed dead. They were not in fact dead, but it was preferable to think of them that way, slightly worse off.
Think: 12th grade, without the honey-glow of a fond memory.
How to Talk to a Widower (Random House, 352 pages, $20)
Author: Jonathan Tropper
It s a: male take on chick lit.
It s about: how Doug, rich and 29 years old, becomes a widower, but writes a magazine column to get through the grieving, which makes him irresistible to both the media and available women.
Free taste: ... the last night of her life, Hailey surprised me by wearing a blood red dress, cut low and tight in all the right spots. It was almost as if she know what was coming ...
Think: Drew Barrymore film.
The Quickie (Little, Brown, 368 pages, $27.99, available July 2)
Author: James Patterson
It s a: thriller, with big type.
It s about: A New York police officer who catches her husband in a tryst, tries to get back at him, and only makes things worse.
Free taste: He puts his hand on Bucky to comfort himself, feeling him through his blue nylon windbreaker, but still the voices pound his brain like a jackhammer. (Actually from The 6th Target, his other new thriller but you get the idea.)
Think: James Patterson writes so much this is his second book in 60 days. (I am totally serious.)
Contact Christopher Borrelli at: firstname.lastname@example.org 419-724-6117.