The competitive nature of reading challenges is one thing but there’s also a level of snobbery about certain books, which further piles on the guilt. Whether it’s a 'must-read' classic or this year’s hot [insert prestigious book prize] title, some books carry more cultural gravitas than others. Caroline O'Donoghue, author and host of chick lit podcast Sentimental Garbage
, points out that it’s a "dangerous myth" to assume these are the only books worth reading. Often serious or 'difficult' to read, so-called literary fiction can put some readers off for good. "People go on to think of reading as a chore, as another thing they're 'not doing', rather than seeing it as the joyful and life-changing thing that it is," she explained. O'Donoghue's podcast celebrates and critiques women’s commercial fiction (a frequently dismissed category) in a new light. "A lot of women are realizing that their reading tastes have been shaped and manipulated by quite misogynistic parameters of what's 'good'," she told me.