Sam Stall, Author, Lou Harry, Author, Julia Spalding, Author . Quirk $14.95 (320p) ISBN 978-1-931686-54-9

A trio of creative minds, obsessed with those secret indulgences we enjoy when no one else is watching, have produced a 50-year chronicle of guilty pleasures from A to Z. With over 1,000 capsulized, satirical descriptions, the book offers plenty to savor. Contemporary self-indulgences such as boy bands and the Olsen twins earn mentions, as do groan-worthy old timers like Old Spice cologne and water beds. Jackie and Joan Collins and Anna Nicole Smith score high on the schlock scale, along with devilish foods like the timeless green bean casserole and Cinnabon sticky buns. Television takes a lot of cheesy credit, with entries including The Love Boat , Baywatch , The Osbournes and that pioneer of reality shows, Candid Camera . Time-tested favorites Cool Whip, the Carpenters and the National Enquirer provide as many hoots as the snippet-length bios of Fabio, Adrienne Barbeau ("apparently this woman was an actress of some sort"), Amy Fisher and Monica Lewinsky. The encyclopedic arrangement is funny in and of itself (the Little House on the Prairie entry says, "See Landon, Michael"). As tempting as Jiffy Pop Popcorn, this flippant (albeit subjective) reference is compulsively seductive, with tongue-in-cheek remarks the authors' flair. Illus. (Nov.)

Forecast: Urban Outfitters is a shoo-in venue for this book; anyone who's been sucked in to a televised beauty pageant or infomercial will immediately gravitate to its pull. Expect robust sales.

Reviewed on: 09/20/2004
Release date: 09/01/2004
Genre: Nonfiction
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