My favorite book is Middlemarch. My second favorite book is Great Expectations.
You guys are impressed, right? Those are some HARD books! This ain't exactly Carl Hiassen*, is it?
Check it out, though: while, I love these books because they are so rewarding (I'm convinced that there's more to learn about living in the pages of Middlemarch than in all the religious tomes and self-help books in the world. Including Ecclesiastes. And I'm a fan of Ecclesiastes), but these books are also entertaining as hell. Middlemarch is freaking hilarious (poor George Eliot, no one gives her credit for funny). Pip is a hoot to read about.
EDITED TO NOTE: At this point, I meant to say something about how I have to talk myself into reading these books. I always forget about the rewarding and funny and entertaining bits and always remember the hard parts. RETURNING TO ORIGINAL POST
I've been watching The Wire over the past couple of years. I'm almost through season four. And, much like those works of great literature, I find I have to persuade myself to sit down and watch The Wire. Because it's hard!
That said, I could wax rhapsodic for hours about the performances and the writing and the heart-breaking reality of it all. And, above all else, the entertaininess of it! Come on, y'all, has there ever been a character more compelling and appealing than Omar Little? Tony Soprano has NOTHIN' on him.
But, to the point of this rambly post: if I told you I read for leisure, I imagine most people would assume something worthwhile. For some reason, people don't leap to dog-eared copies of VC Andrews novels when they hear people read for leisure. But if you say like to watch TV, people do immediately imagine slack-jawed chuckling at the horny antics of Charlie Sheen.
Television (much like rap music) is often judged by its worst example. All TV is not Two and a Half Men or COPS. Some TV is really really really good. The medium affords a story-telling arc unrivaled by any other art form. Not even really great novels. I cannot imagine a novel or a movie being able to create a world as fully realized as the world of The Wire. Man, you all should watch that show.
* By the way, I really love Carl Hiassen novels too