Friday, March 25th, 2011

Let's Read Some Trashy Books

The critical debate over whether "guilty pleasures" should actually be something to feel guilt about is as extensive as it is tedious, but the fact remains: trash is trash. That said, not all trash is equal. Some trash, either through flawless craft or extensive prurience or sheer cultural impact, enters a canon of its own. It becomes Classic Trash. These are the books you and your friends passed around in high school, the dog-eared volumes you were worried that your parents would catch you reading even though they surely had copies of their own. In celebration of these great and terrible works, we are thrilled to introduce a new recurring feature in which we will dumpster-dive our way through these timeless tracts of tawdriness. Leading the discussion will be Awl pal Nicole Cliffe, who many of you know better as the proprietrix of the delightful website Lazy Self-Indulgent Book Reviews. We will gather together on Friday to discuss the first selection: Grace Metalious' 1956 stone-cold trash classic Peyton Place. If you've ever wanted an excuse to delve into the garbagey epics, consider that wish granted. Get reading! We'll see you next week.

46 Comments / Post A Comment

dntsqzthchrmn (#2,893)

Trash vs cheese, who would win

HiredGoons (#603)

This is great! I nominate 'Flowers in the Attic.'

Oh, wait – this isn't democratic?

melis (#1,854)

Second the nomination!

Bittersweet (#765)

Thirded! Can't wait to discuss the merits of tar as a hair product.

mrschem (#1,757)

Mildred Pierce. Soooooo good and not at all trashy. ;)

Moff (#28)

"Grace Metalious" is, no question, the second-best Christian rock band name ever.

dntsqzthchrmn (#2,893)

And in the font on the cover it was MADE for a tour shirt

deepomega (#1,720)

Second only to GÖLGÖTHA, I assume.

Moff (#28)

I was just thinking Stryper, but I'm a traditionalist.

dntsqzthchrmn (#2,893)

Where's Petra on that list, six-hundred-sixty-something?

Moff (#28)

"But it literally means 'rock'!" I can see how they thought it was indisputable genius.

dntsqzthchrmn (#2,893)

Yehs. This, by the way, is the same reason Pavement has not worn especially well. ("It's FULL of ROCK!" Full of SOMETHING, sweetie.) (HowEVER… R.E.M. can still make a comeback simply by changing their name to N.P.T...)

dntsqzthchrmn (#2,893)

Oops. Forgot to turn off the subroutine that brings all conversations back to 80s/90s rock. (Hangs head in shame)

Moff (#28)

Ah, that ain't nothin' to be ashamed about. Making me imagine Peter Buck's penis, on the other hand…

scratch (#9,949)

Wow, I just finished Stella Dallas. I started out thinking it was trashy but ended thinking it was pretty good, actually. Looking forward to the trashy-book flame wars!

KarenUhOh (#19)

I applaud this. And now, in other classic trash:

SuperMargie (#1,263)

Bwahaha! I have owned this book forever and make a point of reading it every few years. Now I have legitimate excuse to whip it out! "It is for an assignment. From the internet."

keisertroll (#1,117)

How many credits from Internet University will I get from this?

areaderwrites (#592)

I own it too, and have read it a couple of times. Good excuse to get it out again. Maybe next we can read The Best of Everything.

keisertroll (#1,117)

I only have a copy of Peyton Place's less talented brother.

freetzy (#7,018)

Same number of rings though.

Jay Casey (#9,388)

I'll be reading the Story of Eye while screencapping Salo or 120 Days of Sodom on Summer of Megadeth this weekend.

For prosperity.

hman (#53)

"Classic Thrash"

dntsqzthchrmn (#2,893)

Errm, Bataille or Reage?

cherrispryte (#444)



mrschem (#1,757)

It really is the natural progression isn't it? How freaking cool would we all be? I mean BOOKS!

This seems like an appropriate time and place to apologize to my town library, where as an early teen I often defiled "Tropic of Cancer". The shame…

ShanghaiLil (#260)

"Indian summer is like a woman. Ripe, hotly passionate, but fickle, she comes and goes as she pleases so that one is never sure whether she will come at all, nor for how long she will stay. "
One of the great opening paragraphs in all of literature…

LondonLee (#922)

'Jaws' was the trashy paperback that got passed around the most at my (boys) school. The section where Hooper has sex with Brody's wife (not in the film!) was particularly dog-eared. I still remember the scene where she tells him she isn't wearing any panties.

"`Ay! That's where to put forget-me-nots, in the man-hair, or the maiden-hair." — D.H. Lawrence, Lady Chatterley's Lover

bocadelperro (#9,676)

Do 'Forever Amber' next!

Luckier (#857)

My mom got totally busted at her Catholic high school for passing that book around. Dirty girl.

Mackenzie Kelly (#8,235)

Middling twits meet Frank Harris as in My Life and Loves.

myfanwy (#1,124)

Inquiring minds want to know whether Jilly Cooper appears anywhere on this list or if I have to start up my own subset here.

Vulpes (#946)

The Sidney Sheldon oeuvre was my trash diet when I was like 10 or 12. The best part? My GRANDMOTHER is the one who gave me the first book (Rage of Angels)! I have a cool grandmother.

ShanghaiLil (#260)


Also, p. 28 — FTW!

Mr. B (#10,093)

copies of there own



Alex Balk (#4)

Arrrgh. Fixed, thanks.

barnhouse (#1,326)

I LOVE THIS. Own and love subject volume. For future reference I nominate Gone With the Wind, The Thorn Birds, The Godfather, The Shining, anything to do with The Saint, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, and (especially) The Lost Weekend.

mrschem (#1,757)

Remember reading the Godfather in the third grade. Sonny's lady friend's operation. Was that even possible?

rj77 (#210)

What? No one's mentioned Valley of the Dolls??

mrschem (#1,757)

aaaand Hollywood Babylon.

Birdie (#5,811)

Clan of the Cave Bear!

shmooner (#1,796)

OMG. Skip Valley of the Dolls and head right over to Once is Not Enough. It has a EVERYTHING classic trash needs. A girl sexually attracted to her father, all kinds of lesbians and sluts, a ritual drug-induced orgy (complete with chanting and clapping!), oh and a REALLY awkward World War II gang rape. Oh one of the best pick-up lines EVER: "Don't worry baby, I'm not going to rape you." That is an actual line from the book. Its SO bad but SO good. Best read aloud.

sun67girl (#10,730)

O yes….this is highly recyclable trash!

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