Books to the Sky

Archive for June 2008

There’s a great post up on Jezebel about Harlequin romances from the 80s, full of bad fashion and misogyny. Good times, right? They pull some quotes where the hero is rampant in his assholery, basically threatening the heroine with his love. “I shall push you around and say mean things and you will swoon!” is basically the message.

Some of this still surfaces in romance novels published now, although either a) I am mostly reading slightly subversive romances and thus avoiding a lot of it, or b) it’s a lot less prevalent. I’d bet both are true.

Speaking of which, I just finished Your Scandalous Ways by Loretta Chase, in which the heroine is a whore and reminds you of same on just about every page. The book is fluffy and flawed (mostly, I think the characters are a little underdeveloped) but still a fun read. And, see, there the heroine makes a lot of “I will belong to no man!” speeches and avoids some of the tiresome virgin heroine tropes–that I really despise in my historical romance–by being a loose woman, so thumbs up all around. Sort of the opposite of those 80s Harlequins. Seriously, go read the Jezebel post and be amazed.


I think my copy of this book was purchased in 1993-ish. Copyright page says it was first published in 1989, but there’s an ad in the endpapers indicating that Remember Me 2 was due out in August 1994. (I’ve got that book, too, so a recap is forthcoming!) Anyway, this means I was about 13 when I read the book the first time. I remember really loving this book, too.

You may recall that this is the ghost-solves-her-own-murder book. I couldn’t find an image of the cover I have online anywhere. The cover illustration shows a blonde girl with a yellow blouse and green pants dead on the ground below a balcony. And, yeah, that’s a good summary of the whole first half of the book.

So we open with Shari Cooper telling us she’s dead. She then goes into what I like to think of as the Baby-Sitter’s Club Exposition, in that that she informs us in the third paragraph that when she was alive, she was a pretty blonde girl. Except maybe I should call it a Sweet Valley High opening, because just like the Wakefield twins (perfect size sixes with eyes the color of the Pacific Ocean, don’t you know?) Shari is a little too perfect sounding: she goes on for most of the rest of the paragraph about how her eyes are this amazing shade of green. Read the rest of this entry »

first post

Posted on: June 22, 2008

I’ve been spending a lot of time re-living my tween years via books and music. For example, I recently came across Roxette’s greatest hits. Ah, yes. That’s right. When I was 11 or 12, I spent a week one summer learning a dance routine to “The Look” to be performed at the big Camp Show. I’m sure my fellow campers were wearing a lot of neon and sequins. It was that age. At the time, I had graduated from The Baby-Sitter’s Club and had moved on to Sweet Valley High, RL Stine, and Christpher Pike for my literary pursuits.

So there are a bunch of sites on the web dedicated to BSC and SVH and all those books I read when I was young and impressionable. I was thinking that I had a box of those old books just lying around, and it might be worth reading them again. I’ve learned from reading recaps in places like 1bruce1 that the books are not really like I remember them being. A lot more soapy and ridiculous. And, from the other side of puberty, I can say that they warped my expectations of what high school would be like.

And, you know, they’re of an age. The SVH books are getting reissued, but how can they be the same? They conformed to certain expectations, you know? I thought as a kid that when I got to high school, I’d have bleached-blonde feathered hair, because that’s what all my baby-sitters had, and that’s how I picture Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield. (I had mostly straight brown hair as a 14-year-old. Very disappointing.)

Anyway, I digress. I was thinking about lugging out that old box of books, and then I thought, “Why stop there?” I love so much bad literature. Predictable thrillers, bodice-ripping historical fiction, category romance, even the occasional vampire novel: I eat that stuff for breakfast. So this blog is my labor of love to that end.

Yeah, we mock, but we love this stuff, too, enough to read it more than once and then sit here and ponder and analyze and explicate.

I hope you enjoy!

Books to the ceiling,
Books to the sky,
My pile of books is a mile high.
How I love them! How I need them!
I'll have a long beard by the time I read them.
--Arnold Lobel

From the moment I picked up your book until I laid it down, I was convulsed with laughter. Some day I intend reading it.
--Groucho Marx

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We're looking for a few more people as devoted to guilty-pleasure reading as we are! Email bookssky (at) fshk (dot) net!