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Literary Humiliation – First Teenage Book Crushes


The Awl has a fantastic piece today on the horrifyingly humiliating first book choices of over 30 successful and established writers of today.

Some of the titles/authors that made the cringeworthy list:

Ayn Rand
Anne Rice
V.C. Andrews

The book based on the movie (yes, you read that right) “Tombstone”
Jack Kerouac (most often named)

The list made me feel much better about my own predilection for pap and crap in my formative years (though I read plenty of good stuff, too, don’t get me wrong). I was delighted to see that New Yorker writer Ariel Levy used to love Sweet Valley High – I had an insatiable appetite for those books and used to scour secondhand shops for ones I hadn’t read, and spend my allowance on them. I was a huge proponent of The Babysitters’ Club, as well, and later, could not get enough Dean Koontz to sate me. How embarrassing.

What were some of your embarrassing early literary preferences? Go on, be brave – leave a comment.

via BoingBoing

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Beth Carswell

About Beth Carswell

I've been reading, selling, researching, loving and writing about books with AbeBooks since 2000.

3 Responses to “Literary Humiliation – First Teenage Book Crushes”

  1. Oh boy- have to confess, the old school Harlequin Romances, the ones set in Africa or England, the ones where somehow the two main characters end up married for convenience sake and then fall in love. Oh, and Barbara Cartland’s regency romances…

  2. Aging Lit Major April 10, 2012 at 9:05 am

    Okay. In 7th grade, my English teacher rolled in a cart of books and said, it’s time to read adult books. So I read Willa Cather, Dickens and never really looked back at YA lit. In my free time, I also consumed Agatha Christie. Then, one day in 9th grade, a friend introduced me to The Moonspinners by Mary Stewart. Romance! Adventure! I went on a tear through Stewart’s romance thrillers. Then I tried Helen McInness, Phyllis Whitney and Victoria Holt. But they began to pale beside The Moonspinners and Jane Austen. Austen really ruined me for pop lit. But there is still a soft spot in my heart for The Moonspinners. I revisit it every five years or so. It is nationalistic, no one wears frocks anymore, and in the end the very independent heroine sort of defers to the guy, but I still find what sparked my imagination.

  3. Beth Carswell

    ooh, yes. A weakness for romances is very embarrassing indeed. But my early fondness for terribly-written horror novels makes me cringe even more, I think.