Trash to treasure – bestsellers from decades past

Following on from our recent displays of classic and vintage science fiction and adventure thriller, the Popular team is once again taking us on a trip down memory lane (this time the slightly risque shaded reaches of Lovers Lane, perhaps?).

Wendy says:

Pop into Popular and have a look at our display of “sizzling” books from the past – books that defined a generation, made a difference, turned heads and pages.

For the post-war generation, it was little beauties like On the Beach, Room at the Top, or The Sun Also Rises. In the 60’s and 70’s, many of us remember most fondly the books we weren’t meant to read: for some it was Angelique and the Sultan, or Valley of the Dolls; for others, Lolita and Portnoy’s Complaint.

Trash or treasure?
Movies from the books became classics themselves – think Gone With the Wind, Far From the Madding Crowd, and Doctor Zhivago. The scene of Alan Bates and Oliver Reed’s naked wrestling in Ken Russell’s Women in Love is forever etched in my mind …

So if you would like a little stroll down popular fiction’s Memory Lane, come and have a browse here at Central, or leave a comment with any books that “sizzled” for you.

7 thoughts on “Trash to treasure – bestsellers from decades past

  1. Donna 25 August 2009 / 12:40 pm

    I think some kids are born with a rudie radar, they will instantly find the naughty-ish books be it at on the shelves at home or at the library.

    Angelique is fabulous! Romping around 17th France being ridiculously ridiculously goodlooking and blonde.

    Harold Robbins was smutty. I think there was some Henry Miller on the shelf at home but there was probably too much to wade through to get to rude bits. And D H Lawrence was just silly!

    Those bonkbuster books were the most fun –
    Lace by Shirley Conran, Jilly Cooper and all her sexy polo players etc and of course the wonderful Jackie Collins.

  2. Mo-mo 25 August 2009 / 8:22 pm

    I was always intrigued by “Peyton Place” but never got around to reading it.
    Quite scandalous in its day apparently. Would it raise and eyebrow nowdays?

  3. mj 26 August 2009 / 11:35 am

    Kind of embarrassed to admit it … the Clan of the Cave Bear series.

  4. Marion 26 August 2009 / 12:13 pm

    On the Beach scared the hell out of me as a kid. I read it at the time of the Cuban missile crisis and was convinced the world was coming to an end. Ah the perils of the parents bookshelves. I remember our school library had A Town Like Alice and it always fell open to the one vaguely sexy bit where the heroine’s sarong fell away (or something like that). Desperate times.

  5. Michael A 27 August 2009 / 8:27 am

    In my school library the two books on high rotate were “When the Lion Feeds” by Wilbur Smith and “The Magus” by John Fowles, only one of which could really claim any literary merit and both of which had well-thumbed naughty bits.

  6. Philip 27 August 2009 / 8:59 am

    I remember reading books my father got from the library by that master of drivel, Harold Robbins. One of them was “The adventurers” which was based on the life of the famous playboy (and son of a dictator) Portifiro Rubirosa and in one juicy bit a saucy wench delved into the drawers of our well built hero and exclaimed “Already it is too big for both my hands to hold.” Instant feeling of inadequacy ensued.

  7. Lynne 27 August 2009 / 10:22 am

    I think it was page 26 of “The Godfather” that did the rounds when I was 14. Sonny Corleone’s antics with his sister’s bridesmaid if I remember. I can’t repeat the phrase that stuck in our minds like an “engorged pole of muscle”. Ewww.

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