Paperback Purgatory: Introduction

pw cooper

I had a thought the other day. I was thinking about the films of Ed Wood when it crossed my mind that there was no such thing as a “so-bad-it’s-good” book because… something. I don’t really remember what my reasoning was, but it was clearly wrong. There’s enough terrible fiction in the world to keep one amused for several lifetimes. The trick is to find the right awful books…

There’s a certain kind of book that seems to only ever come out in paperback. Trashy books, the sort you find next to the tabloids in crummy drug stores, or molding, perhaps, in your Aunt Delilah’s basement. Maybe left in a soggy cardboard box on the side of the road. The cover is usually some variation of this image: a bare-chested Fabio-types lounges in a field, a busty lady in period dress draping herself all over him. The cover and the…

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