Friday, October 15, 2010

By Alina Adams

I decided that I wanted to work in soaps when I was 10 years old. (That summer of 1980, my two favorite shows were General Hospital... and Lost in Space. So, obviously, I was still transitioning.)

It wasn't until I was 13 that I discovered trashy novels. (My two favorite books that summer were Master of the Game and To Kill a Mockingbird. So, obviously, I was.... something).

Or, as I thought of them: Soaps on Demand.

This was before the the Internet, before Hulu and DVR and (at least in my house) even before VHS (early adapters, my parents were not. They were among the first Jews to leave the Soviet Union for San Francisco, CA, and that was enough pioneering for them, thank you very much.)

Trashy novels to me (especially the multi-generational family saga kind that, fortunately, were huge in the 1980s) were soaps I could enjoy anywhere, anytime, at any pace I liked (and I read fast). Trashy novels weren't limited to an hour a day (during school hours, no less! Where was the fairness in that?). They didn't take frustrating breaks on weekends (if anything, weekends were library time!). And the sex scenes were very... informative.

Back in the 1980s, there were over a dozen soaps on the air. I used to go to sleep at night, repeating the titles to myself alphabetically, the way Soap Opera Digest organized their synopses. Now, we're down to six.

So, as a service to all those mourning the daily dose of melodrama in their lives (I know I am), I offer a list of my all-time favorite family saga trashy novels, in the hope that they might become your Soaps on Demand, too:

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