So, here are some of the trashy books I like, and have been avoiding writing about.
Twilight series, Stephanie Meyer
Why it's trashy: unbridled sentimentality.
In the Twilight universe, emotion is king. This is the world of Romeo and Juliet; a world where feelings run SO DEEP that the characters cannot possibly be expected to control them, or any behaviors caused by their feelings. Everyone is riding this wave of emotion, and can but watch as it crashes to an (apparently inevitable) conclusion. This is a book for the 12-year-old girl in us. If you don't have a 12-year-old girl inside, you should probably skip it and move on.
Southern Vampire series (Sookie Stackhouse), Charlaine Harris
Why it's trashy: The Cult of the Whim
Apparently the motto here is "I felt like it, so I did it." Sookie's world is full of fun things to respond to: a rich world of fantasy beings, mostly embodied by Appealing Men. There's a lot of reacting, and hardly any reasoning - kindof like a soap opera, or Grey's Anatomy. I found that I ended up having VERY strong feelings about what I wanted to happen. It's a fun ride.
Hollows series, Kim Harrison
Why it's trashy: "I had to do it"
Rachel Morgan is constantly bombarded by crazy circumstances, which give her a good (?) reason for some fairly wild behavior. The magic vampire powers made her do it, of course. Otherwise, she would never.
Stephanie Plum series, Janet Evanovich
Why it's trashy: Totally over-the-top
Realistic? What fun is that? The Stephanie plum books have unrealistic characters, unrealistic plots, unrealistic explosions and of course, unrealistic relationships. It's like...a badly-written-but-still-funny action/comedy/romance. I mean, what's not to like?
And here is some reading that other people mentioned:
R.A. Salvatore (trash for dudes, you guys)
Fan fiction (I'm fully prepared to group all Star Wars and Star Trek books into this category.)
Children's books (I don't really think this qualifies as trash, but people kept mentioning it.)
And the NUMBER ONE trashy read, the MOST-MENTIONED item: People magazine. That's right: lots of people love it, and lots of them feel the need to apologize for it.
Well, no one needs to apologize to me - in fact, I'd love to hear more of your guilty reading pleasures!