Karen Valby
September 12, 2008 AT 04:00 AM EDT

This goes out to all the ladies out there who are sick of feeling guilty about reading for…pleasure. I keep some froth on my bookshelves, wedged between my Joan Didions and Philip Roths. Every reader should. When I say froth, you know what I mean: glittery novels dressed up in slick covers, the literary equivalent of tiny dogs in sequined sweaters. But just because a girl has a taste for trash doesn’t mean she is without standards. I want great sex scenes, not ones that make me retch or roll my eyes. I want characters with more depth than paper dolls. I want to read authors who seem like they’re actually having fun, not just cynically cranking out schlock. And I know you want all those things too — so every month or so, in this column, I’m going to help you indulge yourself…

Sex and the City author Candace Bushnell has long sat preening in the high-end dessert aisle of literature. Her latest novel, One Fifth Avenue, about a tony Manhattan co-op building and the scheming and dreaming residents who call it home, is all things an escapist read should be: quick and wicked and wry. There’s a blown-out bitch to root against, a star-crossed couple to root for, and a Tim Gunn-style best friend who deserves his own book. Great, guiltless fun.

I’ll be back soon to recommend some more sugar. But now here are my plans for the evening: I’ve got the latest E. Lynn Harris novel and half a bottle of red and I’m not coming up for air until I’ve made it through both.

Don’t judge me.

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