House of Stairs
1974 (originally published)
1991 (paperback edition)
I remember this book from when I was a teen and it was pretty cool. I was a fan of those dystopian society/social experiment movies and books. My favorites from that era: Stepford Wives, the original Planet of the Apes, and Soylent Green. I know there wouldn’t be a Hunger Games without these classics paving the way.
I really liked the artwork on previous editions and wish that the publishers hadn’t tried to make it more modern. The late 80s fashion and hair are hardly selling this book in 2017.
Think I will go check Netflix for a few old time sci fi choices.
Submitter: 25 – 30 years ago, my mom sometimes worked a shift at a tiny branch library near our home. The whole family has since moved away, but a few days ago we did a road trip and visited old friends, and we stopped by the lovely new branch library that has replaced the tiny old one. While browsing along the YA shelves, I was stunned to see these books, sad remnants of the entire series that once lived on the shelves. As a kid, I frequently saw these exact volumes and marveled at their ugliness. They were old and hideous then, and were probably largely responsible for my reluctance to read anything Anne-ish. (Jonathan Crombie later changed my mind, and I read them many times over — in new paperback editions!). I can’t BELIEVE these books are still there. Somebody chose to pack them up and move them to the new branch! And clearly, new generations of young readers are still refusing to pick them up, because they aren’t worn out YET.
Holly: Wow! They really should replace these with newly published copies with modern-looking covers. A brand-new, squeaky-clean library branch deserves some shiny new classics. These have what Mary calls “mom stink” on them. Anything mom loved or that looks like it came from mom’s era is an automatic no-go for some kids. Depending on the publication date of these copies, they might be collector’s items! In other words, inappropriate for your basic public library teen collection where they will not be carefully handled.
Submitter: I thought this was an awful book because first, I hate movie adaptation books as a genre; second, it’s SO old and dated—from my high school years—and I was embarrassed to see this movie when it came out (I didn’t, but my friends did); third, the dialogue and photos are just seriously cheesy; and finally, it looks like it might have been for school market distribution through Scholastic, which is just awful. I mean, god speed to the Coreys but they really needed to not make this as a movie, let alone a book.
Holly: Fun fact: A. L. Singer is the pseudonym for Peter Lerangis. I don’t really get the movie adaptation book thing either. Or TV shows, for that matter. God bless capitalism, I guess! If you can make an extra buck on something popular, have at it. This book held up pretty well for a paperback, but that could be because no one has laid hands on it in 20+ years.