SEX: What a novel idea….

Sex: My love affair with Romance Novels

I read. A lot. I am fairly embarrassed to admit that I have read over 50 books in the last 6 months. Please, don’t applaud me for my voracious appetite of the written word. And, please whatever you do, do not search for my Goodreads profile. That shit is downright shameful and embarrassing. I would say that at least 90%, oh who am I kidding, 98% of the crap I read is romance…not that there is anything inherently wrong with that. In fact, my grandma is a romance writer. Yep, she writes the smut. I read the smut. Not her smut, mind you…I think there is a line there that I am not willing to cross. I may picture her in the scenes, or hear her voice as the narrator, it’s all too much.

Admittedly, my affair with romance novels started with 50 Shades of Grey. I tagged along on one of my husband’s business trips to San Diego and was looking for something to read on the plane. I had heard murmurings of the book and how it had been dubbed “mommy porn”. I am a mom, I could like porn. SOLD! I finished all three books in 3 days. My husband went out and bought me an E-reader. I think the reader was a good move. I am willing to admit that I don’t have enough chutzpa to walk into a brick and mortar store, smelling of coffee and sophistication, and purchase Rock Me: Sex Gods on Tour. I can’t do it. I also have a difficult time not blushing when buying condoms, lube or a pregnancy test. Some things are just better left to anonymity.

As it stands, I am an equal opportunity reader. I have read sweet romances, high school romance, college romance, hard core “romance”, rocker romance, BDSM, billionaire dominance romance…lets just say there are many genres in the romance category. I will say that I prefer the ones that include deep love and devotion. I am not into the dominant/subordinate relationships, they make me uncomfortable. I mean, to each their own.  I have read plenty of them, they just aren’t my favorite.

There has only been one book that made me so uncomfortable that I wanted to put it in the freezer. I got two chapters in and had to put the book down, I literally felt ill. My mind felt guilty for even reading the words on the page. Ok, ok, I will let you know what book it was- I know you are all wondering now. Perverts.

In the 80’s, Anne Rice wrote The Sleeping Beauty Trilogy under the pseudonym A.N. Roquleaure. The trilogy is about a woman, Beauty, whom was awoken by a handsome prince raping her and placing her into a kingdom of sex slavery. There is your one sentence synopsis. That should be enough. Excuse me while I go take a hot shower, I feel dirty.

Here are a few actual reviews of this book on Goodreads:

“I want to bleach my brain after reading this.”

“What in the name of Holy Mother was that????”

“200 pages of rape and sadism and degradation.”

“WHAT. THE FUCK. No. NO! NONONONONO.”

And my favorite, “I got this in a boxed set one Christmas from my GRANDMOTHER!”  Apparently, her grandmother knew she liked fairy tale adaptations and bought her the series. I almost spit my coffee out when I read that review.

Ah, the wonderful world of romance. And to think, my grandmother started the Romance Writers of America. Yep, it’s that kind of passion that keeps our family interesting, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Oh, remember Fabio? He seemed to be gracing the cover of every romance book in the 80’s? Well, my grandma met him and he asked her, no joke, “would you like to pat my butt?” That story makes me smile. Every. Single. Time.

xoxo

Fabio.

Yep. That guy.

 

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Not Wild about Wild

I can be a fairly voracious reader, mostly of crap books. In efforts to broaden my reading horizons (ie; read something other than smut) I have been yearning to start a book club for a least a year or two. However, anyone who knows me understands that I am more of an “idea person”, and not so much a “follow through” kind of lady. This drives my husband INSANE, as he refuses to start a project with me unless he gets a signed promise of completion in advance. It really is that bad. I lose focus, I lose energy and I usually just want a nap.

BUT last month, I STARTED A BOOK CLUB! For real. We have a name (Boozy Bookworms), members, a book and even deadlines! You gotta love Facebook. There is a button that says “Start a Group”. It could literally not get any easier. Click to add some friends, find an appropriately irreverent yet classy picture, welcome everyone, and pick a group name. Voila! Book Club started. Now, for the arduous task of picking a likeable, yet thought provoking book that not everyone has read, but that has come highly recommended…

Wild, by Cheryl Strayed

WILD, by Cheryl Strayed.

These are the actual Facebook reviews for WILD from real-life friends:

“Wild was really good. A little different because it wasn’t fiction.”

“I read Wild and it was really good. Definitely a must read!”

I am sure there were a couple more reviews, but I can’t seem to find them. Anyways, the point: The response was overwhelmingly in favor for WILD. Hell, even Oprah recommend this book.

OK! Let’s get our read on!

Yikes. A few days in and a couple BB’s have already given up, citing Cheryl as “whiney and annoying”. A couple more ladies are still reading but not entirely enjoying our first selection. At this point I have yet to read it, but to my credit, it had been downloaded onto my Nook. Don’t worry; I am not bailing on my own group. I will read the damn book, it was sort of my suggestion.

2 days until book club, I am about a quarter of the way through and decide its go time:

Man, this book is seriously all about hiking. I don’t care about hiking. If I had a mental break down, heroin and hiking would not be my solution. I don’t think I can relate at all. Wait, she legally changed her last name to Strayed? I wonder what I would change my last name to. We had considered Awesome. (Have you met the Awesomes? I still think that would have been cool) She brought a dozen condoms with her on the trail…that’s a lot of (literally) dirty sex. Oh, shit, she got rid of the condoms; they were unnecessary and weighing down her backpack. I guess there will be no love story. More hiking. Damn, if my feet hurt that bad, I think I would quit. I don’t want to lose 6 toenails. Another night with no dinner? I guess dried tuna flakes would lose their appeal pretty quickly, but I am pretty confident that I could eat ramen for a while. I would have to carry Tabasco with me in my pack. That could be heavy, I would have to omit something else…maybe a couple books? But then she burned the parts she had read and made a little fire every night. I wish they had had Nooks in the early nineties; she would have saved some serious weight. But, then she would have had to carry solar chargers and such. Oh, well, then she could have tweeted about it or Instagramed the sunsets. I wonder if there is cell reception out there? I wonder if I could have hiked 1100 miles without a cell phone? Kind of makes hikers now sound like wimps with their GPS and fancy devices. Can anyone even follow a guidebook map anymore? I don’t think I could. That damn bear would have eaten me, only if I didn’t die of fright first when hundreds of black frogs attacked me while I was sleeping by the pond. That might have done me in. Fucking frogs. She sure hitchhikes a lot. When do we get to the part where someone kidnaps her? Or assaults her? I don’t wish her harm, but she is alone in the middle of nowhere…anything can happen. She doesn’t have a gun. I am not really pro-gun, but by myself in the wilderness? I think I would reconsider my stance on firearms. Is she going to sleep with Doug? A handsome young lad hiking along the PCT? Sounds like a love affair under the stars…she saved one condom. Is it for him? No? Never? Oh, ok. I really thought that was going to happen. More hiking. More hiking. Finally has sex with some dude that she just met at a bar…after he takes her back to his tent on an organic farm that he helps at in exchange for a free place to live. Makes sense. At least he doesn’t do heroin. More hiking. Reaches destination and sums up the rest of her life in 3 sentences. Seriously?? That’s it? I get 200 pages of hiking information, and just three sentences about what happens after her 4 month spirit quest in the middle of nowhere? Alright. The end.

A friend offered to host our first Boozy Bookworms discussion group and cocktail gathering. Damn, this woman out did herself. We had wine glass shaped cookies, a charcuterie spread, and even a gorgeous aqua-blue vodka cocktail, reminiscent of the Crater Lake in the book with the crystal clear blue water. Her husband had even set out little bottles of tequila and Jack just in case we were into shots that evening. Maybe next time! That’s an interesting idea; a book club drinking game…then it would need to become a book club and sleep over.

The verdict: None of us where overwhelmed with WILD. We found it interesting, but not earth shattering. It did open up a great dialogue about what we would do or where we would go to start over- no husbands, no kids, and very little money. I said Europe. A friend said Maine, and then reconsidered the fact that she doesn’t like seafood. One woman said England, and another said a cabin in the woods somewhere. All decent ideas…but no one said “Hike the Pacific Crest Trail”. No one. That was intense.

Until next month, happy reading!

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