Tag Archives: sex

I Did It All For The Nookietown

We like to have fun at my branch. For instance, when we found out a coworker hates Tori Spelling, we ordered him a ton of her books. Sometimes we’ll just put a book aside if we think the cover is funny. When Nookietown by V.C. Chickering was returned at our branch, a coworker put it on my shelf, thinking I’d get a kick out of the cover.

Nookietown

Yet another unrealistic expectation for men.

Laughing, I decided to read the inside cover:

Recently divorced forty-something single mom Lucy is lonely, a little antsy, and craving physical connection. Then the unthinkable happens:  Her trusted, long-married friend Nancy begs Lucy to sleep with her husband … to save her marriage. The plan is outlandish, scandalous, and, to everyone’s astonishment, works like a charm—it’s a win-win-win.  Soon the two women develop an underground barter system whereby Nancy’s local married friends subcontract Lucy’s horny divorcée friends to sleep with their sex-starved husbands so the wives don’t have to as often.  It’s a foolproof system for a while. Until feelings get hurt, loyalties are tested, and boundaries are crossed.

Warning: There’s a lot of sex in Nookietown. If you’re a time-travelling Puritan or you’re on the Internet for the first time for Rumspringa, skip to the end to see a video of how to wrap a cat for Christmas.

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“If you’re still with me, gaze into my baby blues and read on.”

My interests resoundingly piqued from the synopsis, I read and enjoyed Chickering’s debut novel a lot more than I expected. With a sex scene just about every ten pages, Nookietown often skews toward camp, but that only adds to the charm of the novel. Some scenes and dialogue wouldn’t feel out of place in a Russ Meyer film. One of Lucy’s friends recounts her sexual conquest with a UPS worker—including all the eye-rolling “package size” innuendos you can think of. One friend is referred to as “Miss Boobs-the-Size-of-Rhode-Island.” At a sex-toy party, dildos are compared to Greek obelisks. There’s a scene involving a turkey baster and condom filled with spent sperm. Lucy even acknowledges the “campy-funny” nature of a scene as she’s throwing shoes at one of her friends in a Target.

Camp aside, these divorced women are very much in control of their sex lives and the wives call the shots when it’s time for the divorcées to bed their husbands. If I were a woman (I’m not; I just checked), I’d consider this an empowering novel. Chronically-horny Lucy even says that all the newly found sex makes her feel “informed and powerful.” I don’t think Chickering was trying to solve marriage with Nookietown, but she definitely illuminates some common problems with marriage as an institution. Then again, I had some terrific wedding soup for lunch the other day, so I’m not prepared to Google divorce rates or infidelity or anything like that.

There were some things that didn’t work for me. Lucy, constantly second-guessing her choices, comes across as wishy-washy. On at least three separate occasions with near-identical wording, she remarks that when a man says he’s sarcastic in an online dating profile what he really means is he’s a “verbally abusive bully.” Speaking of online dating, there’s a scene where Lucy is a little drunk on tequila and goes through all the profiles of the men who have sent her messages and completely berates them to herself for their grammatical errors or for posing without a shirt (“It’s not that we aren’t intrigued by your comely physique; we just want to be assured that you own a shirt.”). While Lucy’s concerns are legitimate, it’s a scene that goes on for way too long.

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“When you’re this hairless, you don’t got to worry about grammar none. Now help me count my six-pack.”

Even though some things didn’t work for me, it’s not like the book was ruined. I needed a lighthearted break after reading S.J. Watson’s Before I Go to Sleep and I enjoy reading outside my comfort zone so this book was perfect. Often funny and sometimes heartfelt, sexy and nerdy (references to Mel Brooks and the Coen Brothers abound) with just the right amount of smut, Nookietown is the kind of novel I’d have loved as a teenager and enjoyed as an adult, despite not being the novel’s intended audience.

Now, welcome back, time-traveling friends! Here’s that video I promised:

Have you read Nookietown? How did you figure out time travel? Let me know in the comments below!

–Ross

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Are You There, Reader?

Graphic courtesy of the American Library Association.

Graphic courtesy of the American Library Association.

My feeling in the beginning was wait, this is America: we don’t have censorship, we have, you know, freedom to read, freedom to write, freedom of the press, we don’t do this, we don’t ban books. But then they did.

Judy Blume, The Guardian (July 2014)

I read Forever by Judy Blume in the 6th grade. (Incidentally, that’s the same year I discovered the Flowers in the Attic series. I’m eternally grateful that I read Forever first; who knows what I would have thought of sex otherwise.) Of course I passed it along to my friends. One friend in particular kept getting “caught” with it (seriously, worst hider ever.) Her mother returned it to me twice. She told me if I gave it to her daughter again, she’d tell my mom. And I was like, “Lady, who do you think gave it to me?”

She wasn’t the first friend not allowed to hang out with me and she wouldn’t be the last.

Forever

Written in 1975, Forever is the very real, very intimate love story of high school students, Katherine and Michael. They meet at a party and rapidly fall in love. Can their love last? (Of course not, they are 17.) It was written at the request of her teenage daughter, Randy.  Blume says, “She was reading all these books, where a girl succumbed [to sex], she would be punished, sometimes she would die. And Randy said, ‘Couldn’t there ever be a book where two nice kids do it and nobody has to die?'”

Michael and Katherine “do it” and no one dies!

WOW, does that make people angry! Forever is Blume’s most banned/challenged book (and this is the lady that wrote Are You There God, It’s Me, Margaret? and Deenie!)

Here are a few of the reasons why:

  • Frequency of sexual activity and sexual descriptions
  • Use of “four-letter” words
  • Does not promote abstinence
  • Does not promote monogamous relationships
  • Demoralized marital sex
  • Disobedience to parents is shown
  • Talks about masturbation
  • Talks about birth control
  • Sexuality
  • Lack of moral tone
  • Sexual passages inappropriate for young people

So. I guess it’s the sex. Thankfully for every censorious jerk, there are a million women who were educated and touched by her books. And a lot of those women became librarians, who write letters. Get your Kleenex.

Amanda Palmer wrote a song about Judy Blume!

Now go read something sexy!

suzy

 

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Sports, Sex, and Crunching Numbers

In this information age, you might feel deluged with factoids, survey results, statistics, and countless other tidbits that you don’t know what to do with.  But in the following two books, four authors (and teams of assistants) have done massive amounts of research, a great deal of data mining, and a bunch of number crunching.  So you just get the fun part of reading their findings, speculations, and conclusions about two of the most fascinating subjects imaginable: sports and sex.

Moskowitz, Tobias J. and L. Jon Wertheim

Scorecasting: the Hidden Influences Behind How Sports are Played and Games are Won

After reading this book, I think football teams waste too much money on first-round draft picks, I don’t think icing the kicker is so clever, and I have newfound respect for Bill Belichick’s strategy of often going for it on 4th down.  Rest assured, it also covers other sports: baseball, basketball, golf, etc.  My rational side loved seeing the mathematical undoing of the shibboleths of sports radio hosts and players and coaches at press conferences.  Finally, I can’t help mentioning the annoying cover blurb where the self-aggrandizing co-author of Freakonomics praises this book because it resembles Freakonomics.

Ogas, Ogi and Sai Gaddam

A Billion Wicked Thoughts: What the World’s Largest Experiment Reveals About Human Desire

The subtitle is a little misleading because it’s not really an “experiment.”  Ogas and Gaddam tried to avoid the pitfall of most sexual behavior studies whose subjects typically are young, white, well-off, college students.  Instead, they mined immense amounts of data from Internet users’ searches, preferences, habits, interests, purchases, etc.  (Don’t worry, it was anonymous.)  They combined this with an impressive review of previous research as demonstrated by the enormous bibliography.  As with many other studies, the results both accentuated differences in men and women yet at the same time recognized the enormous spectrum of desire and sexual behavior for all people, whatever their gender, age, or orientation.  I would have liked to see more emphasis on cultural differences, though, because while the Internet is indeed worldwide, its user base still skews toward well-off, college educated people.

What are some of your billions of thoughts about books and studies that try to apply scientific rigor to human behavior and recreation?

— Tim

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Let’s (Not) Have Sax

The world of music is full of bad puns (e.g., “going for baroque!” “can you Handel it?” etc.).

Saxophonists seem to be the worst offenders.  Specifically, they can’t resist substituting sax and sex. If you want to indulge them…

  • You can read Paquito D’Rivera’s autobiography “My Sax Life” (also, notice its original title in Spanish, “Mi Vida Saxual”).
  • Or listen to Kim Waters’ “Sax Appeal” or “Sweet and Saxy.”
  • The Fairer Sax, a female saxophone quartet, might tickle your fancy.
  • Your plans for the evening perhaps involve dimming the lights and spinning an LP titled “The Night was Made For… Sax” by Gene Casciola (a graduate of Pittsburgh’s Duquesne University).
  • Reminisce about our libidinous former president with the Capitol Steps’ “The Joy of Sax.”
  • Crank up your “Sax Drive,” not with some pills purchased from an ad in the back of a magazine, but with some saxophone concertos.
  • You can have “Sax on the Beach” with John Tesh but I understand if you don’t want to.
  • And if you decide to have “Sax by the Fire” with John Tesh, don’t get burned!
  • Finally, you can “Have Yourself a Saxy Little Christmas” if you want to make Santa and Jesus cringe.

If you can add to the list, please let us know!  If you’re a saxophonist, please take a cold shower before you continue this trend.

– Tim

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