Tomorrow night, I will be meeting the author Linda Jaivin. Being utterly unfamiliar with her work, I thought it best to seek some out.
Only when I got to the library did I realize that the novel of hers that is available there, Eat Me, is erotic fiction. I thought perhaps the “CLASSIC EROTIC BESTSELLER” proclamation and bright pink, embossed cover (bringing to mind the phrase “pink bits”) was just for show, but flicking through the novel quickly a few indicative words jumped out at me.
Checking it out, I felt like the librarian was judging me. “This is a girl who looks for sex in novels!”, she must have been thinking. I wonder – is telling people you’ve been reading erotic fiction akin to telling people you just watched porn?
Don’t get me wrong – from the first few pages, the quality of writing seems very high. I don’t mean to infer that erotic literature is all trashy in the same way that porn is. The link between porn and erotic literature is perhaps in the reasons we seek it out. Sex for entertainment value? Is it curiosity, fantasy-fulfillment?
Maybe it’s got something to do with the people I discuss reading with. I don’t recall anyone ever telling me they’d just read a really good piece of erotic fiction. Yet I don’t recall ever really telling anyone the same thing either. This is probably because I haven’t really read any – with the exception of The Bride Stripped Bare, which is admirable not just for the story but for (*ahem*) pulling off a second person perspective so successfully. I own a copy of Story of O, but haven’t gotten around to reading it. I wonder whether I’d tell people it’s good in the same way I did with The Bride Stripped Bare, since it’s well known as an “erotic novel”, and is a bit taboo in a way that The Bride Stripped Bare was not.
Checking out this book today felt like the first time I bought condoms. So do we all read erotic literature and not talk about it? Is it a bit of a taboo? Or is this just a genre I haven’t discovered?
I’m 21 pages into Eat Me and feeling less shamed about checking it out – turns out it’s fairly humorous. Even so, the librarian probably doesn’t know that. Questions about porn and erotica still stand.