Thursday, October 04, 2007


Booking Through Thursday

Do you have “issues” with too much profanity or overly explicit (ahem) “romantic” scenes in books? Or do you take them in stride? Have issues like these ever caused you to close a book? Or do you go looking for more exactly like them? (grin)

Well, certainly, when I was younger, those scenes were the sole raison d'etre for many of the books that made their way through our hands. We weren't reading Kathleen Woodiwiss and the like in Latin class and on the band bus for anything but such nonsense. And while there certainly was much more to The Godfather than sex, I skipped all the parts that weren't (except for the notorious horse head in the bed scene).

Such was my youth.

But these days, I don't have the interest in or the patience for that kind of writing. I didn't have a problem with Sons and Lovers, but I am curious if I'll reach a point with D.H. Lawrence where I'll start cringing or skipping or--shades of The Bridges of Madison County--reading it aloud to mock it (surely not).

Profanity in books bothers me not at all.

Way back in college, in a writing class, I wrote up to a bedroom scene, skipped a line, and continued after the fact. My classmates--a dirty-minded lot--were united in insisting that I include the damned sex scene in the rewrite. So I did. The protagonist, a guy who regularly wore a Superman T-shirt, couldn't get it up.

I'll take character development over a gratuitous sex scene any day of the week.


  1. "Ill take character development over a gratuitous sex scene any day of the week."


  2. I'll be waiting with bated breath to see what you have to say about D.H. Lawrence - Lady C. certainly makes me cringe! Are you going to read that one?

  3. Yes. I bought a copy this summer (and I love its opening paragraph). I'm going to read The Rainbow and Women and Love first, though.

  4. I've just started to read Sons and Lovers - no cringe worthy bits yet. I read Women in Love years ago and as I remember it, I had no problem with it. I did like the film with Glenda Jackson and Alan Bates.

  5. That's good to hear. I want my previous Lawrence aversion to continue to be proved wrong!

  6. Anonymous1:55 PM

    lol, like you I read many books during my early teens FOR the steamy romance scenes. I remember reading "coffe, tea, or me" when I was about twelve and realizing what type of novel it was.

  7. Anonymous2:56 PM

    I'm sure I read books like that as a teen for the same reason. I don't search them out these days, but if there are ahem...scenes...I don't really think much of them. Unless of course they are badly written and then it mostly just embarrasses me. Bad language does bother me, though honestly I haven't noticed it much in the books I've been reading lately. I'd rather have a good story and well constructed characters, too! I need to get going on The Rainbow as well....

  8. I do seem to remember that the chief rationale for Kathleen Woodiwiss was the sex scenes. I generally only reject violence and gore on the page, although there have been times when I rolled my eyes over a gratuitous sex scene. I like things either mild or tantalizing in print.

  9. I remember working as a public library page when I was in high school. All the pages were passing around a book, worn open to one scene. I think we did a giggling read aloud during the lunch break. "You lick it, just like a popsicle," is all I can remember. The shock. My troubled innocence. Of course, the hardest hitting and most memorable book I read in high school was Clockwork Orange. Nothing would have been left of that one if a censor had gotten at it but today you can see much worse "ultra violence" in any movie theatre.

    What does it all mean? Nothing. It's the way society is drifting at the moment, just beyond the end of a pendulum swing and already heading back to a more conservative position?

  10. Anonymous6:25 AM

    Kids getting exposed to it bothers me a lot. Nowadays books for children as young as 13 have implied sex scenes!

  11. I did go through a phase in my teens where I read every Harlequin romance under the sun. Even then I wondered why the authors couldn't call the various intimiate body parts by their real names instead of giving them cute nicknames . . . And truth be told, I prefered the romance novels that included a mystery. Without it, they bored me. And In my late teens and into my twenties, I stopped wanting to read the sex scenes. I found them boring, and so I started skimming them to get to the good parts.

    Only in recent years have I started reading the sex scenes again, able to appreciate them for what they are. I don't care for gratuitous sex at all, but otherwise, I'm fine with it.


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