DR. RUTH (AND THE LOVE OF LITERATURE)

DR. RUTH (AND SOME VALENTINE'S LITERATURE) There is no denying that I love stories and storytelling.  In various and changing stages of my life, I have transformed from an obsessed to a simply avid reader, and everything in between.

These days, I have to admit that I have a hard time staying awake long enough to get through all the books on my nightstand, as some nights I seem to fall asleep before six-year-old Maggie.

Over the years, and as my love for reading grew, I developed numerous ways of moving through literature:

Choosing an author and reading everything: Hermann Hesse, Zora Neale Hurston, Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, Mary Renault, Steven King (the early works)…

Finding a theme and following it through: Good Business (Paul Hawken, Bill McKibben, Samuel Mockbee…), Classics (Homer, Chaucer, Dante, Shakespeare), The Nature of Love (D.H. Lawrence, Laurence Durrell, and Marquis De Sade), Southern Short Stories (Harry Crews, Eudora Welty, Tennessee Williams, George Dawes Green)…

Genres, and subgenres: pioneer, mystery/thrillers, vampire, Southern gothic, cookbooks, and, yes, erotica.

Last week, I was on the phone with my dear friend Lisa who talking about Dr. Ruth and organizing a book reading with the famed doctor in the mattress section of a well-known store.  Genius.

Dr. Ruth was suddenly on my radar and, in the process, I discovered her Twitter account (follow Dr. Ruth; you will thank me). So, as one thing leads to another on the internet, I follow one of the links to the video below, which brings me back to literature, specifically erotica:

I started pretty early in my reading life with classics like Lady Chatterley’s Lover, The Story of O, and afterward moved seamlessly from De Sade to Anaïs Nin, from the (rather boring) Memoirs of Fanny Hill by John Cleland (I prefer Erica Jong’s version) to Anne Rice’s (trashy) Sleeping Beauty series, written under the pseudonym of A. N. Roquelaure.

So, I admit that when the Fifty Shades Series arrived on my radar, I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. Many women today are reading this series openly. I see school moms posting about the characters on Facebook and little old ladies sitting in coffee shops with the book proudly lying open beside their tea.  So while I am thankful that erotica has found its way out-of-the-closet, I found the series (ahem) not as engaging as some of the classic tomes from my earlier days; however, I ADORE Dr. Ruth’s take:

All of this in a round-about-way to say Happy Valentine’s Month ahead of us. Here’s to a bit of literature (erotic or otherwise)–perhaps read aloud to a loved one.

These days, I mostly enjoy Ivy and Bean, recited aloud by my budding reader (if I can stay awake long enough).

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