Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Naughty. I know, lame word, but I can't use bad because it connotes not worth reading; disgusting, same thing; controversial...well, you see the problem. Naughty books simply mean books that cover certain subject matter that people don't want to talk about or even acknowledge they exist. These books are usually very funny and obviously thought provoking, sometimes evoking brutal responses.

The first is a novel that is burning through the bestseller charts all over Europe at present time selling well over one million copies. it's a German novel now translated into English and introduced to North America audiences. WETLANDS by first time author Charlotte Roche. You can watch an interview with her on YouTube. She's a delightful, intelligent, young woman who has that satisfied smile of knowing that she's now a multi-millionaire.

The novel's narrator is a promiscuous 18 year old woman who is fascinated by her body and her many and various sexual encounters. READER DISCRETION ADVISED. Without getting too specific, the narrator of this novel explicitly talks about her vagina, hemorrhoids, bodily fluids, sex acts...well, you get the picture. In Graphic detail! Ms. Roche has received numerous hate mails, and critics are widely divided as to whether this is literature or smut. I haven't read this book---I don't even have it, but I'm following its progress and controversy with keen interest. I really like to see a novel that shakes things up a bit.

101 USES OF A DEAD CAT by Simon Bond. OK. This one really upsets cat lovers. But, come on, doorstop? toilet paper holder? Frisbee? weather vane? pencil sharpener? feather duster? Maybe just a little smile from you?

FINAL EXIT: THE PRACTICALITIES OF SELF-DELIVERANCE AND ASSISTED SUICIDE FOR THE DYING. This huge International bestseller by Derek Humphry had many attempts trying to ban it but to no avail. It came out in 1991. I remember when I bought a copy my wife followed me around everywhere for a week; she had this quizzical look on her face. It's actually a very practical book, as it says. It gives many wise tips for those inclined to check out early. An example is the fact that taking a hand full of pills may very well put you in a coma where you spend your days amassing numerous bed sores instead of checking in at the Pearly Gates. Or, a misaligned gun barrel to your head turns you into a drooling idiot with a hole in your head. Helpful hints! This book should be up there on your kitchen shelf next to 101 Stain Removing Hints, or, 101 Uses of a Dead Cat, for that matter.

STIFF: THE CURIOUS LIVES OF HUMAN CADAVERS by Mary Roach. This is a good book, quite funny at times, and extremely informative and interesting. This was a bestseller, too. Mary Roach explains what happens to dead bodies that have been donated to science. They have numerous and varied uses, to be sure. Along with being used by would-be surgeons for practice, they are used by plastic surgeons to hone their skills(would you like a new nose Mr. Abernathy?), bones are strung together and placed in a lab for anatomy students. Cool! hang around academia with the student body. Cadavers are even used to test seat belts and crash impacts. Yeah, you thought they only used crash test dummies, too---The dummies are only understudies. Some cadavers are just left out in a field---imagine tripping over them! The reason is to monitor and assess the degree of decomposition for forensic science. So anybody can have an exciting life after they die, although the actual excitement for the cadaver is not palpable, as far as we can tell. Interesting book.

There are more books like these, but that will be for another post.

Next: British authors

1 comment:

  1. Naughty books are fun. But calling them naughty follows the mass concensus that any thought out of the norm is taboo social conduct, which in my opinion is wrong. "Naughty" thoughts challenge people's comfort zones and openness to different and I think more of them are needed in our post puritin/victorian world.