Monday, April 16, 2007

Sex and Lies

Man, I'm some sort of glutton for punishment. I hated Girl Meets God so much that I ran out and got Lauren Winner's other book. Real Sex: The Naked Truth about Chastity. Now I know a lot about how a good Christian practices chastity (as distinguished from celibacy). It was a different, less offensive kind of frustration from the last book, though. She's still kind of obnoxious in the way she "admits" her own flaws in the most self-righteous way I've ever heard. But the really bizarre thing is how many things I agree with her on. I agree that sex is important and shapes who we are as people, and therefore it's important to have an ethical code around our sexual behavior. Then she starts talking about St. Paul, and she loses me. I'm pretty sure Paul kind of hated women and resented our existence. I don't want to take my sexual ethics from him, thanks.

What else have we? The Penelopiad, by Margaret Atwood. Short and kind of easy to read, but a wry retelling of the story of Odysseus from the point of view of the waiting Penelope, and a chorus of her handmaidens, who were killed by Odysseus when he returned to Ithaca.

And I'm finally reading The Time Traveller's Wife. I'm really enjoying it; one of the main themes is about finding joy in the happy moments of a difficult life, which is something I struggle with myself. It's an intense book, about someone who lives an intense life, but is trying not to. I was turned off for a long time by an anecdote someone told me about a certain sex scene, but it was not really as troubling as I was expecting. I was slowed down again, though, when I tried it on audiobook first. One of the first scenes in the book is a sex scene, not particularly graphic, but somewhat intimate. Those are tricky on audiobook, and when the scene is at the beginning of the story, before you really know the characters, it feels awfully voyeuristic.

This time, though, I got past it, and it got all thrilling and tough and awesome. I'd say you should go read it, but I'm pretty sure at this point I'm the last person (woman, anyway) in the United States who hasn't read it yet. So you probably already have.

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