Tuesday, August 18, 2020

The SEAL's Rebel Librarian - by Anne Calhoun


August is Read-A-Romance Month, and while I don't read many romances, I do find them to be good escape. I also like to be thematic, so each August I do a bit of summer reading in the genre. Earlier this month I read some LGBTQ YA lit, What If It's Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera, which was a sweet story but, sadly, had no librarian. Therefore, I had no choice but find another romance novel to read, one worthy of this blog. And a funny thing happened when I started to Google "romance novels featuring librarians". The autofill completed my search string with "navy seals" before I could type the word "librarian". I laughed wondering why the algorithm would make such a suggestion for me while also thinking that there really is a reading fetish for everyone (and far be it for me to question someone else's choices). But then a really strange thing happened when I finished my search the way I intended. The list of recommendations included a novel featuring both a librarian and a navy SEAL. It seemed the bibliosphere was trying to tell me something, so I downloaded the book and started reading. 

This is a quick read (a novella) which wastes no time getting to the sex. Librarian Erin recognizes that her affair with student/veteran Jack Powell is not sanctioned by the university. "She was in a leadership role at the college, bound by the same rules governing relationships as a professor or administrator." Nevertheless, after initially rejecting his offer of a drink, she throws caution to the wind and invites him to her place (ostensibly for coffee), and then to one of the group study rooms in the library where Jack actually "shushes" Erin and is sure to tell her that they're "gonna have to be quiet". As if she didn't know.

The sex in this one comes early and often, as such just about every possible word choice is used to describe body parts, and articles of clothing. This was unfortunate for me as I really don't find the words "slacks" or "panties" sexy at all, and each was used quite a few times. Final tally: Panties-9; Slacks-6. 

A little better editing would have been in order, especially since the audience was sure to include some anal-retentive librarians. It was unfortunate for me that I noticed the following inconsistency: prior to Jack and Erin's first sexual encounter, when they met by happenstance at the motorcycle dealer where Erin is about to put down a deposit, she is described as wearing a green turtleneck. However, somehow when they got back to her place and undress he's fumbling with the buttons on her blouse. So which is she wearing a turtleneck or a button-down blouse? So distracting.

The most off-putting thing for me though was the use of the word "pussies" to describe those who ride certain models of motorcycles that are not perceived to be as macho as other models. I frankly almost stopped reading when I got to that part. Anyone who is so uncomfortable in his own masculinity that he would resort to this kind of name calling will never find himself between the stacks with this librarian.

Monday, August 17, 2020

Move Over Meatloaf

What's the anthem of our generation doing on a Library Books blog post? Helping us to introduce a new sex analogy, that's what!

In honor of Read-a-Romance Month my husband of 33 years and I decided to create a new sex metaphor using books and reading rather than baseball. The following literary alternative rejects the popular (hetero) male-centric analogy represented in the music video. It is presented here in a librarian-friendly alphabetical format, rather than a linear setup because sex doesn't always follow a simple path. We may do some things sometimes and not others. Certain acts may be reserved for special circumstances or partners. And we may take a circuitous route, or start and stop and start again before we know it's right. For all these reasons literary analogies have much more to offer than the tired old four-bag sequence of America's second-favorite pastime. 

This list demonstrates anticipation, frustration, excitement, pleasure (and of course climax) among many other emotional states.

Acknowledgements: After the deed is done, thank yous all around.

Author Photo: Profile Picture (which perhaps flatters the subject just a bit) (See also Cover Art).

Book Review: Bragging and exaggerating after the fact.

Bookmark: To be used when the act is interrupted at any stage; we may have a chance to come back to it (or not) once the baby is fed, the phone is answered, or the dog is let out.

Cliff's Notes: Speed dating.

Comfort Read: The one you know will always there waiting to make you feel good (See also Reread).

Cover Art: The dating profile (let's face it, we do judge a book by its cover). (See also Author Photo).

Dedication: To the One I Love.

Epilogue: Was there a call back, a second, third, fourth date? Did they live happily ever after?

First fifty pages: The point at which you can decide to continue or give up (according to the librarian's librarian Nancy Pearl) and remember, if you are over 50 years old you can subtract one page for each year. Also there is really nothing magical about 50 pages. Consent can be revoked at any time.

Footnotes or citations: Giving credit to things you learned elsewhere.

Foreword: Foreplay.

Introduction: First date.

Index: Where was that spot?

Preface: Any of a number of activities that can be undertaken as a prelude to passion. 

Prequel: When you got it right the second time around (See also Sequel or series).

Reread: Falling back on an old favorite (See also Comfort Read).

Second (third, fourth, etc.) editions: After a bit of time we gain some perspective.

Sequels or series: The ones you can't get enough of (and how about all those things we read while we wait for the next installment?) (See also Prequel).

Signed copies: A good memory of a magical encounter - you know you will probably never meet again but you've been provided some masturbation fodder for a long time to come.

Teaser: When you think there is more to come, but sadly discover that it is just a preview of the next novel. 

The End: Finishing - it doesn't count unless all parties involved get there.

Blogger (left) pictured here with Nancy Pearl

Straight Up (the movie)

When gay OCD Todd (James Sweeney) begins straightening out some mis-ordered books in the college library Rory (Katie Findlay) understandably assumes he works there. The two strike up a conversation and begin dating as Todd explores his hetero side. Well matched intellectually, neither is particularly interested in having sex.  

 An unexpectedly sweet love story.