Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Erotic Fiction Can Spice Up Book Clubs; the Many Shades of Literary Groups

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Erotic Fiction Can Spice Up Book Clubs; the Many Shades of Literary Groups

Article excerpt

Byline: Arifa Akbar

EVERY book club has its own rules of engagement. I was briefly in one where everyone was single and never even bothered to buy the book they were supposed to have read.

So I joined a awomen onlya one, thinking that, rather like single-sex schools, there would be no distraction from the task at hand. Husbands and boyfriends had to leave the premises and male authors got a rough ride, but it worked well otherwise.

That was then, in those pre-lapsarian days before 50 Shades of Grey kick-started our obsession with literary erotica.

The E L James ripple effect has seen a flourishing of book clubs that specialise in smut, from the Erotic Book Club set up three years ago in East Londonas The BA[paragraph]kship bookshop to various other proliferations.

Where the sexual tension used to reside below surface, between members of a traditional reading group, this dynamic has shifted so that the sexual frisson comes from within the pages of the book itself.

There is also the emergence of hybrid book clubs and cabarets where performance, sexual titillation and literature combine.

Most recently, a gay literary salon called Naked Boys Reading saw men doing just that in front of an audience.

The Facebook page for the event at the end of November pledged that aour boys will unwrap their packages while youare listening to some bookish treatsa.

With or without the cabaret act, these clubs are easy to mock. After all, how long can a discussion last on which sex scene was most sublimely crafted?

And do the people who attend resemble the kind of women who turned up to E L Jamesas first public reading in London this year, looking like leopard-skin clad escapees from a hen party, or are they more like the jurors of the Literary Reviewas Bad Sex Awards a sneering public-school types who are impossible to please? …

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