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October 17, 2013

Throwback Thursday: Oh Baby You, You Got What I Need

Posted by emily

This week's Throwback Thursday is a little underwhelming in terms of quantity --- but certainly not in terms of content! Everyone gets a little out of their respective comfort zones this week: Nikki's all about sex, Emily's all about romance and Austin's about children's fantasy. Just kidding! We're not out of our comfort zones at all. Join us, once again, for a nostalgic trip down the lanes we know best.

When Thursday rolled around faster than I could believe, coming off the heels of hump day...and Emily announced she was going to write about a romance novel for her #TBT, I jumped on the bandwagon. There are significant differences between romance and erotica genres. I'd argue that 50 SHADES OF GREY straddles both. LITTLE BIRDS by Anaïs Nin is wholeheartedly erotica. Tasteful erotica. We get a variety of erotica books mailed to us in the office. Some good. Some bad. Some delightfully indulgent. Some too extreme for even our very open-minded, liberal minds, hearts and (cough cough) libidos. It's apparent in our blogs, newsletters, tweets and pretty much everything else, that Emily and I are sort of obsessed enamored with dating...and how it works in this social media, Internet-saturated world. I feel comfortable when I speak for the both of us that dating in the digital age is something we're still adjusting to. We even played around with the idea of switching OKCupid! profiles last week. She acts as me, and I would act as her --- sending out and responding to messages as if we were the true owner of the profile. Ultimately, we decided it'd be wrong. Fun for us, but maybe not so fun (or honest, genuine, nice...yada yada yada) for the person on the other end, namely the potential love of one or both of our lives. Can anyone say Catfish? (Editorial note: Emily may or may not be so pleased that I'm sharing our personal, yet shared amorous neuroses --- ooops!) (Update: Emily couldn’t care less. Figures.) Anyway, the point here is that all of these (cough cough) desires for love, affection, companionship...someone to eat brunch with on a Sunday morning...begin at sometime, usually when you're 6 12, 13 or 14 --- yes, you all KNOW what I'm talking about here. LITTLE BIRDS by Anaïs Nin is exceptionally beautiful, and may I add that it is class erotica. It's sensual and downright sexy. I even gave it as a birthday gift to one of my best girlfriends in March. All girls love receiving a gift that she may be embarrassed to buy herself. No worries, here. I'm happy to take the embarrassment for your pleasure. ;)

I will say this about this book. If you read LITTLE BIRDS in public, it may just be the perfect conversation starter and the perfect "how we met" story. Not only does it suggest you are "in touch" with your (cough cough) needs, but you also enjoy great literature.

You never forget your first…romance novel, I mean. Why, what were you thinking? (For the record, I know that that’s the absolute cheesiest way to open a throwback post about romance novel. I KNOW, guys, I know. Anywayzzz,) My first romance novel was Gaelen Foley’s ONE NIGHT OF SIN, and I can still probably draw its cover --- a woman whose heaving bosom is just contained by her satin dress, leaning against a man with the kind of jawline I could fall in love with --- no doubt because I sketched it on the back of every single one of my notebooks in 10th grade. I could go on about the hero, gorgeous and rakish and --- obviously --- emotionally broken Alec Knight, or the heroine who tames him, Becky Ward, who is bold and loving and --- obviously --- in need of Alec’s, like, actual physical protection. But you know how that story plays out. ONE NIGHT OF SIN isn’t particularly unique within its genre, but it was the first book of its kind that I’d ever experienced. And I say “experienced” with everything that implies --- we’re not talking sexual awakening necessarily, but there was certainly a deep emotional investment made. And investing in a story that runs on emotion (if the plot were a train, emotion would be its fuel!) can sometimes (always? am I alone in this?) create a larger-than-life experience for the reader. Despite all that, or maybe because of all that, the best part of reading romance novels was sharing them with my friends. We would all sit on the floor of my bedroom and skip around to the dirty parts, taking turns reading out loud. I mean, come on. We were 15, living in a small town without licenses and only human. You’re not really living until you’ve read in hushed tones about “his throbbing member” and “the tender jewel of her desire” in your parents’ house with a bunch of your closest friends.

If you haven’t read anything by Sir Terry Pratchett (he was knighted in 2009 for “services to literature”), you owe it to yourself to give one of his 30-odd books a try. Getting through them was always a challenge for me; I kept having to stop every two or three pages because I was laughing too hard to see straight. THE AMAZING MAURICE takes the story of the Pied Piper of Hamlet and turns it on its head. A streetwise cat named Maurice runs a gang of magically-enhanced rats and an “idiot kid with a set of pipes” to mastermind a con game on every town they can find. But when they slip into sleepy little Bad Blintz for one last score, things go very, very wrong. There aren’t any rats in Bad Blintz, and Maurice and his friends are about to find out why. Although this book won the Carnegie Medal (that’s the one for kid’s books), I can honesty recommend it to everyone. It has plenty of tongue-in-cheek jokes about fairy tales, mostly delivered by Malicia the mayor’s daughter, who’s very aware she’s participating in a story but terrible at realizing what kind of story it is. The rats also struggle with their new intelligence and tackle some pretty heavy issues about society and human (rodent?) nature. Rat chief Hamnpork claims, “Teeth. Claws. Tail. Run. Hide. Eat. That is what a rat is,” to which another rat argues, “But now we can also say ‘what is a rat.’ And that means we’re more then that.” All in all, typical Pratchett. Hilarious with serious bits stuck in where you least expect them.