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Linda Se Boekpraatjies

Linda's Bookchat

Sex And The Small Town

Click on book covers to buy
1979 a big year in a small town
Author: Rhona Cameron
Pages: 310
Format: Softcover
Price from R150.95

Those of you who have access to DSTV may have seen Rhona Cameron. Apparently she's made some appearances on Graham Norton and also had her own sitcom on BBC2. I had never heard of her until I was told to read her autobiography. I hadn't particularly wanted to read anyone's autobiography right then, but the woman who recommended it happened to have my hormones in a double twist at the time, so I did what I was told. I then became rather grateful to said object of my affection, because not only did she make my nights more interesting generally, but she introduced me to a fascinating character I would never otherwise have met.

The place referred to in the title is the small fishing town of Musselburgh, Scotland, in which Rhona Cameron grew up. From a young age she felt like an outsider, and would escape into a fantasy world in which she was the hero with a supporting cast of assorted villains and fair maidens who recited comic scripts as they went about their exciting, unsmalltown-like lives. She singles out 1979 as her "big year", because it formed a watershed in her life. During the course of this year, 13-year-old Rhona made some startling discoveries and dealt with some major traumas. These are worth reading in themselves, but what makes the book and its author so endearing, is the self-deprecating humour that runs through it.

There are some hilarious descriptions of her crushes on neighbourhood girls and teachers at her school. So smitten is she with a particular schoolmarm that she spends all her spare time stalking the poor woman, whose every move she chronicles meticulously in a journal kept specifically for that purpose.

Of course all is not fun and hilarity. Underneath many absurd moments lies an undercurrent of pain, as is the case in her descriptions of her juvenile fumblings with the school's tough guy, all done in an attempt to fit in and alleviate her confusion around her sexual identity. Her family are a warm and wacky lot, but there, too, she'd have to face painful loss and learn a harsh life lesson.

I have to admit that I struggled a little at first to get into the book, but as soon as one gets the hang of her unique style, one is swept headlong into the eccentric youngster's intense and colourful inner world. Give it a try, it's something really refreshing and you'll enjoy the photograph of the author too.

Gay man's kama sutra
Author: Terry Sanderson
Pages: 144
Format: Hardcover
Price on R224.95
Lesbian kama sutra
Author: Kat Harding
Pages: 114
Format: Hardcover
Price from Exclusive Books: R249.00

Every time I walk from my office to the front of the shop I pass by the Sex section. And every time I pass this section there is someone who looks up and suddenly pretends to be terribly interested in the Atkins diet or Irritable bowel syndrome for beginners. It's amazing how in sex is. Either people are having a lot more of it than ever before, or they're not getting enough of it, and are determined to remedy that situation, even if it means getting their jollies at lunchtime in a brightly-lit bookshop. Anyway, what I'm trying to get at is that there are stacks of books for heterosexuals on how to do it every which way, but those for us gay people have been few and far between. So there was quite a bit of excitement when Carlton released these two books last year.

I consulted some of my gay male friends on the merits of the first book and they told me that it's fun to have on the bookshelf, though it might not be an exhaustive A to Z of positions or as titillating as, say, Safer sex which was published around eight years or so ago by the Terence Higgins Trust. It takes a holistic look at sex, love and relationships, touching on many aspects of the gay male's lovelife, from dating to how to have satisfying group sex. It's illustrated with colour drawings throughout.

Having a look through the Lesbian equivalent, I came to the conclusion that it definitely does not replace The joy of lesbian sex that was available some years back, because it is not as comprehensive and in depth (pardon the pun). It does cover the basics of dating, love, relationships and sex and could provide especially the young lesbian with affirmation and inspiration.

However, there definitely is still a gap in the market as far as really good sex books for gay people is concerned. If anyone can recommend books that are still in print, please drop me a line - the information would make my girlfriend eternally grateful Ö

LINDA NELL gaan voortaan dikwels Afrikaanse en Engelse boeke aanbeveel. Sy sal skryf in die taal van die boek onder bespreking. Uit haar lewensbesonderhede blyk dit duidelik waarom ek haar gevra het vir so 'n rubriek:
"Ek is gebore in Pretoria, maar het gelukkig snorloos daarvan afgekom. My hoŽrskooljare was een lang soektog na 'n seksuele ontwaking, sonder veel sukses, maar wat anders sou 'n mens verwag van 'n klein dorpie in die Natalse Middelland? Lekker verengels en nog steeds in die kas, ontsnap ek toe na die Groot Stad Durban, waar ek my BA Honneurs verwerf en uit die kas gekruip het. NŠ 'n jaar se nagraadse Selfsoek op Stellenbosch, het ek via die biblioteekwese in die BoekwÍreld beland en in verskeie winkels gewerk, onder andere Wordsworth Gardens en Exclusive Books Bloemfontein. Vandag, tien jaar en 'n paar liefdesteleurstellings later, is ek gelukkig 'getroud', bestuurder van Exclusive Books Tygervallei en woon in Durbanville."

LitNet: 09 February 2005

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