Thursday, April 17, 2008

What I'm Reading

It's been a while since I've done one of these and Go-To Girl's got two great books on her bedside table.

First up: Forbidden Fruit: Sex and Religion in the Lives of American Teenagers, by GTG's new pal Mark Regnerus. This book is so popular that GTG had to be put on the wait list for it at the library and only got to check it out for a week. So Mark graciously gave me a signed copy. I haven't finished it yet, so I can't tell you how it ends but chapters 1-4 are un-put-downable. At least, for me and the 5 other people in America who care about sex and religion in the lives of American teenagers (Tiffany, I'm looking at you). But really, it's fascinating. Not mind-numbingly scholarly at all.

The good news for sex is that religion doesn't really seem to make much difference for the vast majority of teenagers; there's a small number of the "truly devout" who actually--gasp--wait til marriage and, I assume, each other. I think the number of people I've ever met in my life who actually waited til marriage (or intend to) is exactly two.

Here's the big question: does God reward those who wait until marriage by making the ordinarily brief and awkward First Time not weird and painful but instead long, hot, and...well, worth waiting for?

Hopefully that'll be in the next book.

Secondly: Couples, by John Updike. I don't remember where I read about this book; perhaps somewhere in the Eliot Spitzer scandal. Couples details the lives of suburban swinger couples and was published in 1968. It's not about the freaky deaky free love sixties, but the "it's practically still the fifties" early sixties. Not a one-handed read or anything, but it sure is interesting to think about this book being traded around amongst housewives in Brookline.

Though Updike's portrayal isn't all sex and roses, the inclusion of swinging does make suburban mom-and-dad-plus-two life sound slightly more tolerable. I wonder if the couples in the book waited until marriage.

That's all for now.
Happy reading!

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