The Sexual Life of Catherine M. **BOOKRING**
16 journalers for this copy...
This kicked up quite a stir when it was published, because it is such a frank, cold, mechanical description of the sex life of an extremely promiscuous woman. It's still pretty uncommon to hear or see women talking about sex like this. Mind you, that's nothing to the stink this kicked up in France, where the lovely miss Millet is a well-known face on French tv. Can you imagine if Joan Bakewell or Kirsty Wark announced something similar over here? Not surprisingly the book sold in record quantities over there....
This is quite an interesting read, but the author is oddly detached from everything that is happening around her (and on her, and in her, and over her...) This makes for a lot of unerotic descriptions of Ms Millet's rather varied, eventful and ultimately boring and unfulfilling sexlife. I'm not sure the translation does her any favours either. Surely the French must have a rich and varied choice of words to describe the male genitalia? The word "member" is much used here, and it's rather reminiscent of Cleland's "Fanny Hill", which is both better and funnier and a whole lot less pretentious!
Still, it's short.
Righto - off we go then.
Here are the participants:
And then back to me!
Here are the rules:
1. When you receive the book, make a journal entry so we all get the thrill of knowing where it's at...
2. PM the next person in line for their address.
3. Read the book, and make a journal entry to tell us what you thought
4. Make release notes/a journal entry to say when the book is leaving your hands and who'll be catching it next, and pop it into the post!
Any problems, ping me a private message!
I will read this asap and make another journal entry soon.
I hope you enjoy the book!
I'll start this tonight, cheers!
I must admit that it was a healthy dose of curiosity that propmted me to put my name down for this book. I'm pleased I did, though, despite my words above! Thank you SwissToni!
Oh yeah, and I'll be popping to the Post office on Monday to send it on to Netstation.
What to say that hasn't already been said? Cold, detached, dispassionate: a collection of sexual experiences that certainly outweighs my own, but having read this I'm convinced I have more fun than Miss M.
I suppose the book is summed up for me by a quote others may not have seen, as it's very near the end of the book: "I am not docile because I like submission, but out of indifference to the uses to which we put our bodies." Well that makes two of us Miss M, as I'm completely indifferent to the uses to which you put your body. I can admire the author's candour and bravery, but I'm afraid that reading this didn't add anything to the sum of knowledge, experience, or enjoyment for me.
Off now to Fuji, and I'll be very interested to read the later journals for this.
Many thanks to all for getting it to me!
swisst: who I reckon had one of the worst photographs I have ever seen on his profile page. I must check if it is still there.
leighBCD: we have had some book exchanges recently. Cannot remember what tho. I hope you are well
MG: ditto. ?Did we share a "Dark Secret"
Netstation: who has been kind enought to help me a **secret project**. Imagine Dr Evil doing the quotation marks there
Fuji: thanks for sending the book. And the postcard. By the way you need to do your journal entry.
Now the book:
It is short but still too long. Many of the "interactions" are described twice. Once under "Numbers" and then under "Space" or "Confined Space".
Hey Toni there are plenty of other terms used: Shaft, dick, organ, sex machine (true), cock, penis. But yes it does get tedious.
There is a distance in the descriptions but still an almost palpable pleasure in parts. I think the only thing that is really "shocking", (and I mean by that "shocking to the world", because I was not shocked) is that it is written by a female.
The story ranges from
comic: the descriptions of an ever growing convoy of cars being driven around Paris seeking out a place for a group bonk; the games of visiting people with the express purpose of getting them to join in group activities. It doesn't sound comic when I write it like that but in the book it was.
to boring: the endless descriptions of what participants do with their organs, pussys, cunts, sex machines etc etc
through deep and meaningful: the descriptions of having to masturbate while her mother slept in the same bed; being felt up by the grandfather of a friend
There is a couple of really lovely bits of prose on page 95 where she compares the pleasure of a journey, to an erotic pleasure. And the feeling of waking to an "as yet unexplored ceiling" and not knowing "which corridor led to the bathroom".
in the end I think she just got a bit bored with it all.
I am nearly to the end of the book and will maybe write a bit more and rate it then.
I am really pleased to have read this and many thanks again all, esp ST for letting go.
Nevertheless there is an underlying pleasure that comes out of this book. For the reasons outlined in my previous entry.
I also must point out the really great "fornicatory communication" piece on page 30 and 31. There are other examples in the book as well. It is so funny for so many reasons that cannot be written here. I am sure that it will bring a quiet smile to many readers. They are the ones who have had the fun!
Many thanks to the ugliest man alive for organising this ring. Also thanks again to all those before me who helped keep this book intact on its journey to me and beyond.
I shall post this today and confirm with an entry.
otherwise a very satisfyingly fulsome review!
and mmmmmmmm fulsome? not sure.
cheers again all. Happy bookcrossing
I have to agree with SwissToni. This was certainly graphic but not erotic. A somewhat cold and detached description of one woman's sex life.
Released 15 yrs ago (9/13/2004 UTC) at
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
My PM's don't seem to be reaching their destinations recently, so big thanks to awaywithfairies and cheery waves to swisstoni!
Well, well, well. What do we have here?
It didn't read as a novel, it didn't read as a memoir. Was it a textbook? I don't think I learned anything.
I really think that it may have lost something in the translation. I certainly hope there was a bit more flair in the original French.
I felt sad for Catherine throughout most of this book. I felt sorry that she has had the fortune to find herself in so many extraordinary situations and yet gained so little from the experience. I still have no idea who she is or how she feels or what her likes or dislikes are, and I don't think she could tell me herself.
As I read the book a line from a song kept going through my head "I feel better when I'm numb". Having felt like that myself in the past, I wonder whether her behaviour is an attempt to get away from herself. I wasn't at all surprised when she told the story about the old man who felt her up as a child and I do think this wasn't the only experience of abuse she had as a child.
Anyway, I'm a great fan of good erotica so give me Anais Nin any day.
On it's way to Jubby as we speak ...
Thank you SwissToni (are you really the ugliest?) and everyone else (enjoyed reading your journal entries nearly as much as the book).
Will finish reading and post within a week.
Read 50 pages on the bus yesterday. Felt a bit flushed reading something like this in public (yes, I am a prude). Have not been able to put it down, but agree with others, it is rather cold and detached.
Not as good as Anais Nin's 'Deltas of venus'.
Firstly, I would like to say thank you to Swiss Tony for sharing this book with us all. I am pleased to have had the opportunity to have read this book (and to have had a look at your profile picture).
Frankly, I didn't enjoy the book, and had to force myself to finish it.
I think a lot was lost in the translation, and would often lose the thread of the story.
I recently read 'A private man', by Malcolm Knox (an Australian writer) for our book club (www.literaryfeast.com), where the author discussed his work also. In the story there is a character who is sexually abused and emotionally neglected, and who works in the 'adult entertainment' industry as an adult. I just kept seeing parallels between that character and Catherine M.
Here is an intelligent and gifted woman, but (and this is purely my own opinion) is socially retarded, and can only relate to people on a physical level, and never lets people get close to her emotionally.
She finds it easier to give a blow job to a complete stranger, rather than ask where the woman she is meant to be meeting is.
I didn't find this book erotic or arousing, but rather sad and depressing.
Thank you again.
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
Posting on to libertine101.
Seriously though,,he DID wedge it in so hard....;)
Okay, this book...I almost missed out on this bookring. I did not know about it until newk pmmed me about it and SwisToni was kind enough to slot (eep! there is that word again!) me in.
Its been interesting reading all your comments about this book. I shall report back when I am done.
I read it with an open mind and neither admire or pity the author for the life she has led.
Quite a few of you have commented on how 'cold and detatched' she described some of the sexual exploits. I did not see it that way. To me, her writing seemed very matter-of-fact because sex was a way of life for her. A daily act. It was perhaps like breathing for her.
So why does a woman with a very active sex life make a good 'story' for a book? Because we are all voyeurs to varying degrees? We are curious. And she seems to be beyond the 'norm'.
I DID find it to be an erotic book - in parts. And I was very amused to see the word 'libertine' pop up here and there. ;)
Posted to writinreader in USA. Should take about 3 weeks to arrive from Australia
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
Sending this to Weeblet
and i've read a few pages, and i don't think this is my bag~ a little depressing. i'll either read a bit more, or all of it and send it along anon :)
i got rather a lot of enjoyment from mundoo's postcard, however. i've spent a bit of mental time relaxing there lately :)