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In honor of Banned Books week, I'm reminisching about my love affair with the books written by a frequently banned author: Judy Blume.
Celebrate banned books week, read some smut!Who knew that curling up with a paperback could be just as informative and erotic as, say, spending a night in bed with a few candles and a favorite sex toy? The answer is anyone who, like this bookworm of a vulva, had the good fortune to come across a Judy Blume book while growing up. In a culture that would rather ignore the bodily and emotional changes experienced by the young, the refreshing honesty of Blume?s prose led to a shock of recognition, a launching point for thought, for whispered discussions, for questions passed on scraps of notebook paper across a spitball-soaked study hall. A reassurance that the sometimes alarming changes in bodies and desires were normal and were worthy of narration. Here, suddenly, were characters whose bodies weren?t perfect, characters who touched themselves and felt sexual desire and had insecurities, whose home lives weren?t idyllic, whose platonic friendships were as important and vital to them as the teen magazines made dating out to be. For these reasons (not to mention all the times a particularly titillating scene merited a clandestine bookmark), I was thrilled to learn that Judy Blume had been selected to receive the honorary National Book Award for contributions to American letters. It?s wonderful to see a writer receiving recognition for defying the notion that frank discussion of the continuum of women?s sexuality is not suitable for a popular audience.Speaking of deciding what is and isn't suitable for a popular audience, I also adore Ms. Blume for her devotion to struggling against the suppression of literary voices; along with other brave writers such as Susie Bright and Erica Jong, Blume is a member of the National Coalition Against Censorship. Perhaps it's because Judy's own books have long been the target of book banning, but she's an inspiration for anyone who cherishes freedom of speech.So, congratulations, Judy, and thanks for the words.P.S. If you?re tired of lugging around an armload of dogeared paperbacks, check out Classic Nasty: More Naughty Bits, which compiles some of the steamiest moments from the literary canon (including one by Ms. Judy Blume herself) into one convenient package. Happy reading, everyone!