Thursday List: Literary Sex Scenes Taking Place in Libraries

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08/14/2008 1:51 PM |

So, every Thursday Edith would post an awesome list of something she just happened to discover. So I’m going to try to keep up with that. Like with this list of literary sex scenes taking place in libraries public, private or academic.

1. Spring Snow, by Yukio Mishima

Lying there in the dark, Miné suddenly felt the cold like a sword thrust under the spread skirt of her kimono. Looking up through the gloom, she saw shelves laden with books, each tucked into its case, the gold of its title dulled by the passage of time. They seemed to be pressing in on her from all sides. Speed was essential.

Oh, yeah. For more HOT LIBRARY ACTION, one two three Jump!

2. End Zone, by Don DeLillo

We went into a far corner of the high stacks. There I started taking off her dress. The great cumulus breasts came rolling out of hand-beaded blue Victorian velvet. We laughed loudly, then tried to quiet each other with soft punches to the arm… We heard something at the doorway and made faces at each other, exaggerated fright-masks, and I looked past her and through the slightly tilted rows of books, tilts and counter-tilts, angles commenting on other angles, centuries misplaced by slumbering hands, the entire self-contradictory mass looming humorously over my darling’s epic breasts.

NB: There is so, so much more library sex in this scene. It’s like three full pages towards the end of this book, Chapter 28 the next time you’re browsing.

3. The Abortion: An Historical Romance 1966, by Richard Brautigan

“This novel is about the romantic possibilities of a public library in California,” it says so right on the cover, and the entire second section (which is not very long, Brautigan was a short-burst writer) concerns a seduction. The encounter itself is broken up over four chapters of said section, totaling like ten pages total, sorta losing track of the library setting, but you know that that’s where it’s all happening:

“I’ve never slept with a librarian before,” she said, 99% toward me. The other 1% was waiting to turn. I saw it starting to turn.

I brought a book in here tonight denouncing my own body as grotesque and elephantlike, but now I want to take this awkward machine and lie down beside you here in this strange library.”

NB: The moral of this book, as you can probably discern from its title, is that you should always wear a rubber when banging against a bookshelf.

4. Atonement, by Ian McEwan

They had been motionless for perhaps as long as half a minute. Longer would have required the mastery of some formidable tantric art. They began to make love against the library shelves which creaked with their movement.

And those four are about all I’ve been able to come up with. BUT THERE MUST BE MORE, GUYS, HELP ME.

Couple of near-misses and dog-ears for future investigation:

Alice Munro’s story “The Beggar Maid” includes a meet cute at a college library, while Michael Chabon’s The Mysteries of Pittsburgh begins with an unsuccessful cruise of the protagonist amid the stacks at Carnegie Mellon’s biblioteca; said protagonist later spends much of the book fucking like bunnies with an employee of said library, specifically the wondrous Phlox Ursula Lombardi.

The library of Weequahic High School is practically the only place in Newark, New Jersey that Alexander Portnoy doesn’t cop to whacking off in in Portnoy’s Complaint. Roth, in general, seems like someone who would write a sex scene in a library; John Updike and John Irving write sex scenes so constantly that it’s hard to imagine they haven’t staged at least one in a library, even by accident, though damned if I’m gonna wade through the entirety of those bodies of work. Nicholson Baker has written novel-length… well, novels, actually, diving into the minutiae of single sexual encounters, as well as nonfiction books about books, their preservation and storage, specifically in libraries. So you’d think he would have, wouldn’t you?

In Junichiro Tanizaki’s The Key, a young woman finds dirty pictures of her mother inside one of her boyfriend’s books, but it’s unclear where in his house the book is located. A lot of the sweet action in Orhan Pamuk’s My Name Is Red goes down (rim shot) in a workshop for the making of illuminated manuscripts, that is, books with illustration, but after deep consideration I had to conclude that that doesn’t count.

D.H. Lawrence, Hank Miller, Gabbo Marquez, Milan Kundera, Alberto Moravia are all conspicuously erudite guys who have their minds in the gutter, so, again, you’d really think so in regards to them. Conspicuous mind-fucking, often in libraries or libraries of the mind, happens frequently in Borges, I guess.

Guys, help me, is what I’m trying to say.

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