Not to pick on E.L. James, but Fifty Shades of Grey surprisingly did not contain the worst sex in fiction in 2012. At least not according to London’s Literary Review, a magazine which annually presents the Bad Sex in Fiction Award. This year, the editors think these five authors wrote worse sex scenes than those describing Anastasia’s incessant lip biting while her inner goddess rejoices. Here are the nominees:
Nicholas Coleridge – The Adventuress: The Irresistible Rise of Miss Cath Fox
Cath Fox lacks morality and is a social climber. Written by the President of Conde Nast International magazine group, this description of a determined woman’s ruthless ascent exposes the foibles of British society.
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Howard Jacobsen – Zoo Time
An angry yet funny look at the contemporary publishing world in London from the author of the Booker Prize-winning The Finkler Question.
J.K. Rowling – A Casual Vacancy
For many the book release of the year: Harry Potter’s creator writes her first novel for adults. Lev Grossman in Time magazine online raved, “It’s a big, ambitious, brilliant, profane, funny, deeply upsetting and magnificently eloquent novel of contemporary England, rich with literary intelligence and entirely bereft of bullshit, and if it weren’t for Rowling’s stringent security measures, it would or at least should have contended for the Booker Prize.”
Will Self – Umbrella
Perhaps the most challenging read from this year’s Booker Prize shortlist, Umbrella is the story of a maverick psychiatrist (who will be familiar to readers of Self’s previous works) who becomes interested in a patient who contracted sleeping sickness in 1918 and has been in a coma ever since.
Tom Wolfe – Back to Blood
A Cuban-American cop becomes a hero in the media and reviled in his community for rescuing (and subsequently arresting) a refugee from Castro’s regime.
Tom Wolfe won the Bad Sex award with his last novel, I am Charlotte Simmons (a novel I found immensely readable – bad sex aside…). Can he do it again? Keep your plaster toes crossed.