If you’ve been following the Fifty Shades of Grey fandango, you’ll know that “erotic fiction” is touted to be the next big thing in books, partly, apparently, thanks to the rise of e-readers – you can read a mucky book on public transport and no one will raise an eyebrow (unless they’re nosy and sitting next to you).
So we asked Bea’s contributors
“What was the first ‘mucky book’ you ever read?”
Catherine Grace Hughes: I cut my reading teeth on my grandmother’s Mills and Boon books (amongst any other reading material of any nature that I could get my hands on, mostly historical fiction by Jean Plaidy). So I can’t clearly recall my first ever – ahem! – saucy scene. As a young teenager I did read Lace, though, by Shirley Conran. Who knew what you could do with a goldfish?! That certainly stayed with me for a while. Forever, I suppose, now I come to think of it!
Anne-Marie Taylor: I think it was Scruples – but, y’know, I only read bits of it… 😉
Hilary Freeman: I’m pretty sure mine was Lace too. Or possibly Flowers in the Attic. Then I discovered that many of my parents’ ‘literary’ books had mucky scenes too – and I was allowed to read anything I liked on their shelves. So I did.
Keris Stainton: I’m not sure if it was the first, but the one I remember most clearly was Lady Boss by Jackie Collins. I read it in one slightly wriggly sitting.
Susie Day: Not a ‘properly’ mucky book (hee!), but for me it was ‘Devil on the Road’ by Robert Westall. It’s what we’d call YA now, though it was in the children’s section and I first read it when I was about 9. The MC is 18, a bored college student who rides his motorbike through a Civil War re-enactment which suddenly turns into a time portal to the real C17th, where he meets a narky witch girl who pongs. Recipe for porn, right? I reread it when I was about 13 and discovered there were several pages of lusty rutting which my younger self had delicately overlooked.
Diane Shipley: For some reason, our school library had Saturday Night Fever, which I read because I liked dancing. Turns out, it was not like Ballet Shoes.
Ros Ball: Oh man, I’ve been racking my brains trying to remember what mine would be. Just came to me (titter), except it’s hardly a pleasurable thing to remember. The Diary of Laura Palmer from Twin Peaks. Jeez that stuff was dark, certainly for whatever age I was. I still feel awful about the fact I then sold it to a girl younger than me at a car boot sale, but didn’t really feel I had the authority to tell her she couldn’t have it. Poor thing was probably scarred for life. Books can be so powerful at that age, eh?
Sarah Painter: Um… Probably The Valley of Horses by Jean M. Auel. That’s the first sex scene I remember reading and actually understanding (I roamed my parents’ bookshelves with impunity and was frequently mystified). After the prehistoric smut, the next rude book I remember clearly was Fear of Flying by Erica Jong. I like to believe I was the only eleven year old who had the phrase ‘zipless f**k’ in her vocabulary, but maybe not…
Sam Wyld: I can’t remember. But I do remember re-reading the mucky scenes in Heaven (Virginia Andrews) a lot. Now I tend to write my own…
Erotica: better reads than Fifty Shades of Grey by Lucy Mangan
Betty Herbert’s Mucky Book Club
The Dirty Bits for Girls by India Knight