Beachworthy

Recent Salon reviews of good books to read while sitting on a towel (or in economy class).

Topics: Books,

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
In another sidesplitting collection, the author writes about his foulmouthed brother, his hopeless French and his brief career as a speed-freak performance artist.
Reviewed by Greg Villepique [06/09/00]

“The Happy Bottom Riding Club” by Lauren Kessler
A juicy, smart biography of heiress Pancho Barnes, who wanted only one thing: More.
Reviewed by Patricia Kean [05/31/00]

“Chang and Eng” by Darin Strauss
The inner life (and the sex life) of the famous Siamese twins.
Reviewed by Jonathan Miles [05/22/00]

“Stern Men” by Elizabeth Gilbert
In a terrific first novel, a restless 18-year-old feminist idles away a summer on an island of irascible Maine lobstermen.
Reviewed by Jonathan Miles [05/16/00]

“White Teeth” by Zadie Smith.
In this remarkable debut novel, London is a merry capital of mismatched lovers.
Reviewed by Maria Russo [04/28/00]

“Wanderlust: A History of Walking” by Rebecca Solnit
A delightful and mind-expanding look at one of the activities that make us human.
Reviewed by Andrew O’Hehir [04/27/00]

“Horse Heaven” by Jane Smiley
A great big novel, jampacked with characters, that brings poetry to the dust and the lust of the racetrack.
Reviewed by Emily Gordon [04/17/00]

“The Custom of the Sea” by Neil Hanson and “In the Heart of the Sea” by Nathaniel Philbrick
Both books serve up hair-raising histories of maritime cannibalism with all the gory details.
Reviewed by Mark Schone [04/13/00]



“The Many Aspects of Mobile Home Living” by Martin Clark
A wild and weirdly plotted novel by and about a circuit court judge, complete with a hunt for lost loot, a murder and a convoluted trial.
Reviewed by Michael Scott Moore [04/12/00]

“Le Mariage” by Diane Johnson
Yanks abroad and French nationals are still bewildering one another in a funny follow-up to the bestselling “Le Divorce.”
Reviewed by Elizabeth Judd [03/27/00]

“The Invention of the Restaurant” by Rebecca L. Spang
You didn’t know that it was invented, did you? A scholar unearths the unlikely origins.
Reviewed by Pete Wells [03/24/00]

“Patrick O’Brian: A Life Revealed” by Dean King
The bestselling novelist wasn’t, it turns out, the man he claimed to be.
Reviewed by Ian Williams [03/21/00]

“Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason” by Helen Fielding
She’s back, she’s got her weight down, she’s got Mark Darcy and she’s in a Thai jail on drug charges.
Reviewed by Maria Russo [02/29/00]

“Chaos Theory” by Gary Krist
It starts quietly enough — with two kids copping a joint — and then spins into a breakneck thriller.
Reviewed by Jonathan Miles [01/27/00]

“Ghosts of Cape Sabine: The Harrowing True Story of the Greely Expedition” by Leonard F. Guttridge
Another arctic thriller — replete with starvation, executions, mutiny and cannibalism — that deserves a place alongside the best of them.
Reviewed by Jonathan Miles [01/21/00]

“Sick Puppy” by Carl Hiaasen
In a new novel and a new collection, the Florida author proves that he’s as outrageous in fiction as he is out there in fact.
Reviewed by Hal Hinson [01/13/00]

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    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Pilot"

    One of our first exposures to uncomfortable “Girls” sex comes early, in the pilot episode, when Hannah and Adam “get feisty” (a phrase Hannah hates) on the couch. The pair is about to go at it doggy-style when Adam nearly inserts his penis in “the wrong hole,” and after Hannah corrects him, she awkwardly explains her lack of desire to have anal sex in too many words. “Hey, let’s play the quiet game,” Adam says, thrusting. And so the romance begins.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Elijah, "It's About Time"

    In an act of “betrayal” that messes up each of their relationships with Hannah, Marnie and Elijah open Season 2 with some more couch sex, which is almost unbearable to watch. Elijah, who is trying to explore the “hetero side” of his bisexuality, can’t maintain his erection, and the entire affair ends in very uncomfortable silence.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Charlie, "Vagina Panic"

    Poor Charlie. While he and Marnie have their fair share of uncomfortable sex over the course of their relationship, one of the saddest moments (aside from Marnie breaking up with him during intercourse) is when Marnie encourages him to penetrate her from behind so she doesn’t have to look at him. “This feels so good,” Charlie says. “We have to go slow.” Poor sucker.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Shoshanna and camp friend Matt, "Hannah's Diary"

    We’d be remiss not to mention Shoshanna’s effort to lose her virginity to an old camp friend, who tells her how “weird” it is that he “loves to eat pussy” moments before she admits she’s never “done it” before. At least it paves the way for the uncomfortable sex we later get to watch her have with Ray?

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Hard Being Easy"

    On the heels of trying (unsuccessfully) to determine the status of her early relationship with Adam, Hannah walks by her future boyfriend’s bedroom to find him masturbating alone, in one of the strangest scenes of the first season. As Adam jerks off and refuses to let Hannah participate beyond telling him how much she likes watching, we see some serious (and odd) character development ... which ends with Hannah taking a hundred-dollar bill from Adam’s wallet, for cab fare and pizza (as well as her services).

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Booth Jonathan, "Bad Friend"

    Oh, Booth Jonathan -- the little man who “knows how to do things.” After he turns Marnie on enough to make her masturbate in the bathroom at the gallery where she works, Booth finally seals the deal in a mortifying and nearly painful to watch sex scene that tells us pretty much everything we need to know about how much Marnie is willing to fake it.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Tad and Loreen, "The Return"

    The only sex scene in the series not to feature one of the main characters, Hannah’s parents’ showertime anniversary celebration is easily one of the most cringe-worthy moments of the show’s first season. Even Hannah’s mother, Loreen, observes how embarrassing the situation is, which ends with her husband, Tad, slipping out of the shower and falling naked and unconscious on the bathroom floor.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and the pharmacist, "The Return"

    Tad and Loreen aren’t the only ones to get some during Hannah’s first season trip home to Michigan. The show’s protagonist finds herself in bed with a former high school classmate, who doesn’t exactly enjoy it when Hannah puts one of her fingers near his anus. “I’m tight like a baby, right?” Hannah asks at one point. Time to press pause.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Role-Play"

    While it’s not quite a full-on, all-out sex scene, Hannah and Adam’s attempt at role play in Season 3 is certainly an intimate encounter to behold (or not). Hannah dons a blond wig and gets a little too into her role, giving a melodramatic performance that ends with a passerby punching Adam in the face. So there’s that.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Shoshanna and Ray, "Together"

    As Shoshanna and Ray near the end of their relationship, we can see their sexual chemistry getting worse and worse. It’s no more evident than when Ray is penetrating a clothed and visibly horrified Shoshanna from behind, who ends the encounter by asking if her partner will just “get out of me.”

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Frank, "Video Games"

    Hannah, Jessa’s 19-year-old stepbrother, a graveyard and too much chatting. Need we say more about how uncomfortable this sex is to watch?

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Desi, "Iowa"

    Who gets her butt motorboated? Is this a real thing? Aside from the questionable logistics and reality of Marnie and Desi’s analingus scene, there’s also the awkward moment when Marnie confuses her partner’s declaration of love for licking her butthole with love for her. Oh, Marnie.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Vagina Panic"

    There is too much in this scene to dissect: fantasies of an 11-year-old girl with a Cabbage Patch lunchbox, excessive references to that little girl as a “slut” and Adam ripping off a condom to ejaculate on Hannah’s chest. No wonder it ends with Hannah saying she almost came.

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