Q & A With the Bookologist
Mayank Austen Soofi
Q: I'm a 16-year-old boy and I, along with my girlfriend, secretly read my older sister's forbidden copy of Sidney Sheldon's The Other Side of Midnight. Actually we read only a certain portion of this novel in which Larry Douglas is making love to Catherine for the first time. The scene lasts for 3 pages and by the end of it both of us are left panting and hungry for more. The problem is that since last week my girlfriend is feeling like throwing up. Could she be pregnant?
A: You haven't specified the age of your girlfriend. If you have not done anything more than just read the scene together, it is unlikely that she is pregnant. However both of you should think whether your behavior will help you in the future. It is best to wait till both of you are adults — 21 years for males and 18 for females - to read such novelists as Sidney Sheldon. Meanwhile concentrate on Enid Blytons.
Q: I am a 27-year-old unmarried man. Until now I have had no problems relating to reading and had no trouble in completing my Nancy Drews. However, last month I fell ill and used the week-long bed-rest in reading 25 Hardy Boys at one go. Could I be gay? Will this affect my sex life? Am I still eligible for marriage?
A: Do you mean that you are into novels of the Nancy Drew series? It is very unusual at your age for such acts. According to my experience of 37 years, a man reading Nancy Drew usually happens to be a homosexual. But nothing can be concluded without a personal meeting. You also haven't provided much detail in your query. Did you like Nancy Drew or her fiancé Ned? You also seem to have shifted your interest to Hardy Boys during the course of your illness. What disease was it? You are very quiet about it. Hardy Boys usually has a fan following among straight boys. So you can not be gay. But then what about the Nancy Drew chapter of your life? You are most probably a bisexual. You may still be eligible for marriage but whether you are marrying a woman or a man, it will be ethical to confide into her or him about your confused orientation.
Q: I am a 35-year-old housewife and the two favorite books which I love to re-read are Madame Bovary and Lady Chatterley's Lover, while my 41-year-old husband can not sleep in the night before reading bits and pieces of Lolita? Is it ok?
A: You seem to be a dysfunctional couple. Do you have a good-looking bachelor as a neighbor? Are you attracted towards him? Do you have a maid? Is she under age? If yes, sack her.
Q: I am a 19-year-old male. I had sex with my female cousin a month ago. Recently she parceled me Alex Comfort's The Joy of Sex : Fully Revised & Completely Updated for the 21st Century, but it was without the plastic wrapping. Is there a chance of me getting AIDS?
A: Have you already opened the book? Keep it aside. First get a test done. Use the book only while wearing a thick condom.
Q: I am a 28-year-old man and my girlfriend is 26. Last week I tried to introduce her to James Joyce's Ulysses but could not penetrate even the first few pages together. When I tried to probe beyond, my girlfriend winced and experienced severe pain. After I withdrew, she eased back and offered me Danielle Steele for mutual pleasure. Is there any way I can get her used to Joyce?
A: What you are insisting on her can easily be termed abuse. Just how can you expect your partner to share your hardcore taste in reading? It is clear she is still not used to the rigor and demands of high-value pleasure and so rather than being hasty, you should first baby-step her to easier authors like Dickens, Bronte and then to Rushdie and Marquez, and only afterwards graduate to Joyce. But for now stick to cute-nothings. Don't lose heart. Danielle Steele is still better than Mills & Boon!
Q: I would like some information regarding Virginia Woolf. How long does the reading take? How long does one need for recovery? Are there any precautions to be taken before starting? How much does she cost?
A: She is safe and simple only if assisted by a guidebook and can be completed within 20 days to one month. Make sure to have Prozac with you during the entire time of reading. Once finished, the reader can recover his energies by reading absolutely nothing for a few hours and taking complete rest for a weekend before resuming with other books. The cost will depend on whether you are buying first-hand or second-hand books.
Q: I'm a 24-year-old single woman living with my parents. My problem is that I buy 6-7 books everyday. My parents have grown very upset and they have given me an ultimatum of one month to decide if I want them or the books in the house. I am very confused. Please advice.
A: What! 24 years of age and still living with parents! Of course, ask your parents to move out.
Send in your queries to: Ask the Bookologist, Kitablok Clinic, 36, Daryaganj. New Delhi.
Meetings by appointments. Only on Sundays.