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My First Zane Book...

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...did not impress me.

I went to Borders on Friday. Given recent events here, I had to check out the African American section. Neat as a pin - not a hint of racist disorder. I noticed right away that there were more titles by Zane and Noire than by any of the high-brow authors. I had never gotten a look at a Zane book before, so my curiosity was piqued. I passed over Purple Panties - there was no way I was going to risk someone I knew seeing me holding that one - and settled on Addicted (if I remember correctly). That seemed like a title you could explain later as long as your friend didn't get close enough to know better.

I thumbed through the book quickly, and was left with two impressions. The first was that there was virtually no sex. Given what I'd read about Zane, I expected every chapter to have at least one sex scene. I skimmed about a third of the book, and came across just two passages that could be described as sex scenes - and one of those was merely an abbreviated conversation between two women about a man one of them had slept with. I was surprised by how little sex there actually was. The other thing that impressed me was how unsexy the sex was. The first of the two scenes I came across was a bachelorette party that had a hired male stripper interacting with a bar full of drunken women. That's a sad situation to begin with, but the stopper was Zane's description of one very horny and very obese bar patron with a revolting hygiene problem. It was the absolute opposite of sexy. I have to say the same of the other "sex scene," such as it was. One of the two female friends was describing her unhappy hook-up with a man who had what I will just refer to as a down-low fetish.

A five-minute thumb-through is not much of a trial, but it was enough to see that there was nothing I wanted more of. That stuff is about as low-brow as it gets. This is erotica for people who are guests on Jerry Springer. But judging from the fact that Zane was the best-represented author in the section, it seems it sells really well. I just looked up Addicted on Amazon: it came out in 2001, it's still in print, and its sales rank is currently 76,000. The fact that there's that strong a market for that kind of product is the thing that impresses me most.

More happily, I picked up a copy of James McBride's Song Yet Sung, which had intrigued me when I read up on him. I'll review it here when I've finished it, and I fully expect to have more and better things to say about it.

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Did it ever occur to you that you are not the audience Zane writes for?? Zane's books are actually in the chick lit vein, and black females are who comprise most of her readers.

Not surprising you found "Addicted" unimpressive, although you should really read more than one of Zane's books before being disappointed at not finding a lot of sex scenes.

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