Imagine reading your best friend’s little black book.
Most of us have done it. Whether you sneaked into your big sister’s room to read her diary of found yourself flipping through a roommate’s journal, you’ve probably spied on someone’s personal writing.
Reading Diary of A Library Nerd by Kyoko Church feels like you’re doing the same thing, except this time the author has invited you to delve into her sex life. Charlotte, the main character, is funny and possesses a strong, believable voice that is easy to relate to.
Bonus: Not only does Charlotte tell her story with her words, but she also does so with her drawings, most of them erotic in nature. The artist’s style was both realistic and whimsical, something I really enjoyed. While the drawings by Vanity Chase were a fun addition to the book, they left me reflecting on the common saying: A picture is worth a thousand words. In erotic literature, is that always true?
Playing Both Parts
Charlotte is a thirty-something woman who is growing bored with her library job after being transferred to a different position as punishment. The punishment was brought about after Charlotte was caught in a sexual act on the job with a young man, Nathan. While balancing work and emotions left over from her childhood as well as a recent separation from her husband, Charlotte begins to learn more about Nathan’s sexual desires as well as come to terms with her own. Charlotte also takes this time to embrace her artistic skills, long discarded as a hobby she has fallen out of. She has always fantasized about BDSM, so she is eager to take on the role of Domme with Nathan, who enjoys a healthy dose of humiliation with his orgasm. While Charlotte maintains a fun, loving, sexual experience with Nathan, it isn’t until she meets another man that things take another unexpected turn, while she simultaneously finds work in the field she is passionate about.
A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words
My favorite thing about Diary of A Library Nerd was the marriage of a romance and graphic novel. The idea of incorporating sketches done by Charlotte was very intriguing and unique to me. While I am certainly no stranger to erotic literature, this was the first time I ever read a romance novel with illustrations. At times, the illustrations added to the writing in Charlotte’s diary – that extra bit of erotic twist that made things so much hotter and easier to imagine. One the other hand, there were moments when I wondered whether a picture was really worth a thousand words – or more like a few sentences. At one point, Charlotte chooses to illustrate a sex scene rather than writing it out. While the drawing certainly told parts of the story, I felt it didn’t tell some important aspects – the before, during, and after that make written sex scenes so sensual to the reader. This was certainly not the case for the entirety of the book, but there were definitely parts when I desired more detail than a sketch of one singular moment in time.
Portrayal of BDSM
Church and Chase collaboratively do a good job of displaying an unconventional relationship in a healthy light. While critics of 50 Shades Of Grey point out the unhealthy aspects of Christian and Ana’s relationship, both of the men Charlotte engages in a D/s relationship with treat her with respect and vice versa, even helping her land a job without thrusting one upon her like Christian does with Ana. Furthermore, it was interesting to see Charlotte not only play the role of Domme but also sub, showing a side of BDSM that isn’t often portrayed in novels of the genre – the switch. All expressions of sexuality in this book are deemed valid, from cuckolding to orgasm training.
I enjoyed reading Diary Of a Library Nerd, a book that that steamy parts, twists, strong character development, a realistic diary format, and an interesting combination of writing and sketch. The concept of illustrations along with erotic writing was really interesting and fun. The twists left me intrigued and wanting to read more, and the characters all had a lot of depth and underwent much personal growth. If you’re looking for a quick, easy read with some BDSM scenes or a cute story about a woman finding herself, this novel is definitely for you. If you’re looking for something a bit steamier, with detailed sex scenes that leave you reaching for your vibrator, you may have to look elsewhere (depending on how steamy you like it).