arts & culturebooksreview

101 Things to do Naked! A Guide to ‘Dress-Free’ Living

This is a review I wrote for the Canadian naturist magazine ‘Going Natural’. I wrote the article in December of 2013. It was later published in the magazine (but I do not remember when exactly, possibly in the summer of 2014.) You are welcome to publish it even if it does not count for your contest.

101 Things to do Naked! A Guide to ‘Dress-Free’ Living

Catherine Roberts (Author), Mike Dominic (Illustrator)

Review by Cor van de Sande

(Note: Cor van de Sande was recently elected as vice-president of the FQN)

It is always pleasant to find out about a new book with a naturist theme even when one discovers afterwards that the book does not meet one’s expectations. Last October, a new author joined the fray and her book is a gem… no, I take that back; it is not a gem but an entire tiara!

Catherine Roberts is a Halifax journalist and avowed naturist who, one day on seeing her husband chopping wood wearing nothing but a pair of rubber boots, had a flash of genius and decided to write a short list (the book has but 50 pages in the print version) of a 101 things that can be done naked. Spread over the four seasons of an Atlantic Canada year (black fly, summer, fall and “cold as a witch’s t**”), Ms. Roberts sows these 101 activities in among short descriptions of her monthly activities at their secluded cottage by a lake with her husband and their beagle although for a small number of these, she also discusses how these activities could be done in a more urban setting.

The book is written in the forthright, mildly wicked and irreverential style that made the television programme “This hour has 22 minutes”, which also originates in Halifax, such a delight to watch. What I found so incredible, although incredible is not quite the right word, seeing that I can easily imagine myself doing the very same things, is how ordinary all these everyday activities are and so typical of cottage living anywhere in Canada or anywhere else. Well… maybe, not quite… discussing the merits of high-powered binoculars with members of the Canadian Coat Guard while sailing in the altogether would take a bit of cheek (pun intended) to pull off.

The book is sparsely illustrated with black and white sketches by Halifax cartoonist Mike Dominic. I say sparsely because there could have been several more illustrations without taking away from the qualities of the book (an illustration of the naked couple standing against the sailboat’s lifeline, talking to the crew of the Canadian Coast Guard cutter would have been delicious). In fact, if I could express one complaint, it is that the book is TOO short – the book is finished even before one gets really into it.

author
Cor van de Sande

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