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Wallach IX

Asexual Bookshelf

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Wallach IX

The following recommendations were gleaned from several book threads, as well as this one.

Have you read any of the recent nominees? Please post your opinion on whether & where the book should be included.

Should you feel that something has been classified erroneously, corrective comments are always welcome.

Asexual characters are given in parentheses. URLs usually take you to Amazon or Google Books.

Happy reading! :D

Books of possible interest to asexuals:


  1. Non-fiction:

A History of Celibacy: From Athena to Elizabeth I, Leonardo Da Vinci, Florence Nightingale, Gandhi and Cher by Elizabeth Abbott (asexuality is not mentioned outright, however certain historic figures referred to as "celibate" may have in fact been asexual)
L'amour sans le faire: L'asexualité ou la réalité de ceux qui n'ont pas de libido by Geraldine Levi Rich Jones (AmoebaMissGeri) (book about nonlibidoists, written by the founder of the Official Nonlibidoism Society)
Surpassing the Love of Men: Romantic Friendship and Love Between Women from the Renaissance to the Present by Lillian Faderman
(focuses on romantic, non-sexual relationships between women)
The Sex-Starved Wife by Michele Weiner Davis (???)

Fiction:


All Souls by Javier Marías and Magaret Jull Costa
Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Patterson (The friendship between Leslie and Jess is a perfect example of platonic love)
Dragonlance Chronicles Trilogy by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman (Raistlin Majere, probably celibate)
Dragonlance Legends Trilogy by Margaret Weis (Raistlin Majere, probably celibate)
Dragonlance: The Raistlin Chronicles - The Soulforge, Brothers in Arms by Margaret Weis (Raistlin Majere, probably celibate)
The Collector by John Fowles (Ferdinand Clegg)
The Dwarf by Pär Lagerkvist (the dwarf)
The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin (the Gethenians feature an unusual sexuality)


Books featuring asexual or suspected-asexual characters:


  1. Non-fiction:
    Boston Marriages: Romantic But Asexual Relationships Among Contemporary Lesbians by Esther D. Rothblum & Kathleen A. Brehony
    Somebody Somewhere: Breaking Free from the World of Autism by Donna Williams
    (biography, describes her asexuality towards the end)

    Novels:


A Clergyman's Daughter by George Orwell (Dorothy Hare)
A Room With a View by E.M. Forster (Mr. Beebe and Cecil Vyse)
Carrie Pilby by Caren Lissner (Carrie Pilby)
Case Histories: A Novel by Kate Atkinson (Amelia, Philip)
Crampton Hodnet by Barbara Pym (Barbara Bird)
Geek Love by Katherine Dunn (Miss Lick)
Herland by Charlotte Perkins Stetson Gilman (the women)
Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace (Hal Incandenza)
Jude The Obscure by Thomas Hardy (Sue Bridehead)
July, July by Tim O'Brien (Marla Dempsey)
Lily White by Susan Isaacs (main characters lead asexual relationship)
Namedropper: A Novel by Emma Forrest (Viva Cohen?)
Operation Hurdler, and Operation Outside Hitter by Michael Bilka (Faye and Linda Cooper)
Scenes From A Holiday by Caren Lissner (Carrie Pilby, see novella titled "Carrie Pilby's New Year's Resolution")
Sherlock Holmes Mysteries ny Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (Sherlock Holmes)
The Book of Disquiet by Fernando Pessoa (Bernardo Soares)
The Bone People by Keri Hulme (Kerewin Holmes)
The Bachelor Brothers' Bed and Breakfast by Bill Richardson (Virgil)
The Pavilion of Women by Pearl S. Buck (Madam Wu)
The World According to Garp by John Irving (Jenny Fields)
The Wrong Boy by Willy Russell (Raymond Marks)
To The Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf (Lily Briscoe)(described as asexual by Market Drabble in the introduction to the Oxford University Press edition and also here)
Tom Jones by Henry Fielding (Blifil)

Science fiction and fantasy:


Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut (Mona Aamons Monzano)
Deadeye Dick by Kurt Vonnegurt (Rudy Waltz)
Diaspora by Greg Egan
Distress by Greg Egan
Fool's Errand, Golden Fool and Fool's Fate by Robin Hodd (Amber/Lord Golden)
Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd by Holly Black and Cecil Castellucci
Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman (Aziraphale and Crowley)
I, Robot by Isaac Asimov (Dr. Susan Calvin)
Ombria in Shadow by Patricia A. McKillip(Mag the Waxling)
The Deed of Paksenarrion: A Novel by Elizabeth Moon (Paks)
The Fire's Stone by Tanya Huff (Chandra)
The Metabarons: Aghora the Father-Mother & Immaculate Conception by Alexandro Jodorowsky (Aghora)
The Oathbound, Oathbreakers and Oathblood by Mercedes Lackey (Tarma)
Rose of the Prophet Trilogy: The Will of the Wanderer, The Paladin of the Night, The Prophet of Akhran by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman (Azriel)
When the King Comes Home by Caroline Stevermer (Hail Rosamer)
White Mars by Brian Wilson Aldiss (Cang Hai)

Short stories:


"Aye, and Gomorrah"/Aye, and Gomorrah: And Other Stories by Samuel R. Delany
"Bicycle Repairman"/A Good Old-fashioned Future by Bruce Sterling
"One of the Boys"/Superheroes by Lawrence Watt-Evans. John Varley & Ricia Mainhardt, eds. (alien superhero)
"Start the Clock"/The Year's Best Science Fiction 22nd Annual Collection, short story by Benjamin Rosenbaum (the narrator-kid)

Related AVENwiki articles:

Reading List

Asexuality in fiction

Dead-links:

novels: http://asexuality.org/discussion/viewtopic.php?p=326045#326045

fantasy & sci-fi: http://asexuality.org/discussion/viewtopic.php?p=387586#387586

short stories: http://asexuality.org/discussion/viewtopic.php?p=387591#387591

OP message: (i had to separate the lists because of a posting bug: post content kept disappearing after copy & pasting much text)

---


Edited by Arca nine Huggles
Updated!
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DrTJEckleburg

Great list WallachIX! I'll have to read some more of those. :)

Carrie Pilby is an AWESOME book! I really identified with her! In fact, I e-mailed the author, Caren Lissner, to tell her how much I liked the book and the asexual character and she admitted that she was a little worried how such an "unusual" character would go over. She definitely won me over. And the sequel comes out in November--I can't wait! :D :D

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Wallach IX
Great list Wallach IX! I'll have to read some more of those. :)

you're very welcome! i have yet to read most of those... ^^

after reading your glowing review, Carrie Pilby sounds very appealing. thanks for the sequel tip, it's been included. :)

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Live R Perfect

Great idea to compile all those into one one place Wallach :D

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Islander9

Excellent list e Wllcht - plse modify 'Kerri' Hulme to 'Keri' re 'the Bone people'

check out George G SHw too-

exps. for odd post tomorrow (keybd.killed) Cheers-

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Wicked Freemartin

Nice list. I don't know if anyone's mentioned this one, but Samuel R. Delany wrote a short story about a group of asexual astronauts. It was called "Aye, and Gomorrah". Great story.

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Wallach IX

thanks for the new suggestion, Wicked!

list updated. :D

@Islander9: i'm still guessing about Georgie though...George Bernhard Shaw? ;)

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Borrible Cal

Another suggestion for the SF & F section: Paks, on Elizabeth Moon's Deed of Paksnarrion trilogy, is a bona fide asexual--though unfortunately also a (to me) remarkably uninteresting protagonist stuck in a remarkably bland story and world...

Borrible Cal.

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Escherichia

Garp's mother in The World According to Garp is asexual. She's the main character for a good chunk of the book. It's written by John Irving.

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Islander9

Yes, it was George B. Shaw - unconsumated marriage, wife who was vocal about not liking sex, and he quite happy to continue with what he more than once described as 'a platonic marriage.' I am not particularly familiar with his ouevre (having had to dissect some of his plays in secondary school kind of ruined him for me-)

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Wallach IX
Yes, it was George B. Shaw...I am not particularly familiar with his ouevre...

hm, the only title of his that comes to mind readily is Pygmalion. i hesitate to speculate on asexual characters...the wonderfully irascible Prof. Higgins, perhaps... ;) Higgins claims he has no interest in dallying with women, as none match up to his mother.

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Wallach IX

on november 3rd, 2005, Editions Favre published the first book on nonlibidoism! :D

L'amour sans le faire: L'asexualité ou la réalité de ceux qui n'ont pas de libido by Geraldine Levi Rich Jones (AmoebaMissGeri).

written by the founder of the Official Nonlibidoism Society, the book features personal stories, an overview of nonlibidoism through the ages, and medical research findings, among other topics. it is supposedly written in a light-hearted way and contains essays by well-known dutch & british comedians. sounds interesting. :)

an english edition is in the works, to be titled "Strangers in a Strange Land".

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Penumbra

Might I recommend another fiction title?

A Clergyman's Daughter by George Orwell. The protagonist of this book, Dorothy Hare, is asexual.

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birdnerd

Marla Dempsey, in Tim O'Brien's July, July is probably asexual.

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Wallach IX

thanks for the additions! :)

novels:

A Clergyman's Daughter by George Orwell (Dorothy Hare)

Carrie Pilby by Caren Lissner (Carrie Pilby)

Case Histories: A Novel by Kate Atkinson (Amelia, Philip)

Crampton Hodnet by Barbara Pym (Barbara Bird)

Geek Love by Kathrine Dunn (Miss Lick)

Herland by Charlotte Perkins Stetson Gilman (the women) => full text available online :)

July, July by Tim O'Brien (Marla Dempsey)

Lily White by Susan Isaacs (main characters lead asexual relationship)

Namedropper: A Novel by Emma Forest (Viva Cohen?)

new Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw (Prof. Higgins, possibly celibate)

Scenes From A Holiday by Caren Lissner et al. (Carrie Pilby, see novella titled "Carrie Pilby's New Year's Resolution")

Sherlock Holmes Mysteries by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (Sherlock Holmes)

The Bachelor Brothers' Bed and Breakfast by Bill Richardson (Virgil)

The Bone People by Keri Hulme (Kerewin Holmes)

The Book of Disquiet by Fernando Pessoa (Bernardo Soares)

The World According to Garp by John Irving (Jenny Fields)

The Wrong Boy by Willy Russell (Raymond Marks)

Tom Jones by Henry Fielding (Blifil)

new Turing Hopper Mysteries: You've Got Murder, Click Here for Murder, Access Denied, Delete All Suspects, by Donna Andrews (Turing Hopper)

---

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spica-tea

...

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Landei

Raistlin - from "dragonlance" series by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman

and, by the same authors, Azriel from "Rose of the Profet" trilogy.

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Wallach IX

fantasy & sci-fi:

recent Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut (Mona Aamons Monzano)

Deadeye Dick by Kurt Vonnegut (Rudy Waltz)

Diaspora by Greg Egan

Distress by Greg Egan

Fool's Errand, Golden Fool, Fool's Fate by Robin Hobb (Amber/Lord Golden)

I, Robot by Isaac Asimov (Dr. Susan Calvin)

Ombria in Shadow by Patricia A. McKillip (Mag the Waxling)

Rose of the Prophet Trilogy: The Will of the Wanderer, The Paladin of the Night, The Prophet of Akhran by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman (Azriel)

The Deed of Paksenarrion: A Novel (comprises Sheep Farmer's Daughter, Divided Allegiance, Oath of Gold) by Elizabeth Moon (Paks)

The Fire's Stone by Tanya Huff (Chandra, possibly celibate)

The Metabarons: Aghora the Father-Mother & Immaculate Conception by Alexandro Jodorowsky (Aghora)

The Oathbound, Oathbreakers, Oathblood by Mercedes Lackey (Tarma)

When the King Comes Home by Caroline Stevermer (Hail Rosamer)

---

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Wallach IX

short stories:

"Aye, and Gomorrah"/Aye, and Gomorrah: And Other Stories by Samuel R. Delany

"Bicycle Repairman"/A Good Old-fashioned Future by Bruce Sterling

"One of the Boys"/Superheroes by Lawrence Watt-Evans. John Varley & Ricia Mainhardt, eds. (alien superhero)

new "Start the Clock"/The Year's Best Science Fiction 22nd Annual Collection, short story by Benjamin Rosenbaum (the narrator-kid)

---

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Wallach IX
As a sci fi, I strongly suggest The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula le Guin. ...the entire population is of a species that is as a rule asexual, and have only a short phase every month called Kemmer where they become sexual.

well, the fact that they have sex at all would qualify them as sexuals in some people's opinion. i've slotted the book into the "interesting" category.

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Wario

Gonna have to look at some of those sci-fi ones. Out of curiosity, who submitted Sherlock Holmes to that list?

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Wallach IX
Out of curiosity, who submitted Sherlock Holmes to that list?

there are references to Sherlock all over the boards. :)

many here feel he is the classic asexual. there has been some discussion concerning the nature of Holmes' feelings for a certain Irene Adler, but the following sources offer compelling arguments in favour of his asexuality, or at least very low libido:

the essay The Case of the Asexual Sherlock Holmes

and A. C. Doyle himself:

It was not that he felt any emotion akin to love for Irene Adler. All emotions, and that one particularly, were abhorrent to his cold, precise but admirably balanced mind. He was, I take it, the most perfect reasoning and observing machine that the world has seen, but as a lover he would have placed himself in a false position. He never spoke of the softer passions, save with a gibe and a sneer.

(the full text of the case featuring Irene Adler can be found here: A Scandal in Bohemia)

judging by canon information, i think Holmes may have felt respect for Adler, maybe even admiration. but love/lust etc.? he seems entirely too cerebral for it IMO.

of course, Holmes could have had a steamy offscreen sex life which the reader never finds out about but that would mean Watson was way off the mark in the assessment of his friend's character. :)

OT: love your sig.

If everybody is unique, then how can anyone be normal?

indeed. agreed. :D

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Tigoness
fantasy & sci-fi:

Fool's Errand, Golden Fool, Fool's Fate by Robin Hobb (Amber/Lord Golden)

---

I'm glad I'm not the only one who's noticed. :)

*points to sig*

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Wario

Oh yes, without reading it from this forum at all, I've had strong suspicions he's asexual. In fact, in one of his last stories, he himself says he's had little interest in women so his off-screen affair seems incredibly unlikely.

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wednesday's child

I'm puzzled as to why Raistlin Majere of Dragonlance is included on this list, considering he spends three whole books (the Legends trilogy) out of the DL series developing a relationship with a woman in which he explicitly says in monologue that he desires her but can't let sex get in the way of his work, and almost kisses her at one point. If anything he's the dictionary definition of celibacy, not asexuality.

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Erita

(This was originally a separate post before I was directed here.)

I came across the idea of asexuality in two novels. The first was Pavilion of Women (1946) by Pearl S. Buck, who grew up in China at the turn of the 20th century and wrote several novels set there. Apparently it was quite acceptable for a married Chinese woman to give up sex at menopause, after giving her husband the requisite number of healthy children (preferably sons). In PoW, Madam Wu decides to do this (she never enjoyed sex much in the first place, though she's fond of her husband), making arrangements for her husband to take a second wife so that he won't be inconvenienced. Later on, a renegade Italian Catholic priest comes into the neighbourhood. The two of them first become friends and later fall in love, then he dies (I forget how). As I recall, there is never any hint of physical consumation about their relationship, or either of them wanting it, but the love between them is so poweful that in the end Madam Wu feels that it has set her free.

I can't remember the title of the other novel, except that it was part of a popular lighter series written in the 1950s and '60s that all started with "My Friend" ("My Friend Martha", "My Friend Monica", etc.), and it was the first time I came across the word "asexual". In this one, a young woman becomes engaged, to the approval of her family and friends (since that was what a young woman was expected to do in that time period). However, by the end of the novel she has broken off the engagement because an experienced older woman has helped her see that she is really asexual and wouldn't be happy being married, especially to this particular man, and she is relieved and happy to do so. The older woman, who is asexual herself, is portrayed as grumpy, not the easiest to get along with, but surprisingly wise and worthy of respect. At the end of the novel, she is getting ready to marry an old friend, mostly for companionship and because "sex doesn't matter so much when you're older", and partly to get back at a cousin who has always looked down on her for never being married!

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Wallach IX

wednesday's child, thanks for the tip. :)

as to why Raistlin was classified as asexual, perhaps Landei hadn't read all of the books mentioning Raistlin before nominating him. not having read the books myself, i did some research into the Raistlin character & encountered the "rumoured daughter" issue and a lot of snarky Raistlin descriptions, but not a single mention of love affairs. i confess, i didn't spend more than half an hour googling, as continuous mention of IMO extremely silly names such as "Fistandantilus" and "Tasslehoff" (whom i kept misreading as "Hasselhoff" ;)) caused my sleuthing enthusiasm to ebb rapidly.

i must have looked in the wrong places, for this time around i found the following passage on Raistland:

I can't remember the title of the other novel, except that it was part of a popular lighter series written in the 1950s and '60s that all started with "My Friend"...

i've found out that the author is Jane Duncan. there are about 20 books in the series, perhaps a look at the titles will jog your memory? :)

@everyone:

to spare yours truly needless researching in the future, by all means please add your opinion concerning Bookshelf nominees/entries if you've read the nominated books. considering the creeping pace of this thread, i will wait about 1 month for people to add more opinions regarding new nominees. if there are none, i'll do a background check & include the books or not, based on what i unearth + the original reasoning for the nomination.

best regards,

Wallach

*off to my regular duties*

...where are those dratted Atreides twins...

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Hu

Pointing out my recent thread on Kurt Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle, I think it warrants putting on the bookshelf for the character of Mona Aamons Monzano. Okay, she's just a metaphor, but a damn asexy one.

I will not go into the sorid sex episode that followed. Suffice it to say that I was both repulsive and repulsed.

The girl was not interested in reproduction--hated the idea. Before the tussle was over, I was given full credit by her, and by myself, too, for having invented the whole bizarre, grunting, sweating episode by which new human beings were made.

Returning to my own bed, gnashing my teeth, I supposed that she honestly had no idea what love-making was all about. But then she said to me, gently, "It would be very sad to have a little baby now. Don't you agree?"

"Yes," I agreed murkily.

"Well, that's the way little babies are made, in case you didn't know."

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Androgyny

Anyone ever read The Collector, by John Fowles? I read it a while back, and the main character, Ferdinand, I dont believe he was asexual, but he had no desire to have sex with the woman he loved, Miranda, while he was holding her hostage, and when she tried to seduce him he became disgusted with her.

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TeddyMiller

A story of possible interest:

"Start the Clock", by Benjamin Rosenbaum; it's in The Year's Best Science Fiction, 22nd Annual Collection, edited by Gardner Dozois.

It's a future world in which a disease stops the human aging process, so you have characters like the narrator who's a Nine, and been nine years old for 30 years. The character's educated, trained, experienced, has a job and is looking to buy a house, but it's a house that looks like a pirate ship to appeal to nine-year-old tastes. And relevant to AVEN, the narrator has no interest in sex, and thinks the whole sex thing is stupid.

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