When it comes to reading non-fiction, I am not a fan. So why did I pick up this book? One word - curiosity. I am glad that I allow my curiosity win over my standard reading and although it took three months to complete it (I know, how is it even possible that a book with almost 300 pages of content not counting the the acknowledgement and bibliography took that long to complete it, right?), I admit I am such a bad person that I read other books first instead of finishing what I started. Still, even though it took such a long time to complete it... am I glad that I did in a good way.
Naked at Lunch: The Adventures of a Reluctant Nudist is a book out of my curiosity of a culture I do not fully understand. From the moment I turn to the first page I thought I know what am I getting myself into. Chapter one was exactly as I thought it would but as I progress, I realize my understanding of a community that loves nature not only answer some questions but also create new ones for me why people do what they love to do - where people are happier to be a non-sexual naturist by exposing themselves natural without any sexual urges. Mark Haskell Smith, who went through this journey into understanding the culture that was created (surprisingly) many years ago did a well thorough study of the community and how many people enjoy being naked in the open. From taking a trip to resorts populated with older naturist to hiking nude in the wild and taking a cruise trip naked and enjoying a tour being expose is a real experience in understanding that there are people who do what they do that they love most. For many reasons to each of their known, it is clear the culture is very popular to this day but mainly because of their own reasons of doing it (and most of them began their journey through skinny-dipping). The topics not just covered of the experience of Mark but also what he has uncovered the laws and movement of the community, published written materials about naturist today and even the respect and dignity people give in the community. There is nothing shocking about it, its just a reading realization where its information is truly interesting to many parts that do offer places for naturist and the events and activities people partake. Imagine a naturist library where reading in nude is nothing shocking, and what we wear our clothes on our body is just more of a taboo than being naked (and this is coming from an Asian reader who lives among the taboo traditional of being naked in the open).
What I gathered from reading is truly an interesting read and it is rare that I had a great time reading and laughing out loud from a non-fiction book even though there are some parts that are pretty much vulgar but it is hilarious to see the author, who is more reluctant going nude at the beginning going through awkward moments that truly make this book a memorable read. I can say in short without revealing more that this book is for the open-minded readers and for the curious to understand the culture itself. Believe me, what we thought we know may not be what it seems and mostly people get the wrong idea about nudist but after reading this, the understanding of being a naturist is more respectable than it is for those that are the ignorant. I would recommend this to any readers who would dare take a risk in reading without any fear of going nude.