But lately, I have discovered a new theme in contemporary literature. Calling it a "theme" might not be the most correct term because it really is a certain character trait. But whatever you decide to call it, I've been noticing it more and more often.
English professors who love to teach and sleep around.
Now we must remember that many authors are actually professors. They write a novel every few years but on a day to day basis, they teach. In my opinion, many of these authors are all too familiar with the temptations of teaching hundreds of attractive undergraduate and graduate students; therefore it should be no surprise that many of their characters face similar temptations.
The list below comprises of a few of my favorites. These are great novels with somewhat sleazy professors that make the plot all the more exciting to students and teachers alike.
Oh Zadie, how envious I am of you! Her first novel, White Teeth, was published when she was only 25 years old and became an instant bestseller. In the last ten years, she has written three novels and just recently published a collection of essays. Zadie Smith is brilliant, enough said. This novel follows the lives of a British/American mixed race family living in the United States. Issues of nationality, race, the nature of beauty and politics make this novel poignant and complex. The sleazy English professor in this story is father himself. Howard, a British transplant, puts his family through havoc by sleeping with a colleague-how lovely.
There is a lot to love about this novel. In fact, it is one of my favorites. John Irving has a way of bringing his characters to life, he takes you into their world and you find yourself not wanting to leave. I won't begin to explain the plot because the novel is better enjoyed without a lot of background information. But I will say this...women can be sleazy too (surprise,surprise) and in this novel, there is an English professor who takes sleaziness to a whole new and terribly dramatic level.
So I haven't actually finished this book; it is in process. But so far, I really enjoy it, and because it fits perfectly in this list, I thought, "Why not?" The Corrections won a slew of awards so I feel pretty confident in my recommendation. This novel focuses on a mid-western couple and the lives of their three, adult children. One of them, Cliff, is an English professor who is obsessed with both breasts and one of his female students (who supposedly has a lovely pair). But unfortunately for Cliff, sleeping with an undergraduate was a very bad idea, and he loses his career due to his lust. So yes...this is a great book if you are considering having an affair with a student or a teacher...it doesn't usually work out well and this book might just help deter disaster.