Sunday, April 12, 2009

Book and DVD Reviews

The nice thing about living in Wisconsin is that I can just drive to TNS HQ. My girlfriend and I went there Thursday to purchase a bunch of stuff from their Skinny Dipper Shop, drop off a CD, and to chat with Nicky for a bit.

As we were shopping, Nicky was explaining the history of each item. It's clear that they take a lot of pride in their merchandise, because they seek out the best quality for everything they stock. Additionally, they've been moving toward more eco-friendly items, which I certainly appreciate.

Anyway, among the things we bought are the following books and DVD. (What can I say -- I love books and always like to expand my library.) I haven't read them all cover to cover, obviously, but have skimmed them well enough to post a review.

The World's Best Nude Beaches and Resorts
The book is made to be a reference. It has color-coded tabs on the pages which makes finding a location easy. At the start of each country's section is a map of all the places listed. Each listing has a paragraph or two describing the place, along with a section of "practical info" on what you need to know to get there. When possible they include addresses, phone numbers, and websites. Not only is this book a great text, but it also has great pictures for most of the places listed and can give you a feel for what the place is like. About 1/3 of the book's content is pictures. The only downside is that the book only shows 1000 places, the "best" 1000 places, so it's not a complete reference. Based on the listings for Wisconsin and Queensland (places I know), there is about a 5:1 ratio for listings. I concur that the 4 that are unlisted aren't as good as the 1 that is listed, so they really do pick the best. This will certainly be my primary reference for beaches and resorts, and any traveller should have this book with them. It's a fairly cheap book, and is well worth the money.

The Funny Side of Going Naked
At about 150 pages of mostly images, it's a quick read. It's a book that once you pick it up, you can't put it down. The only time that you'll stop reading is when you're laughing too hard to continue. This happens a lot! Plus, the jokes are still funny after you've read them a few times. Whenever you need to cheer yourself up, reach for this book and open it up to any random page. This, too, is well worth the money.

Bodies and Souls: The Century Project
It started out as a fairly simple project, but has evolved over the last 20 years into something quite impressive. Each turn of the page reveals a new woman, slightly older than the previous one, with a picture on one side and their words on the other. Sometimes the author adds a little text to the bottom to put things into context better. The goal is to present real women, along with their stories of body acceptance and inspiration, to show other women that they are not alone in their struggles. It directly goes against society's pressure that women must be perfect. This book shows that you can be happy without being perfect. This isn't a full review, because I'm not a woman with body acceptance issues, and therefore don't have the qualifications to say if this book is of benefit or not. Sorry. My girlfriend is better qualified than I am (even though she doesn't have many body acceptance issues), so I may revisit this after she's read through it.

The Spirit of Lady Godiva
It's a book full of impressive black&white photography at many places across America. Each turn of the page has a full picture on one side, and some text about it on the other. The photographer shows standard building, landscape, and people shots, except with one small twist. His images show a world where people have a true choice of what to wear, or what to not wear. Textiles mix with nudes, and nobody seems to mind. (Well, OK, some heads are turned and some faces have a big smile, but a vast majority don't seem to notice.) What's most impressive is that all of these shots are real, and are of great quality. The book is a bit pricey, since it's a big chunk of tree. I'd only recommend it if photography is a big interest of yours.

Chasing the Sun DVD
This is a short video from TNS that is an introduction to naturism. It's made to be shown to classes, politicians, and anyone who doesn't really understand the topic. I'd say that it meets the goal pretty well. It includes statistics from the Roper polls, the positive economic impact of a nude beach, how beaches are self-policing and very safe, and how naturism is a family friendly activity. It addresses every big concern or misunderstanding that people have, and shows them that naturism is a good thing. The only problem with this video is that it shows a lot of nudity. Anyone who is seriously offended by nudity will not want to watch it, despite them being the ones that should watch it. Since it's a short video, they could've added a censored version just in case, or a version that uses alternative video clips that don't show nudity. Either way, it's in my archive just in case I need it.

If you have more to add about any of these items, or have questions, post 'em in the comments.


Anonymous said...

Familiar with some of these books. 'World beaches' may be useful for reference, but if you're not be going there, why?

'The Century Progect' is interesting, worthwhile.

Haven't seen the 'Sun' DVD but one might wish that if TNS really wanted to educate the public, it would be posted for free on their site.

You, and we (us?) spend a lot of time promoting the right idea of social nudism/naturism and don't make a dime off it. TNS is a non-profit that makes money and pays people to do that which we do for free.

WE give an intro to nudism, the lifestyle and everything about it, for free.

True, they have expenses for court battles, etc. But it might not be a bad idea to get folks interested before they start looking for bucks from them.

And, we have problems with some of their sponsored websites. More boobs and buns than good information. Lookin' for a buck.

Sorry, mini rant. Have a good night! Angie & Steve

Academic Naturist said...

'World Beaches' would be especially useful for you, Steve. You chat with people, some newbies, from all over the world. You can give them direction on how to get started in their local area. The book explains which beaches/resorts are good and how to get to them, instead of trying to figure it out with web searches.

Good point with the DVD. I'll ask them next time we chat. It's short and probably doesn't sell much.

Don't think of TNS as a business. Think of them as an insurance policy. I have insurance on my car so I always have something to drive, insurance on my health so I stay alive (and still have money), and insurance on my naturism so I can stay naked on the beach! TNS is the only policy that gives me stuff. The car insurance could at least send an air freshener with my yearly cards...

You and I and the many other bloggers promote naturism because we enjoy it. We don't offer any sort of protection, and don't sell any goodies. We *could* make money by selling stuff, or by having advertisements, if we choose.

What sponsored websites are you talking about? I didn't know TNS sponsored any. (They aren't listed in the magazine if they do.) AANR has a bunch of sponsored websites that might fit your description.

Anonymous said...

OK, I have to concede that at the moment I can't think of a specfic example of TNS sponsering (or perhaps advertising as I may have meant) and that AANR definately does, so I'll give you that point.

That hurts.

Never let it be said that when I'm found to be incorrect that I won't, reluctantly, admit that I may have misspoke. Maybe.

And maybe some folks want to buy a bunch of nudie videos that TNS sells in their mag, but we don't. Personally, we prefer to meet fellow nudist/naturists and get to know them, not just watch them prance around a beach.

And maybe TNS (and AANR) avoid mentioning any kind of suggestion that some ot their member clubs are rip-roaring swinger clubs because if they did they'd lose financial support from them.

TNS and AANR ARE businesses. Perhaps the folks working there are lucky enough to be working in a field they enjoy, but business ALWAYS comes first.

As far as 'protection' is concerned, we have always expressed appreciation for the job TNS does, and AANR. Without them, we'd all be a lot worse off.

Sometimes I just wonder where their priorities lie. -Steve

Anonymous said...

Wish you had e-mail, this is cumbersome.

You might find something of interest here...