Book Review: Naked at Lunch
In my never-ending search for nudism and naturism resources, I came across a book titled “Naked at Lunch: A Reluctant Nudist’s Adventures in the Clothing-Optional World” by Mark Haskell Smith.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from a non-fiction exploration of the world of nudism/naturism, but I borrowed the ebook of Naked at Lunch by Mark Haskell Smith from my local library (as an ebook on Libby) and gave it a read.
Smith’s style is witty and sometimes a wee bit crass. I found it very entertaining to read but I like a writer with a dry sense of humour. If you’ve ever read any of Bill Bryson’s books, you’ll find “Naked at Lunch” to be in the same vein.
He takes readers on a series of journeys to some of the naturist hot spots of the world and through some of the most common naturism/nudism activities. Those include a visit to San Francisco, Cap d’Adge in France, Vera Playa in Spain, along on the Naked European Walking Tour (NEWT) and even on a nudist cruise.
Smith bravely throws himself into the world of nudism, fully participating in everything from enjoying a few days at an American nudist resort to hiking the Alps in the buff and along the way meets a wide variety of nudists that help de-mystify and explain what it is about being naked that is so appealing to some.
Entertaining and Educational
Intermixed in all these naked adventures are lessons on the history of naturism going back through time that explore the roots of nudity and nudism. Smith explores topics like the impact of religion and morality on the public perceptions of nudity and also the links between nudism and sexuality in ways that reveal the constant struggles on both sides of public opinion to either connect or separate the two.
I found the book to be very entertaining and also raised my awareness of some of the long-standing issues around naturism including how to attract younger people, reasons behind the public’s misconceptions of social nudity and the connections between government’s desire to stamp out public nudity and organized religion.
Pick it up and give it a read if you have a few hours. Especially for the new nudist, it’s a great backgrounder on how we got to where we are and also serves as a bit of a bucket list generator for nudist activities and experiences that I think ever nudist should try.
Note: this book review was originally published on my blog in 2021 (which is no longer online).