MSP Book of the Week: My Unwritten Books

This book is making quite a splash – in some circles, for its chapter on sex. In others, for its admission of starts and stops. My Unwritten Books amounts to seven essays on seven books that author and scholar George Steiner intended to write, or considered writing, but never really did. The Guardian focused on the sex chapter, and on Steiner’s often explicit descriptions of being fluent in four languages and making love in all of them. If you ever took French, you may find this quote of interest:

"Gloriously astride me, my first teacher in the arts of orgasm … bade me ‘Come, come now and deep.’ But did so using the formal vous."

The LA Times, on the other hand, focused more on the fact that, in the end, this respected scholar – like so many people who are gifted in an area - are at their heart, uncertain whether they can do what everyone else thinks that person can do so easily. Here, a quote from their review that made me pause to think:

In the end, Steiner suffers a crisis of faith in his chosen medium: words. (It is the fate of the intellectual — worse, the punishment for having the hubris to try to know it all — to be forever excluded from faith.)

Learn more about the book on

About Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick is a sex researcher at Indiana University, sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute, columnist, and author of five books about sex and love. Learn more about her work at