Some people fall into the “shut up and kiss me” category of prurient interest. These people have plenty of their own good (or bad) stuff to enjoy. For people that have a love affair with the English language itself, who find textures in words coursing over their skin, who cannot even consider the act of sex without preceding it with an act of wit – this book belongs to them.
This book has inhabited my bedside since September 2014. In some ways, it reminds me of a self-discovery I encountered during a brief period in my 20s when the cable company saw fit to provide me a sample of the Playboy channel. I learned then I cannot eat and watch porn. Sex and food do not go together for me – and bad dialog turns me off so hard I might as well be smelling hot garbage when it happens. Perhaps, in restrospect, if the dialog on the cheesy semi-consensual
This book does not have that problem – each story is submitted by a master of the art, and each one is masterfully erotic, an altering of mindset into an experience shared. Things that normally do not turn me on turned me on as I read this.
But it did lead to my latest discovery in my personal relationship with erotica: I can only read it in small doses. A story or two a night is as much as I can do before it wears me out, and sometimes I had to take a night off to see my partner, or other suitors eager for my literary desires. Suitors that are less handsy, less demanding, that don’t want me physically tired when we finish. It’s not just the slicks and tightenings that wore me down – it was the skillful binding of mind to language, the way language itself could stick to my body. I would love to write like that, but I’m not sure I could get anything done – surely what happens to the reader must also happen to the writer as it’s created.
If looking for highlights, the book included a variety of pairings, all of the cisgender variety but otherwise deeply varied in age, cultural background, and yes, even education. From wordplay as foreplay to an object displacement disorder that eroticize books, the tales themselves surprise and delight with twists and turns on the way to their erotic inevitability. It’s worth reading as much for the creativity as it is for its prurience.
I dare you to propose this to your book club.