It’s all about books and sex. The Authors Collection.
May 7, 2014
MY JOB THIS EVENING is to read smut. Lots of it. That was the promise I made to the friend who invited me to a book reading at a nearby bookstore
There were five authors reading. All had contributed stories to a collection gathered by Shawna Kenney, herself an author and UCLA writing instructor who is perhaps best known for her own memoir, “I Was a Teenage Dominatrix.” (Last Gasp).
Since my friend knew one of the authors, we both felt duty bound to purchase the book, “Book Lovers” which can be found through Amazon and, perhaps, at bookstores near you.
“You read it,” my friend said. “And tell me which stories I should read.”
So, here I am, wading through the first of twenty-five stories. So far, I think it’s averaging about six orgasms per story. That works out to about one every page and a half. Editor Kenney, who confesses to a literary fetish, says these stories were culled from several hundred that poured in when she put out the call. She says that she chiefly filtered for good writing in addition to her other criteria. She didn’t go into detail about the rest, but I’m guessing sex, sensuality and eroticism were on the list. After all, what’s the point?
Of the seven or eight stories I’ve breezed through so far, half start in a bookstore or a library.
In “Cash for Books,” an older woman is a regular customer at a used bookstore run by a handsome young man. One day, their flirting becomes confessional. He explains his lust for first editions, savoring the experienced pages and feeling the well-worn spines. She favors the touch of fresh, new pages being cracked opened and consumed for the first time. In the back room amid the musty rare books, the literary allusions, clothes and inhibitions vanish in the story’s quick build to the climax.
In “A to Z,” a young woman reading “People” magazine in a Fort Lauderdale library is interrupted by an attractive older woman who drops a copy of “Sense and Sensibility” in her lap and whispers in her ear, “A is for Austen.” Through Bronte and Christie and on to Huston, Lamott and Morrision, the literary seduction continues in meetings at the library while the romantic and sexual one picks up steam. A lot happens on the way to “Z.”
Other stories have a tougher edge. There is the couple mourning the loss of a child for whom sex gives them rare moments of relief. In other stories, one participant unabashedly enjoys the sensuality, openness and libidinal release with a partner while also recognizing the limitations of their relationship.
I suppose like most men, reading erotica is a rarity for me. At the book reading, I asked Kenney how many of her submissions came from men. She estimated ten percent and that the vast majority of those involved same-sex relationships. I’m guessing that that reflects the reading audience as well and that most men searching for an erotic charge prefer the quicker jolt of Internet and movie porn.
But I’m enjoying Book Lovers. Decent writing can focus on a lot of things. Why not books and sex?
Please click the book cover image to read more about Pulitzer Prize-winning Robert B. Lowe’s novel, Project Moses.