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The Mammoth Book of International Erotica edited by Maxim Jakubowski
By now most of our customers know our opinion on the “Fifty Shades of Grey” phenomenon. If you’ve been living under a rock, check out our bathroom.
Let me be clear, there is nothing wrong with the Erotica genre; I just want people to know that there is a much better selection out there and better written.
“The Mammoth Book of International Erotica” edited by Maxim Jakubowski is a good start at those who want to explore the genre. Aside from the hokey title- (Mammoth? Really?). The anthology features the cream of sensual writing from some of the world’s most modern authors. Taken from a wide variety of cultures, including China and Japan, Italy, Russia, and the United States, you can see how wide the spectrum is writing on sex, love, and sensuality can be. Notable authors in the anthology are Elfriede Jelinek (won the Nobel Prize in Literature) and Stella Duffy (shortlisted for the Orange Prize for fiction). So they are not all hacks people.
Many critics claim that the recent rise of erotic literature is a result of technological advances and changes to the way in which we read. These critics claim that, thanks to the advent of e-reading devices, readers no longer have to ask for the directions to the top floor “erotic” section in their bookshop. Instead they can download and consume their erotica anonymously, without anyone else knowing. Please.
These critics (and may I dare say male?) are still attempting to label erotic fiction as some kind of dirty habit, but I disagree. You only have to sit on a train or a bus and look around to see with your own eyes that the taboo of reading erotica is being rapidly eroded – if it, in fact, still exists at all. Copies of Fifty Shades and many other erotic novels are now being openly read in public, not out of any form of defiance, but because their readers clearly feel no sense of shame.
We haven’t had a book like Fifty Shades for quite some time that has made us all talk about the fact that women truly get turned on by words – in a way that many men do not (its fine- face it, men and women are different); and it’s precisely this emotional context that differentiates erotica from porn.
The resurgence of erotic novels (they always been out there) is a step forward- not a step back. As far as I’m concerned, the more we embrace and openly discuss our sexuality and sensuality, the better. Plus- it’s just fun. All I want is to give customers a little something extra, well written and more erotic to explore then the lazy, poorly written, S&M version of Twilight, Fifty Shades of Grey.
I admit, I like my Marie Claire just as much as my New York Times- and I like a little Erotica next to my Dostoyevsky. Pick up a copy at the bookstore- I have it next to portable copies of the Constitution (everyone needs one of those too!)
100 Strokes of the Brush before Bed by Melissa P. and Lawrence Venuti
The Happy Hooker by Xaviera Hollander
The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty (part of a trilogy) by Anne Rice (writing as A.N. Roquelaure)
Higher Brow Classics:
Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller
Lady Chatterley’s Lover By D.H. Lawrence
Eroticism: Death and Sensuality by George Bataille
Delta of Venus by Anais Nin