Monday, February 26, 2018

In Progress -- #amreading #erotica #literature

Bookshelf and Girl

By Lisabet Sarai

What am I reading these days? Too many books, perhaps. My reading feels fragmented, partially because I seem to have so little time to devote to it lately. That doesn’t seem to have stopped me from being partway through a bunch of different titles, ranging from erotica to literature.

Since our blog tag line emphasizes our sexiness (!), I’ll start on the erotic side.

From the blurb of Golden Shana: The Capture by A.P. K’Ory, you might conclude that this tale is your typical billionaire erotic romance, but you’d be very wrong. Roman Castell is every bit the arrogant, self-centered, dominant hero, but A.P. K’Ory is mostly interested in how he’s thrown totally off balance by his sudden passion for the exquisite and brilliant Dr. Shana Lindvquist. Shana is richer than Roman, more mature and self-assured, and just happens to have a lesbian lover. Roman must change in order to achieve his heart’s desire. 

Meanwhile, Shana is scarred by early experiences with an abusive lover. For her to trust a man is almost impossible, regardless of how powerful her attraction to him might be.

The author portrays the shifting emotions of the characters with delicacy and insight. Though the characters are extreme, their interactions feel genuine. Their nuanced and unconventional sexual interactions burn white hot, partly because the author treats sex as the natural extension of her characters’ emotions.

This is the second part of Roman’s story. You can read my review of the first book, Golden Shana: The Chase at my blog.

In the first chapter of Larry Archer’s novel Stripper or Nurse, a man has a heart attack in a strip club. Two mostly naked dancers perform CPR and save his life. When his up-tight wife visits the club to complain about the girls showing up in her husband’s hospital room, she finds herself French-kissing the MILF club manager and feeling up the nubile valet parking attendants.

How could you not love a book with this beginning?

Larry Archer writes lively, sex-positive, often humorous smut, simultaneously relaxing and arousing. I read an unfinished beta version of this but I’m rereading the published novel now to find out how it all ends. Okay, I know everyone comes, multiple times—but I’m curious to know Larry ties up the loose ends.

Sometimes you just need an escape!

I’m only a few chapters into Portia Da Costa’s Wild in the Country, but so far I adore it. Portia writes so well, really pulling you into her characters’ heads and hearts. This is a re-release of an older novel of hers I never had the chance read. Since she’s more or less responsible for my entry into publishing (having inspired my first novel), I’m reading this for a review, as well as for my own pleasure.

Seelie Kay is the pseudonym of a smart, sassy lawyer who writes about members of the legal profession getting down and dirty. Her Kinky Briefs Thrice is a collection of mildly twisted tales about lawyers, paralegals, judges and the like, getting into each other’s briefs...

The pieces in this book are well-crafted and fun to read, but a bit too abbreviated for my tastes, more like vignettes than full-fledged stories. That’s one reason I put it aside. I’m sure I’ll finish it eventually, though. Meanwhile, Seelie just released another collection, Kinky Briefs Quatro.

At a recent used book sale, I picked up a paperback copy of To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. It happens to be a very light, compact volume, so it has become my current “travel book”.

I’m sure I read Mockingbird as a teen, but I don’t remember it well. Meanwhile, current political and social conditions make the novel’s concerns with racism, justice and our common humanity all the more relevant.

Despite the thematic density of this classic, I find I’m reading it mostly for enjoyment. The prose flows beautifully, easy and unobstructed, deceptively simple. Ms. Lee shows us the world through the eyes of a second-grader, with just the right mixture of confusion and stubborn certainty. Her view of her lawyer father Atticus Finch – old (in his fifties), without any exciting talents, loving but strict – deepens and ramifies as she and her brother watch him undertake the unpopular legal defense of a black man.

I’m not rushing this one. I want to savor every chapter.

For my birthday, a close friend gave me Han Kang’s slim, devastating novel The Vegetarian. “It reminded me of something you might write,” she told me. I have to say, I don’t see this at all, since this is an extremely dark and disturbing book that plumbs the savage depths of the Id, as well as exposing the cruelty and dishonesty of society. Still, I understand why she thought I’d be interested. I see many parallels between the way people react to housewife Yeong-hye’s sudden refusal to eat any animal products and my own experiences as an anorexic.

At the moment, this book is sitting by my bed, but I haven’t had the courage to pick it up again. Mostly I read before going to sleep; I’m worried that this prize-winning novel will give me nightmares. Still, I know I’ll return to it eventually. Even if it were not a gift, it’s too well written and insightful to discard.

(Maybe I should alternate chapters with something by Larry Archer!)

Finally, I’m making my way through Falling into the Fire: A Psychiatrist's Encounters with the Mind in Crisis by Christine Montross. I’m reading this slowly, too, mostly to savor the gorgeous prose and the challenging ideas. The author of this non-fiction book is not only a physician treating severely disturbed patients, but also a poet, a lesbian and a mother of two young children. She weaves her personal experiences in with the accounts of her often disturbing and frustrating patient relationships.

This incredibly honest book shatters the image of the self-controlled, emotionally-distant psychiatrist and admits that modern psychiatry is sometimes powerless to help those suffering from severe mental illness. Even more boldly, it questions whether we can always draw a clear line between “normal” and “abnormal” thoughts and behavior. Dr. Montross’s sincere dedication to her patients as well as her courage in being willing to ask difficult questions makes this an inspiring and satisfying read.

Seven books in progress! Sigh. 

Lest you think I never finish anything, I will mention a delightful novel I did complete recently. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman provided both entertainment and food for thought. You can read my review here.


  1. Larry's book sounds like fun, as do Vegetarian and Ove. So much to read, so little time. :>)

    1. Yeah, exactly!

      I think you'd really enjoy Ove. In fact, I just bought my sister a copy for a birthday present, because it's hard to imagine someone who would NOT enjoy it.

  2. I'm so jealous! I wish I had time to read! I have to squeeze it in when I'm working, like when I subbed yesterday for a teacher who had the students reading and annotating all day, so I picked up a copy of Freakonomics from her shelf, since I've always meant to read it, and finished it during the course of the day.

    Don't bother with Harper Lee's other book. "Comes a Watchman," I think it's called. Came out to quite a stir a few years ago. While staying at my son's house, I picked up his wife's copy and read it over the course of a weekend...and wished I hadn't. I means it's not horrible, but it's nowhere near as wonderful as "To Kill a Mockingbird." I read Watchman was actually her first book, and it shows, with many amateur mistakes that she learned not to make in her masterpiece.

    How wonderful, to die knowing that millions have read, and will continue to read, your words, long after you're gone! Even more jealous!

    1. I squeeze it in, too.

      I read some of the reviews of Watchman. Not likely to read it, based on what I've heard.

      Hang in there, Fiona!

  3. Wow this is a great list! You made me want to read a bunch of these. For one thng, it sounds like you found a bunch of great erotica.

    I read The Vegetarian and loved it. While it was certainly unsettling, there was something in it that really pulled me through, and I've planned to read more work by Han Kang.


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