Celeste Giuliano’s Pin-Ups in 3-D / Retro Glamour: Photography of Mark Anthony Lacy

To paraphrase Patrick Dempsey’s narration that opens the rather oddball (and underrated) 1988 rom-com SOME GIRLS, I love women — almost all of them.

Either purely coincidental or through calculated Orwellian means, Schiffer Publishing has released two photography books within three months’ time that play directly to my admiration of the fairer, superior sex and their awe-inspiring form: CELESTE GIULIANO’S PIN-UPS IN 3-D and RETRO GLAMOUR: PHOTOGRAPHY OF MARK ANTHONY LACY. Both books are bursting with wall-to-wall — er, make that cover-to-cover — snaps of gorgeous gals. Call me chauvinist if you must, but you’ll be wrong; being for equal rights and being a heterosexual male are not mutually exclusive. Why, I can utter “ERA now!” and “Va-va-voom!” in the same breath, panted though it may be.

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Sin-a-Rama: Sleaze Sex Paperbacks of the Sixties — Expanded Edition

sinaramaFollowing its now-even-meatier reissue of It’s a Man’s World: Men’s Adventure Magazines, The Postwar Pulps last summer, the ever-mighty indie publisher Feral House does the same to Sin-a-Rama: Sleaze Sex Paperbacks of the Sixties, edited by B. Astrid Daley and Adam Parfrey. Both are excellent curios of the seedier side of American popular culture; if you can afford only one, turn tricks until the two adorn your bookshelf.

First published in 2004, Sin-a-Rama takes a deep dive into the “forgotten black sheep of the publishing industry,” notes Parfrey: the X-rated paperback novel. Carrying such come-on titles as ESP Orgy, The Rape Club and Sexplosion, the whack books became so popular that one house was cranking them out at the rate of 50 per month, not to mention a magazine every day.

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BULLETS, BROADS, BLACKMAIL & BOMBS >> Subtle as a Sledgehammer

deadmeatbullets broads blackmail and bombsThe title of this column explains all the books covered: There are no secret meanings or hoity-toity mumbo-jumbo of symbolism. Nope, these are all in-your-face and there to shock. “Graphic” and “over-the-top” describe these three novels — well, actually seven. You’ll see what I mean, once we kick things off with the king of subtlety, Guy N. Smith.

DEAD MEAT: THE COMPLETE BOOKS OF SABAT by Guy N. Smith — Oh, sweet e-reader, without you I would never be able to afford half the books I’ve featured recently. Now for a book that could have easily been a column by itself, since it’s actually a 1997 collection of all four books in the SABAT series, with an addition of two short stories. Trust me: A little of them goes a long way, to the point a friend was amazed I was able to read all four consecutively, and that person is a huge Smith fan.

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How High Should I Jump?: The Satirical Guide to Pleasing Today’s Woman

Casual, noncommittal sexuality — as popularized in the 2011 movies FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS and NO STRINGS ATTACHED — is challenging the idea that monogamous, long-term relationships are the only model a couple can adopt if they are to achieve real happiness.

A recent book by “heterosexual relationship specialist” R. Milton Quibner, HOW HIGH SHOULD I JUMP?: THE SATIRICAL GUIDE TO PLEASING TODAY’S WOMAN offers another alternative. Quibner takes the idea of sexual freedom one step further by advocating a radically practical — if absurd — new form of relationship: a steady and varied sexual diet for the woman, and a strict and limited support role for the man, who remains monogamous.

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BULLETS, BROADS, BLACKMAIL & BOMBS >> A Bit Naughty

bullets broads blackmail and bombsAfter a long layoff, I’m back with a trio of reads. This batch comes from Great Britain’s CONFESSIONS books of the 1970s. The covers promise one thing, but as we have learned in the past, looks can be deceiving.

CONFESSIONS OF A SHOP ASSISTANT by Jonathan May — First off, Jonathan May doubles as the name of the main character and the pen name for men’s adventure writer Laurence James. He is best known from his run on the DEATHLANDS series, but that’s not the only futuristic apocalypse series he tackled. Longtime readers of this column will note he also did the SURVIVAL 2000 series, which had great buildup … and a wet fart of an ending.

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Surprise

Edited by Tinder James, SURPRISE is aptly named, not only because each of its two-dozenish tales ends in a twist, but because the stories are actually pretty good. See, they’re erotica — a genre in which many writers deliver the physical goods at the sacrifice of narrative ones.

Not so here. The sex is sexy, but it’s actually part of an honest-to-gosh story. Some even are satirical — especially the handful of flash-fiction single-pagers — tweaking the conventions of the genre, winking at the reader as they deliver a well-placed punchline. Better yet, the contents are varied, so it’s not like … oh, say, assuming the missionary each and every time.

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The Joy of Mindful Sex: Be in the Moment and Enrich Your Lovemaking

Not that I’ve seen that many sex how-to books to compare it to, but THE JOY OF MINDFUL SEX: BE IN THE MOMENT AND ENRICH YOUR LOVEMAKING seems more high-minded than others. In fact, Claudia Blake’s book subscribes to the same kind of philosophy that Oprah Winfrey and Eckhart Tolle preach about life in general: Live in the present.

It’s that attention to the moment, rather than worrying about the past or future, that allows people to focus, and that goes for acts of congress, too. This manual isn’t for those looking for killer techniques for one-night stands or casual encounters, because sex is at its very best when you connect with your committed partner on all levels — emotional, mental, spiritual — and not just the physical.

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Because It Feels Good: A Woman’s Guide to Sexual Pleasure and Satisfaction

becauseitfeelsgoodJust because BECAUSE IT FEELS GOOD: A WOMAN’S GUIDE TO SEXUAL PLEASURE AND SATISFACTION is written for the ladies doesn’t mean a guy like me can’t learn something from it. For instance, there are roughly five different shapes of a vagina, including “slug” and “pumpkin seed.”

Oh, and the book’s author, Kinsey Institute educator Dr. Debby Herbenick, was told to keep her vulva puppet far away from President Obama. For more on that story — as well as the skinny on sex noises, vagina tents and little somethin’-somethin’ called the towel trick — read the book.

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Hot for Words: Answers to All Your Burning Questions About Words and Their Meanings

If intelligence is sexy, I wish someone would’ve told all those girls with whom I attended high school. Marina Orlova claims smarts equal sex appeal, but then, she looks like Marina Orlova. She’s the author of HOT FOR WORDS: ANSWERS TO ALL YOUR BURNING QUESTIONS ABOUT WORDS AND THEIR MEANINGS, which no one would be publishing if she were ugly.

The book does exactly what it promises: diving into the origins of words and phrases. But never before have roots been so seemingly raunchy, as each page is accompanied by a slick, full-color photo of Orlova in fantasy-ready poses, from schoolgirl uniforms and bikinis to lingerie and eating a banana.

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Wolf’s Gambit

Cinematically, werewolves are the coolest monsters. The man-to-wolf transformation scenes always play well, and then there’s the running through the forest and snarling and howling at the moon. You gotta love it.

But on the page, these elements don’t work as well. A novelist needs to bring something more to the party, and in WOLF’S GAMBIT, W.D. Gagliani doesn’t quite make it. His storytelling is fine and the main characters are well-drawn, but the book misses that visceral thrill we associate with tales of men changing into beasts.

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