A few weeks back — in a post about how clutter can be as big an issue in relationships as money or sex — we mentioned a forthcoming book, Significant Objects: 100 Extraordinary Stories About Everything. Well, the book just came out yesterday! So we’d like to tell you a little more about it.
Bikinis have finally met their match: Matchbook.nu has cleverly juxtaposed swimsuits in online stores with book covers that match. Not intentionally. I especially like that each comparison includes the first line of the book. My favorite is the example above, featuring David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest, which has been the Bane to this Batman. The first sentence of Infinite Jest?
I am seated in an office, surrounded by heads and bodies.
Now that is an opening line.
Oliver Miller created these neat digital illustrations in the style of 8-bit graphics of video games from a bygone era to accompany the opening lines of 8 famous short stories. His explanation is amusingly tongue-in-cheek, but this was an artistic expression that combined two of his interests as an English-major-MFA-card-carrying writer and a former “nerd who huddled in a basement, with his nerd friends, clicking with a mouse to play Bard’s Tale II.” As a former nerd I too appreciate this greatly.
In my senior year of high school, I (Lo) read The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty, the first in a three-book series by vampire-genre goddess Anne Rice (who was a fave of mine at the time), writing under the pen name A. N. Roquelaure. Except instead of vampires, she was playing around with fairytale characters in a crazy BDSM world with bondage, whips, suspension, sticky-itchy honey-glazes on genitals, you name it! Her Beauty trilogy from more than 25 years ago was the original “Fifty Shades of Grey” series, filled with kinky sex on almost every page — except Rice’s was actually well written and, if memory serves me correctly, a lot more hardcore.
Is it possible that bad parenting could lead to bad sex? Could spoiled and selfish kids grow up to be spoiled and selfish bed partners? A recent article and book review in The New Yorker, “Why are American kids so spoiled?,” got us thinking along these lines.
To quote Woody Allen, “Pizza is a lot like sex. When it’s good, it’s really good. When it’s bad, it’s still pretty good.” Writer John Banville (who won the Booker Prize for his awesomely beautiful and lyrical novel The Sea back in 2005) would agree. And he goes one step further, saying that because of this, it’s impossible to write well about sex. Meaning that because men, at least, tend to enjoy most sex, no matter how bad it is, there is this inherent disconnect: They can’t write about it because they have no idea what just happened. Was it good, was it bad, was it the same old thing, was it earth-shattering? All they know is that they had an orgasm and it felt pretty cool. And as Tolstoy didn’t really say, good sex is all alike; all bad sex is bad in its own way. The latter is worth reading about; the former is just bad erotica.
Lolita, such a great book. So deserving of a great cover. One blogger held a contest. Now it’s being turned into a book, with designs from both contest entrants and solicited pieces by well-known designers. Here are all the links to follow:
The other night, we went to the book launch party for the new sex manual, “Great in Bed,” at the SoHo Babeland in NYC. It had been years since we’d seen our old friend and former coworker, Grant Stoddard, but he was his typical funny, charming self as he and his co-author — Kinsey sex researcher Debby Herbenick, PhD — answered questions from the anonymous drop-box…for an hour and a half. Fortunately, there was champagne:
A few weeks back we jumped on the Twitter hashtag #lessambitiousbooks bandwagon, with a list of our Top 10 Less Ambitious Sex Books (The Joy of Dry Humping, Slight Hangup About Flying, etc.). This time around we figured we’d create our own damn hashtag — #dirtierbooks — so that nobody could accuse us of being late to the game. The trick with #dirtierbooks is to be clever without sounding like a cheesy porno (The Da Vinci Load, A Tale of Two Titties, et al). Below are our top 10 best attempts. So, er, anyone want to jump on our bandwagon? (That came out dirtier than we meant it.)
For our book club, we’re reading the 2003 novel “We Need to Talk About Kevin” by Lionel Shriver.* I, Lo, knowing nothing about the book or its author, began reading and was amazed that a male author could create a female narrator that sounded so authentic and convincing, especially regarding childbirth and motherhood. That is, until halfway through the book when I happened to catch a glimpse of the author photo on the inside back flap: turns out Lionel is a woman.
We know it’s hard to invest in a story, play, or essay these days. But with Kindles, Nooks, iPads, old fashion print, and audio books, there are convenient ways to keep your brain stimulated and find time to text. Besides, looking like you care about something other than a video game score during your morning commute totally increases your sexy points in the voyeuristic eyes of fellow passenger. Here’s a list of new releases for 2012 that should keep you current, occupied, and slightly out of reach from all your fans.
We’re suckers for a good Twitter hashtag — they can make everyone feel like a stand-up comedian for a few minutes (not to mention giving us all a break from reading what our colleagues ate for breakfast). We particularly loved the #lessambitiousbooks hashtag that was trending this week, and of course we jumped on the bandwagon, finding ourselves hilarious @EMandLO. We were planning on publishing a round-up of our favorite sex- and love-related entries found on Twitter, but as it turned out, we had more fun coming up with our own. So here are our top 10 less ambitious sex (or sexy) books:
“Some people worry that technology is hindering human communication, creating more distance in relationships, but we think When Parents Text is evidence to the contrary,” write co-authors Lauren Kaelin and Sophia Fraioli about their new book.
On July 31st we got a press release about “29 Days of August,” a “digital novella of appetites” meant to be read throughout the month on “the social networks you already use.” Here’s the scoop:
I figure this photo of authors Tom Wolfe and Kurt Vonnegut sharing a lifeguard seat is apropos selfishly for the fact that I’m at the beach today and soaking in this awesome 100 degree New York heat. The other thing I find interesting about this photo is that Tom Wolfe isn’t outfitted in his trademark…
Last week, we gave you a first look at the new novel from Edie Meidav, “Lola, California,” called one of “the most anticipated novels of 2011″ by TheMillions.com. This week, a second excerpt: this one a glimpse into the world of stripping, as two female friends navigate that seedy terrain for the first time. To read Meidav is to enter a world of beauty, depth and detail; to hear her speak about her craft is to realize that world is not merely a concoction or a slight of hand — Meidave lives and breathes her art. So if her book tour happens to take her to your neck of the woods, go. (Her tour dates and locations are listed here and after the excerpt below):
The amazing writer Edie Meidav (who also happens to be our friend and neighbor) is out today with a new novel: “Lola, California”, called “brilliant” and “awesome” by Publisher’s Weekly. Meidav is such a force of inspiration that art practically gets spontaneously generated in her wake: above is a beautifully haunting short film created by Snapdragon that’s inspired by “Lola” along with Meidav’s narration; and here is music inspired by the book from Kevin Salem, who calls it “part soundtrack for the reader, part songs inspired by the text … and part music inspired by the cultural identity of the novel.” Below is one of two excerpts from “Lola, California” that Meidav is generously allowing us to publish here — this one about a rape on a Greek island. Stay tuned next week for the second excerpt about two friends go-go dancing. Both are compelling creepy and deeply moving, even without the context of the full novel:
In 1971, Marguerite Hart, the first children’s librarian at the local library in Troy, Michigan, began a letter writing campaign to many famous people asking them to respond with an open letter to the town’s children about the importance of libraries and reading.
Pamela Haag’s new book “Marriage Confidential” has one of the best subtitles we’ve seen in a long time: “The Post-Romantic Age of Workhorse Wives, Royal Children, Undersexed Spouses, and Rebel Couples Who Are Rewriting the Rules.” That’s a lot to live up to, but the book delivers. And it’s getting good buzz. Below is an excerpt from the section “New Twists on Old Infidelities, Or, The Way We Stray Today”:
The nameless narrator of David Levithan’s novel The Lover’s Dictionary narrates his relationship in the form of dictionary definitions of words, from aberrant to zenith. Some definitions are a page long, others just a sentence. Which makes it sound gimmicky and cute and Twitterific, but this book is anything but. It’s moving, hilarious, heartbreaking and smart. It’s also something of a guessing game, because the definitions leap back and forth across the span of the relationship. This book is a poignant reminder that words can say everything and nothing — and the same goes for the spaces and the pauses between them. Levithan’s is a spare tale and yet it feels universal, especially because the narrator addresses his partner as a nameless, gender-less “you.” But enough with all this wordiness, let’s just show you what we mean with a few of our favorite entries:
Have you ever glanced over at the alarm clock on your night-stand during sex and calculated exactly how many hours are left until it rings? An extended 69 or a slow and sensual love-making sesh is suddenly much less appealing when every minute of pleasure is a minute less of shut-eye. Which might explain a recent study which found that 8 in 10 people would choose a good night’s sleep over sex. But what if you didn’t have to choose, what if you could have both sleep and sex? Hello, quickie!
Mike Sacks is one fifth of the hilarious Association for the Betterment of Sex, the cabal behind the book Our Bodies, Our Junk, which we wrote about last year. So we weren’t surprised in the least to discover how much funny there is in Sacks’ own book, Your Wildest Dreams, Within Reason. It’s a collection of 54 short humor pieces, many of them written in collaboration with the other members of the ABS, amongst others. The essays include everything from “Rules for My Cuddle Party” (“#1: Please do not give birth in the hot tub.”) to a bridegroom on Twitter (“Attempting to fist-bump rabbi”) and icebreakers to avoid (“This party reminds me of 9/11″). To give you a taste, we’re excerpting one of the essays here in full…
The New York Public Library has one of the more bizarre artifacts of our literary past that I’ve seen. Apparently Charles Dickens loved his pet cat Bob, and to remember the feline when he passed away, the famed author “took one of Bob’s paws, had it stuffed and slapped it on a letter opener.” Feel…
Ariel Sabar’s new book, Heart of the City: Nine Stories of Love and Serendipity on the Streets of New York, follows couples from the 1940s to the present whose matchmaker was New York City. We chatted with him about location-location-location — and what it means for love.
EM & LO: What got you first interested in how place interacts with the way strangers meet and fall in love?
ARIEL SABAR: The spark for me was my parents’ love story. My mom, Stephanie, and dad, Yona, were these really different people. Stephanie was the daughter of a well-off Manhattan businessman and his sophisticated wife, the kind of folks who held season tickets to the Metropolitan Opera. Yona was born to an illiterate teenage mother and peddler father in a mud hut in northern Iraq. But one fall day in 1966, they both somehow find themselves in Washington Square Park, that wonderful gathering place in the heart of Greenwich Village. Through a series of circumstances I describe in the book, Yona, lonely and homesick, strikes up a conversation this interesting woman — thinking mistakenly that she is also a “tourist.” Four months later they are married. The more I quizzed them about their story, the more convinced I became that the park itself had played a kind of matchmaking role. Forty-four years, two kids, and four grandkids later, they’re still happily married.
The New York Times has a great photo gallery of Norman Mailer’s stunning and highly personal Brooklyn Heights apartment on its website. Norman Mailer, who passed away in 2007, tackled his fear of heights (stemming from his vertigo problem) when he drastically remodeled his apartment over forty years ago “by designing a space that resembled…