DEVOUR { reads we think you should DEVOUR }

DEVOUR { reads we think you should DEVOUR }

. 20 min read

In our weekly DEVOUR column, we share the reads we think you should eat up, Here is a slice of what we've feasted on.  To get all of DEVOUR recommendations, you have to subscribe.

Read.

Read.  A Short Erotic Story Aloud To Yourself (Or Someone Else) from "Coming Soon: Women's Orgasm Erotica".  I am making my way through this recently published, latest compilation of erotica edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel.  Bussel has edited over 60 erotica anthologies over the last 20 years, including six volumes of "Best Women's Erotica of the Year."  (Most of which I am going to admit were read aloud to me by an ex over a few years. Sometimes I actually miss him.)  Coming Soon has a range of stories from tame to more kinky, bondage to scifi to love in a retirement home. My early favorite is I'm Her by Henry Corrigan, which hits my personal sweet spot for erotica:  short, suspenseful, slightly quirky and straightforward sexy.

Coming Soon: Women’s Orgasm Erotica a book by Rachel Kramer Bussel
Multiple orgasms? Oh, yes! What does it feel like to climax? Coming Soon: Women’s Orgasm Erotica offers wild and thrilling tales of female sexual pleasure that explore that question in a variety of wondrous ways. From a fetish that will appeal to any book lover and a waitress who’s seduced by her v…

Read. Christian Pan reviews the classic erotic novel Vox on Christian Pan Erotica. Christian Pan Erotica "produces original and bespoke erotic fiction for people who enjoy having sex on the brain, who get aroused by language, and who seek quality fiction to turn them on."  Tucked into their "Dirty Words" tab are also reviews – of Nicholas Baker's classic Vox and Jane Boon's recent Edge Play

Read. Late Nights and Lazy Mornings.  From classic literature to emerging writers, it is an exceptional list of masterpieces.  One thing that I particularly love that Sharon has done for us is let herself wander back and forth through time, while focusing her organizing principle on books that offer the most moving, creative, provocative and lyrically written stories.

Read. Sharon's "Late Nights & Lazy Mornings" Reading List {Click here to see all of this week's EroticLit list with brief descriptions/reviews of each book on The Chatham Bookstore's Bookshop page, or click thru on each book below to read.}

Read. The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love Oscar Hijuelos  1989 Pulitzer Prize Winner. The Castillo brothers make their way from Cuba to New York City's dance halls in 1949 to become the Mambo Kings. Their orchestra plays lush, sensuous, pulsing music by night; by day they are laborers. This is an exuberant portrait of the lives of the brothers, their families, fellow musicians and lovers, and their triumphs and tragedies. It recreates a tantalizing world and period in American life.

Read. Scary Old Sex Arlene Heyman  A work of "bliss that lifts right off the page." (Dwight Garner, NYT) A beautiful young art student embarks on an affair with a much older, married, famous artist. A man finds that his father has died while in the midst of extra-marital sex and wonders what to do about the body. A woman goes about certain rituals of sex with her second husband, living with ghosts of her sexual past. This is a stunning, taboo-breaking debut of short stories by a practicing psychiatrist, who gives us what really goes on in people's minds, relationships, and beds.

Read. The Transit of Venus Shirley Hazzard  A literary masterpiece that is considered one of the great English-language novels of the 20th Centurey (The Paris Review). The story of two beautiful orphan sisters who leave Sydney, Australia for London in the 1950s, who experience seduction and abandonment, marriage and widowhood – and whose fates are as moving and wonderful, and yet as predestined, as the transits of the planets themselves.

Read. Fear of Flying Erica Jong  A 1973 publishing sensation that tells the uninhibited story of Isadora Wing and her desire to fly free. After thirty years, it stands as a timeless tale of self-discovery, liberation and womanhood.

Read. What Belongs to You Garth Greenwall  Named One of the Best Books of the Year by more than 50 publications in 2016. An American teacher working in Madrid enters a public bathroom where he meets Mitko, a charismatic young hustler, and pays him for sex. A stunning novel of desire and its consequences, written with lyric intensity and startling eroticism.

Read. Chelsea Girls Eileen Myles   This groundbreaking autobiography by "a cult figure to a generation of post-punk females forming their own literary avant garde" has been recently republished.  The poet Myles tells her story of being raised Catholic by an alcoholic father, her volatile adolescence and ultimately her riotous pursuit of survival as a poet in 1970s New York.  A funny, cool and intimate account of a writer's education suffused with sex, drugs and alcohol.

Read. My Education Susan Choi  Though Regina had been warned about her Professor, nothing prepared her for his exceptional physical beauty. Or his charismatic, volatile wife. This story is an education in Regina's mistakes, which begin in the bedroom.

Read. Edge Play Jane Boon  A universe beyond Fifty Shades of Grey and The Big Short, Edge Play is a novel set in the most elite, fetishistic underground circles of Wall Street mega-power and BDSM.  As the primary character, Amy Lefevre, moves from investment banking to the world of an elite S&M dungeon, she explores obsession and ambition with a fetishist's eye.

Read. The Group Mary McCarthy  A dazzling, outspoken novel about the social history of America between the wars, McCarthy's most celebrated novel follows the lives of eight Vassar graduates through the years.

Read. The Swimming-Pool Library Alan Hollinghurst  An enthralling, darkly erotic novel of homosexuality before the scourge of AIDS; an elegy, possessed of chilling clarity. The story of a young gay aristocrat who leads a life of privilege and promiscuity and an elderly Lord, searching for someone to write his biography and inherit his traditions.

Read. The Unbearable Lightness of Being Milan Kundera  A young woman in love with a man torn between his love for her and his womanizing; one of his mistresses and her faithful lover – these are the two couples whose stories are told in this classic, masterful novel.  An exploration of how lives are as shaped by irrevocable choices as by fortuitous events.

Read. Tipping the Velvet Sarah Waters  Set in 1890s London, the title is a euphemism for cunnilingus – the story is a graphic and lushly told story of lesbian sex against a dangerous and thrilling world of the theater.

Read. Henry and June: From A Journal of Love Anais Nin  From Nin's diaries, this is an intimate account of a woman's sexual awakening, which occurs over a single momentous year in Paris 1930s, when Nin meets Henry Miller and his wife June. Nin falls in love with his writing and her beauty, but begins a fiery affair with him when June leaves Paris for a year.

Read. Call Me By Your Name  Andre Acimen  A sudden, powerful romance blossoms between an adolescent boy and a summer guest on a cliffside mansion on the Italian Riviera. The novel that sparked a major motion picture.

Read. Brideshead Revisted Evelyn Waugh  The fuel of desire and the impediments to love come brilliantly into focus in Waugh's masterpiece, a novel that immerses us in the glittering and seductive world of English aristocracy in the waning days of the empire.

Everything Else That's Good:

Read.  If You Missed the Men's Health Series on Bob Weir's Workout Routine, It's Not Too Late To Be Inspired. Along with 362k others (including Nathaniel Rateliff, I note), I follow Bob Weir's Instagram.  I have seen this founding member of the Grateful Dead in concert a number of times (with the Grateful Dead before Jerry Garcia died, then with The Dead) and his energy and athleticism are impressive.  But it wasn't until I started following him on insta that I appreciated how dedicated he is to a fitness routine that allows him to play hundreds of three-hour concerts a year into his 70's.  He has filmed his fitness routine on video for insta, but this series of Men's Health articles provide the background and depth worthy of the icon's dedication.  Fitness is one of the key components to being happy into your 70's for Weir.  The other two?  "A sense of purpose," and "meditation."

The Grateful Dead’s Bob Weir Is Unbelievably Shredded at 72
Bob Weir stays strong and fit with CrossFit, Tabata workouts, and three-hour concerts.
How I Built My Body: Grateful Dead founder, Bob Weir
MH works out with a music and fitness legend
Watch the Grateful Dead’s Bob Weir Show Off His Intense Pre-Show Workout
The 73-year-old musician just shared a look at his training routine on TikTok.

Read. The Latest Novel from Val Emmich, Maybe We’re Electric. New York Times best-selling author, Val Emmich, is a multi-talented actor and singer/songwriter, widely- known for writing The Reminders and Dear Evan Hansen: The Novel. His latest work, Maybe We’re Electric, is a moving story of two teens who find themselves connected by their personal pain and loneliness. Tegan Everly is a young girl born with an “otherness” -- she has just two fingers on one hand. When she flees home in a snowstorm, she takes refuge at the Thomas Edison museum -- the famed site of the inventor’s brilliant discovery -- where she encounters a schoolmate, the popular young athlete, Mac Durant. Tegan is convinced they have nothing in common, but Mac is in desperate need of her acceptance. The unlikely acquaintances spend a snowbound night together that allows them to reveal their true selves and forge an electrifying bond.

Like its predecessor Dear Evan Hanson, Maybe We’re Electric is of the YA genre, however, the story transcends categorization and examines how emotional pain can connect us all, and the things that hold us back are truly the things that move us forward.

Read. The Reading List (Published June 8, 2021). Described as “a love letter to some of our most cherished novels,” Sara Nisha Adams debut work examines loneliness, despair, and hope. Following the death of his wife, a West London man has difficulty resuming life. As he sits alone watching nature documentaries, his granddaughter, Priya, secludes in her room, reading. In an attempt to connect with her, he visits the local library to get her some books and meets a young library employee who discovers a list of novels in the back of To Kill A Mockingbird. When she shares the list with the gentlemen, they find a connection with each other, their home life, and their community. Read here

Read. Background for reading Bob Guccione, Jr's Reflections on Hefner. I found this background, published in Time in 1969, on the difference between Playboy and Penthouse equal parts humorous, informative, quaint and relevant, especially this quote from the founder of Penthouse, Bob Guccione: "Playboy treats women like a child treats a doll. The basic difference between Hefner and me is that I genuinely like women." As a result, the piece continues, nudes in Penthouse are more lifelike. "They have moles and appendicitis scars, and sometimes their breasts even sag a little." Well nobody ends up with appendicitis scars anymore, what with the miracle of microscopic surgery, but the point was greatly appreciated.

In his essay, Bob Guccione, Jr mentions Gloria Steinem's brilliant expose on working as a playboy bunny. Here she discusses it decades later.

To read Steinem's original essay A Bunny's Tale (published in two parts), you can get Part 1 here and Part 2 here.  In A Bunny Tale Steinem takes on the conditions for women working on Playboy, but not the need for a sexual revolution itself. Of course she argued that women should define the contours of the sexual revolution, broadly speaking, and certainly for themselves. It feels like a powerful harbinger of #metoo and every conversation we've been part of on consent.

Nicolaus Mills argued in 2013 in The Guardian that A Bunny Tale remained relevant 50 years later.

Read This.  Before Spicing Up Your Romantic Life, Married Couples. (And everyone else.) Don't ask me how, but I had come across this article in Married Christian Sex promoting the idea of adding a sense of danger to your sex life by having public sex. To, you know, keep married sex exciting and married couples together. It is from 2014, and is really quite a practical (and detailed) list, if not hysterical. For instance "If your wife is shy [I guess the site presumes that is the husband trying to spice things up], try starting your public adventures slowly with a blow job. She won't need to undress at all. Assuming she swallows, clean-up will be easy." (There's a mouthful to swallow there, starting with why a shy wife would be more relaxed giving a public blow job than, say, receiving a much more potentially subtle stimulation up her skirt, but anyway, that's not what I want to focus on.) I don't even want to focus on the many other nuggets in this list, or on the site altogether - which I got a lot out of. What I do want to make Christian Married Couples (and everyone else) aware of is this disturbing list recently published by Tyler Cowen in Marginal Revolution:  Some Major Cities Ranked By Surveillance Cameras per km. They are not what he (or probably anyone) expected. Boston, NYC and Baltimore CRUSH Readers, beware before you bare.

The Best Time-Management Advice Is Depressing But Liberating
You can make time for things that matter, or you can make time for more email.

Read This.  Before Spicing Up Your Romantic Life, Married Couples. (And everyone else.) Don't ask me how, but I had come across this article in Married Christian Sex promoting the idea of adding a sense of danger to your sex life by having public sex. To, you know, keep married sex exciting and married couples together. It is from 2014, and is really quite a practical (and detailed) list, if not hysterical. For instance "If your wife is shy [I guess the site presumes that is the husband trying to spice things up], try starting your public adventures slowly with a blow job. She won't need to undress at all. Assuming she swallows, clean-up will be easy." (There's a mouthful to swallow there, starting with why a shy wife would be more relaxed giving a public blow job than, say, receiving a much more potentially subtle stimulation up her skirt, but anyway, that's not what I want to focus on.) I don't even want to focus on the many other nuggets in this list, or on the site altogether - which I got a lot out of. What I do want to make Christian Married Couples (and everyone else) aware of is this disturbing list recently published by Tyler Cowen in Marginal Revolution:  Some Major Cities Ranked By Surveillance Cameras per km. They are not what he (or probably anyone) expected. Boston, NYC and Baltimore CRUSH Readers, beware before you bare.

Read. The 100 Greatest Rock Stars Since That Was A Thing in SPIN. This is a highly subjective (and entertaining) list of the greatest "Rock Stars" from somebody with the taste and life-experience to know – Bob Guccione Jr, the publisher of SPIN.  You might fairly quibble with where certain rock stars notch on the list. I do – Ozzy Osbourne #72 over Jerry Garcia #87, for instance. (Really? Did Ben & Jerry's name an ice cream after Ozzy?). But the top ten all belong in the top ten, to my estimation. And Guccione inarguably gets #1 right. Take your shot at his list here.

And if you like Bob Guccione Jr's "Rock Star" list you may enjoy his list of the 5 Things That Turn Him On from Letter No 11, or his personal essay on Hefner we published in Letter No 15.

Read. Harper's Bazaar on How Patti Smeed Started An Electric Hairstlye Trend. She is a retired nurse from Tennessee, and she's obviously cool as all get out.

The Tweet That Launched a Thousand Dye Jobs
A reminder that color doesn’t fade with age.

Check Out. First Photos from Sex and the City Reboot. We here at PrimeCrush are not overwhelmingly fans of the Sex and the City reboot - see the story And I Wondered ... Do We Really Need a SATC Reboot? from Letter No 9, not to mention the results of our Reader poll here on who would be watching the Reboot (2/3 of us voted "I'm sorry I can't. Don't hate me."). But still. I had to peek at these photos ... and "just like that" I'm being pulled back in by (of all things) Miranda's updated and very (dare I say) "man repeller" inspired look. Into it.

‘And Just Like That…’: First photos from ‘Sex and the City’ revival series
The “Sex and the City” reboot series is now shooting in New York City — and just like that, HBO Max has released first-look images for fans. A series of photos dropped Friday featuring …

Read.  NYT's 50 Reasons to Love Joni Mitchell's "Blue."  Blue, released in 1971 when she was only 27, was Mitchell's fourth studio album, written and produced entirely by her.  Among many other accolades, it was named third in Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.  Blue is a poetic untangling of the nature of passionate relationships.  There are lots of hints at juicy details in the NYT article (and then you kind of had to piece things together). It was written during a heated love affair with James Taylor (who was very much addicted to heroin at the time and played guitar on four songs on the album), which love affair took place on the heels of her break up of her long love affair with Graham Nash - and on the heels of her having fled to Greece, she has said, to escape the pain of that unwinding, as well as the limelight that had just begun to envelope her, a woman who had lived "in a box of paints."  (Where she had yet another love affair.) Blue has some of the most poetic lines in rock. "You're in my blood like holy wine." "only a dark cocoon before I get my gorgeous wings and fly away" "I want to talk to you / I want to shampoo you / I want to renew you again and again." "crown and anchor me / or let me sail away" and "He loved me so naughty left me weak in the knees."  (That last one Nash, who Mitchell ended things with by note from Greece (where she had picked up with another lover), humorously gloats was written about him. (Who wouldn't.) )

In the NYT article 25 musicians, including former lovers James Taylor, Graham Nash and David Crosby, share personal revelations about Blue, its making and how she and the album changed their lives. For instance, Crosby admits that the first time he heard Blue "I felt like quitting the business and becoming a gardener." He goes on to argue that "The music is where she's just vastly superior to Bob [Dylan] ... They're both brilliant poets, but she's 10 times the musician and singer that he was." (So is her old lover implying she deserves the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Dylan?)

Read. Who's Your Zaddy? In Brooke Hammerling's Pop Culture Mondays. Wondering what a "zaddy" is? Hammerling explains it in detail in her weekly pop culture takedown (which I've been reading since day 1 of publication because I love a well-curated and opinionated pop culture exposition. No more going to get a weekly manicure just so that I can read People.) In short, from the URBAN DICTIONARY a "zaddy" is:

"A fine handsome and sexy ass intelligent man that makes you smile and drip every time you see him. He knows how to handle business in and out of the bedroom. You low key want to have his baby! He makes all parts of you excited including your mind."

In order to fully understand the zaddy thing, read Hammerling in full because she goes into the origins of the term and names names of men that many consider zaddies. President Obama, Don Draper, Idris Elba are a few. And it would appear that Law & Order star Christopher Meloni is a major zaddy. As Hammerling makes clear, "zaddy" status is in the eye of the beholder, but it is some obvious combination of fashion, swagger along with some measure of gravitas/take-seriousness.

I'd like to throw in a couple for consideration:

Scottie Pippen, just featured in this GQ article about his new bourbon, whose new look I dig and who I love seeing more of after having binged The Last Dance last year.

Also this guy. Franco Mazzetti, whose every post on instagram demands my ardent attention.

There are so many, really. Keith Richards, Pharrell, Daniel Levy, of course (here he is in GQ). So, who's your zaddy?

Read. Sharon's CRUSHING Summer "Everything Love" Reading List {Click thru here to see the whole list with brief descriptions/reviews of each book on The Chatham Bookstore's Bookshop page, or click thru on each book below.}

Read. Mrs. Everything, Jennifer Weiner   Two sisters growing up in 1950's Detroit - one, a feminine "good girl" who enjoys all of the power her beauty confers, and the other a tomboy and bookish rebel - whose lives unfold with tragedies and traumas against the backdrop of  free love, Vietnam and women's lib.

Read. Outlander, Diana Gabaldon   Claire Randall, a former British combat nurse, is in the Scottish Highlands just back from WWII and reunited with her husband when she walks through one of the ancient circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is an "outlander" in 1743 in a land torn by raiding clans.

Middlesex, Jeffrey Eugenides   2003 Pulitzer Prize Winner for fiction. An American epic that begins in a tiny village overlooking Mount Olympus with the tale of a gene that passes through three generations to the body of a teenage girl in Detroit 1974.

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Muriel Spark    Miss Jean Brodie is an extraordinary teacher at a school for girls in Edinburgh, Scotland where she dedicates herself to an affair with a bachelor music master, as well as to her girls. She is determined to instill in them independence, passion and ambition. But then one betrays her.

Truth & Beauty, Ann Patchett   Patchett's nonfiction account of her 20-year friendship with writer Lucy Grealy, which spans through love, fame, drugs, surgical wards, NYC book parties and despair.

A Little Life, Hanya Yanagihara   Winner of the Kirkus Prize. Follows four college classmates as they move to NYC in search of fame and fortune. While their friendship deepens over decades tinged with addiction, success and pride, it is held together primarily by their shared devotion to enigmatic and brilliant Jude, whose childhood was scarred with trauma.

Monogamy, Sue Miller   Graham and Annie are a golden couple. He is a gregarious book shop owner and she an envied dinner party host. Married for thirty years when Graham dies suddenly, and in the wake of that (and her mourning), Annie discovers a ruinous secret.

Lonesome Dove, Larry McMurtry   1985 Pulitzer Prize Winner for Fiction. Classic tale of the American West that follows two aging Texas Rangers embarking on one last adventure. An epic tale of male friendship, aging, unrequited love and death.

The Talented Mr. Ripley, Patricia Highsmith   A masterpiece of the psychological thriller genre, this is the story of Ripley, a smooth confidence man with a talent for self-invention who becomes obsessed with a wealthy, debonair acquaintance in Italy.

Read. Kelly James in Next Tribe on Why She's Not Remarrying. In the "been there, done that" ledger, I loved this well-written piece by Kelly James in NextTribe on why marrying the man she loves is not for her.

I Love Him But Not Enough to Get Married Again
Kelly James has been there, done that. Now after divorce, she’s happy to have a good man in her life, but not enough for remarriage.

Read. GLAAD's Media Reference Guide &  Glossary of Terms. GLAAD is a nonprofit that works in and with media to shape the narrative to promote LGBTQ acceptance. Their media reference guide includes a glossary of terms, among other things, that has helped me find the right words in conversations with loved ones.

Go! Or Dream About. The Wonderlust 100 is Wonderlust's Annual List of the 100 Most Exciting Places and Experiences on the Planet. A list as inventive and exciting to ponder as it would be to work your way through, Wonderlust has got everything covered from Miss Wong's Cocktail Bar in Cambodia to Skrova Fishing Center in Norway.




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