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Erotic Literary Fiction

So -- how is erotic literary fiction different from erotica??

Maybe it's a little fuzzy sometimes, but we think it comes down to this: erotica's sole purpose is to arouse, while literary fiction engages the whole person. Erotic literary fiction has "good parts", i.e., the writer includes the erotic in his or her presentation of the narrative's characters.

The books recommended below are exquisite examples of fine writing that explore desire, arousal, sexual relationships and the ecstasy of sexual love.

Let us know of other novels that should be included here!

Recommended Books of Erotic Literary Fiction

The Almond: The Sexual Awakening of a Muslim Woman by NedimaThe Almond: The Sexual Awakening of a Muslim Woman
Nedima

The nature of sexual longing is at the heart of this languid, sexually explicit, but gorgeously evocative novel from forty-year-old North African author Nedjma. Readers will probably be shocked - not so much at the candid descriptions of love making - but at the fact that they eminate from the Muslim world, long thought to be the pinnacle of all things puritanical. In this novel, which celebrates all things feminine, Nedja introduces us to Badra, a young Muslim woman who, while recounting the horrors of her arranged marriage in rural Imchouk, also tells us of her steamy love affair with Driss, a wealthy, European- educated, and well-to-do surgeon who lives in the cosmopolitan heart of Tangier. 2006, Grove Press


Any Woman's Blues: A Novel of Obsession by Erica JongAny Woman's Blues: A Novel of Obsession
Erica Jong

Leila Sand's "blues" aren't like those of any other. She's a world-class artist, a 40-something beauty with a 20-something lover, a mother of irresistible twin daughters, and a loyal friend with an unwavering support network. She's also a woman with a few addictions. In this latest novel, Jong takes on the themes of addiction, codependency, and recovery. Leila's journey from insanity to serenity is filled with Jong's trademark raucous exploits and on-the-mark observations. 2006, Tarcher


Autobiography of my Body by David GuyAutobiography of my Body
David Guy

Recovering from a disastrous marriage, Charles Bradford returns to Pittsburgh to be near his ailing father. There he encounters Andrea, and they embark on a heated affair that causes Charles to reexamine his life. Starved of affection as a child and convinced that he has failed as an adult, Charles embraces sex as a salve for his psychic wounds. Charles's odyssey takes him into many back alleys and dead ends, but eventually forces him to confront his own emotional and sexual identity. "I believe in talking about the life of the body," says Charles. "If we don't acknowledge it, if we don't make it part of us, it poisons our lives." This is a novel that takes the body seriously; the sex (all heterosexual) is steamy and frequent. 1995, Plume


By the Light of My Father's Smile: A Novel by Alice WalkerBy the Light of My Father's Smile: A Novel
Alice Walker

It is the conceit of By the Light of My Father's Smile that angels have complete access to the consciousness of the living beings they observe. One of the book's very first scenes involves the ebullient lovemaking of Susannah and her partner, Pauline, reported in sweaty detail by the angelic paternal voyeur. Highly explicit, this set piece is a kind of guerrilla assault on our sensibilities, preparing us to receive Walker's urgent message--that sexuality and spirituality are inextricable, that denying one causes the other to atrophy as well. The blessings of fathers are, according to this canon, essential to the sexual flowering and spiritual maturity of their female offspring. It is in the loss, the conferring, and the claiming of these blessings that the novel finds its narrative thrust. 1999, Ballantine Books


Candy by Terry Southern and Mason HoffenbergCandy
Terry Southern and Mason Hoffenberg

Banned upon its initial publication, the now-classic Candy is a romp of a story about the impossibly sweet Candy Christian, a wide-eyed, luscious, all-American girl. Candy –– a satire of Voltaire’s Candide –– chronicles her adventures with mystics, sexual analysts, and everyone she meets when she sets out to experience the world. 1996, Grove Press


Casanova in Bohemia: A Novel by Andrei CodrescuCasanova in Bohemia: A Novel
Andrei Codrescu

Poet, novelist, and essayist Codrescu offers a ribald history of the final years of the infamous satyr. At the age of 60, under the nom de plume Chevalier de Seingalt, he assumes the post of librarian for Count Waldstein at Dux Castle in the kingdom of Bohemia. Arranged around an outline of European history from 1785 to the year of Casanova's death in 1798, his reminiscences evolve in a sequence of nightly visits by an intelligent, precocious and sexually agreeable maidservant, Laura Brock, and her younger protege, Libussa Moldau. Codrescu fans will enjoy this tongue-in-cheek patchwork of bawdy escapades. 2007, Free Press


Classic Nasty: More Naughty Bits: A Rollicking Guide to Hot Sex in Breat Books, from the Iliad to the Corrections by Jack MurnghanClassic Nasty: More Naughty Bits: A Rollicking Guide to Hot Sex in Great Books, from the Iliad to the Corrections
Jack Murnighan

Here is the literary sex-education readers have always lusted for, with over 80 excerpts by authors ranging from Homer to James Baldwin, Kierkegaard to Judy Blume, Scheherazade to Franzen. Who knew there was so much bumping and grinding in Goethe? How about Dali’s fascination with masturbation? Ever curious about what made James Joyce purr? Murnighan supplements each bite-sized excerpt with a lively, insightful introduction that will help readers see the world’s great books as they’ve never seen them before. 2003, Thunder's Mouth Press


A Dead Hand: A Crime in Calcutta by Paul TherouxA Dead Hand: A Crime in Calcutta
Paul Theroux

Paul Theroux writes himself into this tantric-tinged fable, as a hapless travel journalist who’s lost his way between assignments in India. "Theroux brings his best gifts as a travel writer to one of his walk-on-the-dark-side fables of masked identity and psychosexual quest…[His] writing is as feline and agile as ever, and his calibration of clue and revelation is nicely meted out…this story will lure you in, from its whodunit setup to its swift, unexpectedly visionary close." -- The Seattle Times
2010, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Trade


The DecameronThe Decameron
Giovanni Boccaccio

Boccaccio is one of the three supreme literary masters of the Italian Renaissance: his classic book The Decameron is a collection of one hundred surprisingly light, hilariously funny and frequently bawdy short stories. With humor and the power of shame Boccaccio attacks both the hypocrisy of the clergy and the hypocrisy toward which the Catholic Church's sexually repressive laws drove people. 2003, Penguin


Delta of Venus by Anais NinDelta of Venus
Anaïs Nin

Anaïs Nin penned a lush, magical world where the characters of her imagination possess the most universal of desires and exceptional of talents. Among these provocative stories, a Hungarian adventurer seduces wealthy women then vanishes with their money; a veiled woman selects strangers from a chic restaurant for private trysts; and a Parisian hatmaker named Mathilde leaves her husband for the opium dens of Peru. Delta of Venus is an extraordinarily rich and exotic collection from the master of erotic writing. 2004, Harvest Books


The Erotic ComediesThe Erotic Comedies
Marco Vassi

A collection of fables and memoirs by America's foremost erotic writer does for our era what Boccaccio, Swift, and Balzac did for theirs--exposes the human animal in all its absurdity. Vassi takes erotic writing to its extremes and then further, unraveling the seams of our most secret fantasies. His subjects are radical lesbians, male supremacists, transsexuals, establishment normals, therapists, revolutionaries, gynecologists, gurus and even God--created in Vassi's own image, of course--all of whom are reduced to the ridiculous in a shower of bawdy laughter. 2010, e-reads.com


The Erotic Potential of My Wife by David FoenkinosThe Erotic Potential of My Wife
David Foenkinos (Author), Yasmine Gaspard (Translator)

Having collected, among other things, cocktail sticks, electoral campaign badges, paintings of moored ships, rabbits' feet, noises at five in the morning, Croatian maxims, staircase ornaments, the first pages of novels, the labels on melons, birds' eggs, moments with you, hangmen's nooses, Hector finally falls in love. It's the way she washes windows that does it for him. And so begins his new infatuation, a collection (and recollection) of beautifully observed moments spent observing his wife's every move. A stirring portrayal of erotic obsession and its whims. 2008, Telegram Books


Exit to Eden by Ann RiceExit to Eden
Ann Rice

The same imagination that brought you the spellbinding sensuality of The Vampire Chronicles brings you the wickedly erotic and tantalizing tale of Lisa and Elliot's journey to the limits of pleasure and darkness at The Club, an exclusive island resort where forbidden fantasy meets willing flesh. A literary romp. 2007, Avon Red, Reprint Edition


Fear of Flying by Erica JongFear of Flying
Erica Jong

Originally published in 1973, the uninhibited story of Isadora Wing was a national sensation: fueling fantasies, igniting debates, and even introducing a notorious new phrase to the English language ("zipless fuck"). In The New York Times, Henry Miller compared it to his own classic Tropic of Cancer, predicting, "This book will make literary history, that because of it women are going to find their own voice and give us great sagas of sex, life, joy, and adventure." It went on to sell more than twelve million copies. Today, Fear of Flying is a classic--a timeless tale of self-discovery, liberation, and womanhood. 2003, NAL Trade


The Fermata by Nicholson BakerThe Fermata
Nicholson Baker

The narrator, Arno Strine, is a 35-year-old office temp who is writing his autobiography. "It's harder than I thought!" he admits. His "Fold-powers" are easier; he can stop the world and use it as his own pleasure ground. Arno uses this gift not for evil or material gain (he would feel guilty about stealing), though he does undress a good number of women and momentarily place them in compromising positions--always, in his view, with respect and love. Anyone who can stop time and refer in self-delight to his "chronanisms" can't be all bad! What's memorable is less the sex and the sex toys than Arno's wistful recollections of intimacy: the noise, for instance, of his ex-girlfriend's nail clipper, "which I listened to in bed as some listen to real birdsong." 1995, Vintage


Filthy Shakespeare: Shakespeare's Most outrageous Sexual Puns by Pauline KiernanFilthy Shakespeare: Shakespeare's Most Outrageous Sexual Puns
Pauline Kiernan

It's a universal truth: sex sells. Giving the audience what they wanted in the 16th century, however, meant veiling it with puns, bon mots, slang and other tricks; fortunately, Shakespeare scholar Kiernan has taken the mystery out of the Bard's deceptively graphic passages in these frank translations from some of his most popular plays. Divided into chapters on lesbianiasm, homosexuality, virginity, sexual diseases, impotency, whores, pimps, brothels and other topics, this enjoyable text proves both the Bard's enduring relevance and the fact that today's popular entertainment isn't nearly as debased as some might think. 2007, Gotham


Fool: A Novel by Christopher MooreFool: A Novel
Christopher Moore

It's 1288, and the king's fool, Pocket, and his dimwit apprentice, Drool, set out to clean up the mess Lear has made of his kingdom, his family and his fortune—only to discover the truth about their own heritage. There's more murder, mayhem, mistaken identities and scene changes than you can remember, but bestselling Moore turns things on their head with an edgy 21st-century perspective that makes the story line as sharp, surly and slick as a game of Grand Theft Auto. Moore confesses he borrows from at least a dozen of the Bard's plays for this buffet of tragedy, comedy and medieval porn action. It's a manic, masterly mix. 2010, Harper Paperbacks


The Harrad Experiment by Robert H. RimmerThe Harrad Experiment
Robert H. Rimmer

A new-age 'experiment' takes place in the 1960s at Harrad College, a privately endowed and liberally run school that admits carefully selected students. This social experiment encourages premarital living arrangements. The original "Harrad Experiment" captured the imagination of a generation and sold more than three million copies. This 25th anniversary edition includes a new epilogue describing the startling 'Harrad/Premar Solution', a fully up-to-date and annotated bibliography of books that support the daring, joyfully subversive premises outlined in Harrad, and Robert Rimmer's candid, controversial autobiography. 1990, Prometheus Books, 25th Anniversary Edition


House of HolesHouse of Holes: A Book of Raunch
Nicholsen Baker

Baker’s gleeful, over-the-top novel is set in a pleasure resort, where normal rules don’t apply. Visitors, pulled in via their drinking straws or the dryers in laundromats, can undergo crotchal transfers . . . make love to trees . . . visit the Groanrooms and the twelve-screen Porndecahedron . . . or pussy-surf the White Lake. It’s very expensive, of course, but there are work-study programs. Brimful of good-nature, wit, and surreal sexual vocabulary, House of Holes is a modern-day Hieronymous Boschian bacchanal that is sure to surprise, amuse, and arouse. 2011, Simon & Schuster


I Am Charlotte Simmons by Tom WolfeI Am Charlotte Simmons
Tom Wolfe

As sheltered Charlotte Simmons encounters Dupont University’s privileged elite--her roommate, Beverly, a Groton-educated Brahmin in lusty pursuit of lacrosse players; Jojo Johanssen, the only white starting player on Dupont's godlike basketball team; the Young Turk of Saint Ray fraternity, Hoyt Thorpe, whose heady sense of entitlement and social domination is clinched by his accidental brawl with a bodyguard for the governor of California; and Adam Geller, one of the Millennial Mutants who run the university's "independent" newspaper and who consider themselves the last bastion of intellectual endeavor on the sex-crazed, jock-obsessed campus--she gains a new, revelatory sense of her own power, that of her difference and of her very innocence, but little does she realize that she will act as a catalyst in all of their lives. This novel boasts Wolfe’s brilliant riff on all the possible usages of the word “fuck” in the English language – see page 35 and following for his take on “Fuck patois.” 2005, Picador


In the Cut by Susanna MooreIn the Cut
Susanna Moore

An edgy, intense, erotic thriller set in bohemian Manhattan. The protagonist and narrator, Franny, is a divorced NYU professor deliberately closed off from emotional entanglements. Though on the surface her life seems circumscribed, she is a woman who takes risks, especially sexual risks. One night, she observes a man with a tattoo on his wrist in an act of sexual congress; though she does not see his face, she remembers the red-haired woman who had performed fellatio when she becomes a murder victim. She takes detective Mallory as a lover, in spite of the fact that his wrist bears the same tattoo as that of the probable killer. The predatory, slightly corrupt Mallory is a coolly skillful lover, forcing Franny to push beyond sexual barriers into areas she has never explored. 2007, Vintage


The Lost diary of Don Juan by douglas Carlton AbramsThe Lost Diary of Don Juan
Douglas Carlton Abrams

The famously insatiable lover is brought brilliantly to life in this lively, suspenseful debut novel. Framed as Don Juan's long-guarded diary, the narrative picks up at a gallop and never relents, tracing Don Juan's orphaned upbringing at a convent and torturous monastery before he escapes and joins a band of thieves. He is soon introduced to the Marquis, who trains the then amateur Lothario to become equally adept at swordsmanship and seducing women. (Abrams's background in Taoist sexuality is evident in the latter's scenes.) Don Juan develops a reputation as "some kind of demon," but the Marquis, who is close to the king, protects Don Juan from the inquisitor general's plans to punish him. Nevertheless, Don Juan resists the Marquis's plea that he marry to save himself, claiming he has no interest in love—until he meets pistol-packing firebrand Doña Ana. Abrams renders his hero with sympathetic understanding, and his erotic exploits—though heavy on plumage ("I sipped the moist nectar of her mouth as she opened her petals to me")—round out Don Juan instead of providing one-handed reading material. The story unspools with the invigorating trajectory of a thriller and the emotional draw of historical romance. 2008, Washington Square Press


Perfume by Patrick SuskindPerfume
Patrick Suskind

In the slums of eighteenth-century France, the infant Jean-Baptiste Grenouille is born with one sublime gift -- an absolute sense of smell. As a boy, he lives to decipher the odors of Paris, and apprentices himself to a prominent perfumer who teaches him the ancient art of mixing precious oils and herbs. But Grenouille's genius is such that he is not satisfied to stop there, and he becomes obsessed with capturing the smells of objects such as brass doorknobs and frest-cut wood. Then one day he catches a hint of a scent that will drive him on an ever-more-terrifying quest to create the "ultimate perfume"—the scent of a beautiful young virgin. Told with dazzling narrative brillance, Perfume is a hauntingly powerful tale of murder and sensual depravity. 2006, Vintage


In Praise of Older Women: The Amorous Recollections of A.V. by Stephen VizinczeyIn Praise of Older Women: The Amorous Recollections of A. V
Stephen Vizinczey

"A pleasure. Vizinczey writes of women beautifully, with sympathy, tact and delight, and he writes about sex with more lucidity and grace than most writers ever acquire."—Larry McMurtry

"A funny novel about sex, or rather (which is rarer) a novel which is funny as well as touching about sex . . . elegant, exact and melodious—has style, presence and individuality."— Sunday Telegraph
1990, University of Chicago Press


The Inner Circle by T. C. BoyleThe Inner Circle
T. C. Boyle

In this fascinating novel T.C. Boyle presents an intrepid and astute interpretation of the revolutionary work and fanatic personality of sex researcher Dr. Alfred Kinsey. A zoologist at Indiana University called Prok by his intimates, he is seen through the worshipful eyes of John Milk, a handsome, obedient, and clueless English major who becomes Prok's first disciple. Milk joins Prok in his prodigious effort to interview thousands of men and women about their sexual experiences as World War II rages, and Milk is both dedicated to the project and conflicted over Prok's attempt to control every aspect of his life. 2005, Penguin


Intercourse: Stories by Robert Olen ButlerIntercourse: Stories
Robert Olen Butler

Pulitzer Prize-winner Butler imagines what goes on in the minds of copulating couples in this provocative collection of brief pieces. Many of the voices represent legendary romances, such as that of Napoleon and Josephine (she fantasizes about her lover the hussar while he resolves to shoot her annoying dog); William Shakespeare and the earl of Southampton (I am pen and I am ink and I am his words); and Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker (it don't take me more than about three seconds... to know she's the one). Adam lies with Eve after naming all things in nature, and Abe and Mary Todd Lincoln bed uncompanionably. There's J. Edgar Hoover and Clyde Tolson, Bobby Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe, Robert Olen Butler and a Saigon hotel clerk, and George and Laura Bush (!). Butler delivers crystalline prose, well-drawn characters, a dark imagination and some moments of light camp. 2008, Chronicle Books


Lady Chatterley's Lover by D. H. LawrenceLady Chatterley's Lover
D. H. Lawrence

Perhaps the most famous of Lawrence's novels, the 1928 Lady Chatterley's Lover is no longer distinguished for the once-shockingly explicit treatment of its subject matter--the adulterous affair between a sexually unfulfilled upper-class married woman and the game keeper who works for the estate owned by her wheelchaired husband. Now that we're used to reading about sex, and seeing it in the movies, it's apparent that the novel is memorable, too, for other reasons: namely, that Lawrence was a masterful and lyrical writer, whose story takes us bodily into the world of its characters. 2010, Arcturus


The Lover by Marguerite DurasThe Lover
Marguerite Duras

Set in the prewar Indochina of Marguerite Duras's childhood, this is the haunting tale of a tumultuous affair between an adolescent French girl and her Chinese lover. In spare yet luminous prose, Duras evokes life on the margins of Saigon in the waning days of France's colonial empire, and its representation in the passionate relationship between two unforgettable outcasts. 1998, Pantheon


Madame BovaryMadame Bovary
Gustave Flaubert

Madame Bovary is Gustave Flaubert’s first published novel and is considered his masterpiece. The story focuses on a doctor's wife, Emma Bovary, who has adulterous affairs and lives beyond her means in order to escape the banalities and emptiness of provincial life. A 2007 poll of contemporary authors cited Madame Bovary as one of the two greatest novels ever written, second only to Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina. 2010, Viking Adult


The Naughty Bits: The Steamiest and Most Scandalous Sex Scenes from the World's Great Books by Jack MurnighanThe Naughty Bits: The Steamiest and Most Scandalous Sex Scenes from the World's Great Books
Jack Murnighan

Most people don't read a good book or have great sex nearly as often as they should; then again, most people don't know that the Great Works e.g., Joyce's Ulysses, Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales, and Plato's The Symposium are as rife with "naughty bits" as a frat house is with hormones. Besides giants like Shakespeare, D.H. Lawrence, Dante, and Herman Melville, lesser-knowns, such as 1960s French teen novelist Catherine Breillant, medieval English autobiographer Margery Kempe, and lesbian playwright Holly Hughes, make appearances alongside contemporary cads Larry Flynt and Kenneth Starr. 2001, Three Rivers Press


A Reliable Wife by Robert GoolrickA Reliable Wife
Robert Goolrick

A Reliable Wife isn't just hot, it's in heat: a gothic tale of such smoldering desire it should be read in a cold shower. This is a bodice ripper of a hundred thousand pearly buttons, ripped off one at a time with agonizing restraint. When Catherine Land, who's survived a traumatic early life by using her wits and sexuality as weapons, happens on a newspaper ad from a well-to-do businessman in need of a "reliable wife," she invents a plan to benefit from his riches and his need. Her new husband, Ralph Truitt, discovers she's deceived him the moment she arrives in his remote hometown. Driven by a complex mix of emotions and simple animal attraction, he marries her anyway. After the wedding, Catherine helps Ralph search for his estranged son and, despite growing misgivings, begins to poison him with small doses of arsenic. Ralph sickens but doesn't die, and their story unfolds in ways neither they nor the reader expect. This darkly nuanced psychological tale builds to a strong and satisfying close. 2010, Algonquin Books


The SatyriconThe Satyricon
Petronius

The Satyricon is the most celebrated prose work to have survived from the ancient world. It recounts the sleazy progress of a pair of literate scholars as they wander through the cities of the southern Mediterranean in the age of Nero, encountering en route type-figures whom the author wishes to satirize. The narrator, Encolpius has a hard time keeping his lover, sixteen-year-old Giton, faithful to him, as he is constantly being enticed away by others. 2009, Oxford University Press


Sexual HealingSexual Healing
Jill Nelson

When two friends come up with a plan to provide a refuge for black women to have their sexual needs met, an idea is born that is so old it's new. Lydia and Acey decide to create a brothel for women that will provide the total spa experience plus sexual healing. They set up shop in Reno, Nevada, and invite a select group of women to take advantage of the full-service facility. These women have such a pleasant experience that from word of mouth the spa is booked for months in advance. Sexual Healing becomes hilarious when unscrupulous media, church leaders, outraged citizens, and chauvinistic men begin criticizing and boycotting the spa. 2003, Agate Bolden


Sexus: The Rosy Crucifixion I by Henry MillerSexus: The Rosy Crucifixion I
Henry Miller

Sexus is the captivating first chapter of Henry Miller's masterpiece, The Rosy Crucifixion. It opens Miller's three-part personal expose` by sharing with the reader the turbulent foundation of his literary career. Set in Manhattan in the roaring twenties, we are led through the turbulent adventures of an embittered husband, father, bread-winner and employee. As Sexus details the writer's turbulent love affairs, riotous friendships and shady encounters, it introduces the reader to Miller's then-germinating process of discovering what he came to call his "true self."

Those who have read Tropic of Cancer will recognize in Sexus his unbridled rawness and violence, and those who have read Tropic of Capricorn will recognize his fluid poetry and unabashed hedonism. What makes The Rosy Crucifixion his masterpiece is that he is not controlled by the impulses that dominated his earlier works; in fact, he accomplishes what few of even the greatest writers achieve: he is undeniably the master of the language, bending it to his will instead of being bound by it. 1994, Grove Press


Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. HeinleinStranger in a Strange Land
Robert A. Heinlein

Stranger in a Strange Land, winner of the 1962 Hugo Award, is the story of Valentine Michael Smith, born during, and the only survivor of, the first manned mission to Mars. Michael is raised by Martians, and he arrives on Earth as a true innocent: he has never seen a woman and has no knowledge of Earth's cultures or religions. But he brings turmoil with him, as he is the legal heir to an enormous financial empire, not to mention de facto owner of the planet Mars. With the irascible popular author Jubal Harshaw to protect him, Michael explores human morality and the meanings of love. He founds his own church, preaching free love and disseminating the psychic talents taught him by the Martians. The impact of Stranger in a Strange Land was considerable, leading many children of the 60's to set up households based on Michael's water-brother nests. This edition preserves Heinlein’s original manuscript, which was cut by one-third for publication. 2005, Ace/Putnam


They Whisper by Robert Olen ButlerThey Whisper
Robert Olen Butler

Protagonist Ira Holloway, facing middle age, is driven to examine his sexuality and its profound hold on him. He remembers the women he's loved and brings their voices to life in this intuitive and sensual work. Pulitzer Prize-winning Butler's writing is profound yet lyrical. 1995, Penguin


Tropic of Cancer by Henry MillerTropic of Cancer
Henry Miller

Now hailed as an American classic, Henry Miller's masterpiece was banned as obscene in this country for 27 years after its publication in Paris in 1934. Only a historic court ruling that changed American censorship standards permitted the publication of this first volume of Miller's famed mixture of memoir and fiction, which chronicles with unapologetic gusto the bawdy adventures of a young expatriate writer, his friends, and the characters they meet in Paris in the 1930s. 1994, Grove Press


Tropic of Capricorn by Henry MillerTropic of Capricorn
Henry Miller

Banned in America for almost thirty years because of its explicit sexual content, this companion volume to Miller’s Tropic of Cancer chronicles his life in 1920s New York City. Famous for its frank portrayal of life in Brooklyn’s ethnic neighborhoods and Miller’s outrageous sexual exploits, The Tropic of Capricorn is now considered a cornerstone of modern literature. 1994, Grove Press


ValenciaValencia
Michelle Tea

In the postpunk subculture of queer urban girls depicted in Valencia, many exciting things happen without affecting much of anything, and one of the most profound moments is a mild, drug-induced insight into the meaninglessness of life. Michelle, the main character, is a person for whom blue hair is as big a style change as blue pants. She lurches between women, more in love with the idea of love than with Iris or Willa or Gwynne or Petra. Michelle Tea's characters are a blend of jaded idealists and thoughtful egotists: sex workers, poets, and mad hatters who end up making breakfast for roomfuls of stoned strangers. 2008, Seal Press


Vox by Nicholson BakerVox
Nicholson Baker

Jim and Abby meet over the phone when they both dial one of those 976 party lines that are advertised in adult magazines. After some exploratory small talk, they retire to the electronic "back room" for a more intimate chat. Their long conversation makes up the entire book. Like all great artists, Baker has the ability to make familiar objects and everyday events seem new and strange. Centerfolds, lingerie catalogs, and X-rated videos will never look the same. Indeed, Vox transforms the genre itself: this is eroticism for the safe-sex Nineties. Not only is there no physical contact, the participants never leave the privacy of their own homes. 1993, Vintage


WetlandsWetlands
Charlotte Roche

Roche's explicit and provocative debut about an 18-year-old girl with a very active sex life was a bona fide sensation in Germany upon its publication. Helen Memel, hospitalized for the treatment of an infected anal lesion, spends much of the novel in the hospital scheming on how to reunite her divorced parents. Between visits by hospital staff and her family, Helen shares her vast sexual experience. Through Helen's mix of eroticism and profanity, Memel attacks conventional views on women's hygiene, sexuality and the definition of femininity. 2010, Grove Press



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