Friday, January 22, 2010

Five-Foot Shelf - Update #1

A few weeks ago, I wrote that someone needed to make a list that collects the absolutely indespensible sex-positive sex books so bookstores that don't have a clue about good sex writing would have a standard to aspire to. I likened this to the Harvard Five-Foot Shelf, a collection of supposedly indespensible literature in 51 volumes selected by the president of Harvard University about 90 years ago.

I was foolhardy enough to undertake this project. However, I wasn't quite foolhardy enough to believe I could select the 51 essential sex books all on my own, so I sollicited recommendations from my readers. I've received a few comments and e-mails full of suggestions

Here's what we have so far.

Annabelle River, of Annabelle's Manifesto recommends:
- Tropic of Cancer, by Henry Miller
- Mommy's Little Girl, by Susie Bright
- Public Sex by Pat Califia
- Fear of Flying, by Erica Jong
- The Devil at Large, by Erica Jong
- Different Loving, by Gloria Brame & William Brame
- Sexual Politics, Sexual Communities, by John D'Emilio
- The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance, by Elna Baker

Teresa of The Teresa Jusino Experience, recommends:
- Virgin: The Untouched History, by Hanne Blank

Via e-mail, D. M. recommends:
- Whipping Girl, by Julia Serrano
- My Husband Betty, by Helen Boyd
- Gender Outlaw, by Kate Bornstein

Cleofaye recommends:
- Sex for One, by Betty Dodson

I wish to also nominate the following books that no one else mentioned:
- Justine, by DAF de Sade
- Philosophy in the Bedroom, by DAF de Sade
- Opening Up, by Tristan Taormino
- The Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex for Women, by Tristan Taormino
- Henry and June, by Anaïs Nin
- X: The Erotic Treasury, edited by Susie Bright
- Sex for Dummies, by Dr. Ruth Westheimer & Pierre Lehu
- Under the Roofs of Paris, by Henry Miller
- Some of the themed erotica collections from Cleis Press edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel -- but I've only dipped into a few of them and don't know which specific ones to nominate!

Finally, I wish to use my editorial power to promote the following books directly to the list:
1. Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, by Alfred Kinsey
2. Sexual Behavior in the Human Female, by Alfred Kinsey
3. The Guide to Getting It On, by Paul Joannides
4. SM 101, by Jay Wiseman
5. The Ethical Slut, by Dossie Easton & Janet W. Hardy
6. Anal Health and Pleasure, by Jack Morin
7. The Good Vibrations Guide to Sex, by Cathy Winks & Anne Semans

We're off to a good start but we're never going to finish it without your suggestions. Please send them -- and encourage your friends to send theirs!

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