Archive for April, 2007

Best American Erotica 2005

Best American Erotica 2005This is what Publisher’s Weekly said about it

Bright’s 12th annual compendium of hot reads makes the perfect lubricious valentine. As usual, she offers her trademarked something-for-everyone mix, which extends well beyond the usual categories of straight/bi/gay….While not all the stories are .. deftly written ….., the collection as a whole stands as a love-letter to humanity, in all its varieties. What Kinsey did for his fellow travelers, Bright does, again, for hers.

well bookgroupers did not agree and we gathered with low expectations.

speaking to people beforehand, the fear was it would be the shortest bookgroup ever, but qu’elle supris as the french might say, we had a very lengthy and entertaining discussion.

in fact the discussion was so interesting, we did not feel the need to stray into religion and politics as we inevitably have in nearly every other bookgroup.

so the book was a paradox. while there was general agreement that the book did not provide much in the way of entertainment, sexiness or good writing, at the same time the book also managed to stimulate a lot of talk.

maybe sara’s sexy food had something to do with it. asparagus, gerkins, eggs, even a good old fondue, and various other foods the internet claims are sexy. it didn’t get us stripping our gear off but maybe did get us talking.

many people were surprised at the explicitness, and porn style of book. i think many of us thought a collection of writing called erotica might spend more time evoking an atmosphere and building up a feeling of expectation rather than going straight to the old in-out as they called it in the clockwork orange, but, as the discussion suggested, maybe thats how it is in this genre. maybe this writing genre is meant for masturbation not just reading. to me the stories were all so much the same and so cliche i thought many of them must have been written by the same author despite the book’s claims to the contrary.

however there were some positives on which bookgroupers agreed
– it maybe provided windows on to other peoples worlds
– it raised the whole question of what is the difference between porn, erotica and other writing, are these distinctions real in any sense, do they matter
– it raised the question of what is sexy and why do we find some things sexy and not others. despite a lengthy discussion of the book, bookgroupers lacked the courage for too much disclosure on personal preferences, but nevertheless we collectively groped for some agreement about what kind of writing might be more sexy than the bulk of the stuff in the book.
– as some of us found one or two of the stories enjoyable, some general agreement was reached that stories that included more description, more characterisation, and at least some attempt to evoke an atmosphere and describe emotions had a better chance of being erotic.

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April 24, 2007 at 1:01 pm Leave a comment


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