Tag Archives: weird books

Sex-Crazed Idiots: A Trashy Book About a Classy Boat

The Pleasure Palace, by Joan Lee

Please Note: This post is thoroughly NSFW.

Last time, I explored the labyrinthine innards of John K. King Used Books. This time, I’ll show you what I fished out of said innards: Joan Lee’s staggeringly stupid 1987 sex novel, The Pleasure Palace.

Never before or since has a novel containing so much sex been so thoroughly unsexy. The characters kiss, lick, and boink their way down a non-stop stream of soap operatic misadventure, yet they fail to ever look cool doing it. Before we get to the boinking, though, allow me to mention my biggest problem with this book.

THEY FOUND DREAMS AND DANGER IN...THE PLEASURE PALACE

This tagline is complete bullshit, because the god damn Pleasure Palace–a much referenced luxury cruise ship–doesn’t even show up until the last 30 pages of the book. This novel should have been called Lots of Pointless Screwing, and Then There’s a Boat at the End. By the way, when the Pleasure Palace does show up, no one finds dreams there. One person finds danger, but we’ll get to that in a second.

First, let’s look at the characters… Continue reading

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“Largest and Strangest”: John K. King Books

John K. King Used & Rare Books, Detroit

“Did you know one of America’s best used bookstores is in Detroit?”

I can honestly say I didn’t–not until my friend clued me in. I knew Detroit had a fantastic art museum, incredible Greek food, and a thriving underground music scene. But the best used book store? That distinction had somehow passed me by.

“Best” is in the eye of the beholder, of course. In this case, the beholder was Salon Magazine, and what they actually wrote was this:

Standing defiantly amid one of Detroit’s many surreal, post-apocalyptic ruin-scapes is a place that has to be experienced to be believed: John King Books. Converted from an abandoned 1940s glove factory, John King is a five-story wooden maze stuffed stairwells-to-ceilings with used and rare books — one of the largest and strangest collections in North America.

Having now seen John K. King for myself, I know that no single post can do it justice. It really is a maze–so much so that one of the first things the employees do when you walk through the door is hand you a map. The stacks are organized, but only roughly, with sections as specific as 50’s-era middle grade boys’ chapter books and as general as…well…

Jesus, John K. King Used & Rare Books, Detroit

Honestly, though, the haphazard organization of the store’s estimated one million books is part of the fun. You never know what you’re going to find around the next corner. Will it be vintage adventure books with snicker-worthy titles…?

The Wailing Octopus, John K. King Used & Rare Books, Detroit

Hee hee.

Teeny Gay, John K. King Used & Rare Books, Detroit

HAR HAR

A Matter of Spunk, John K. King Used & Rare Books, Detroit

*spit take*

Or perhaps something a bit more on the naughty side…?

Guide New Edge, John K. King Used & Rare Books, Detroit

I don’t know what “techno-erotic paganism” is, but I assume it’s naughty.

“Something for everyone” is such a dull platitude, but it rings true in this case. I myself walked away with a book of 501 Japanese verbs (thrill a minute!) and a spectacularly trashy novel called The Pleasure Palace, which I’ll review in a week or two.

In the meantime, here are some more pictures:

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Back Bay Books: The 2015 Boston Book Festival

BBF

This post is the very definition of “long-overdue”–the 2015 BBF took place on October 24th, which scientific sources inform me was three and a half weeks ago. Never mind. I’m in grad school, so it’s a minor miracle when I’m able to post at all.

I went to the Boston Book Festival chiefly to get a feel for the small-press literary scene in Massachusetts. To that end, I bought a fat stack of local literary journals. Behold!

haul

Whether owning said journals will lead to future publishing success is anyone’s guess. When I lived in Michigan, I wound up publishing pieces with outfits based in Albany and Canada, so, you know. There’s not really a correlation between where you live and which periodicals accept you.

Anywho, here’s some other stuff I saw: Continue reading

Bad Romance: Four Bizarre Novels About Love & Sex

A week ago, my friend Matt sent me this image. I fell in love instantly.

But...You're a Horse

Man hands. I just realized the horse has MAN HANDS.

I’m both sad enough and wise enough to have heard of people who like to get it on with horses, but this…this was something entirely different. This was a full-blown horse-on-lady romance! Would they share a candlelit dinner of oats and sugar cubes? Canter down the beach an sunset? Break their legs after getting spooked by a snake and have to be put down? The possibilities were, if not endless, then at least appealingly weird.
Alas, my fragile heart was destined to be broken. But…You’re a Horse is not an actual horse romance. It’s not even a romance. It’s a comedy book written by David Bussell, a tome that someone–perhaps Bussell himself–decided to bestow with a hilarious but unrelated cover. I spent a sleepless night nursing my betrayal. And scheming. Always scheming…

The next day, I skimmed through Goodreads’ erotica directory and picked out the four weirdest books I saw. I then read them. What follows is a summary of the horrors contained therein. Sit back, pop a Dramamine, and prepare to have your world rocked in the sexiest possible way.

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My Dear Woman, Are You Cognitively Impaired?: Moderately Offensive Dating Advice

The first thing you need to know about today’s book is that it isn’t actually called My Dear Woman, Are you Cognitively Impaired? The real name shall be revealed in due time, but it’ll be under the cut. I’m not joking when I say it’s offensive–perhaps the most offensive title for a dating book this side of UNDER THE FLOORBOARDS: FIFTY PLACES I’VE HIDDEN MY DEAD GIRLFRIENDS.

Body under the floorboards.

“Now who’s dirty, Susan?”

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The Special Snowflake Report: Vampires in Their Own Words

Vampires in Their Own Words-coverHigh school is a tough time for everyone. The stakes are high, the workload is heavy, and the social strata are more complex than ever. Preps, jocks, goths, scene kids, band geeks, weeaboos–subgroups upon subgroups uncatalogued by even the most ambitious of anthropologists. Where do you fit in? How do you stand out? Why are you so good at back rubs?

Vampires in Their Own Words is an inadvertent expose on an adolescent coping strategy that can be summarized thus: when no niche is special enough, create your own. Contained in this book are pieces by nearly two dozen people who claim to be actual vampires. Under the guidance of editor Michelle Belanger of House Kheperu, these brave souls join forces to educate us poor mundanes on the intricacies of vampire life. Whether you believe their stories or not, one thing is certain: they are so much more unique than you.

Oh to be mundane!

They envy your unoriginal pre-fab life. Really they do.

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Weird Finds: Ghosts from My Past at Grandma’s

I spent the past week at my grandparents’ house in rural Indiana, about forty-five minutes north of Louisville. While there, I was unexpectedly confronted with the sins of my past. Before we get to that, though, some exciting news.

My short story, “Diversion,” is going to be published in fall of 2015 by Shade Mountain Press in their anthology, The Female Complaint!

The story summary is as follows: On a commuter flight from Tokyo to Hiroshima, a young woman overhears two fellow passengers having a sexist conversation and decides to teach them a lesson. If you’re into feminism, Japan, or funny revenge stories, consider giving it a read. When it’s published. Er, in a year.

Now, to return to our regularly scheduled programming. My grandparents live in Vallonia, Indiana, an unincorporated community in Driftwood Township. It was a minor center of combat during the War of 1812. In 1853, it was legally platted. And while I have no idea what the hell ‘platted’ means, I’m sure it caused more of a stir than the town has seen before or since. It’s a quiet sort of place, is what I’m saying. Residents have to make their own fun.

Vallonia, Indiana

Unfortunately, if there’s one thing I suck at, it’s making my own fun. If I’m left unstimulated for even five minutes, I start clawing at the wallpaper, drugging myself for science, and walking around with my jaw unhinged until someone chucks something nutritive down my gullet. I once got so bored I punched a hole through my sister’s wall and then tried to cover it up with a poster from school reading SHOULD MARIJUANA BE LEGALIZED FOR MEDICAL USE? That ruse worked for all of twenty minutes before my mom took down the poster and realized what I had done–I still don’t know how she saw through my fiendish cunning.

My point is, I’m not good at remaining idle. Which explains why I spent an hour yesterday cataloging my grandma’s book collection. She’s a devout southern woman, so her literary holdings tend toward a certain theme…

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