JanesGuide Book Reviews:

Each month the staff here at JanesGuide want to bring you some new reading material offline! While the web is a wonderful thing, there is something in holding the weight of a book in your hand that cannot be matched by an online experience. The first time you crack open a pristine new book, the smell of the pages, the coziness of curling up in bed reading snippets of erotica to your partner, this is why we buy books still in the electronic age. Our tastes run the gamut, so hopefully you'll find something in here that strikes your fancy. Enjoy!

nymph Nymph - Francesca Lia Block

I picked up this gorgeous tiny little book (only 128 pages) when I first laid eyes on it. The swirling blue cover caught my eye, as did the author's name, Lia Block is a favorite of mine from her non-adult writings. If you're unfamiliar with her writing style, it's a far cry from stroke fiction. She has the most beautiful, lyrical, magick-infused prose I've read, but lest you think it'll be too saccharine sweet I should mention the dark undertones drawing you into her world.

The stories are interwoven, with some characters reappearing from one story to the next. Characters are transformed, reborn, broken and healed through the power of sex. In 'Milk', a young nurse tries to save a cancer patient with sexual healing. 'Milagro' starts the tale of Plum, who has the bittersweet 'gift of love' in that after a night with her, her lovers go on to find their one true love.

This book defined "romantic" for me. While there are entire bookstore sections devoted to bodice-rippers that call themselves romance novels, this is the real deal that can make you embrace the very word again, and that darkly unreal undertone only makes the sex bits hotter. A lovely book to give as a gift, or treat yourself to. - Jane

Circlet Press, May 2003, Softcover or Hardcover

best bondage Best Bondage Erotica - Edited by Alison Tyler

For the most part, I like my porn to be pornographic. Some people like Jane like the sweetly erotic. That's okay, but really, if I'm going to read pornography, I do it to reach a desired result. I also like bondage. Okay, I really like bondage. And I really really like this book.

This is a collection of stories, each complete on it's own. It is a wonderful variety of het sex, threesome's, moresome's and great Dominance/submission scenes with male and female Doms and subs. There is real porn here, explicit and even raunchy:

"Higher," I told her. "Put it up high and beg me to fuck you." Obediently, Michelle clawed at the leather with her hands and lowered her upper body to the mattress. Her ass rose high into the air. I could see the glittering silver of her pussy rings showing around the strap of the dildo harness. Her cheeks spread as she leaned forward. A woman's asshole had never looked so good. (Selling Point by Carl Kennedy)

A great BDSM mix:

I jolted at the feel of the cool buckles against my skin. "It will be easier if you can't move," he explained calmly. He reached up and took my right arm, bringing it to the post above me. Buckles were secured against my right wrist, then my left. Not only were the restraints keeping me still, the were making me terribly aroused. I sat on the edge of his bed: wet, wanting, and spread out for his needle. (The Perfect O by Cara Bruce)

And my favorite (who knew?!) the sweetly erotic (but with enough porn to do it's job):

"He reached again for the knife. There was a dull glow, which reflected off of its edge. The fruit was ripe to bursting, a translucent sac of flesh and juice. He pulled the green calyx from the top of the orb and then began to peel it with the knife. A trickle of pale juice ran down his arm.He divided the first persimmon into quarters, then into eighths and laid the sections artfully across the hemispheres of her ass and the rounded muscles flanking her spine. " (Six Persimmons by Helena Settimana)

If you like bondage or porn, but especially if you like both, this book is a great read, and no trip to the grocery store produce section will ever be the same. - Natasha

Cleis Press, September 2003, 228 pages. Trade Paperback

video guide The Ultimate Guide to Adult Videos - Violet Blue

Probably the most common request I am sent in email goes something like this. "Dear Jane, I want to get a good adult video to watch with my wife/girlfriend/boyfriend/partner and I don't know where to start. Could you recommend something with a plot/good sex/my kink/non offensive/well made?" Every time this happens I am stuck, because I'll be honest with you all here: I look at websites, I'm NOT an adult movie buff. Now along comes the book to answer any and all of your questions, courtesy of Cleis Press and the lovely and talented Violet Blue.

The Ultimate Guide to Adult Videos really does cover just about everything you can think of. I started at the beginning myself, with the sections that seemed to apply like The Porn Virgin (when it comes to videos, that would be me thanks) and Porn Myths and Stereotypes. You know, after all the years of running this website, I don't have a stereotype of the "average" porn consumer any longer, but I can tell you I DID have a stereotype of what adult videos are like. I had no idea the spectrum out there before this book.

The next most common question I get in email is how to talk to a partner about a desire to watch porn together. Even with the sexual renaissance brought about by the internet, there is still a whole lot of shame out there surrounding the subject. The prospect of asking a partner can bring out all sorts of fears of rejection. Violet has suggestions for bringing it up, what to do when you want to and your lover is reluctant, and so on. Good, down-to-earth communication advice, since that is what it's all about.

So maybe you're not a porn virgin, you're totally ok with the idea, and you just don't know where to find something good. How DOES one go about picking a halfway decent movie? There are sections in this book for everything, check out the Porn Primer section for a general description of the terminology. Gonzo, pro-am, Hentai, Indie, educational - there is a vast amount of material out there, the primer will get you pointed in the right direction.

I particularly liked the section covering who the better actual filmmakers are if you're looking for something with an actual plot - with info about the better directors out there, some of it sounded good enough that I might want to go look for some. And hey, want to avoid plot and just go for the sex? There's a chapter for that too.

There are reviews in many of the major categories of some of the better stuff out there. Want to know how to fuck your boyfriend with a strap-on? Well, check out Bend Over Boyfriend for a little steamy sex-ed. Looking for some how-to S/M videos? Maybe Cleo Dubois will be right up your alley. Are you a lover of the classics? There is a whole chapter, Golden Age of Porn just for you. To sum it up, this is an invaluable resource, written with wit and style.

Cleis Press, October 2003, 340 pages. Softcover.

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