Monthly Archives: June 2012
I will say, that when I worked at a book store, Jenna Jameson’s How to Make Love Like a Porn Star was certainly one of the most eye-catching titles on the shelf. (A tribute well spoken for by the oft dog-eared pages and bent spines found on every copy in any bookstore. Is it all about the boobs, people?)
I won’t lie, the title is what caught my attention. Putting the words “make love” and “porn star” in the same sentence is very amusing. But, sure, I’m game to see what Jenna has to say.
HTMLLAPS is Jameson’s autobiographical (with the help of Neil Strauss) tale of her rather rough upbringing and multiple molestations. *cough* Surprise, surprise… She chronicles her various sorted relationships, both hetero- and homosexual with pretty much every crappy person you can imagine. Also, she details her rise to fame and fortune within the porn industry as one of the most touted members of their community. (She started stripping when she was 17 and evolved in the business from there).
Astonishingly, this book didn’t have as much shock factor as I’d initially anticipated. I don’t know whether that means it was tame by porn star comparisons, or that I’m hopelessly jaded–but either way it was an interesting sneak peak into what life on the “dark side” is like. (Not only was Jameson stripping and doing porn–she was also addicted to meth, pain pills, and alcohol through various stages of her life). I was expecting some terrible cringe-fest that left me running to get an HIV test and take a hot shower. Not the case. There was a lot of sex talk, obviously, but most of it was described in a very professional manner and didn’t seem at all that provocative. In fact, I believe Jenna did a great job taking the mystery/glamour away from the porn industry, shining light on the fact that it isn’t just “easy” money–it’s actually pretty fucking sleazy money.
Of course, this book was published in 2004 and much has changed in Jameson’s life in the last 8 years, both professional, personally, and romantically. I would give this a go if you want a little cheap poolside reading material. Whatever you do, don’t make the mistake of reading it at work–it’s full of topless photos.
But, as much as I admire Jenna’s tenacity for picking herself up, dusting herself off, and starting over… You won’t catch me bringing my dad as my date to the AVN awards anytime soon…
3 saline implants of 5
If you’re interested in this book, you can buy it here.
There’s something very seductive about being a mermaid. Unearthly beauty, half-human, half… other. The power to lure ships (and men) to their doom simply by singing to them. Not to mention, not having work, school, bills, or any of the other responsibilities that tend to make being a human so boring. While Lost Voices by Sarah Porter was already on my reading list, my friend Kathryn and her blog Love Fearlessly inspired me to bump it up a few notches. Oh, and buy a mermaid tail. But, whatever!
LV tells the story of Lucette, better known as “Luce.” She is an orphaned, abused girl that lives with her alcoholic uncle on a craggy island. After she finds a strange child’s corpse on the beach and her uncle goes too far one night, Luce falls off of a cliff–she thinks to her demise. Little does she know that abused, unwanted girls are often turned into mermaids who form barbaric tribes in the surrounding seas. When her transformation is complete and Luce realizes what she has become, she feels more at home with her fellow mermaids than she ever did on dry land. But will Luce ever be able to reconcile the fact that mermaids are murderers? That even she–who’s father’s boat mysteriously disappeared never to return–feels a fierce joy in her chest when she sings humans to their deaths? Not only does her astounding voice put her at odds with the tribe’s queen Catarina, the arrival of a new (very materialistic) mermaid changes the sense of peace she once felt with her new found friends.
Lost Voices was great. Porter did an excellent job of describing underwater life and providing the reader with great visual details. You can almost smell the salt air and taste the slippery oysters on your tongue. (Ew…) I also loved that the whole mermaid experience was completely re-imagined, the same favor Maggie Stiefvater did for werewolves in her Wolves of Mercy Falls Trilogy. It’s always impressive when new authors can breathe life into old legends, and I give Porter mad props–especially since this was her first book. I liked that she had baby mermaids (called larvae) around the tribes, and made them into such heartbreaking, endearing characters since the other mermaids would never help or take care of them.
I did have trouble relating to how painfully shy and introverted Luce’s personality was. Half of her responses to negative stimuli made me freak out because I wanted her to fight. I’d like to think I would fight if I were in her… fins… I also did NOT like Catarina at all and rather than having sympathy for her mental breakdown I just found myself annoyed. I thought both her and Anais were both crazy bitches. But that was the point, I guess. Ugh. Anais… Just ugh.
All in all LV was a wonderful book and I look forward to reading more of Porter’s lyricism and prose. Mad props, girl, mad props. A new favorite has been born.
5 seashell bras of 5
In the third and final installment in her Curse Workers trilogy–Black Heart–Holly Black spins another tale of intrigue, lies, and curses that her bad-boy-gone-good protagonist, Cassel Sharpe must unravel. As he so recently learned in Red Glove, things around him aren’t always as they seem and the world of good and evil isn’t always so cut and dry. When you come from a family of hardened criminals, liars, and con artists–and the girl you love is next in line to rule the biggest crime cartel in the city–it’s difficult to make the right decisions. Especially when those decisions lead you to work as an undercover government agent, a betrayal so great that any one of your own family members would be willing to kill you for it. But when Cassel gets an assignment from the government that’s a bit too much like the assassinations his brothers made him participate in as a child (using his powers to transform living people into inanimate objects, thus killing them) it makes him question whether he’s finally gotten in over his head.
I loved this series, but I especially loved Black Heart. Black had so many twisted strands of problems and cons threaded together, that only an author of her caliber would’ve been able to pull it off in such a short book. She is one of my favorite authors because of these threads she weaves, as well as the fact that all of her characters (even the “good guys”) are more than a little bit dark. It’s the flaws in people that make them interesting, after all.
Cassel’s world makes me imagine what life would be like if the cops weren’t on your side. Most people are raised to believe that if they’re ever in trouble, help is only a three digit phone call away. But what if that wasn’t true? How would you deal with danger if there were no one to turn to, magic (and guns!) were involved, and even your closest surviving relatives couldn’t be trusted? Phew. I get upset enough about rush hour traffic in the morning…I don’t know how I would deal with that!
Black also did a great job comparing the prejudice against curse workers to the prejudice against blacks in the 50’s and gays in today’s world. Picket marches, soap-box politicians, new dangerous laws, mandatory testing, and discrimination on the job. Pretty heavy stuff. She used great imagery when conjuring these scenes and Cassel’s world really echoes the shortcomings of our own.
The only thing that bothering me within the story was at the end how Cassel handled Daneca’s new relationship (I won’t spoil it!) and his tempestuous relationship with Lila. We can tell you guys want each other, just do it for crissakes! I’m an impatient person and it was hard for me to wait to see what would happen between them next. Especially when Cassel learns that Lila’s father is holding his mother captive in his high rise apartment, either until he gets tired of her or until Cassel finds the Resurrection Diamond. (And you thought your in-laws were tough!)
4 leather gloves of 5
“The bee is more honored than other animals, not because she labors, but because she labors for others.”
-Saint John Chrysostom
“Some believers accuse skeptics of having nothing left but a dull, cold, scientific world. I am left with only art, music, literature, theatre, the magnificence of nature, mathematics, the human spirit, sex, the cosmos, friendship, history, science, imagination, dreams, oceans, mountains, love, and the wonder of birth.
That’ll do for me.”