This is a really, really funny book - a collection of humorous spoofs on the erotic short story genre. The author has a truly mind-blowing gathering o...moreThis is a really, really funny book - a collection of humorous spoofs on the erotic short story genre. The author has a truly mind-blowing gathering of euphemisms for the organs and acts of procreation, and my vocabulary was greatly expanded after reading it. It also had me giggling uncontrollably for hours straight. Warning: Anyone who is easily offended will probably be offended by this. (less)
A series of linked abusurdist erotic vignettes, with strong doses of surrealism and humor.
So this is a sex book, make no mistake. From reading formal...moreA series of linked abusurdist erotic vignettes, with strong doses of surrealism and humor.
So this is a sex book, make no mistake. From reading formal book reviews beforehand I had the impression it was a novel with a plot, but it's not really that - though characters and places and concepts recur, there's no real extended story arc, it's more a series of delightfully absurd short stories. In a twisted kind of way, it reminded me of Louis Sachar's Sideways Stories From Wayside School, if the characters were all adults and were really, really into phalluses and fellatio and porn. As erotica, it's interesting because there's kind of a light, bubble-gum tone throughout - there is no particular darkness or sense of risk or danger here. It's very playful and unserious. I think it's rare that erotic writing can manage to be both arousing and funny, or arousing and light in tone, yet somehow I think House of Holes does it.
I found the writing wonderfully inventive and clever, and it was a pleasure to read. Just a lot of fun. I would recommend this to folks who are urbane and not offended by explicit references to human anatomy or variegated sexual practices. This is basically thinking persons' porn, without being too thinky.(less)
An interestesting, addictively readable memoir by a Harvard-educated woman (now a successful journalist and Washington Post blogger) who stayed too lo...moreAn interestesting, addictively readable memoir by a Harvard-educated woman (now a successful journalist and Washington Post blogger) who stayed too long in a marriage with a husband who regularly beat her. It's a chilling look at how abuse can affect the lives of people in all social classes and at any education level.
What I especially appreciated about this book was the sober, mature, intelligent way she wrote about what was obvious a terribly painful experience. There were so many pitfalls a book like this might have fallen into, yet didn't - she didn't sensationalize or romanticize the material, didn't present herself as a hero or a martyr, didn't beat herself up about her choices, didn't waste time flinging blame around, or sermonizing, or waxing sentimental. It felt like just a scrupulously honest, straightforward approach combined with a novelistic attention to sensory detail and narrative pacing. Granted, sometimes she gets a little slaphappy and overambitious with her metaphors and similes, and her prose would have benefited from killing a few more of those little darlings. But all in all, a brave, balanced, well-considered book. Bravo, Ms. Steiner.
Note for my religiously conservative reader friends: Lots of the f-word in here, and a few little bits of frank sexual content as well. (less)