Like everything else having to do with the holiday season, best-of-the-year book lists are designed to sadden and disillusion us. We are made to feel inadequate for not reading enough and, worse, we’re reminded of our utter lack of resolution to improve in the coming year. As we scan these year-end lists we find ourselves thinking some variety of this thought: No, I didn’t fuckin read fuckin Jeffrey Eugenides’ new book, just as I didn’t read his last book or the one before that—and, yes, I’m too lazy and self-absorbed and cheap and generally defiant to read anything by him in 2012. Face it, friends, if you actually did go out and buy all of the New York Times Top Books of 2011, you’d just end up stacking them into a neat pile, climbing onto it and hanging yourself.
But, wait, don’t do it! There’s plenty of porn out there—and where there’s porn, there’s hope. A wonderful world of books awaits us, a world of stories that we actually want to read. We are living in a period of renaissance, a golden age of the smutty written word. These e-books are short, reasonably priced and always deliver a satisfying ending. And, there’s a lot of them.
So, for those of us who aren’t interested in hearing about—much less reading—this year’s contenders for the Great American novel, for the vast, silent majority who are frankly more interested in coming than in coming-of-age novels, I offer a humbler, and more honest, Best Books of 2011.
1) Moan for Uncle by Terry Towers (Soft & Hard Erotic Publishing)
Future historians may dub 2011 ‘the year of forbidden uncle love.’ It seemed like everywhere you went this year, everyone was moaning for Uncle Grant. There’s a reason that both Moan for Uncle and its sequel, Moan for Uncle 2, cracked Amazon’s top ten erotic bestseller list (an especially impressive achievement for books in that rarefied category of ‘pseudo-incest’). Chicks loved it—why? The complex emotional bond between college freshman Nikki and her CIA agent uncle gives Moan’s hard-core scenes an undercurrent of melancholy, for this is a doomed love that dare not speak its shared last name.
2) Gang Bang the Bride by Rachel Boleyn (Sweet Nothings Publications)
Gang Bang the Bride is, to borrow a phrase from Disney’s PR department, an instant classic. Classic, because it deals in fundamental questions; instant, because that is precisely the manner in which it gratifies. Gang Bang the Bride isn’t just about gang-banging a particular bride—though it is about that, and copiously so—no, GBB is a cry in the caveman wilderness, a trenchant critique of the institution of modern marriage.
3) Blackmailed into Bed by Lynda Chance (Amazon Digital Services)
It pains me to say it, but Blackmailed into Bed is about America. It’s about us. A lonely Louisiana cop throws his weight around with Amy, a divorcee who’s been doing everything in her power to repel his domineering charm. Finally, fatefully, on a traffic stop at the side of lonely interstate on the bayou, the cowboy lieutenant makes her an offer that she cannot, that she dares not, refuse. This bleak book makes plain what we all know: the American Dream is finished. But this doesn’t mean that our civilization’s death throes can’t also be mind-blowingly arousing.
4) Her Best Friend’s Dad by Rachel Boleyn (Sweet Nothings)
Her Best Friend’s Dad peels away the layers of the narrative onion to discover a revelatory truth. Only now, with the fifth installment of this twisting-and-turning series, have we arrived at the core of the story: after much ado, Sarah has finally won over her best friend’s dad. But, as it turns out, this drama is only an appetizer to the even more explosive sexual power play between her, her best friend’s father, her professor, and her professor’s wife. And it all starts when she discovers that her college algebra exams have been intentionally mis-graded. There are touches in this series of the Greek dramatic cycle, The Oresteia. This story transcends its modern context and reaches toward something more universal.
5) Brother Sister Sex Stories by Tawny Black, Jewel Zahn and Jade K. Scott (Taboo Smut Publishers)
For better or worse, Brother Sister delivers on its promise. These stories are nothing but a collection of sick, perverted filth. The best that can be said of them is that they don’t technically involve blood relations. But even this crucial detail is often left ambiguous. Still, there’s little use in condemning these authoresses. Don’t blame the messengers. These gothic tales challenge the reader to resist the lure of the most troubling fantasies out there. Are you up to the challenge? Only one way to find out.