Amy Grace Loyd

This month Amy Grace Loyd published her debut novel, The Affairs of Others. An intricate character study of one woman's varied relationships with the tenants of her Brooklyn brownstone -- and her psychological state following the death of her husband -- Others eschews clichéd tropes in favor of a protagonist whose actions defy expectations and bring readers on a wild ride through New York City. A former literary editor of Playboy, Loyd's debut is a sexually charged work sharing a kinship with Loyd's five selections for this week's Guest Books, which she champions as Sexy Books Written by Women.


The Sexual Life of Catherine M.
By Catherine Millet  

"Called 'the most explicit book about sex ever written by a woman' by Edmund White, this 2001 memoir recounts the innumerable daring and often graphic sexual experiences of a well-respected art critic possessed of a libido that never quits, never apologizes, and is well met by a fierce intellect."


Swimming Sweet Arrow
By Maureen Gibbon

"Gibbon has few peers when writing about sex -- what it gives us and what it can take away, sometimes for good. The novel is about coming of age in the middle of nowhere, where having sex in cars, sex period, is as good a way as any to mark the time (and mark lives) and shows Gibbon at her most honest and matter of fact and at her most affectionate and sensual."


The Lover
By Marguerite Duras  

"Set in the heat and cultural tensions of French Colonial Vietnam, this semi-autobiographical account makes for an intriguing counterpoint to Lolita. During an ongoing relationship with an older Chinese man, the teenage French heroine discovers sexual pleasure and power ('From the first moment she knows more or less, knows he’s at her mercy'). The atmosphere created is hallucinatory and addicting; the effect ferocious and wistful."


By Helen Walsh

"Publishers Weekly described this British novel as part of a new genre of 'chick-lit noir.' From the first scene, in which two young women make use of a tombstone for their assignation, Walsh is instructing on hedonism -- the compulsion of desire and the emptiness it risks. The pacing runs fast, the characters are young and careless and drug-soaked (think Bright Lights, Big City meets Michel Houellebecq meets HBO's Girls), and the effect is mind-altering; to recover you might need the entirely different intentions of the next selection…"


By Judy Blume

"Blume wrote this novel because her daughter 'asked for a story about two nice kids who have sex without either of them having to die' and one in which the girl isn't 'always punished for having sex.' What Blume came up is a novel that captures the irresistible vortex of youth and youthful desire without anyone losing life or limb, and for adults, it is an invitation to time travel to that girl-meets-boy moment and to sensations that are all the more intense for being so new."


April 23: " 'A job,' the woman repeated again, smiling, as if I hadn't heard her. 'Would you like one?' "

Kenneth Calhoun (Black Moon) and Lysely Tenorio (Monstress) of the Discover Great New Writers program on B-movies, heritage, and finales.

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
A Private Venus

Dubbed "the Italian Simenon," Giorgio Scerbanenco (1911-1969) began his crime-writing career with books set in the USA, but quickly shifted scene closer to home, the city of Milan.  In this adventure, appearing in English for the first time, his underdog hero Dr. Duca Lamberti finds himself in the middle of a seedy, scantily clad criminal racket, where the presence of an outsider could result in death.

The Promise of Hope

Killed last year in the infamous terror attack at Nairobi's Westgate mall, Kofi Awoonor was a national treasure in his native Ghana.  His career began in 1964 with Rediscovery, and this magnum opus serves as a tribute to his entire long journey charting his beloved nation's course through his accomplished poetry.

Winter Mythologies and Abbots

A pair of linked stories finds that, as translator Ann Jefferson relates, "[Pierre] Michon's great theme is the precarious balance between belief and imposture, and the way the greatest aspirations can be complicated by physical desire or the equally urgent desire for what he calls glory."