Behind the Bedroom Door: Getting It, Giving It, Loving It, Missing It

The roster of contributors to Paula Derrow's collection of tales about sex, relationships, and the many things in between is impressive for its intellect and sass. Here you will find women who say what you and yours have only thought, who use writerly metaphors to depict the tangles of being female, being a mother, being a lesbian, being young, being old, and, in all cases, being boldly vulnerable. Susan Cheever, Hope Edelman, and Lauren Slater are among the willing -- those who reveal their tastes and shortcomings through punchy stories. Cheever writes in praise of one-night stands, Edelman reflects on her teenage love affair with a bad boy turned groveling cheater, and Slater justifies sexless marriage. Reminiscent of the 2003 Bitch in the House anthology, Behind the Bedroom Door is every bit as scintillating, if not deliberately more sex-obsessed. What?s most impressive is the candor that these women muster -- here are respected teachers, authors, and parents who tell their secrets as though their kids will never lay eyes on their tell-alls, who unabashedly relate the quirks of their husbands and lovers. But then again, what appears foolhardy may be just another act of modern living. Their kids and lovers will find out, or be shown again, that the women they love crave more, have qualms, and revel in their mistakes as much as their independence. This is a fun, helpful read for "ladies" of all ages, and for men who seek to understand.

April 19: "What you see first, after the starting gun's crack, is a column of bobbing runners, thousands of them, surging downhill..."

Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch is the winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. James Parker calls this Dickensian coming-of-age novel "an enveloping…

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Poems That Make Grown Men Cry

And women too.  Luminaries from Colin Firth to Nick Cave and Jonathan Franzen chose the poems that bring them to tears, and the result is a stunning collection of poignant verse from writers like Auden, Whitman, Bishop, Larkin, Neruda and many others.  Warning: choking-up hazard.

The King of Pain

Trapped beneath his entertainment system, reality TV mastermind Rick Salter reflects on his life and tries to piece together the events of the previous evening. Seth Kaufman’s romp is an outrageous meditation on pain and entertainment in a deranged world in which the two are often interchangeable.

The Good Inn

Frank Black, frontman for the Pixies, has written a transgressive historical fiction with shades of Thomas Pynchon (focused as it is on the history of explosives and cinematic pornography), all set in a hallucinatory Edwardian Europe.