Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Penguin Group Sex

Via ms. musings, we are alerted to the fact that:

A wave of confessionals and self-help guides written by current or former stars of pornographic films is flooding bookstores this year, accompanied by erotic novels, racy sexual-instruction guides, histories of sexual particulars and photographic treatments of the world of pornography.

One of the books mentioned in the article is How to Make Love Like a Porn Star: A Cautionary Tale (HTMLLAPS), by Jenna Jameson:

Ms. Regan's [the publisher] most recent offering is "How to Make Love Like a Porn Star: A Cautionary Tale," a memoir by Jenna Jameson, probably the most successful woman ever in the adult-film business, written with Neil Strauss, a former reporter and music critic for The New York Times.

The book, which is already climbing the best-seller lists, is long (579 pages), graphic (with clinical descriptions of a smorgasbord of sex acts) and bulging with color photos of a mostly nude Ms. Jameson (which led some stores, including Wal-Mart, to refuse to stock it).


Since I have something very much in common with Ms. Jameson--the first-time author predicament, if you must ask, you naughty, naughty people--my curiosity was peaked. [Actually, there's another reason--serendipity; I'll come back to that in a moment.] In particular, the part about Ms. Jameson's book climbing the best-seller list (it's currently #7 at Amazon) interests me. Why? Because the one goal I have for my book is to expose as many women as possible to the correct and complete information about menstrual management. This means I can always stand to learn a valuable lesson from a book that's reaching a wide audience. So, let's see how my book compares to Ms. Jameson's book:

--579 pages

My book has 272. Drat, I told the editors not to cut those extra 100+ pages, but they didn't listen to me. Advantage: HTMLLAPS.

--graphic (with clinical descriptions of a smorgasbord of sex acts)

Ha, my book has graphic descriptions, too (granted, they're the anatomically correct kind, but still, a description of the hymen is a description of the hymen). As far as the sex acts go, with your indulgence I might be able to make a claim--a clinical description of the genital tract, both upper and lower...both involved in orgasm...orgasm being the result of sexual intercourse...ergo [more or less] my book also has descriptions of sex acts. Advantage: neither book. Let's call it a draw.

--bulging with color photos of a mostly nude Ms. Jameson

Oh, this really makes me mad! I had gorgeous color photos of all the birth control methods mentioned in the book, but the editor didn't think they were necessary. [I'm so holding my breath and my typing fingers right now, so as to render myself incapable of expressing my opinion vis-a-vis this decision.] Advantage: HTMLLAPS.

--led some stores, including Wal-Mart, to refuse to stock it

My book is stocked by Wal-Mart. Advantage: my book.

Obviously, the above comparison is meant as a funny diversion. The two books belong to different categories: HTMLLAPS (Biographies & Memoirs), my book (Women's Health). Also, since I haven't read Ms. Jameson's book, I'm not qualified to compare/review it. Yet, serendipity has allowed me to offer you (and myself, for that matter) a behind-the-scene look at the making of a best-seller book.

A couple of nights ago, as I was flipping through the channels, I notice a VH1 documentary about a porn start. What caught my attention, as a first-time author: porn star has just written a book (HTMLLAPS), book's publisher (Judith Regan) appears in the documentary as a "character witness" interviewee, and one of the documentary's producers is...wait for it...the publisher (Regan Media). I must say, this is one brilliant book Infomercial.

Of course, I'd feel more comfortable if content alone determined a book's ranking. [Should you even mention content, seeing how your book is not even ranked at Amazon? -- Ed. Please, don't interrupt with such mundane observations; I'm trying to make a point here.] However, being the quick study that I am, I now know what I must do: get my publisher to produce a documentary about the menstrual period, get the editor-in-chief to give a menstrual management testimonial, and have it broadcast on MTV. Oh, and maybe throw in some shapely, scantly-clad gentlemen in the background. Who says learning useful things about your health has to be boring?

Update: Old Hag offers an interpretive guide to the sex+porno+books article:

"What we're seeing now in novels is that they're sexy, but they're very sophisticated," Mr. Wietrak said.
Translation: "Do I make you horny, baby? Do I?"

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