Anais-nin

Top 5 Memoirs Written By Women

In celebration of the recent release of Lena Dunham’s Not That Kind Of Girl, and impending release of Amy Poehler’s Yes Please, we have compiled a pre-requisite reading list of of some of the best memoirs, diaries and autobiographies written by women. Learn about sex, puberty, childhood, motherhood, friendship and life through the eyes of these intelligent, witty, insightful women.

RELATED: Before 50 Shades of Grey – Top 5 Erotic Novels

Bossypants, Tina Fey

In Bossypants, Fey takes aim at her detractors (always with humor) and gives you an intimate look at the hurdles she conquered on her way to becoming one of the most successful comedians in recent years. We love you Tina!

The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion

Joan Didion has long been a well-respected author and essayist (I recommend everyone read her piece on Self Respect). But in The Year of Magical Thinking Joan describes her grief after the loss of her husband. Prepare for a few tears but this book of love, death and mourning is far more inspirational than depressing.

How To Be a Woman, Caitlin Moran

Moran is a British radio broadcaster and columnist. Her autobiography is utterly hilarious, full of awkward anecdotes of puberty and early romance. However, among her humorous tales is one of the most honest descriptions of a life-changing childbirth that is equally movie and horrifying.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou

Maya’s poetic autobiography follows the early years of her life, when she and her brother – abandoned by their parents – are sent to live with their grandmother. Maya’s early life is filled with traumatic experiences and vicious racism. Her ability to overcome life’s setbacks resulted in one of the most enduring and important literary commentaries on life as a black woman in America.

The Diary of a Young Girl, Anne Frank

Anne Frank’s diaries are the most popular published diaries in history. They cover the two years Anne – a young Jewish girl – spent hiding from Nazis in a small house in Amsterdam. It’s interesting to follow the usual coming-of-age processes of a pre-teen girl, despite the unusual circumstances of her existence, and the horror occurring in the world at the time.

Image via NY Daily News

October 6, 2014

Before Fifty Shades of Grey: Top 5 Erotic Novels

In celebration of the recently released Fifty Shades of Grey film trailer, we have delved into the erotica archives to uncover the classics that paved the way for this pop culture hit. While Fifty Shades was certainly the first mainstream, mass-consumed, widely adored novel of its genre, here we list some of the other great erotic reads you should have on your bookshelf.

1. Delta of Venus, Anais Nin (1977)

This collection of erotic short stories was written in the 1940s for a private collector, but not published until after Nin’s death. The tales cover a rainbow of sexual expressions and fantasies, across a range of nations and experiences. Nin also managed to address explicit sexual scenarios in language that she considered friendly to both male and female readers, and low and high art forms.

2. The Story of O, Pauline Reague, aka Anne Desclos (1954)

This novel makes the S&M of Fifty Shades look almost embarrassingly soft core. The Story of O was written as a series of letters to the author’s lover, who originally told her that a woman could not write erotica. It tells the tale of a young fashion photographer, who is trained to submit to the sadistic whims of her master.

3. Fear of Flying, Erica Jong (1973)

Jong’s novel was extremely controversial for its portrayal of female sexuality, and thus became a great influence on second-wave feminism. It follows a woman on a trip to Vienna with her husband, where she indulges her sexual fantasies with another man.

4. Tropic of Cancer, Henry Miller (1934)

This controversial, semi-autobiographical classic was initially banned in America for nearly 30 years since it was first published in France. The book tells of Miller’s numerous sexual exploits in bohemian Paris. Fun fact: Anais Nin helped edit the book.

5. The Sexual Life of Catherine M, Catherine Millet (2002)

Some call it the female, totally autobiographical version of Miller’s Tropic of Cancer. Set in Paris and translated from French, Millet’s memoir offers us insight into her wild sex life, taking us to peep shows, orgies and beyond. Unlike the other novels on this list, Catherine M is a more modern protagonist who simply enjoys having sex with multiple partners.

Image via ibtimes.co.uk

September 2, 2014