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Photo: Courtesy Farrar, Straus and Giroux. In , when Stacey Haney is tempted with a natural-gas lease, the single mom signs because both she and her hometown—pastoral Amity, Pennsylvania—need an economic boost. As it turns out, that monetary influx comes with a deep cost: her water is contaminated, her home deteriorates, her children become sick, and her farm animals begin dying.

Journalist Eliza Grizwold does a phenomenal job —one that snagged her a Pulitzer—of navigating the messy reality of energy politics in rural America. Photo: Courtesy Mountaineers Books. Photo: Courtesy Riverhead Books. In her debut novel, Claire Vaye Watkins imagined Southern California as a wild, waterless wasteland, a post-drought dead zone where rain is but a memory and massive waves of sand swallow the landscape whole.

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There is a love story here, and a desperate clawing toward hope. Even in its most sci-fi moments, Gold Fame Citrus bats terrifyingly close to the truth for anyone who lives in these parts and has to face the same chilling question the author poses: Who will survive when the water runs out?


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Photo: Courtesy Henry Holt and Co. Kolbert has long been a voice of meticulously reported urgency for the effects of climate change. The language we now use when talking about climate issues reflects the growing urgency of living on a planet seemingly fast-tracked toward demise. Photo: Courtesy Picador. He treats the sci-fi premise with the seriousness of nonfiction, consulting engineers, conservationists, paleontologists, and scientists to paint a picture of subways filling with water, skyscrapers falling like trees, and beaches continuing to fill with plastic trash.

Photo: Courtesy Knopf. Photo: Courtesy Penguin Books. What he learns from his arboreal brethren is a lesson for us all —that we should better tend to our own place in the natural world. Photo: Courtesy Sarabande Books. Photo: Courtesy Counterpoint Press. Over the past few years, the outdoor industry has finally begun to grapple, if awkwardly, with the dynamics of race in America.

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These conversations owe a lot to the crucial work of writers like Carolyn Finney. Photo: Courtesy Milkweed Editions. Professor and botanist Robin Wall Kimmerer knows that the answers to all forms of ecological unbalance have long been hidden in plain sight, told in the language of plants and animals, minerals and elements. Photo: Courtesy Random House. Arnold describes some pretty phenomenal athletic achievements, to be sure, but what sticks around long after the last page is her story of surefooted personal redemption. Photo: Courtesy Grand Harbor Press.

Mirna Valerio has been called a fraud, a liar, too fat to run. Her memoir is a sort of joyful middle finger—an uplifting, unapologetic ode to living both fully and ferociously in the body you inhabit right here, right now. Professor and ornithologist J. Drew Lanham is a certifiable bird nerd, most comfortable among the fields and forests where his favorite subjects make their homes. Photo: Courtesy HarperCollins Publishers. Her story, which swings from a dogsled camp perched on an Alaskan glacier to a cozy shop tucked inside a frigid Norwegian village, is one of strength and vulnerability , growth and grit.

In his Pulitzer-winning memoir , however, Finnegan offers something equally visceral: a luminous detailing of his lifelong devotion to chasing waves. He takes us around the globe, from SoCal to Samoa, and guides us through his own maturation from eager grom to middle-aged mystic. Photo: Courtesy Carrot Quinn. With a stream-of-consciousness style and unglossed candor, she documents everything from sex to self-doubt to the sometime monotony of a months-long hike. Photo: Courtesy Grove Press. As it turns out, goshawks are some of the most difficult raptors to train, even for an experienced falconer like Macdonald, but the primal struggle is part of her healing.

Photo: Courtesy Solas House. Photo: Courtesy Penguin Group. In this series of poignant vignettes , Silko, who helped drive a surge in Native American literature that began in the late s, upholds an outdoor storytelling tradition that far predates the Thoreaus and Emersons of the world. She makes an impassioned case for this imperfect place while calling for its protection—especially the remaining scraps of once abundant longleaf pine forest, its bulk long gobbled up by commercial logging.

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Photo: Courtesy Alfred A. Knopf Canada. After immersing herself in scientific study—astrobiology—as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, Kate Harris links up with a childhood friend for a month cycling trip along the Silk Road , an overland trade route that once connected large swaths of Asia, northeast Africa, and southernmost Europe. Despite its premise, this is no example of parachute travel writing.

Instead, Harris considers the very idea of exploration itself, and reminds us that the goal of all travel should be connection—with a place and its people, but also with oneself. Photo: Courtesy Chicago Review Press. Photo: Courtesy Oxford University Press. In the Victorian period, the quality of erotic fiction was much below that of the previous century—it was largely written by 'hacks' [ citation needed ]. Some works, however, borrowed from established literary models, such as Dickens.

It also featured a curious form of social stratification. Even in the throes of orgasm, the social distinctions between master and servant including form of address were scrupulously observed. Significant elements of sado-masochism were present in some examples, perhaps reflecting the influence of the English public school , where flagellation was routinely used as a punishment. It first appeared in and was written by one Gordon Grimley, a sometime managing director of Penthouse International. Clandestine erotic periodicals of this age include The Pearl , The Oyster and The Boudoir , collections of erotic tales, rhymes, songs and parodies published in London between and The centre of the trade in such material in England at this period was Holywell Street, off the Strand, London.

An important publisher of erotic material in the early 19th century was George Cannon — , followed in mid-century by William Dugdale — and John Camden Hotten — An important and entertaining conspectus and evaluation of 19th-century pre and earlier underground erotica, from the author's own private archive, is provided by Victorian writer Henry Spencer Ashbee , using the pseudonym "Pisanus Fraxi", in his bibliographical trilogy Index Librorum Prohibitorum , Centuria Librorum Absconditorum and Catena Librorum Tacendorum His plot summaries of the works he discusses in these privately printed volumes are themselves a contribution to the genre.

Originally of very limited circulation, changing attitudes have led to his work now being widely available. Towards the end of the 19th century, a more "cultured" form of erotica began to appear by such as the poet Algernon Charles Swinburne who pursued themes of paganism, lesbianism and sado-masochism in such works as Lesbia Brandon and in contributions to The Whippingham Papers edited by St George Stock, author of The Romance of Chastisement This was associated with the Decadent movement , in particular, with Aubrey Beardsley and the Yellow Book.

But it was also to be found in France, amongst such writers as Pierre Louys , author of Les chansons de Bilitis a celebration of lesbianism and sexual awakening. Pioneering works of male homosexual erotica from this time were The Sins of the Cities of the Plain , [63] which features the celebrated Victorian transvestite duo of Boulton and Park as characters, [64] and Teleny, or The Reverse of the Medal Important publishers of erotic fiction at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th were Leonard Smithers — [65] and Charles Carrington — , [68] both of whom were subject to legal injunctions from the British authorities in order to prohibit their trade in such material.

Because of this legal harassment the latter conducted his business from Paris. Vladimir Nabokov 's Lolita is often described as an erotic novel, but other critics view it more as a literary drama with elements of eroticism.

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It published a mix of erotic fiction and avant-garde literary works. Another trend in the twentieth century was the rise of the lesbian pulp fiction. Many of the authors were women themselves, such as Gale Wilhelm and Ann Bannon. Many male homosexuals also enjoyed gay pulp fiction , which borrowed the same sexploitation format as the lesbian books. Chinese literature has a tradition of erotic fiction dating back to at least the 16th century. The critic Charles Stone has argued that pornographic technique is the "union of banality, obscenity, and repetition," and contains just the "rudiments" of plot, style, and characterization, while anything that is not sexually stimulating is avoided.

If this is the case, he concluded, then The Lord of Perfect Satisfaction is the "fountainhead of Chinese erotica," but not pornography. The most famous sexually explicit novel is the Jin Ping Mei written by an author who used only a pseudonym his real name is unknown. There is also a tradition of erotic fiction in Japan. Some portion of this is doujinshi , or independent comics, which are often fan fiction. Plots revolved around humor and entertainment at the pleasure quarters.

It is a subgenre of gesaku. In Indonesia, a mysterious erotic writer known only as Enny Arrow [91] wrote countless novels from the late s until the early s which were secretly circulated through magazine sellers. Most of the novels are known for their vulgar and hyperbolic, sometimes comical language. They are now regarded as classics by some Indonesians and have been scanned for historical purposes.

In the 21st century, a number of female authors have risen to prominence, including Alison Tyler , Rachel Kramer Bussel and Carol Queen. Janine Ashbless, Kristina Lloyd, and Portia da Costa are well known for their erotic novels and short stories. Kristina Wright [92] is well known for her bestselling genre themed anthologies through Cleis Press , including steampunk erotica, [93] paranormal erotic romance, [94] and fairy tale erotica, [95] [96] exemplified by authors such as Shanna Germain [97] and Michelle Augello-Page.

Other authors celebrate the term 'erotica' but also question why literature 'with the sex left in' should be considered outside literary fiction. The debate has been rekindled by the release, in , of the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy written by E. The phenomenal success of her erotica for every woman, dubbed 'mommyporn', has given rise to satires like Fifty Shames of Earl Grey by 'Fanny Merkin' real name Andrew Shaffer , a book of essays called Fifty Writers on Fifty Shades ed. Lori Perkins , a parody called Fifty Sheds of Grey [99] and editors of erotic imprints re-evaluating the content and presentation of the genre.

A development in contemporary erotica has been that, contrary to some previous views that it was mainly a male interest, many women readers are aroused by it, whether it be traditional pornography or tailor-made women's erotica. Romantic novels are sometimes marketed as erotica—or vice versa—as "mainstream" romance in recent decades has begun to exhibit blatant if poetic descriptions of sex. Erotic romance is a relatively new genre of romance with an erotic theme and very explicit love scenes, but with a romance at the heart of the story. Erotic fantasy is a subgenre of fantasy fiction and utilizes erotica in a fantasy setting.

These stories can essentially cover any of the other subgenres of fantasy, such as high fantasy , contemporary fantasy , or even historical fantasy. The extents of the genre to break existing conventions and limits in subject matter have managed to shock popular audiences, with genres such as monster erotica emerging with the ease of digital publishing. Erotic fantasy fiction has similarities to romantic fantasy but is more explicit. Erotic fantasy can also be found in fan fiction , which uses plot elements and characters from popular fiction such as television series, movies or novels.

Erotic fan fiction may use characters from existing works in relationships undreamed of by their creators, such as " slash " homoerotic fan fiction. Fan fiction and its Japanese counterpart, doujinshi , account for an enormous proportion of all erotica written today. The Internet and digital revolution in erotic depiction has changed the forms of representing scenes of a sexual nature.

One researcher [] concluded that erotic literature was available among the poor and performed at public readings in 18th-century Britain. Erotica was present on the Internet from the earliest days, as seen from rec. This news group was a moderated forum for the exchange of erotic stories that predated the creation of the World Wide Web.

Most of this migrated to the alt. The vast majority of Internet erotica is of an amateur nature, written for the enjoyment of the author and readers instead of for profit. Increased interactivity and anonymity allows casual or hobby writers the opportunity not only to author their own stories but also to share them with a world-wide audience. Many authors adopt colorful pseudonyms and can develop cult followings within their genre, though a small number use or claim to use their real names.

Among transgender or genderqueer authors it is a common practice to adopt a feminine or masculine alter-ego, although it is not unheard of for a writer to use his or her own given name. Prostitution was the focus of much of the earliest erotic works. The very term " pornography " is derived from the Greek pornographos meaning "writer about prostitutes", originally denoting descriptions of the lives and manners of prostitutes and their customers in Ancient Greece.

According to Athenaeus in The Deipnosophists these constituted a considerable genre, with many lubricious treatises, stories and dramas on the subject. Accounts of prostitution have continued as a major part of the genre of erotic literature. In the 18th century directories of prostitutes and their services, such as Harris's List of Covent Garden Ladies — , provided both entertainment and instruction. In the 19th century, the sensational journalism of W. Stead 's The Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon about the procuring of underage girls into the brothels of Victorian London provided a stimulus for the erotic imagination.

Stead's account was widely translated and the revelation of "padded rooms for the purpose of stifling the cries of the tortured victims of lust and brutality" and the symbolic figure of "The Minotaur of London" confirmed European observers worst imaginings about "Le Sadisme anglais" and inspired erotic writers to write of similar scenes set in London or involving sadistic English gentlemen. Erotic memoirs include Casanova 's Histoire de ma vie , from the 18th century. Edward Sellon was a writer, translator and illustrator of erotic literature who wrote erotica for the pornographic publisher William Dugdale, including such works as The New Epicurean Various discrepancies with known facts of the singer's life, however, have led many to doubt the veracity of this book and the erotic adventures contained in the second volume, at least, appear to be very implausible.

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These include the author indulging in lesbian sadomasochism, group sex, sodomy, bestiality, scatology , necrophilia , prostitution and vampirism : all before she had reached the age of Sex manuals are among the oldest forms of erotic literature. Three brief fragments of a sex manual written in the fourth century BC that is attributed to Philaenis of Samos have survived, though modern scholars generally regard it as a work of parody probably written by a man, most likely the Athenian sophist Polycrates.

The Indian Kama Sutra is one of the world's best-known works of this type. The Ananga Ranga , a 12th-century collection of Indian erotic works, is a lesser known one. Also very famous, and often reprinted and translated, is The Perfumed Garden for the Soul's Recreation , a 16th-century Arabic work by Sheikh Nefzaoui.

There is anecdotal evidence that at least as late as the midth century sex therapists and other physicians prescribed erotic literature as treatment for erectile dysfunction. The ancient Chinese versions of the sex manual include the texts that contain the Taoist sexual practices. These include books that show illustrations of the ideal sexual behavior because sex in this religion is not considered taboo but a manifestation of the concept of the yin and yang , [] wherein the male and female engage in an act of "joining of energy" or "joining of essences".

The belief is that proper sexual practice is key to achieving good health. The manuals included the Ishinpo text, [] which is a medical document that also included sections devoted to sexual hygiene and sexual manuals of the Tang and Han dynasties. Chi kung manuals include warming a wet towel and covering penis for a few minutes, then rubbing one direction away from base of penis hundreds of times daily, similar to chi kung.

Squeezing sphincter while semi-erect or fully erect dozens of times daily, particularly a few hours before intercourse will help delay orgasm or enhance non-ejaculatory pleasure. The Universal Tao system was developed by Mantak Chia to teach Taoist meditative and exercise techniques to balance the body and increase and refine one's vital energy, or chi "chee".

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Front and back channel, the back channel is where the perineum is located between anus and scrotum moving up the tailbone to the crown, the front channel is moving down the front of your body down the midline. Breathing up the back channel and then breathing out from the front channel down to and from the abdomen moves chi. Many practices combined help chi to be transformed into spiritual energy or shen.

Not all sex manuals were produced to arouse or inform readers about sexual acts. There are also those created as a form of satire or social criticism. For instance, there is the case of mock-sex manual produced in the early sixteenth century by Pietro Aretino in response to the clerical censorship of the nude engravings of the Roman artists Marcantonio Raimondi. Erotic or pornographic works have often been prosecuted, censored and destroyed by the authorities on grounds of obscenity. After the Reformation the jurisdiction of these courts declined in favour of the Crown which licensed every printed book.

Prosecutions of books for their erotic content alone were rare and works which attacked the church or state gave much more concern to the authorities than erotica or ' obscene libel ' as it was then known. For instance the Licensing Act of was aimed generally at "heretical, seditious, schismatical or offensive books of pamphlets" rather than just erotica per se. Even this Licensing Act was allowed to lapse in and no attempt made to renew it.

The first conviction for obscenity in England occurred in , when Edmund Curll was fined for the publication of Venus in the Cloister or The Nun in her Smock under the common law offence of disturbing the King's peace. This set a legal precedent for other convictions. Prosecutions of erotica later in the 18th century were rare and were most often taken because of the admixture of seditious and blasphemous material with the porn.

For instance, no proceedings were taken against the publishers of Cleland's notorious Fanny Hill It was the Obscene Publications Act which made the sale of obscene material a statutory offence, for the first time, giving the courts power to seize and destroy offending material. The origins of the Act itself were in a trial for the sale of pornography presided over by the Lord Chief Justice , Lord Campbell , at the same time as a debate in the House of Lords over a bill aiming to restrict the sale of poisons.

Campbell was taken by the analogy between the two situations, famously referring to the London pornography trade as "a sale of poison more deadly than prussic acid, strychnine or arsenic", [] and proposed a bill to restrict the sale of pornography; giving statutory powers of destruction would allow for a much more effective degree of prosecution.

The bill was controversial at the time, receiving strong opposition from both Houses of Parliament , and was passed on the assurance by the Lord Chief Justice that it was " The Act provided for the seizure and destruction of any material deemed to be obscene, and held for sale or distribution, following information being laid before a "court of summary jurisdiction" Magistrates' court. The Act required that following evidence of a common-law offence being committed — for example, on the report of a plain-clothes policeman who had successfully purchased the material — the court could issue a warrant for the premises to be searched and the material seized.

The proprietor then would be called upon to attend court and give reason why the material should not be destroyed. Critically, the Act did not define "obscene," leaving this to the will of the courts. Whilst the Act itself did not change, the scope of the work affected by it did. Cockburn's declaration remained in force for several decades, and most of the high profile seizures under the Act relied on this interpretation. Known as the Hicklin test no cognisance was taken of the literary merit of a book or on the extent of the offending text within the book in question.

The widened scope of the original legislation led to the subsequent notorious targeting of now acknowledged classics of world literature by such authors as Zola , James Joyce and D. Lawrence plus medical textbooks by such as Havelock Ellis rather than the blatant erotica which was the original target of this law. In contrast to England, where actions against obscene literature were the preserve of the magistrates, in America such actions were the responsibility of the Postal Inspection Service, embodied in the federal and state Comstock laws , named after the postal officer and anti-obscenity crusader Anthony Comstock who proved himself officious in the work of suppression both in his official capacity and through his New York Society for the Suppression of Vice.

Twenty-four states passed similar prohibitions on materials distributed within the states. This question of whether a book had literary merit eventually prompted a change in the law in both America and the UK. In the United Kingdom the Obscene Publications Act provided for the protection of "literature" but conversely increased the penalties against pure "pornography.

After this piece of legislation questions of the literary merit of the work in question were allowed to be put before the judge and jury as in the Lady Chatterley trial. The publishers of the latter book were found not guilty by the court on the grounds of the literary merit of the book. In later prosecutions of literary erotica under the provisions of the act, however, even purely pornographic works with no apparent literary merit escaped destruction by the authorities.

Purely textual pornographic texts, with no hint of libel , ceased to be brought to trial following the collapse of the Inside Linda Lovelace trial in However, in October , a man was unsuccessfully prosecuted under the Obscene Publications Act the R v Walker trial for posting fictional written material to the Internet allegedly describing the kidnap, rape and murder of the pop group Girls Aloud. The First Amendment to the United States Constitution gives protection to written fiction, although the legal presumption that it does not protect obscene literature has never been overcome.

Instead, pornography has successfully been defined legally as non-obscene, or "obscene" been shown to be so vague a term as to be unenforceable. In Brian Dalton was charged with creation and possession of child pornography under an Ohio obscenity law. The stories were works of fiction concerning sexually abusing children which he wrote and kept, unpublished, in his private journal.

He accepted a plea bargain, pleaded guilty and was convicted. Importing books and texts across national borders can sometimes be subject to more stringent laws than in the nations concerned. Customs officers are often permitted to seize even merely 'indecent' works that would be perfectly legal to sell and possess once one is inside the nations concerned. Canada has been particularly notorious for such border seizures. Although the and legislation outlawed the publication, retail and trafficking of certain writings and images, regarded as pornographic, and would order the destruction of shop and warehouse stock meant for sale, the private possession of and viewing of pornography has not been prosecuted until recent times.

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Main article: Sex manual. Further information: Obscenity. Novels portal Sexuality portal Erotica and Pornography portal. Erotic literature and art in ancient Rome Femdom List of authors of erotic works List of genres List of pornographic book publishers Literotica Pornography Pornotopia Romance novel Sadism and masochism in fiction Spanking literature Women's erotica Bedroom farce. Kearney A History of Erotic Literature.