Book Club / People

Erotic literature and passionate reads: RUSSH recommends

It turns out erotic literature has been booming in isolation. (ebay has reported a 423 per cent increase in sales of erotic and adult fiction.) And we're not entirely surprised. With dating a made difficult and more time on our hands, what better time to clear your schedule, light a candle (if that's your thing) and let your mind travel someplace sensual. Here, friends of RUSSH recommend books to take your breath away.


Mildly Erotic Verse

Rachel Piercey and Emma Wright (eds.)

As the saying goes, never judge a book by its cover. But can the same thing be said for its title? Seeing the word ‘Mildly’ spearheading the title of a book about eroticism would usually leave me completely uninspired but in the spirit of curiosity I gave this one a chance. So often we crave theatrics and romance to electrify the ordinary, but what if we were to lean into our (ordinary) present a bit more? It can be pretty hot in the here and now. Life itself is simply a collection of somewhat ‘mild’ moments, so what could be more erotic than the most real, mundane and insignificant of moments swept into a new dimension and set on fire?

– Gabriela Hidalgo, Senior Designer


Flesh & Stone

Edward Lucie-Smith

“… A balance between internal tension and external harmony.” Edward Lucie-Smith’s photos position marble sculptures against naked bodies all shot at low light and you can barely tell the difference. Skin, flesh, stone and innuendo. He captures men in their tender toughness and recontextualises the statues through his lens. “The sculptures live and breathe in the photographs … they also exude a powerful, disturbing sexuality.” Stumbling across it in a vintage bookstore I initially left it on the shelf, ’cause what does a girl need with a graphic, homoerotic coffee table book? But in the end … it’s now at home on my book shelf.

– Ellen Presbury, Market & Beauty Director


Make It Scream, Make It Burn

Leslie Jamison

There’s an essay in Leslie Jamison’s new collection Make It Scream, Make It Burn about infatuation and illusion that’s played out as a partial portrait of Las Vegas – all artifice and abandon – that’s as moving as it is masterful. Jamison traces the tension between lust and its acrid aftertaste with such precision, giving shape to longing itself. As with all her essays, there’s ambivalence and an unexpected narrative twist but always such tenderness in the way she carries a thought.

Isobel Parker Philip, Senior Curator of Contemporary Australian Art, Art Gallery of New South Wales


À Rebours

Joris-Karl Huysmans 

I’m currently reading the scandalous classic Naturalist novel À Rebours by Joris-Karl Huysmans. In English the translation is Against Nature. The main character Jean Des Esseintes, supposedly based on the Count de Montesquiou, escapes from Paris to live a decadent, lonely life in his country home surrounded by decadent furnishings including everything from a pipe organ filled with exotic liqueurs to a live turtle he covers in gold and rare precious stones. It’s Ottessa Moshfegh’s My Year Of Rest And Relaxation, but make it 1884.

Dan Thawley, Editor in Chief, A Magazine Curated By