Posts Tagged ‘submission’
Little note: I use Grammarly’s plagiarism detection software because duplications, while sometimes necessary, are never as good as the real thing.
I read seven books in January! I’ve had such difficulty focusing on reading the past few years. I think at first it was because of my weird fogged-out grief-brain, but then this past year I think I was just out of the habit, going instead to my Facebook feed or Twitter feed or Tumblr feed if I wanted things to read.
I’ve also been realizing that the massive stacks of books that I read for work are sometimes really hard to get into and not exactly “pleasure reading.” While I love love love to read relationship theories and gender theories and gender memoirs & narratives and sex education things in general, I also don’t necessarily curl up with those before I go to bed. I used to—but I guess that’s the difference between doing that kind of stuff as a JOB and reading them all for fun.
So around the holidays, I put out the question to friends and started accruing a huge list of indulgent novels to try out and read. I wanted to start with some easy page-turners, those “unputdownables” that I bring to the dinner table and wake up wanting to read. I got some fantastic recommendations.
I started with Divergent, the first in a YA dystopian trilogy. The narrator, Tris, is in a society that measures by value, and at 16 they are sorted into the faction where they will stay. They do have some choice, but they also take an aptitude test to determine where they would best fit. Excellent premise! I was into it, and excited about the story, and devoured it quickly, but the writing was not so great. Thin and definitely plot-based. I would absolutely watch the film, though, and I may pick up the other two books in the series, especially when I need to remind myself that books are easy to read and I can zoom through them in a couple days.
Tiny aside: Do y’all read through a Kindle or Kindle app? I think it’s kind of fascinating that it tracks how many hours you’ve spent reading any particular book, and then it also tells you how many more hours you have to go in reading it. I don’t track time very well, I am coming to realize, so that was really interesting.
After Divergent, I almost picked up book #2 in the series, but decided to try another YA fantasy-type series instead, and I picked up Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor. Holy crap, I thought that book was amazing. From the introductory chapters that normalize Karou’s strange life to her romance and the profound reveal toward the end of the book, I was hooked. I read the second,Days of Blood & Starlight, and then was so ready to pick up the third, Dreams of Gods & Monsters, when I discovered that it’s due out this spring! Noooo! So I picked up the #2.5 novella, Night of Cake & Puppets, which was charming and sweet and fun, and I am even more into Karou’s best friend Zuzanna. I hear it’s going to be a movie, and they are going to be big hits (if Twilight and Hunger Games have any precedence, which they do). I would absolutely cast Kenzi from Lost Girl as Karou, and if they cast anybody else I might hold a protest.
I took a little break from YA fantasy after that series, because I am not sure it gets better than that, at least for right now. So I picked up The Delicious Torment: A Story of Submission, Alison Tyler’s second in her recent trilogy. If you like Fifty Shades type of erotic romance fantasy novels, I highly recommend Alison Tyler. She’s the real deal, with actual experience and solid writing talent.
I picked up Night Film by Marisha Pessl on recommendation from an old friend, one whose fiction opinions I usually trust. I couldn’t put it down. It was more dense than the others I’ve been reading, but I got so deeply engrossed in the story of the eccentric horror film director and the narrator investigative journalist dead set on exposing whatever real horrors the director was up to. The strange cast grows, and I was so impressed with the world that Pessl built. I don’t usually read such suspense or mystery, but it reminded me of the years in high school where I used to read book after book of Christopher Pike and Dean Koontz. Maybe I should try some of their more recent books again.
That is precisely the kind of reading I’m looking for these days—something somewhat light, that I can devour, but with some magic underneath it that keeps me enraptured and entranced.
I finished off the month with Jeanette Winterson’s latest memoir, Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?. I have read almost all of her books, I think I read everything up to The Stone Gods, though I’m a few behind now. I love her intense writing, her experimental style, the ways she is obsessed with love. Oh, and this book, this book. This book made me want to go back and read all the classics of English Literature A-Z that she talks about discovering, it made me want to theorize about love and loss and the lost loss and healing and grief and how we can ever recover from trauma. I marked all sorts of quotes and cried and wrote things down. I had to put it down and read some of it slowly, connecting deeply to the amount of feeling she is able to convey. After reading it, I feel like I just took a big deep breath. It made me want to pick up many more things of hers, or to re-read some of my favorites, like Gut Symmetries and Written on the Body.
Thus concludes my January book roundup! Follow me on Goodreads and see which books I’ll be reading in February.
What have YOU been reading? Anything amazing lately? Anything to recommend?
This month’s roundup is sponsored by Grammerly. I will receive an Amazon gift card in exchange for that link placed up top, but they had no say over the content that I posted. So that’s only half selling out, right?
I’m on my way to the airport back to New York City from Seattle; the trip has been fantastic. I may post a few more guest treats tomorrow, but expect some writings of mine soon. Meanwhile, here’s something from lily on control and kink.
when i began playing with control, it was the ideas of being bound and hurt i liked. these were surrounded by a swirl of pleasing associations~ ribbons, bites on my skin, an underground of beautiful ones whose abuses heightened each other’s allure. what i had was sometimes like this, other times wonderfully improvised. a boy was begging to be gagged, and the closest fabric at hand was a washcloth- regardless of the tools, the emotional aspects were powerful. yeah, at times neither i nor the other knew the first thing about where this was going. we laughed, and made things up.
in the beginning i was the shy, the taken one. i’d enjoy certain pain and bondage, and the accompanying lust in my partner/s. then, after telling another these stories, it became apparent they wanted to be the tied one. they asked half with words and half with posture, and i took a deep breath and began to take control. it took a great deal of focus- i’m quiet, mostly, and unused to controlling circumstances. but when you’re intimate with someone, you can read their skin and face and cries to learn how they react to you. when someone loses conscious control, they can no longer play the social, kindly deceptive games people engage in together. they’re utterly honest- this was part of the appeal of topping, along of course with the sensuality of observing and drawing out lust-
and the giving and receiving of control. at some point, while being played with, i began to understand submission. i talked to someone who conflated passivity with submission, but these are quite different. submission is an active process, or it begins as one- to give someone control of you, you have to first gather this self-control. you have to trust the situation, give yourself to someone, and then- i suppose its like using an opponent’s chi against him, but this isn’t competitive. someone touches you, and in a submissive headspace you draw out the touch, move with it- if i can use a physics analogy, its like constructive interference. you move towards a peak or a well together.
i experienced submission first, and then its converse. it also takes a great deal of control over yourself to top someone and not only this, you must be strong enough and… have enough capacity… to hold them while they’re vulnerable and hurt. holding someone while they cry, or while you hit them in the face and growl abuses, takes understanding as well. you must be responding to their headspace every moment, not your own lust. you can’t become carried away, because guiding someone near their edges is tricky. you must be very aware, and connected.
being brought to my limits, and bringing others, shows me things i take into the rest of my life. playing with control, whichever side you are on- opens you up, brings you strength and self-awareness. you find not just edges, but centers. you’re left sometimes strong and immense, feeling able enough to cradle the entire world like a baby; at other times fragile and needing to be held. either way, the aftermath is delicately intimate. sweetness is at the end of all things, especially the cruel ones.