Get Literate: Selections from the Tulip Bookshelf

As a true child of the 21st century, I often sit and muse about life before the internet, cell phones, and the iPod. After all, how did people function without their Blackberry in one hand, a soy latte in the other, and headphones blaring Rihanna? What sad and dismal days those must have been. And while innovation has seen the passing of the phonograph and shoulder pads, the book still reigns strong. Sure, first it was Books on Tape, and then it was the digitization of literature onto Google, but nothing can compete with the written word on a physical page. Tulip recognizes this, and such, our luscious bookshelf has tons of nuggets of wisdom to impart: from salacious erotica to queer theory. Below are some of my favorites. So next time you’re shopping for a great orgasm, take a look at the literature which can make sexuality a truly intellectual experience. Besides, everyone likes a sexy librarian!

I Am My Lover edited by Joani Blank
This book is filled with photographs depicting average women engaging in the human body’s most primal act: masturbation. This Lambda Literary Award finalist provides humanity with what many construe as down right dirty. Combined with honest writings by the photographed subjects, the book depicts female sexuality in a brutally honest fashion, devoid of the sexy pretenses which often pepper discussions of women and the orgasm. After all, titillating or otherwise, we all deserve sexual pleasure.

Suicide Girls edited by Missy Suicide
Another photographic book depicting women who veer from the mainstream concept of what equates sexy, the reader is given an intimate look into the lives of women who publish pictures of themselves on the Suicide Girls website. Founded to provide an outlet for alternative women and their beauty (read: piercings, tattoos and fetish), photographs are accompanied by selections from the women’s blogs to provide an added touch of humanity to the oft objectified naked body. Exhibitionism never looked so good.

XXX; 30 Porn-Stars Portraits by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders
Providing raw portrayals of popular pornographic actors both clothed and unclothed, this coffee table book provides a face to those we often dehumanize. Sometimes looking more comfortable clothed, sometimes more so naked, the actors are posed identically in adjacent photographs with and without clothing. Most striking is the normalcy they often provide when clothed, appearing colloquial, common and unremarkable. Accompanying the photographs are writings and interviews with members of the pornographic industry, followed by candid biographies of the actors themselves. And as an added bonus, Tulip’s favorite actress, Belladonna, looks fierce in her spread.

Urban Aboriginals: A Celebration of Leathersexuality by Geoff Mains
Stunning portraits of sub-communities within the world of leather, Mains provides intimate accounts of everything from urination to fisting. Not for the faint of heart, graphic detail provides a poetic and metaphysical approach to recognition of sexual pleasure and wellbeing as explorative and holistic. Most importantly, the writings can be enjoyed regardless of one’s participation in the leather community; Main’s accounts pertain more to sexual understanding, and less to lurid accounts of mere acts of play.

Ceremonies by Essex Hemphill
Poetry from the prolific Hemphill is a true experience for those wishing to explore the intricacies of the gay experience in America. Written through the lens of an African American gay male struggling to grapple with lust, love, racism, and identity in the eighties and nineties, the anthology is uplifting, heartbreaking, and inspiring. More importantly however, Hemphill’s gift of prose is a treat to any bookworm.

Lust; Bisexual Erotica by Marilyn Jaye Lewis
Encompassing a myriad of sexualities and orientations, Lewis bridges good writing with good sex to provide erotica which is both well written and well read. Her accounts of salacious situations ranging from high-priced hookers to small-town sin are a joy to read. Finally, lube and literature can join hands in lustful oblivion.

How to Make Love Like a Porn Star; A Cautionary Tale by Jenna Jameson with Neil Strauss
Uncut, uncensored, and brutally honest, Jameson’s autobiography is a telling account of innocence lost, maturity found, and the crazy roller coaster in between. Complete with candid writing and revealing pictures, all 579 pages are a bit more than the reader cared to know. And that is the beauty of the book. No inhibitions, no pretenses, and no detail untold. Could you expect any less from the woman who has already bared her body for the people to see?

And so much more!
By no means does our selection stop here. We carry titles by the illustrious Marquis de Sade, the revolutionary Virginia Woolf, Playboy, Edmund White, and beyond. In addition, we care some Spanish-language titles for our Latino and Latina customers. Venture over to our books section of, or visit one of our two Chicago locations in Andersonville and Boystown for a full listing.

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