Book Club: My MFA Reading List

I love doing my MFA in writing because it means that I get to spend the majority of every day writing and reading and call it "homework"!

For those of you who don't already know: I'm writing a book, and it turns out that you need a lot of other books to help you write one of your own. 

[I'm going to pause here because, if you don't already know what my book is about, it's about time you clicked here to find out.]

Part of the research for my writing process, as well as for my marketing pitch, has involved reading what they call in MFA-lingo "competing and complementary books." This way we get an understanding of what else is out there on the market and how our book will be different. Many of these books also include some handy research and arguments that feed right into my own book topic. Plus, it's fun to read books about a subject you're already passionate about and completely immersed in. So it's win-win-win. 

Needless to say, I've been reading a lot of books this fall about sex, dating, and relationships. They're all completely different from my book-in-progress, and they were also all really fun reads, so I thought I'd share a few titles off my current reading list with all of you. Some of these might also make great holiday gifts!

The Sex Myth by Rachel Hills

     In her first book, The Sex Myth, Rachel Hills takes readers on an exploration of our society’s contemporary attitudes toward sex. Hills identifies the messages, expectations, and values that we associate with sex, and challenges the importance of an idealized sex life as part of our personal identities. Hills argues that the media has created a myth of a hyper-sexual society where it’s essential to express a very particular type of “liberated” sexuality in order to live a happy and fulfilling life. This myth perpetuates the idea that sex is not only transformative, but the ultimate source of pleasure and happiness. 

Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari

     To write Modern Romance, stand-up comedian Aziz Ansari teamed up with sociologist Eric Klinenberg to explore how we search for love in the 21stst century. Modern Romance is one of the first books to take a look at how new technology is being used in the dating world and how it is changing our search for romance. Ansari is one of the few writers who takes a neutral approach to these shifting trends and examines change without condemning the future or glorifying the past. Ansari and Klinenberg’s research offers an accurate depiction of what is going on in the front-lines of today’s dating culture and offers tips for happier and healthier experiences that still embrace modern technology. It's also a hilarious and entertaining read!

The Between Boyfriends Book by Cindy Chupack

     The Between Boyfriends Book is a collection of essays written by Sex and the City screenwriter Cindy Chupack. Her funny and thoughtful essays offer an honest look into the life of the single thirty-something woman, and many readers will recognize familiar stories that have become plot points in the multi-million-dollar Sex and the City franchise. Reading The Between Boyfriends Book is like hanging out with your best girlfriends and commiserating over the shared challenges of singledom. 

Hot, Wet, and Shaking by Kaleigh Trace

     Hot, Wet, and Shaking is written with wonderful character and unabashed honesty when it comes to life as a queer, disabled sex educator. Author Kaleigh Trace shares her personal experience of growing into her sexuality and becoming a sexually confident woman. Hot, Wet, and Shaking, offers a fresh perspective that embraces formerly “fringe” or “taboo” sexual identities and forms of sexual expression. Trace isn’t afraid divulge potentially embarrassing or personal details, and her frank, unashamed style of writing encourages readers to become more comfortable with their own sexualities and desires.

We Should Hangout Sometime by Josh Sundquist

     At twenty-five years old, We Should Hangout Sometime writer Josh Sundquist realized that he’d never had a girlfriend. In an effort to discover and remedy some dooming personal flaw, he revisits his past relationships, hypothesizes what he did wrong, and tracks down every girl from his past to finally get the honest truth.