People always comment on my video and DVD collection, usually with sniggers and gaping mouths. My movies are more accessible than my books and when people come over they can’t believe that I’d have some of the worst films ever made on open display. Take a look in the glass cabinet above my TV set: I have “Gigli” filed right beside “Glitter”, and “The Lonely Lady”, “Ishtar”, “Mame” and “Plan 9 From Outer Space”. Movie night at my place is a surefire way to clear out the house.
My books are another matter. Since I store all books upstairs in the library no one sees what literary tastes I have unless they step into my most sacred of rooms. I have a couple bookcases devoted strictly to language learning, one bookcase for Beatles books, one for travel guides and maps, one just for Scrabble books and for all my multilingual Scrabble games, and one bookcase for various nonfiction, gay literature and all genres of novels. (I don’t read much fiction –2009 was an exception– and I tend not to keep a novel once I’ve read it.)
Lesbian Masochist by the pseudonymed Dr. Guenter Klow is a pulp exploitation analysis of sexual deviance. I have a few paperbacks like this (with exclamatory titles such as Incest! and Deviation). With the exception of Lesbian Masochist, which I bought from the small second-hand selection at Toronto’s Glad Day Bookshop, all the other paperbacks I got were by way of donations to the library which were later rejected (I wonder why). Up till now they have been curious wallpaper for my bookcase, always enticing a look or a grab from friends who browse my collection.
In my ongoing read-and-weed project I am going through all the books that I have had kicking around, some for twenty years, yet not read. I am finally getting down to reading them, and then, with rare exception, discarding them. Last year was my year of fiction, since I tend to bypass novels for more interesting nonfiction. In 2009 I read novel after novel, eventually clearing a whole shelf of bookcase space. (Note that after the last Helen Hooven Santmyer book I read, though, The Fierce Dispute, I haven’t read a novel since.) I couldn’t find a Dewey classification for Lesbian Masochist, but I would say it qualifies as nonfiction. When I brought up this book with senior staff in my Sciences department, they agreed that Lesbian Masochist qualifies as nonfiction, pulpy though it may be.
In the foreword of this book, “Dr. Klow” purports to have embarked on an “exhaustive” sex study, that, when published, will become “the classic text”. Lesbian Masochist is “designed to provide the layman with an insight into this much discussed, but little known subject”.
There are spelling errors galore in this book, as well as mix-ups of character names which any proofreader should have caught, yet I suppose if you’re wacking off as you read this things like that won’t matter. Take it from a gay guy to point all this out to you. The masochistic lesbians in the title are mostly young prostitutes who get off on being spanked or dominated. “Case studies” are featured in chapters such as “The Masseuse”, “Black and White”, “Voyeurism and Sado-Masochism” and “Three Case Histories Demonstrating how a female became a lesbian prostitute”. That last chapter title was the only instance in the book where “Dr. Klow” spells “lesbian” with a lowercase l; every other mention of that word has the L capitalized (and that’s a lot of capital L’s).