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  • Writer's pictureSamuel Hunter


This year I've been plowing through a bunch of books. To the horror of my friend, I only read non fiction books. I get my fiction fix through streaming services, it's an easier format for me to relax to. Maybe it's my neuro-spicy brain, but typically when I find a subject I dive deep into it. Five or so years ago, it was Indigenous culture (Dark Emu, Biggest Estate on Earth, Blood on the Wattle, etc) and the early years of invasion, but particularly about a man named Windradyne.

On a cruise ship in January this year, I finally finished reading 'The Body Keeps the Score', and picked up a few more similar books to dive into, but never got the chance. Instead I had to do some research for my own book, and from there it spiralled into maybe a dozen or so related books. Each book often mentioning another, which I would immediately order so it was ready to sink my teeth into once I'd finished the current one. But there was usually more than one book referenced, and I've certainly been snowed under, and there are still another ten or so books sitting unread on my shelves. And a few more still to arrive.

It would be hard for me to properly describe these three books that top my list (in the worst phrasing possible, I'm halfway through Naomi Wolf's 'Vagina' which I would also add to these three).

Emily Nagoski's 'Come as you are' is, in my opinion, a must read for all vulva owners, an excellent accessible read about anatomy, desire and that 'we all have the same parts, just arranged differently'.

'Women Don't Owe You Pretty' is a quick read, and you'd finish it before reading any overview I could write about it. I found it eye opening in parts, saddened in others, and by the end, somewhat uplifted for where I hope our species is headed.

I was a little hesitant opening up 'Asking for It', knowing I'd get emotional reading it. Kate Harding does a momentous job of writing about something so horrific, without making it completely gut-churning to read. She tries to round out the end of the book with a hope for the future but, having been published in 2015, I couldn't help when reading it thinking about all the shit that was yet to take place, like the metoo movement, Weinstein, Trump, Brand...

These two books I found enjoyable, and both brought about some reflection and deeper thought on my behalf, but I found that by the end of each of these, the authors didn't really know how to conclude. They were interesting enough, that I'd recommend having a read, but could certainly be missed by those not nose diving into reasearch.

Welcome to the shit list. 'She comes first' was published in 2004, and reprinted in 2019, with zero updates. Ian Kerner starts with a bit of science, before descending into fourteen thousand chapters about how to perform cunnilingus. There actually probably could be fourteen thousand chapters written about this act, but just not these ones. He goes into a step by step process, swearing by the accuracy of as long as you do exactly as he says, you will succeed in getting your partner to orgasm. In reality, I think he has just given us a step by step guide of how to please his partner. Cause if he'd read Nagoski for example, he'd quickly learn about the differences in bodies, particularly vulvas. The last page of the book even has a minute by minute breakdown checklist for the reader to follow. Nuff said.

And then there's the book I couldn't even be arsed to photograph. 'Porn - an oral history' by Polly Barton. I of course bought this book based purely on the title, after seeing peers share it on socials. Basically, it's a book by someone who fundamentally hates porn, doesn't understand the variations of it, and then has a dozen conversations with similarly minded people. I feel like I could write an entire book just in reply to this book and all the missteps it took. You know, namely like talking to actual people that make the stuff, instead of making assumptions about them and their chosen line of work. Someone in the book talks about their unease at what they find when they search the biggest platform, before admitting they also couldn't be bothered to search for more ethical porn and sites.

All of the above books, and the others I've gone through this year, have numerous dog ears in them, for things to further look up, or go back to, but none have more than 'Porn'. It was just hours of my face palming, shaking my head, or actually throwing the book aside. Maybe I will write a book in reply to this piece of one sided junk?

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