FUNNY WOMEN #45: One-Handed Reading


Loads of people have slept with authors or well-read individuals, but what would it be like to sleep with a book?

The Metamorphosis and Other Stories by Kafka

There’s something about it that seems like a BDSM fantasy, but here it’s the sadist that’s always tied up. You aren’t normally into things like this. Perhaps this night, this afternoon, tomorrow morning will be your threshold to a new openness and an acceptance of the darker side of yourself. In the middle you realize that the excitement here stems from something profound in the other person that needs fixing. Something out of your control. You can only save yourself.

No One Belongs Here More Than You by Miranda July

The person lying beside you is a stranger, masquerading as a friend with their unexpected bursts of empathy. A warm body. Better than being alone but falling short of your own colorful fantasy life. He turns toward you, half-dressed. You want to strip your apathy like a sweaty unitard.

The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand

You don’t fuck The Fountainhead, The Fountainhead fucks you.

Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery

It’s the kind of romance that makes you want to put on a floor-length cotton nightie just so you can take it off later. The itchy kind. Before you take off your glasses and climb into bed, you sip on a glass of grape juice that tastes strongly of tannin and the experimentations of youth. Somewhere in the mix is a classic Canadian love triangle and now you finally understand what bosom buddies really means.  You leave with your socks still on and paddle back home down the river, hoping you make it before your heart–or something else–springs a leak.

Sailing Alone Around the Room by Billy Collins

If there were a definition for sex of the body without the full stimulation of the senses that was the opposite of pornography, this would be it. You are satisfied in they ways you can easily articulate. Sheets were mussed and you lie in bed with your nicotine addiction and without the urge for a cigarette. Somewhere, a dog barks.

The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E. B. White

There’s a first time for everyone. Sometimes it’s with two dudes. They say all the right things, and for a moment you think that everything is going too smoothly, according to plan and schedule. Before you get a chance to think too hard about how no one else will ever be as effortlessly serene, it’s time for the post-coital embrace pose. You struggle to think of the exact right thing to say.

Tinkers by Paul Harding

Never before have you been unsure whether something was an act of sex or menial assembly. Each time you approach a climax your imagination trails into an alternate fantasy, but your body ticks off its list of carnal needs like an hourly chime. Only once you’re finished do you realize you’re actually all alone.

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

Stop jumping to conclusions, you say. You’re shaking the bed. What do you want? she asks. You mean which want do I need? you say back. Sure, she says, it’s all in how you say it. You don’t say, you say, you do. She asks for your hand. She pulls out a pen. On your palm she writes: “DO IT YOURSELF.”

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith

If all hipsters are this spry mix of classical endurance and impulsive flexibility, then you take back all those things you said about them. Sure, your social standings are mis-matched and you’re too old and stuck up to dance like that in public, but you’ve never felt so alive…

Sailing Alone Around the Room by Billy Collins and Embryoyo by Dean Young

There’s only one phrase for a sexual experience like this: poetic justice.


Author and Editor’s note: Obviously a lot of well-deserving books with good personalities and potential are left out here. What book would you bed? And how and why and where and would you buy it dinner first?


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Jessi Probus is a southerner living in Brooklyn. You can find more of her work in McSweneeney's Internet Tendency, Word Riot, NANO Fiction, various women's bathroom stalls, and on twitter @JessiProbus. More from this author →