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With the highly anticipated release, pun intended, of the Fifty Shades of Grey film we couldn’t help but think about all the actually well written (well, better written) erotic novels that SHOULD be made into VERY sassy films. With that in mind we reached out to some of our favorite literary D.C. folks (Kramerbooks & DC Public Library) and asked them to weigh in on this very important issue. We were not disappointed.

Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey
A tremendously detailed fantasy novel set in a reimagined France, this first in a series also happens to be fabulously sexy.  Phèdre nó Delaunay is a believable and sympathetic courtesan, spy, and divinely-ordained masochist who puts her many talents to all possible use. Join the many fans who have cosplayed in “that dress” (you’ll know the one), fantasized about the virginal male bodyguard Joscelin and the intensely dangerous villain Melisande, or even gotten a replica of Phèdre’s iconic tattoo. Warning: many of Phèdre’s activities fall squarely into the “do not try this at home” category! – Amy, Kramerbooks

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Venus in Furs by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch
The classic kinky novel, from which masochism draws its very name. von Sacher-Masoch’s obsession with female dominance saturates every sentence of this brief and intense tale, and his imagination roams free of most of our modern concerns about consent and safety. Besides the fantasy fodder (present in abundance), the thorough exploration of the narrator’s psyche is really where this novel’s perennial attraction lies. Many of today’s male (and female) submissives will find that Severin expresses desires and anxieties eerily similar to their own, and it’s worth a read for those of a different persuasion to get a glimpse into that perspective. Plus, if you’ve ever wondered what that Velvet Underground song was about – “Shiny, shiny, shiny boots of leather…strike, dear mistress, and cure his heart” – this is it.  – Amy, Kramerbooks

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Little Birds by Anaïs Nin
If graceful prose, developed characters, and a literary touch are what you look for in your erotica, then Nin is the way to go – but don’t avoid her stuff if you’re in the mood for straight-up eroticism, either. The experiences and arousal of Nin’s characters come through with an immediacy that is startling given the number of decades that have passed since Little Birds was written, and this collection is built to be thoroughly enjoyed. Each story feels like an intimate investigation into a real person’s desire, turning the reader into a voyeur even as the tales explore voyeurism. Nin ventures into the fringes of human perversion as well as the more usual fare, so be prepared for some schoolgirls, among other things. – Amy, Kramerbooks

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No Rest for the Wicked (Immortals After Dark, Book 2) by Kresley Cole
Sebastian, a warrior and reluctant vampire, falls in love with the Valkyrie assassin sent to kill him. Kaderin the Cold Hearted is overwhelmed by the sudden lustful emotions her target elicits and cannot complete her mission. Oh and there is also a month-long contest involving catacombs, relic-hunting, and general sexy action-packed adventure. – Nancy, Kramerbooks

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Dragon Bound by Thea Harrison
Millionaire dragon-shifter as old as the solar system living in NYC catches a half-wyr stealing his coin; salaciousness ensues. This will only work on the big screen if the animation crew from Cosmos is on board (please be on board!!!). – Nancy, Kramerbooks

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Carrie’s Story by Molly Weatherfield
This is actually a really good book to compare to “50 Shades.” On every level, writing, characterization, sex scenes, it completely surpasses. Carrie is a thoughtful, sharp, analytical woman who traverses the wild BDSM scene of San Francisco and explores being a submissive to Dom Jonathan with some much more true-to-life BDSM scenes. Where “Shades” has cardboard “Twilight” replicas, “Carrie’s Story” has very fleshed out realistic characters you want to get to know and whose story you can’t put down. With the right actors in here you could really fill the theater seats. – Eric Riley, DC Public Library

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The Meredith Gentry Series by Laurell K. Hamilton
Want a little fantasy in your erotica? Go to this immediately, starting with A Kiss of Shadows. Meredith Gentry, is the first princess of the Fae born in North America. And she just happens to be a descendant from a long line of fertility Goddesses. Over the course of the series she has the potential to rise to become the queen of the Unseelie court, but first she must bear an heir. So she gathers up a harem of male faeries to start the process. But each sexual experience creates a rise in her power, and changes the men who she sleeps with. The ancient powers of the Fae are surging back to life. I tore through this nine-book series, the latest of which (A Shiver of Light) came out last June. This series should be picked up by Showtime and go ALL OUT. – Eric Riley, DC Public Library

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Decadent by Shayla Black
I will admit that my interest in this book is purely schadenfreude, because it is so poorly written and underwhelming erotically…but it’s a comedy masterpiece. Kimber wants to prove to her unrequited lover that she can be his woman, but his interests lie in group activities he refers to as ‘ménage.’ So, of course she has to practice with the body guard and the cook at her daddy’s ranch! My friends and I read passages aloud dramatically over thanksgiving dinner one year and ever since I have wanted to see this adapted into either a live performance or a film. It would be better than “Showgirls!” – Eric Riley, DC Public Library

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Natural Law by Joey W. Hill
A hunky detective goes undercover in a BDSM night club to investigate a murder. He never intended to fall for a mistress there. Now, the man who is always in control begins questioning everything when he finds pleasure in submitting himself to her desires. This is the second in a series of novels entitled “Nature of Desire” and includes some pretty intense BDSM scenes. But this is a pairing you don’t see often depicted on screen, and it would be fantastic to see who would turn out for this adaptation. – Eric Riley, DC Public Library

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