Popdose at Kirkus Reviews: For Adults Only

Written by Books, Kirkus Reviews, Popdose

You’re not supposed to publicly admit to enjoying adult entertainment, but it’s okay to say that you’ve enjoyed reading books about the process of making it, right?

Kirkus Reviews, founded in 1933, is a venerable institution in the media world. For more than 75 years, Kirkus has served as the industry bible for bookstore buyers, librarians, and ordinary readers alike. Now Popdose is proud to announce our partnership with this titan of American publishing.

We’ve joined the Kirkus Book Bloggers Network. Every week, a rotating crew of your favorite Popdose writers will grace the virtual pages of Kirkus Reviews Online, taking on the best — and sometimes the worst — in pop-culture and celebrity books. From coffee-table studies to quickie unauthorized bios, if it’s about show biz, it’s fair game.

Watching adult entertainment isn’t necessarily the sort of thing you’d feel comfortable admitting to everyone, but reading about the adult entertainment business? Somehow, that feels much more socially acceptable.

Here are eight must-read books about the, uh, more sordid side of the entertainment world:

Ordeal: The Truth Behind Deep Throat and Out of Bondage, by Linda Lovelace with Mike McGrady: Until Harry Reems decides to take a break from his burgeoning real estate career and write a proper reminiscence of his days as an adult film star, the best look into the life and times of a Deep Throat star comes to us via Ms. Lovelace. After reading her biographies and learning of the physical and mental abuse she suffered at the hands of husband Chuck Traynor, however, you may find it difficult to find anything sexy about the film that turned her into a household name.

The Other Hollywood: The Uncensored Oral History of the Porn Film Industry, by Legs McNeil and Jennifer Osborne: It wasn’t exactly a stretch to find McNeil compiling an oral history of punk rock in Please Kill Me (he was, after all, once the editor of Punk Magazine), but who could’ve expected him to turn his sights from punk to porn? Whatever his reasons for settling on the topic, McNeil, this time collaborating with Jennifer Osborne, turns in another great effort, offering a fascinating look into the evolution of porno, exploring not only the sex but also the drugs, disease and criminal activity that infiltrated the business over the decades. Those with delicate sensibilities may find themselves afraid to take the plunge and pick up this hefty tome, but once you start reading, you’ll likely find the text too titillating to put down. (Heh. Titillating.)

Prisoner of X: 20 Years in the Hole at Hustler Magazine, by Allan MacDonell: If you’d expect the story of a man working under the supervision of Larry Flynt to be squeaky clean, you clearly haven’t been reading the publication that kept MacDonell semi-gainfully employed for a couple of decades. (Is it still considered “gainful” if you’re doing bit parts in porn films?) His time with Hustler may ended with a bit of abruptness after participating in a roast for Flynt, but by then, MacDonell had already accumulated plenty of wild stories, and you can almost picture the gleam in his eye as he relates them.

Big Bosoms and Square Jaws: The Biography of Russ Meyer, King of the Sex Film, by Jimmy McDonough: The most frustrating thing about McDonough’s remarkable look into Meyer’s life is that any interest you may have in investigating the director’s cinematic oeuvre will require a tremendous financial investment—only the immortal classic Beyond the Valley of the Dolls is readily available for purchase at a decent price—but that doesn’t make Meyer’s tale any less enthralling. It has been said before that the only two things Meyer ever cared about were World War II and heaving, pendulous breasts, both of which are in strong supply in the story of his life and times, but it may surprise you to learn that he was a war photographer of some note. Ah, if only he had successfully sealed the deal to write and direct a movie for the Sex Pistols…but at least the story about the attempt is in here.

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