A person wearing a short floral skirt and dark nail polish holds a book between their legs with their fingers nestled in the pages to invoke the image of a vulva.

March Book Reviews from Us to You!

For those who might not know, March is National Reading Month. And while most people tend to associate our stores with things that buzz, we here at As You Like It firmly believe that books are some of the most powerful tools available to help stimulate our most important sex organ: the brain! After all, if your brain isn't on board, your body will have a hard time feeling good.

We carry a wide range of books on all kinds of topics related to sexuality, but we also stock resources for trauma healing, radical community building, and kink education. We even have erotica, parenting books, communication aids, workbooks, zines, coloring books, and graphic novels. This month, come visit us to explore our expansive sex-positive book section — you might be surprised how much you find!

Want some recommendations? Check out some of our staff's all-time favorite books from our library, reviewed below in their own words.

UnF*ck Your Brain by Dr. Faith G. Harper

Reviewed by Win

UnF*ck Your Brain by Dr. Faith G Harper

This book, and the workbook that goes with it, are an incredible resource for anyone struggling to play nice with their brain. It’s not just that this book is chock full of Dr. Harper’s good advice and practical knowledge from her practice as a therapist and sexologist, it’s also kind, funny, and just the right shade of irreverent to make it easy to be vulnerable.

Often books like this skew towards either hyper-clinical, every single problem is a failing of the perfect machine of the mind, or hackle-raisingly saccharine, where you’re a tragic victim who can do no wrong. But not this one. Dr. Harper gives you the medical/physiological possibilities for why your brain might be acting out and gives space and understanding for trauma but also gives you tools for how to fix things, and expects you to get after it.

The language is approachable, and the writing style makes you feel like an equal rather than a student being talked down to. There's also a SFW version written specifically for young people. Plus, the workbook means that even if some of the theoretical questions and exercises in the book don’t work for your brain, there’s another option that might! And if this book works for you, good news! She’s written a TON more! As a do-to-much-for-other-people person and legendary grudge holder, I also recommend Unf*ck Your Boundaries and Unf*ck Your Forgiveness.

Getting It by Allison Moon

Reviewed by Jackie

Getting It by Allison Moon

Let's face it: sometimes having sexy fun with other people can get complicated. For those who want to pursue casual sex, it can be a challenge to make sure that all participants are on the same page. But Getting It serves as an indispensable guide to hooking up without hurting others — or yourself.

Empathetic, inclusive, ethically-focused, and shame-free, this book offers honest advice for deciding what you want, and then getting it. Designed to be read and enjoyed by all kinds of people in all kinds of relationships, Getting It offers a deep-dive into the practical and emotional nuances of so-called casual sex.

More than a simple communication guide, Getting It offers a firm rebuttal of societal purity culture in this easy to read, sex-positive primer.

The Book of Radical Answers by Sonya Renee Taylor

Reviewed by Helen

The Book of Radical Answers by Sonya Renee Taylor

From the author of The Body Is Not an Apology (also a consistently beloved title in our store), Sonya Renee Taylor, comes a book geared towards youth about understanding everything from bodies, emotions, sex  and gender to climate, government, race and philosophy. Taylor answers questions submitted by youths aged 10-14 in a straightforward way that is also multifaceted, well-researched and empathetic. The only thing better than a well-educated expert answering questions straight from youth themselves is a humble author who is also happy to admit when they don’t know the answers! A variety of experts are called in to answer any  questions that stumped the author, giving a well-rounded  educational experience rooted in compassion and radical self-love.

The New Topping Book and The New Bottoming Book
by Dossie Eastman and Janet W. Hardy

Reviewed by Win

The New Topping Book and The New Bottoming Book by Dossie Eastman and Janet W. Hardy

Best known for their now staple book The Ethical Slut, Dossie Easton and Janet W. Hardy are incredible writers, and The New Topping Book & The New Bottoming Book are the best foundational books out there for anyone interested in nearly any aspect of BDSM.

No matter what ‘role’ you think you might be interested in, I always recommend these books as a pair. While each book is excellent as a stand alone, getting both perspectives is so helpful for understanding your scenemates and yourself. These books are chock full of good advice, with the personal experience to back it up. Plus it’s full of educational and sexy personal stories, so you don’t get too overwhelmed. These books are considered a standard for a reason, and that reason is because they're good.

The New Queer Conscience by Adam Eli

Reviewed by Jackie

The New Queer Conscience by Adam Eli

Let's face it: queer people are under attack. Recently, politicians and conservative media pundits have launched an intense nationwide campaign to take away our hard-fought rights, force us back into the closet, and eradicate us from public life. 

What can we do? The New Queer Conscience offers answers. Calling on Jewish teachings of community and empathy, this book reminds us that our most powerful weapon to fight back against hat is our love for each other.

The book is short, only 64 pages, but packs a punch. A call to action as well as a message of hope, The New Queer Conscience reminds us that we are not alone — and that we have a responsibility to stand together.

The Cruising Diaries by Brontez Purnell

Reviewed by Helen

The Cruising Diaries by Brontex Purnell

The Cruising Diaries by Brontez Purnell and illustrated by Janelle Hessig is easily my favorite of all the books we have carried at As You Like It. It is a memoir of trashy, slutty casual encounters in the Bay Area.

The stories are easy to read, raunchy, irreverent and hilarious. The illustrations always find the perfect detail of the story to really bring the dirty details to life. Reading this book feels equally enlightening, mystifying, and always gloriously depraved.

Don’t expect enlightenment or life lessons from this book. As Brontez writes in the introduction, “Self-respect should never get in the way of a good time.”

Better Bondage for Every Body by Evie Vane

Reviewed by Win

Better Bondage for Every Body by Evie Vane

Before you even pick up rope, read this book!

While a lot of bondage rope can look easy, there are so many underlying risks and considerations to consider. If you don’t have access to an experienced instructor this book is the next best thing. It covers all the basics; rope material, nerve pathways, safety precautions, stretches, even scene creation and ambiance. But it doest stop there! Better Bondage for every Body really means what the title says, it has chapters on tying trans people, elders, disabled people, and other “nontraditional” rope bottoms. Plus it has excerpts and thoughts from rope bondage experts of different styles from all over the world, so you can get different perspectives.

This book isn't trying to teach you how to do specific ties or knots, it's trying to teach you how to do rope in your own style as safely as possible and with an open mind. Other rope instruction books are great, but this book is amazing. Don’t accidentally hurt your friends or lovers, read this book.

Pleasure Activism by adrienne marie brown

Reviewed by Jackie

Pleasure Activism by adrienne marie brown
Those who have been supporters of our shop for a long time have probably already heard us recomment of adrienne marie brown's landmark book, Pleasure Activism. And if you haven't, do yourself a favor and pick up a copy asap.

There is no better book to help you understand our store's philosophy in today's world than this one. In the face of cascading injustices, interlocked oppressions, and an ongoing fight for a better world, Pleasure Activism reminds us that joy, love, and pleasure are not antithetical to revolutionary action. In fact, they are absolutely necessary tools to fight against pain, suffering, and inequality.

A diverse series of essays, poems, short stories, and articles are woven together with the author's insightful commentary, offering a signature blend of intellect and empathy, charisma and compassion. If you find yourself slipping, or feeling like the fight for good is hopeless, pick up a copy of Pleasure Activism to serve as a bright reminder of what it is we're really fighting for.

Rainbow Parenting: Your Guide to Raising Queer Kids and Their Allies
by Lindz Amer

Reviewed by Helen

Rainbow Parenting: Your Guide to Raising Queer Kids and their Allies by Lindz Amer

This comprehensive parenting guide isn’t just for parents or children who fall on the LGBTQIA2S+ spectrum. This book is really for any parent who wants to model compassion, self-respect, open-mindedness and bravery to the children in their lives.

The book offers very practical and age-appropriate advice, making it relevant for many years of childhood development. Even  before offering developmentally-minded wisdom, Rainbow Parenting guides caregivers to examine their own biases, develop a well-rounded vocabulary and mindset, and most importantly, stay vulnerable and humble when making mistakes. The book is broken into short sections, making it easy to pick up and put down.

You might be surprised by how easy it is to address complicated topics like consent, Native justice, toxic masculinity and more when equipped with the spectacular insight of Rainbow Parenting.

Exile and Pride by Eli Clare

Reviewed by Win

Exile and Pride by Eli Clare

If you’ve ever felt the ache of loving a place that doesn't love you back, this book is for you. Deeply personal and intimate, Clair brings you into the ravaged, glorious forests and close knit small town community of rural coastal Oregon and lays the contradictions, pain, and love that flourish there bare. What does it mean to grow up rooted in the very land that your community survives off of destroying? How can you know your neighbors from birth and also know that they can’t ever know the real you, for your own safety? Clair manages to articulate both elegantly and brutally what it means to be from a rural community that would tear you apart if you ever went back, and how those places are still what home tastes like. 

To quote my girlfriend, a transwoman who grew up in rural Oregon:

So often, I hear queer people from small towns talk about how much they hate them, but like, that place made me who I am, and there's so much awful shit tied up in that, but also I'm a fucking hick and I feel so out of touch with a lot of queer communities because they just don't understand that those places still feel like home even though they want me gone” 

When you grow up rurally, that never really leaves you. It doesn't matter how long I live in the city, how fashionable and cool and modern I become, in my heart I’ll always be in the woods with clay under my fingernails keeping half an ear out for gunshots. You never outgrow your roots. Clair puts those feelings into words, along with an in depth look at inter-community harm, settler colonialism,  and natural resource extraction based economies.

Remember, while you can shop a curated selection of our all-time bestsellers online, we get new books in our shop much more frequently! Stop by one of our storefronts to check out our full collection of local and regional radical sex-positive reading material!


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