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The Dangerous Joy of Dr. Sex and Other True…
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The Dangerous Joy of Dr. Sex and Other True Stories

by Pagan Kennedy

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Showing 1-5 of 28 (next | show all)
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This was an entertaining book, especially for those of us with short attention spans. I found I learned about aspects of the world while reading about the people who influence them. The personalities and backgrounds on these pages are various and intriguing. I did feel some disjointedness when swinging from one story to the next. It felt a bit like Kennedy, after establishing the title story as the meat of the book, had rustled up several others in an attempt to plump up the page count. That said, I feel many of the stories were enjoyable and educational. ( )
  bookishbunny | Dec 6, 2009 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Pagan Kennedy became a figure of interest as a 'zine publisher. The 'zine world now feels like a precusor to the blog world: a suggestion that it wasn't technology alone that drove the move to a certain spare prose style, episodic reportage, somewhat self-oriented musings such as that which goes for the best in blog writing now. The rise of "quirky" non-fiction, a world away from Sontag et al but perhaps not so far from independent journalism, coincides with this temperament of the times, and over the course of her career Kennedy's writing has shifted its focus well away from the sometimes self-consciously arch to a genuine fascination with figures whose eccentricity masks the ways in which they form miniature portraits of the cultures we inhabit now. Poised somewhere between This American Life and the goofy-seriousness of McSweeneys, these essays are diverting, somewhat ephemeral, literate, congenial. Nothing here to make your brain hurt. ( )
  biloquist | Oct 3, 2009 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This was mostly a good read. I think the low point for me was the story about Conor Oberst (I couldn't buy the premise that he is a sentient being). The high point was Kennedy's autobiographical stories. I'm really looking forward to reading some of her other books. ( )
  DameMuriel | Aug 13, 2009 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This book puts the serendipity of reading obituaries in the papers into book form. By this I mean that often when I chance on the obituaries I find out about someone I have never heard of who has had a very interesting life and one never knows who will be next. Pagan Kennedy writes about quirky and unusual people one would be unlikely to meet. Her choice of subjects is varied and her treatments sympathetic and the resulting book is fascinating and bears out the truism that fact is stranger than fiction. ( )
  lizaandpaul | Aug 2, 2009 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I selected this book from the Library Thing Early Reviewer program because I knew that Kennedy was a Boston-area writer, but that was the extent of what I knew about her. Then I let the book sit around for over half-a-year, because I wasn't sure it was the type of thing I wanted to read. My mistake, because Kennedy is a brilliant writer. Her sentences are very spare, but contain the precise wording necessary to convey complex ideas and emotions. I imagine Kennedy labors over each sentence for hours to get the wording right. If she doesn't, then I hate her because no one should be able to write that well, that easily.

The essays in this book are written in a literary nonfiction style - what Kennedy calls "true stories" - and mostly are short biographies of interesting people. Most of these people are involved in science, technology, or medicine, all of them are innovators and have tormented lives that motivate them. Stories include:

  • the title story about Alex Comfort, the psychologist behind the book The Joy of Sex.

  • Amy Smith who strives to invent things that can cheaply and easily be adopted poor, remote areas of the developing world.

  • A young female weightlifter, Cheryl Haworth, who seems to have a future as the strongest woman in the world.

  • Amateur researches examining the effect of electric charges on the brain for improving memory, intelligence, and personality.

  • Vermine Supreme, a prankster-activist.

  • A man who wants to restore the coastline of Eritrea by planting mangrove trees (Dr. Gordon Sato).

  • Singer/songwriter/collaborator extraordinaire and child prodigy Conor Oberst.

  • Saul Griffith, who wants to teach the next generation to be tinkerers and inventors.


The book also contains autobiographical stories from Kennedy's life, most interesting is the revolutionary yet commonsensical ideas put forth in the essay "Boston Marriage" about women sharing lives and residences together ( )
  Othemts | Jul 28, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0977679934, Paperback)

Nonfiction is the new black comedy in this hilarious collection of award-winning literary essays written by the infamous Pagan Kennedy. In the title piece, Alex Comfort, author of The Joy of Sex, reinvents himself as a sex guru in California and hatches a plan to destroy monogamy forever. In the stories that follow, a retired chemist finds a way to turn a wasteland into paradise, an aspiring tyrant tries to become the emperor of America, and an artist rigs himself up to a "brain machine" made from parts he bought at Radio Shack. All of the essays—most of which have appeared in The New York Times Magazine and The Boston Globe Magazine—document the stories of visionaries bent on remaking the world, for better or for worse.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:32 -0400)

A collection of literary essays - most of which have appeared in "The New York Times Magazine" and "The Boston Globe Magazine" - documents the stories of visionaries bent on remaking the world, for better or for worse.

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