Short stories 

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Confessions of a Teenage Jesus Jerk

Tony DuShane

Soft Skull Press, $14.95/paperback

Adolescence is rough enough, but when you're trying to hide a hard-on while preaching and passing out Watchtower magazines, well, that's even worse. Tony DuShane's semi-autobiographical novel tells the story of Gabe, a teenager obsessed with sex, drugs and rock 'n roll (in a word, normal) who also happens to be one of Jehovah's Witnesses. They're obsessed with the end of the world, and Gabe's biggest preoccupation is with getting laid. But will that mean becoming a married Witness, safe for Paradise? Or will it mean he's "dis-fellowshipped" and cast to the outer darkness to await destruction at Armageddon? If you've ever wondered about those door-knockers and their uncomfortable-looking kids, this novel is a tell-all, but it's also a wise and funny coming-of-age story about a guy who doesn't know he's an artist, if only because he's never seen any art. — Kel Munger

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Remarkable Creatures

Tracy Chevalier

Dutton Adult, $26.95/hardcover

Tracy Chevalier, author of 1999's bestselling Girl With a Pearl Earring, delves into the world of historical fiction once again with her sixth novel, Remarkable Creatures. Two female protagonists, Elizabeth Philpot and Mary Anning, co-narrate this Victorian-era tale of fossil-hunting and friendship. Elizabeth, a self-described spinster in her 20s, moves from London to a small town on England's south coast, where she meets 11-year-old Mary. The two bond over their love of searching through sand and rock for specimens of ancient times — and struggle with the males who rule their 19th-century lives. While the tale melodramatically meanders at times, Remarkable Creatures is most remarkable for reminding us of the real-life Mary Anning, a woman whose dinosaur discoveries challenged the prevailing religious and scientific thoughts of the time, but for which she received no credit. — Kirsten Akens

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Moregasm: Babeland's Guide to Mind-Blowing Sex

Rachel Venning and Claire Cavanah

Avery Trade, $22.50/paperback

Babeland is one of the country's best-known woman-friendly sex shops, and it does a brisk Internet business, too. Until now, if you couldn't make it to one of the stores in New York or Seattle, you risked missing all the great advice, dispensed freely and nonjudgmentally, by the Babeland team. Now, the Babeland babes have solved this problem by putting their voluminous knowledge of all things babelicious into a book that you can keep close by your bedside for quick reference. It even includes helpful illustrations and photos of women and men who look like real people, rather than airbrushed avatars. The advice is, of course, all organized toward a healthier, happier, sexier you. The book is, ultimately, a great way to make the world more sex-positive — and a little safer and saner. Buy it for a woman you love — like, maybe, yourself. — Kel Munger


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