by We Heard You Like Books

I Should Have Known Better
William E. Jones
We Heard You Like Books - 13.50€ -

I Should Have Known Better is a sequel to the sleeper hit I'm Open to Anything (2019), expanding the original's scope and ambition.

I Should Have Known Better's first person narrator, while working at a dead-end job in Los Angeles during the mid-1990s, reconnects with his best friend Moira, recently returned from Central America, and makes a new friend, Bernie, who teaches the history of photography. The two of them convince him to pursue a master's degree as a way of escaping the unrewarding life of a video store clerk. Once the narrator is exposed to an academic environment, he takes a dim view of the education that art school has to offer, but is happy to meet a group of talented fellow students who become close friends. He encounters a number of art world figures, ranging from the brilliant to the abject, who disabuse him of his illusions. The narrator has his most instructive experiences off campus, especially a love affair with the handsome and mercurial Temo, an insolent rich kid who leads a double life. Together they explore their sexual limits in scenes of bracing explicitness. I Should Have Known Better bears witness to the last gasp of Los Angeles bohemia at the end of the twentieth century.

The novel paints precise portraits of inspired eccentrics devoted to pursuing their dreams, "shopping artists" who believe in nothing but hedonism, and latter-day leftists who find themselves directionless after the fall of communism. Above all, the book pays tribute to the impulsive experiments and intense friendships of youth.

I'm Open To Anything
William E. Jones
We Heard You Like Books - 13.00€ -

A perverse and explicit new take on the coming of age novel, William E. Jones's I'm Open to Anything explores bohemian Southern California of the late 1980s and early 90s, before gentrification ruined everything.

The book's narrator flees a crumbling industrial wasteland in the Midwest and finds himself in sunny Los Angeles without a car, working in a neighborhood video store and spending many hours watching films. He explores his adopted city and befriends a number of men, most of them immigrants, who teach him the finer points of sex. He acquires the skill of fisting, giving his partners intense pleasure, and at the same time hearing the stories of their lives. They too have fled their hometowns: one to escape torture at the hands of a Salvadoran death squad; another to study anthropology after years of wandering and religious questioning.

Alternating between explicit scenes of kinky sex and intimate conversations about matters of life and death, I'm Open to Anything is a porno novel of rare ambition and humor. The book recalls Olympia Press's heyday, when authors made quick money churning out dirty books, but couldn't hide the intellectual obsessions that made them writers in the first place.

William E. Jones's previous book, True Homosexual Experiences (also published by We Heard You Like Books), a biography of Straight to Hell's iconoclastic editor Boyd McDonald, celebrates the frank, raunchy language of the first queer 'zine. Jones brings the same unsparing and profane attitude to I'm Open to Anything, his debut novel.

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