, , ,

Book: The Dangerous Joy of Dr. Sex and Other True Stories by Pagan Kennedy

Publisher: The Santa Fey Writer’s Project

Furnished by: Library Thing’s Early Reviewers Program

On Sale Date: September 2008

Publisher’s Description: “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.”

Rating: 5 stars (out of 5)

Review: Pagan Kennedy puts together a brilliant collection of her best articles for a wide and varied collection of national newspapers and magazines, creating a veritable encyclopedia of modern visionaries: writers, professors, scientists, engineers, ecologists and others who will awe and inspire her readers. And while that sounds like a good book in itself, it’s Kennedy’s poignantly witty and humanizing style of writing that really holds the readers’ attention, chapter after chapter, character after character.

As a fellow writer and a fan of magazine writing, I was hooked from the introduction — Kennedy has a comfortable, distinct voice which is quickly becoming a rarity in the 21st century. She also seems to love writing for the very same reason that I do — she loves her subjects. She loves their human idiosyncrasies; their ironic obsessions; the fish-out-of-water struggle that many of her visionaries live out each day, due to the fact that quite a few of them seem to be a bit before their times.

Pick this book up and read it on a rainy day when you’re feeling lethargic and struck by cabin fever. You’ll easily fly right through the book — it’s friendly and warm like your favorite magazine, but it recharges you like a fresh pair of batteries in a child’s favorite toy. What more could you want?