Bringing Sexy Back With New ‘Books In Babeland’ Reading Series

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Diana Raab, Lust, via FB

Imagine a casual cocktail party where the talk is books, the drinks are free, and you might leave with a brand new sex toy. That’s the setup for the new Books in Babeland literary series, which begins this Friday, March 7, when poets Diana Raab and Nicole Callihan read at the sex shop Babeland.

Neighbor Louise Crawford of Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn is curating the series, and explains that beyond the sensual tales, cocktails, and snacks, the first ten people to arrive will receive a free gift. We asked her about how the series came to be, what authors she recommends, and why you should go to the event, even if you’re a little nervous about exploring the shop.

PSS: Why did you decide to put this series together?

Louise Crawford: I love mixing things up when it comes to literary readings. I love the idea of literature in unexpected places. Babeland has been a loyal sponsor of Edgy Moms, one of the signature events I produce at Brooklyn Reading Works. They are always happy to provide gift bags for that annual evening of smart, funny, and non-sanctimonious writing about mothers and motherhood. Two years ago we decided to add Sexy Edgy Moms to the roster, a fun cocktail party follow-up to Edgy Moms at Babeland, which was a huge success. The writers are always great and being in Babeland always puts people in a good mood. Drinks are on the house at this festive literary shindig.

Fast forward to 2013 when I met Daniel Bergner, bestselling author of What Do Women Want? Adventures in the Science of Female Desire. I arranged for him to read at Babeland and to be interviewed by Claire Cavanah, one of its founders. That was a fascinating evening. At that reading I jokingly said that it was the debut of a series called Books in Babeland and everyone agreed it was a great idea. There’s so much interesting fiction, non-fiction, memoir, and poetry that touches on sexuality, sensuality, and intimacy in provocative ways.

On March 7 at 7pm, I am thrilled to present two brave and beautiful poets. Diana Raab has written a new book of poems called Lust. Nicole Callihan writes beautifully and sensually on many topics. There will be free cocktails, free gifts to the first ten people to arrive, and a lovely, warm, friendly atmosphere. All are welcome.

I’d imagine there are a lot of books out there to keep you in material for events for a long time, but are there any favorites of yours along these lines that you won’t be able to feature, because the authors are no longer with us, say?

Here are just a few writers who write about sex in an interesting way: Anais Nin, Antonya Nelson, Charles Bukowski, Sharon Olds, Jim Harrison, Aimee Bender, Zadie Smith, EM Forster, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and James Baldwin.

It would be fun to do an open mic for people to share their favorite sex scenes in poetry and fiction. It’s such a personal thing, what turns you on. When I was a teenager there was a page of The Godfather that everyone read because it was sexy. I read it in an apartment where I was babysitting. They had The Joy of Sex, too.

What would you say to help to encourage anyone who might be a little uncomfortable about hearing sensual tales in a sex shop to attend the event?

Babeland is all about the importance of sensuality and intimacy in our lives. It’s a very “sex positive” atmosphere. It’s not in the least bit sleazy or raunchy nor does it have a dreamy boudoir atmosphere. It’s just very real and comfortable. One woman came to Sexy Edgy Moms last year and told me that she’d been previously nervous about coming to Babeland (though she wanted to go). Attending the literary reading there made her feel much better about exploring the shop. A good excuse.

The first Books in Babeland, on Friday, March 7 at 7pm, will feature Diana Raab and Nicole Callihan; then stay tuned for Sexy Edgy Moms on May 28, and more to come. The series will be held at Babeland, 462 Bergen Street, and it’s free to attend.

Cover image via Diana Raab

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