The best off-the-wall romance literature to surprise, delight, and challenge your perceptions

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a journalist who worked as a daily newspaper reporter and editor for 40 years for the Daily Mail in London, the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong, the Sunday Australian in Sydney, and most recently the Vancouver Sun in Canada. My first novel was an erotic comedy, not much in that genre since Chaucer wrote The Miller’s Tale. My second, River Boy is about a skinny Canadian kid who can walk on water. No one has had that gig for 2000 years — and we’re not sure about the last guy. But is River Boy a brilliant illusionist or the long-awaited Second Coming? And if he is the new Messiah, why does the Christian church want to kill him?


I wrote...

Spank: The Improbable Adventures of George Aloysius Brown

By Alan Daniels,

Book cover of Spank: The Improbable Adventures of George Aloysius Brown

What is my book about?

It’s about consensual spanking as foreplay. Hose down the neighbours, retire the back rub, this is more sexy than a massage,  more sensual, more visceral, more tactile. Spank is also a laugh-out-loud comedy, with quirky characters and bizarre scenarios involved in the improbable adventures of a middle-aged retired civil servant, and the desires of a beautiful Cambridge graduate with a dark sexual past.

Where else will you meet a titled lady who makes pornographic movies, an aspiring Hollywood movie actress who sells telephone sex; a librarian with a sideline of entertaining ‘assertive older gentlemen’; and a dominatrix at a posh S&M club who really wants to be a ballet dancer.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Miller's Tale

Alan Daniels Why did I love this book?

Chaucer didn’t invent erotica, but he must be the all-time bestselling writer of medieval smut. He wrote The Miller’s Tale to entertain fellow travellers on a pilgrimage. I bet they lapped it up. This bawdy celebration of lust and trickery is as rude — and hilarious —  as it was 400 years ago.

By Geoffrey Chaucer, Michael Alexander,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Miller's Tale as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Author Michael Alexander: Michael Alexander is Emeritus Professor of English Literature, University of St Andrews, UK. He is a poet and translator and has international experience of teaching English literature, both medieval and modern.
Author Michael Alexander: Michael Alexander is Emeritus Professor of English Literature, University of St Andrews, UK. He is a poet and translator and has international experience of teaching English literature, both medieval and modern.


Book cover of A Confederacy of Dunces

Alan Daniels Why did I love this book?

Believe me, you don’t want to hang out with Ignatius J Riley. Fat, delusional, slothful, indolent, insufferable — even his mother struggles to love him — yet you will find yourself cheering him on as he trundles a hotdog cart through the streets of New Orleans in search of love and meaningful employment. Sadly, the author committed suicide eight years before his widely rejected manuscript was eventually published and he was posthumously awarded the Pulitzer Prize. 

By John Kennedy Toole,

Why should I read it?

14 authors picked A Confederacy of Dunces as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

ONE OF THE BBC'S 100 NOVELS THAT SHAPED OUR WORLD

'This is probably my favourite book of all time' Billy Connolly

A pithy, laugh-out-loud story following John Kennedy Toole's larger-than-life Ignatius J. Reilly, floundering his way through 1960s New Orleans, beautifully resigned with cover art by Gary Taxali
_____________

'This city is famous for its gamblers, prostitutes, exhibitionists, anti-Christs, alcoholics, sodomites, drug addicts, fetishists, onanists, pornographers, frauds, jades, litterbugs, and lesbians . . . don't make the mistake of bothering me.'

Ignatius J. Reilly: fat, flatulent, eloquent and almost unemployable. By the standards of ordinary folk he is pretty much…


Book cover of Vernon God Little: A 21st Century Comedy in the Presence of Death

Alan Daniels Why did I love this book?

 Pierre’s adolescent high schooler makes JD Salinger’s protagonist in Catcher in the Rye look like a valedictorian. Just as (finally) he is about to score with a teenage crush, who has hitherto rejected him, he ejaculates prematurely. 

"My world dissolves under my belly with a jet like stung snakes squirting out through their own eye holes. Then quiet. Just a slow ocean moving slowly, and spit-curry after-poon drying cold on my face."

What’s worse, at that precise moment, cops burst into the room, catching him with his pants down, and arresting him for a mass killing he didn’t commit.

You couldn’t make this stuff up unless you’re a comic genius like DBC Pierre

By D.B.C. Pierre,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Vernon God Little as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Hailed by the critics and lauded by readers for its riotously funny and scathing portrayal of America in an age of trial by media, materialism, and violence, Vernon God Little was an international sensation when it was first published in 2003 and awarded the prestigious Man Booker Prize.

The memorable portrait of America is seen through the eyes of a wry, young, protagonist. Fifteen-year-old Vernon narrates the story with a cynical twang and a four-letter barb for each of his townsfolk, a medley of characters. With a plot involving a school shooting and death-row reality TV shows, Pierre’s effortless prose…


Book cover of Barney's Version

Alan Daniels Why did I love this book?

Everything you want to know about being Jewish, brilliant, vengeful, Jewish, neurotic, charming, and being a Canadian writer in Bohemian Paris in the fifties. Richler’s hero Barney Panofsky is the portrait of a man who wasted his life, but had a great time doing it. A self-proclaimed ‘impenitent rotter’, he is redeemed by his unwavering regret at losing the love of his third wife. Oh, the carousing, the romance, the revelry. How I wish I had been there.

By Mordecai Richler,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Barney's Version as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Before his brain began to shrink, Barney Panofsky clung to two cher-ished beliefs. Life was absurd, and nobody ever truly understood any-body else. Even his friends tend to agree that Barney is 'a wife-abuser, an intellectual fraud, a purveyor of pap, a drunk with a pen-chant for violence and probably a murderer'. But when his sworn enemy threatens to publish this calumny, Barney is driven to write his own memoirs, rewinding the spool of his life, editing, selecting and plagiarising, as his memory plays tricks on him - and on the reader. Ebullient and perverse, he has seen off 3…


Book cover of A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian

Alan Daniels Why did I love this book?

Forget everything you know about farm machinery manufacture in Ukraine, this is a story of growing old disgracefully (woohoo!) in which a randy old widower of 84 weds a voluptuous 36-year-old blonde “golden hair, superior breasts... when you see her you will understand,” he tells his daughter. After all, he’s known her for three months and she has a penchant for green silk underwear.

Wise, funny, warm, bitchy, author Lewycka absolutely nails this story about old country familial love and frailty.

Not sure what she knows about Ukrainian tractors, but who cares? She has a poet’s love of language and humanity.

By Marina Lewycka,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainianis bestselling author Marina Lewycka's hilarious and award winning debut novel.

'Two years after my mother died, my father fell in love with a glamorous blonde Ukrainian divorcee. He was eighty-four and she was thirty-six. She exploded into our lives like a fluffy pink grenade, churning up the murky water, bringing to the surface a sludge of sloughed-off memories, giving the family ghosts a kick up the backside.'

Sisters Vera and Nadezhda must aside a lifetime of feuding to save their emigre engineer father from voluptuous gold-digger Valentina. With her proclivity for green satin…


You might also like...

Evil Alice and the Borzoi

By DK Coutant,

Book cover of Evil Alice and the Borzoi

DK Coutant Author Of Evil Alice and the Borzoi

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Professor Cross Cultural Psychologist Dog Lover Traveler Reader

DK's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

Cleo Cooper, a cross-cultural psychology professor, is living the dream on the Big Island of Hawaii. With ocean-dipping weekends, she enjoys her dog, her job, and her boyfriend Ben - until the day she’s on a research vessel and a dead body is caught in the dragline.

The police determine it is murder and set their sights on a gentle former student, Kai. It doesn’t take much urging from Kai’s auntie for Cleo to investigate. But Ben grows distant, and Cleo’s dog grows ill. A couple of accidental deaths later, and someone makes an attempt on her life.

What happened to Cleo’s life in paradise? Can she discover the true killer? Can she stop the killer before the killer stops her?

Evil Alice and the Borzoi

By DK Coutant,

What is this book about?

Paradise is shaken when the body of a young woman is dragged onto a university research vessel during a class outing in Hilo Bay. Cleo Cooper is shaken when she finds her favorite student is on the hook for the murder. Danger lurks on land and sea as Cleo and her friends are enticed to search for the true killer. In between paddling, swimming, and arguing with her boyfriend, Cleo discovers all is not what it seems on the Big Island of Hawaii. But will she figure out the truth before she becomes the next victim?


5 book lists we think you will like!

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