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

Alan Daniels Author Of Spank: The Improbable Adventures of George Aloysius Brown
By Alan Daniels

Who am I?

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.

The books I picked & why

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The Miller's Tale

By Geoffrey Chaucer, Michael Alexander,

Book cover of The Miller's Tale

Why 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.

A Confederacy of Dunces

By John Kennedy Toole,

Book cover of A Confederacy of Dunces

Why 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. 

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

By D.B.C. Pierre,

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

Why 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

Barney's Version

By Mordecai Richler,

Book cover of Barney's Version

Why 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.

A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian

By Marina Lewycka,

Book cover of A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian

Why 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.

5 book lists we think you will like!

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