Take Me There - book by Cleis Press Inc. - review by GONE!

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It Took Me There

The very idea of an erotica collection focused on trans* and genderqueer people is enough to make me giddy, and this book took that idea and made it lovelier than I even imagined. The stories included are respectful, creative, and most of all freakin' sexy! Now, won't someone please make a second volume?
Published:
Pros:
- Stories to suit many different kinks and fantasies
- People of many gender identities included
Cons:
- Some language used took me out of the stories in a somewhat annoying way
Rating by reviewer:
5
extremely useful review

About author

This collection of twenty-nine stories was edited by the author and filmmaker Tristan Taormino, whom I have heard of and whose work I am a little familiar with. I think she did an amazing job putting together this collection and finding authors who could portray a wide range of identities and also a wide range of fantasies. I recognized some of the names inside and was delighted at all the different kinds of people who contributed, from musicians like Ivan Coyote to the beloved Kate Bornstein, author of books like "Hello Cruel World: 101 Alternatives to Suicide for Teens, Freaks, and Outlaws" (Another book I highly recommend, but we will save that for some other time and place!).

A short bio is included for each contributing author at the end of the book and I have already found several people whose work I am now interested in checking out as a result of their stories contained within.
    • Engaging
    • Multiple contributoring authors

Content / Style / Audience

Compiled by Tristan Taormino, "Take Me There" is a collection of short erotic stories all about transgender people, including nonbinary individuals. Not only is the book unique in being the only one of its kind that I can think of from that alone, it's also chock full of a wide variety of kinks and fetishes. Now, fetish porn and trans* people often go hand-in-hand in a not-so-nice way but these stories combine all of the above in a way that is respectful, joyful, and very hot. These stories focus on people who are trans*, genderqueer, and otherwise queer often engaging in fetish play but not as fetishes themselves. This is wonderful.

As a transgender person, I found the whole premise of "Take Me There" very exciting from the get-go. It's hard to find anything sexual involving trans* people (Especially trans* women.) that isn't dehumanizing and/or overly focused on body parts, and since the stories in this book made me very happy with their lack of that I imagine other trans* people will enjoy a lot of them as well.

I don't think the audience is limited there though. Anyone who likes well-written erotica should look over this book, especially those who have trans* people in their lives or want to know how fun and awesome erotica can be outside the typical binary stuff that is out there.
    • Erotica
    • Good mix of styles and content
    • Queer

Design

The stock picture for this book is accurate to the cover design. It's got a soft, blurry photo of a couple embracing passionately with a wash of warm color over the whole photo. The front says "Take Me There" in purple, pink, and yellow and underneath that is "Trans and genderqueer erotica" in white. I thought the colors chosen for the letters was an odd artistic choice but no matter, I didn't get this for the graphic design! A quote about the book from a Justin Vivian Bond is in the top left corner: "Tristan Taormino found my 'V' spot and werqued it."

The book is an average paperback size, not too small but not huge. There are about 293 pages. It's not exactly discreet since it says "erotica" right there on the cover and side even if it takes a second glance to notice what's going on in the softly steamy cover art. It is pretty discreet in size though and can be hidden under a pillow or stuffed in a book bag away from prying eyes fast. The binding in this book appears well-made and the pages are of average thickness.

A long introduction precedes the stories, lasting for several pages. It explains the purpose of this collection and talks about some of the authors and stories a little. I was a little bored by this but I think it was a good addition regardless because it did help set this book up as a safe, non-dehumanizing read for anyone who might pick it up.
    • Not very discreet cover
    • Soft cover
    • Well made

Personal comments

Now, my only problem with this book is that I was a little put off by repeated uses of a certain slur directed at transgender people, particularly trans* women. It was never used in a context where it didn't make sense to use it (I think it was being reclaimed in at least one instance.) and I understood why it was, it just seemed a little annoying to be reminded of transphobia when I'm trying to get off. Though, talking about fears of transphobia in the bedroom really added to some stories' pay-offs so I'll let it slide. It wasn't a huge issue or anything, just a minor annoyance. If you think this will be a trigger for you or anything, be cautious when reading.

Something I noticed that was a huge plus to me was the representation of pronouns other than "he" and "she." Everyone who uses alternative pronouns has probably had to listen to an English teacher thrashing singular "they" at some point and I doubt that many people have found published stories that contain anything more out-of-the-ordinary than that. In these stories, there is a pleasant cornucopia of pronouns from "hir" to "ze!" If you think you will find this confusing, I recommend reading the introduction in full and maybe looking up a little about these pronouns and their usage before you dive in and read. You'll learn something new and understand where some of the characters are coming from a little more.

Experience

I liked almost every story in this collection but some definitely jumped out as favorites for me. "Cocksure" by Gena de Vries was charmingly sexy and the way it danced around with physical descriptions in a loving and atypical way made me really happy, in my pants and everywhere else too. The characters were written in a way that was delightfully sexy and the whole story reminded me of something that could easily happen in my own bedroom. Naturally, I had a soft spot for it as a result of all this.

Another favorite was "Shoes Are Meant To Get You Nowhere" by Dean Scarborough. It centers around a cross-dressing sub with a love for ballet shoes having a play session with his master. It's both intensely loving and kinky, which is a combination I go crazy for. The characters' desire was written in a way that was very palpable and sweet, and the progression of the story was excellent.
Follow-up commentary
I still really like this book and most of the stories I've read in it. There was maybe one or two where I thought the pronoun situation got a little too confusing (And that says a lot coming from someone who refers to himself with two sets of preferred pronouns interchangeably on a regular basis.) but overall, the story selection was perfect for a story set with this theme.
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Comments
  • Badass
    Badass  
    Lovely review, thanks so much for the info?
  • darkkitty
    darkkitty  
    Ty!
  • ghalik
    ghalik  
    I've been meaning to get this... someday! It sounds good. Thanks for the review.
  • Rey
    Rey  
    Thank you, this has made my mind up to get it!
  • TransMarc
    TransMarc  
    I was already interested in this before, but now it's gonna be in my next order! Thanks. Seems amazing.
  • thisisadeletedaccount
    thisisadeletedaccount  
    Thanks for the review, looks like a great book!
  • Missmarc
    Missmarc  
    Thank you for sharing
  • PassionCpl
    PassionCpl  
    Thanks for the great review!
  • eroticmutt
    eroticmutt  
    Thanks for the review!
  • GONE!
    GONE!  
    Thanks for all the nice comments.
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