1. The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty by Anne Rice (1983)
Published by Plume, November 1990 • trade paperback • 253 pages
It's beyond kinky—it's off the charts kinky. Anne Rice is pretty liberal with her S&M vernacular, giving us a generous serving of male/female domination, royal tween worship and vicious acts of abuse and cruelty. The reigning queen of goth injects eroticism, violence and pony play into the dusty, centuries old tale of Sleeping Beauty, turning it into something sadomasochists the world over will no doubt approve. It's disarming to say the least, but once the shock waves die down, you'll find yourself blushing. Don't be surprised if you end up devouring each page like the repressed catholic school girl that we all are.
2. Great Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe by Edgar Allan Poe (1966)
Published by Washington Square Press, Inc., October 1966 • mass paperback • 432 pages
Edgar Allan Poe is a poet through and through and this is none more evident than his extensive collection of short stories. He writes in a flowery, sing-song manner that could, depending on the reader, be good or bad. Poe rarely veers away from his standard themes of paranoia, death and dementia. This inevitably results in monotony and predictability. Every so often, though, through stories like The Gold-Bug, Hop-Frog and The Black Cat, we're remind time and again of his dark, uncommon appeal and trailblazing ingenuity. He's a prolific short story writer; there's bound to be one story of his you'll end up gushing about.