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how to lose your vintage virginity

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  5. W. Somerset Maugham - Catalina (Vintage Classics)
    Catalina is the one person unable to join in the festivities of the Feast of the Assumption. But then she has a vision of the Virgin, and is miraculously cured. In the dark days of the Spanish Inquisition, such a claim to blessedness has serious consequences, especially when she seems more inclined to obey her heart than the demands of the Church.
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  6. James A Michener - Miracle in Seville
    James A. Michener, the Pulitzer Prize winning master of the historical saga, returns to his beloved Spain with this magical novel of Seville at Easter time, a season of splendid pageantry, thrilling bullfights, deep piety and the possibility of miracles. An American sports journalist has come to the city to report on efforts by the rancher Don Cayetano Mota to revive his once-proud line of bulls. Not only does Mota pray to the Virgin Mary, but he takes on herculean acts of devotion during the solemn celebrations of Holy Week. With treacherous enemies waiting in the ring, Mota s struggle taps deeply into life s mysteries, shaking the newspaperman s skepticism and opening his eyes to the wonder of faith. Featuring illustrations by the American bullfighter John Fulton, "Miracle in Seville "is Michener at his most dazzling. Praise for "Miracle in Seville" "" Eloquent . . . a vintage demonstration of Michener storytelling . . . What emerges most strongly is the real admiration and awe that lovers of bullfighting feel for the toro bravo. "The New York Times Book Review" "" Compelling . . . told with an understanding of and appreciation for a culture where matadors are artists and miracles are possible. "Chicago Tribune" "From the Hardcover edition.""
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  7. Karl Ove Knausgaard - Dancing in the Dark: My Struggle Book 4 (Knausgaard)
    The fourth part of the sensational My Struggle series that has been hailed as "perhaps the most significant literary enterprise of our times." (Guardian). Fresh out of high school, Karl Ove moves to a remote fishing village to work as a teacher. He has no interest in the job itself - or in any other job for that matter, his sole aim is to save money and start writing. All goes well to begin with but as the nights grow longer, his life takes a darker turn. Drinking causes him blackouts, his repeated attempts at losing his virginity end in humiliation, and to his own great distress he develops romantic feelings towards one of his 13-year-old students. And all the while the shadow of his father looms large...
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  8. Arthur Golden - Memoirs Of A Geisha (Vintage Past)
    According to Arthur Golden's absorbing first novel, the word "geisha" does not mean "prostitute," as Westerners ignorantly assume--it means "artisan" or "artist." To capture the geisha experience in the art of fiction, Golden trained as long and hard as any geisha who must master the arts of music, dance, clever conversation, crafty battle with rival beauties and cunning seduction of wealthy patrons. After earning degrees in Japanese art and history from Harvard and Columbia--and an M.A. in English--he met a man in Tokyo who was the illegitimate offspring of a renowned businessman and a geisha. This meeting inspired Golden to spend 10 years researching every detail of geisha culture, chiefly relying on the geisha Mineko Iwasaki, who spent years charming the very rich and famous. The result is a novel with the broad social canvas (and love of coincidence) of Charles Dickens and Jane Austen's intense attention to the nuances of erotic maneuvering. Readers experience the entire life of a geisha, from her origins as an orphaned fishing-village girl in 1929 to her triumphant auction of her mizuage (virginity) for a record price as a teenager to her reminiscent old age as the distinguished mistress of the powerful patron of her dreams. We discover that a geisha is more analogous to a Western "trophy wife" than to a prostitute--and, as in Austen, flat-out prostitution and early death is a woman's alternative to the repressive, arcane system of courtship. In simple, elegant prose, Golden puts us right in the tearoom with the geisha; we are there as she gracefully fights for her life in a social situation where careers are made or destroyed by a witticism, a too-revealing (or not revealing enough) glimpse of flesh under the kimono, or a vicious rumour spread by a rival "as cruel as a spider." Golden's web is finely woven, but his book has a serious flaw: the geisha's true romance rings hollow--the love of her life is a symbol, not a character. Her villainous geisha nemesis is sharply drawn, but she would be more so if we got a deeper peek into the cause of her motiveless malignity--the plight all geisha share. Still, Golden has won the triple crown of fiction: he has created a plausible female protagonist in a vivid, now-vanished world and he gloriously captures Japanese culture by expressing his thoughts in authentic Eastern metaphors.
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