Sluts and Pork Buns

In this month's East Bay book news: Single moms, Tibetan lamas, and the Beatles all twist and shout.

Pacific grim: What with brain-sauce spaghetti, switchblade cellphones, and other wonders, could horror flicks from Korea, Japan, and Hong Kong be any better? Patrick Galloway savors the genre in Asia Shock ($19.95), from Berkeley’s Stone Bridge Press. Check out Organ, Convent of the Sacred Beast, and Eight Immortals Restaurant: Human Meat Roast Pork Buns. And who could resist such source-material details as “Back in 1995, a report came out of the town of Shenzhen in mainland China concerning hospital staff eating aborted fetuses and offering them to others as a nutritional supplement”?

Hop on pop: After her bipolar bf split, Berkeley’s Rachel Sarah became a Single Mom Seeking (Seal, $14.95). In her explicit hookups-and-mothering memoir, blind-date Mark suckles her teat as she lactates. Tom announces, “You make my pants move.” Sarah e-mails Jim nude pix of herself, urging “Please refer to the attached and masturbate.” She’ll be at Books Inc. on February 7.

Roger & he: In Roger Rapoport‘s mostly hagiographical Michael Moore biography Citizen Moore (RDR, $15.95), Ralph Nader says of the director, “He never retracts a lie.” A film producer who is Moore’s ex-manager muses: “Michael Moore is the L. Ron Hubbard of political movements.” Oakland author Rapoport recounts how when Moore was a young Catholic seminarian in 1968, the proximity of high-school girls “made Moore feel like he was sitting next to a bag of Tostitos.” Chapters include such titles as “How Much Is That Uzi in the Window?” and “When You Whiz Upon a Star.”

Ho, ho: Is anything not narrated by droll prostitutes these days? Set in Gold Rush-era San Francisco, Montclarion columnist Erika Mailman‘s murder mystery Woman of Ill Fame (Heyday, $13.95) sports old-timey dialogue: “I felt the coursing of his natural fluids.” “Mayhap that would explain this torturous flailing.” “I myself have buxom bones.” “I looked at his bobbing tomkins. … it’s supposed to be pink, not red and pustuled!” “The tremoring of his yelp made me sob.”

Let’s twist again: Escaping Tibet in 1959 when the yak dung hit the fan on the Roof of the World, Tarthang Tulku founded Berkeley’s Nyingma Institute. A “consciously reincarnated lama,” he teaches Buddhism and heads Tibetan aid projects. In Kum Nye Tibetan Yoga (Dharma, $14.95), he outlines stretch-and-touch techniques: “As soon as the body and breath are sufficiently calm and relaxed, almost magically joyful feelings arise. … This is the cream of Kum Nye. … This nectar can even heal our grasping, shadow side, the unbalanced side that acts against us.”

Plasticine porters: Among the many songs Lennon and McCartney wrote, then let other artists record, the “most obscure, most insignificant” — writes Richie Unterberger in The Unreleased Beatles (Backbeat, $34.95) — was 1969’s “Penina,” a “Portuguese-only single by the mysterious Carlos Mendes.” (Sample line: Drinking liquids, drinking music.) The Dutch band Jotta Herre rerecorded it in 1970. Oakland rock historian Unterberger scrutinized bootlegs, outtakes, demos, rehearsal tapes, and more to compile this megareference work evoking sounds (“a luminous pseudo-rockabilly, Hawaiian-speckled solo from George”) and factoids (an alternate version of “I Want You” includes the line: Yoko, you better lose some weight and get in them old pants!).

Da bomb: A white-collar drone in Robert Kaiser‘s novel Project Yellow Sky: A Korean Conspiracy, (AuthorHouse, $12.31) is abruptly assigned to a top-secret post at Lawrence Livermore Lab. His mission: Foil a North Korean plot to steal American nuclear secrets. If Fred fails, worldwide nuclear blackmail will ensue. Luckily an attractive female engineer speeds to his rescue. Antioch author Kaiser spent thirty years as a project engineer for nuclear-fuel processing firms.

The proud, the brave: Who’s courageous? Firefighters? Terminally ill kids? Joan of Arc? Dossie Easton and Catherine A. Liszt say: sluts. Published by Oakland’s Greenery Press, the pair’s 1997 polyamory primer The Ethical Slut ($16.95) — which declares that “a slut is a person of any gender who has the courage to lead life according to the radical proposition that sex is nice and pleasure is good for you” and counsels folks in “primary relationships” who want more — is about to become a film. Writer-director Moses Ma calls the book “liberating.” Craig Pruess, who did the Bend It Like Beckham soundtrack, is doing the music. Beware our “monogamocentric” society, Easton and Liszt warn.

Stoned again: Once a quarry used by Native Americans, Berkeley’s Thousand Oaks district was known as the “Indian Burial Grounds” a hundred years ago, as revealed in Jonathan Chester‘s Berkeley Rocks (Ten Speed, $35), a lushly illustrated paean to how architects and pleasure-seekers have made the most of local boulders, pinnacles, outcroppings of glaucophane schist, and other hard places. Chester will be at Builders Booksource on March 1.

Better or verse: Oakland newlyweds Brett Fletcher Lauer and Aimee Kelley compile a hopechestful of nuptually quotable poems in Bartlett’s Words for the Wedding (Little, Brown, $15.99) — from Sappho envying a girl’s lucky groom to Rumi observing in his off-the-wall Sufi way that Life freezes if it doesn’t get a taste/of this almond cake.


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