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Subject: read any books about prostitutes?
Date Posted: 7/29/2007 9:55 AM ET
Member Since: 6/6/2006
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I've seen some people requesting good clean books....well, I want to read some books about prostitutes and their lives!   Can anyone recommend some?


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Date Posted: 7/29/2007 11:04 AM ET
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"Slammerkin"  by Emma Donoghue is a wonderful book.

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Date Posted: 7/29/2007 11:31 AM ET
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Nonfiction - some of the women were prostitutes

Floating Brothel: The Extraordinary True Story of an Eighteenth-Century Ship and Its Cargo of Female Convicts by Sian Rees

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Date Posted: 7/29/2007 12:32 PM ET
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There's always the historical novel The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber.

Last Edited on: 7/29/07 1:02 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
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Date Posted: 7/29/2007 12:42 PM ET
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I recommend Slammerkin, too.  Not set in present time but it's really good.  Books about Geishas are pretty good, too.

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Date Posted: 7/29/2007 1:27 PM ET
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I've got a non-fiction book about prostitutes on my wishlist - Ladies' Mile by Victoria Hughes. Hughes worked as an attendant at a public restroom in Bristol, England in the mid 20th century and wrote about her experiences. (Many of her patrons were local prostitutes.) I haven't read it, so I don't know if it is any good, but apparently it's a fairly significant book because it earned Hughes a place in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

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Date Posted: 7/29/2007 3:58 PM ET
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I'm currently reading a true crime book in which the victim was a prostitute:  Missing Beauty by Teresa Carpenter


also good reads:

The Happy Hooker by Xaviera Hollander

Letters to the Happy Hooker by Xaviera Hollander

The Call Girl by Dr. Harold Greenwald (haven't read it yet)

Madam 90210 My Life as Madam to the Rich and Famous by Alex Adams

Mayflower Madam The Secret Life of Sydney Biddle Barrows by Sydney B. Barrows

Brothel Mustang Ranch and Its Women by Alexa Albert


I especially enjoyed The Happy Hooker.



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Date Posted: 7/29/2007 5:36 PM ET
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The Dress Lodger by Sheri Holman

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Date Posted: 7/29/2007 11:46 PM ET
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Southern Discomfort by Rita Mae Brown.  It's about life in a small southern town in the early 1900s.  Two of the characters are prostitutes in the local brothel.   There is also a romance between a wealthy white woman and a younger black man.  Rita Mae Brown is a favorite author.



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Date Posted: 7/30/2007 9:23 AM ET
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Penny, I know what you mean about wanting to read something a bit out of the ordinary.  Here are a couple I have on my own TBR mountain, but I cannot give any recommendations yet:

Strip City : A Stripper's Farewell Journey Across America :: Lily Burana

The Murder of Helen Jewett (Vintage) :: Patricia Cline Cohen

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Date Posted: 7/30/2007 9:51 AM ET
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Thanks everyone!  I just read about 3 cozies in a row, and I like them....but I miss all the scandolous behavior and raw subject matter.  I picked up Slammerkin at the library, and will start it today.  All the other recommendations are on my list.  Thanks again!

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Date Posted: 7/30/2007 10:24 AM ET
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I;ve heard that "A Private Hotel for Gentle Ladies" is pretty good... here's the description from Publisher's Weekly...

Playing out in Boston during the freezing winter of 1900, Cooney's sixth novel (after Gun Ball Hill) has a steamy premise—a proper young lady winds up at a hotel where female guests are visited at night by handsome young men—but an emotionally distant execution keeps titillation to a minimum. Charlotte Heath, married to the youngest son of an immensely wealthy family, has spent her wedded life living with the clan in their imposing ancestral home. After a debilitating illness of unknown origin keeps her bedridden for almost a year, Charlotte finally leaves her room, only to find her husband on the cusp of an embrace with another woman. Without a second thought, she quits her life entirely and seeks out her only friend, the Heaths' former cook, who works in Boston at "The Beechmont: A Private Hotel for Gentle Ladies." It takes a while for Charlotte to realize what's going on at the hotel, where a whole cast of quirky characters hold court—including a handsome young stud who ultimately breaks Charlotte's heart. The narrative moves dreamlike through a web of Charlotte's musings during her unlikely adventure. Cooney's story compels, but continual flashbacks and reminiscences make the narrative feel bumpy and disjointed.

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Date Posted: 7/30/2007 10:33 AM ET
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The Madam by Julianna Baggott.  I just bought this one at Borders the other night on the clearance table.  I see that it's on four  WLs.

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Date Posted: 7/30/2007 4:12 PM ET
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Oohhh Penny "In My Skin...A Memoir" is really good and is about a girl who is a prostitute, I read it in about 2 days!!  I think the Author is Kate Holden.  Another really good and steamy threesome is the Sleeping Beauty books by Ann Rice, not exactly about prostitutes but more about bondage and control...very good reading as well, hope you find some!!


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Date Posted: 7/30/2007 8:19 PM ET
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Ahhh I was an English major in college and the theme of my Capstone class was prostitutes in literature! Crimson Petal and the White was pretty juicy. It was the best one from the class. I also read Slammerkin, The Dress Lodger, Moll Flanders, and lots of historical documents about the graphic details of the lives of prostitutes in the 19th century. At times, it was a verrry uncomfortable class.  If you want to read some nonfiction about prostitutes that is very interesting I enjoyed City of Dreadful Delight by Judith Walkowitz.

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Date Posted: 7/30/2007 11:39 PM ET
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If you like historical mysteries, try Roberta Gellis' series featuring Magdalene la Batarde...she is a whorehouse mistress in 1190's England...instead of your typical nun or monk sleuth, this one's a madam! LOL It's still fairly light and fluffy anda  bit formulaic but I enjoyed them just the same...AND I learned a new word...futtering! ROFL


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Date Posted: 7/31/2007 10:41 AM ET
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I have Good Time Girls by Lael Morgan in my TBR pile.   Its a wishlisted book so I'll be reading and posting it pretty soon.

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Date Posted: 7/31/2007 10:43 PM ET
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I have a bit of a sex work library I'm growing... my friend Sarah Katherine Lewis wrote a great book about her ten years in the sex industry - she's done a bit of just about everything, peep shows, dominatrix, "lingerie model", "exotic massage"... her book's not currently available on PBS, but here's the link (with the buy-it-on-amazon button!)

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Date Posted: 8/1/2007 9:17 AM ET
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Callgirl:Confessions of an ivy League Lady of Pleasure - Jeanette Angell

When a bad boyfriend leaves with the contents of her checking account, professor and novelist Angell (The Illusionist; Wings; etc.) decides to stabilize her finances by responding to an ad seeking escorts. Surprisingly, the world she enters isn't all that different from the Boston dating scene she already knew; it's just far more lucrative. At least her clients are relatively clear about what they want, and Angell is able to teach by day and have "dates" by night for more than three years. Separation of her two worlds is crucial but not difficult: "what we do as prostitutes... does not constitute sex in our minds." The characters who populate this tour are often sympathetic, as is Angell, though her repeated assurances sometimes ring hollow in the face of her after-hours job's drug use, abuse and manipulative behavior. To process her own participation in prostitution, and to feed the fascinated responses of others, Angell eventually teaches a university-level class on its history that is, ironically, partly responsible for advancing her career to the point where she stops doing "calls" altogether. It also helped that she was nearly busted by an undercover cop, lost a dear friend to drugs and committed the faux pas of falling in love with a client. Now married, Angell winds down with a call to legalize prostitution to encourage regulation of this vast industry.

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Date Posted: 8/1/2007 11:43 AM ET
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The Linnet Bird by Linda Holeman is excellent.

Vicki C.


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Date Posted: 8/2/2007 7:48 PM ET
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Fanny Hill is about one :)

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Date Posted: 8/3/2007 9:39 PM ET
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Interesting topic :)  About two years ago I was really interested in reading about prostitutes.  I started reading Slammerkin by Emma Donoghue and stopped about halfway through.  The story moved too slow and it wasn't very interesting to me.  I did enjoy these (some of which have already been recommended) nonfiction books.

1.  Brothel:  Mustang Ranch and Its Women by Alexa Albert

2.  Working:  My Life as a Prostitute by Dolores French (really enjoyed this one)

3.  Storyville, New Orleans:  Being an Authentic, ....... by Al Rose (really enjoyed this one...more of a history lesson though)

4.  The Life:  Memoirs of a French Hooker  by Jeanne Cordelier

5.  The Last Madam:  A Life in the New Orleans Underworld by Chris Wiltz


Last Edited on: 8/3/07 9:44 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Generic Profile avatar
Date Posted: 8/3/2007 11:38 PM ET
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I'll have to second the recommendation on Roberta Gellis! She really has the flavor of the 1100's.

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Date Posted: 8/5/2007 12:24 PM ET
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Great thread, Penny!!  I really enjoyed Slammerkin.  I'm going to look into some of these others.  Thanks everyone for the suggestions!