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This uneven collection ranges from sublime reflections on the death of a friend to embarrassing musings about blow-jobs. In a memorable selection, 74-year-old memoirist Jane Juska (Unaccompanied Women) examines, with biting humor, why women want to look young, while journalist Warren, the volume's editor, describes the intimacy she found only after leaving her first marriage. But far more transgressive and startling than the predictable pieces about sex is contributor Janice Eidus's (The War of the Rosens) frank declaration that what she desires most is money, though she eventually casts this desire in traditionally feminine terms by explaining that the money is to help provide for her daughter. K. W. Oxnard's ode to babylust is powerful and funny, but it concludes with the same unsatisfying vagueness as the collection as a whole. Warren's introduction lacks the crucial assessment of the commonplace notion that women are trained to ignore or subvert desire. Despite leaving unexamined her conclusion that the range of desires expressed in this collection is "just skimming the surface," Warren has collected an enjoyable and thought-provoking variety of essays.
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This collection of 23 new essays maps a lot of terrain, not simply that of physical desire or lust. The longings here range from joyous to bittersweet, from abstract and philosophical to practical and gritty. In "Death and the Desire to Live Deliberately," Maggie Bucholt describes how her friend, diagnosed with stage-four colon cancer, takes charge of her life by aiming to live and not waiting to die: she assists hospice patients until she is too sick to volunteer and requires hospice care herself. In "Still Horny After All These Years," S.S. Fair drives home her point that sexual desire does not fade with age. "Desire has its own circulatory system," she states, and "as long as you're upright and breathing, you're riding its eternally recurring loop of lust and satiation." Julia Serrano, who was born male and desired more than anything else to be a girl, writes of her loneliness and turmoil in "At Odds." These writers cut across age and cultural and religious lines. Some use graphic language but not in an exploitative manner. This moving and eye-opening collection is recommended for medium to large public and academic libraries.-Lisa Nussbaum, formerly with Dauphin Cty. Lib. Syst., Harrisburg, PA -- Library Journal, September 15,2007