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Just in time

Of the seasonal book catalogs I receive, I look forward most to the one from The Johns Hopkins University Press--America's oldest university press. (I get academic press catalogs the way Katharine White got seed catalogs). The titles from Johns Hopkins are the most notoriously encyclopedic of all academic catalog offerings.

And this most recent one, in step with what must be on the minds of lots of academic-leaning Americans in the downturn, Johns Hopkins for Fall 2009 features quite a few books on what we do when nobody's looking.

The Orgasm Answer Guide
by Barry R. Komisaruk, Beverly Whipple, Sara Nasserzadah, Carlos Beyer-Flores and perchance Bob, Carol, Ted and Alice too answers such questions as "Can orgasms cause a heart attack?" as well as something our friends at Metblogs LA are worried about, "How can I tell if my partner is faking an orgasm?" and also something the bloggers at LA Observed are quite worried about, "Do orgasms end at a certain age?" The book is called "A must read for every couple" by Mark Schoen of, which is not a Valley production company.

If you're looking for something a little more politicosexual, the promising title Unspeakable: Father-Daughter Incest in American History by Lynn Sacco, an assistant prof at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (presumably an optimal research nexus for this topic) asserts that in the nineteenth-century, "father-daughter incest was understood to take place among all classes," but in the so-called Progressive Era, white Protestant devils found it a useful tool for demonizing immigrants and blacks, even as media find pedophilia useful for demonizing Catholics today. This book is a promising triple-scoop of taboo, prejudice, and political manipulation. Can't wait to get a copy...really.

The fabled poster "She May Look Clean---BUT" part of the jacket copy for Condom Nation: The U.S. Government's Sex Education Campaign from World War I to the Internet. Written by Alexandra M. Lord, who both received a Ph.D. from UWMadison and served as a historian with the United States Public Health Service---and if you've ever spent time on the istmus you know that both resume points are special qualifications for this kind of book.

Menopause Matters: Your Guide to a Long and Healthy Life
, is, according to the catalog, "in a class by itself when it comes to menopause books." I cannot argue. Julia Schlam Edelman, M.D. F.A.C.O.G. covers it all, hot flashes, vaginal dryness, poor sleep, and...memory loss. Amazing how contagious some of these symptoms are.

Don't worry about Johns Hopkins tacking too much to trade winds with these kinds of titles for Fall: the catalog is also filled with the usual arcana of Baltimore row houses, historical bacteriology, muddled urban planning, and weepy railroad nostalgia, some through softly-focused academic lenses, some through sharp bifocals. (A book about waterpower in Lowell, Massachusetts looks particularly promisingly arcane.) But the gender and sexuality offerings I think are opportune in a year when money is tight and winds are shifting in curious ways.

I haven't read any of these books yet because they haven't been released. But I hope to get a couple of them from my second-favorite academic press (University of Minnesota Press with its French Theory devotion and support is always on top) and report back in time for fall.