Somewhere between Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past and Fanny Hill is My Secret Life, an eleven volume, one million word memoir written by “Walter.” The entire text has been placed online and is searchable. Other interesting facts: The books were owned by Aleister Crowley, Harold Lloyd, and Josef von Sternberg. “Walter” was, in all likelihood, Henry Spencer Ashbee, who collected thousands of books in a London bachelor pad and left 1,600 volumes of erotica to the British Museum. On the sex and reading front, Ashbee seems to have found the best of both worlds. From Vol. 9, Chapter XIII:
We used at times to lay in bed reading baudy books. Then I would gamahuche her, and she liked the lingual exercise continued almost directly after her spend. A few minutes’ repose only and I’d fuck her, then we’d go on reading. Sometimes she’d read until suddenly she’d frig herself, laying back, grasping my prick hard with one hand, even hurting it sometimes, with eyes closed, more frequently looking me full in the face eyes wide open, with a wonderful voluptuous expression, till her breath shortened, her lovely thighs and belly quivered, then her eye lids drooped till her body was quite tranquil. � Then with the remark, � “We are beasts,” � our reading was resumed.
Related: Odd Books, “a home for the oddball and offbeat in literature,” which includes pages devoted to Frank Harris (another womanizer whose five-volume MY Life and Loves was published with several photographs), forgotten romantic writer Amanda McKittrick Ros (acclaimed by the likes of Twain, Lawrence, Huxley and Powell) and big-time crank Webster Edgerly, whose strange notions on health may have inspired to T.C. Boyle. Edgerly went by the psuedonym of “Dr. Everett Ralston.” By a twist of fate, today (January 4) is Ralston Day!