It’s National Orgasm Day!

Today (July 31st) is ‘National Orgasm Day’.

Yep, you read that right.

Of course, we get lots of National Days, with everything from ‘National Watermelon Day’ to ‘National Wiggle Your Toes Day’, so a day for celebrating orgasms doesn’t really *come* as a surprise.

So here’s a couple of orgasm-based facts for you…

1. They’re good for you; they act as a natural stress relief, help to improve brain function and help stop pain.

2. Recorded in 1966, the longest official orgasm lasted 45 seconds, and involved 25 individual contractions!

However, if there’s one thing #NationalOrgasmDay does, it highlights the stress put on achieving orgasm during sex, especially when it comes to women.

According to Dr. Ian Kerner, men have always valiantly struggled to elicit the female orgasm, but rarely ask “what do I do?”

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Dr. Ian Kerner’s She Comes First is an encyclopaedia of female pleasure, with dozens of techniques for satisfying your female partner. Complete with illustrated, step-by-step instructions, this fun, informative guide introduces a new era in sexual relationships, where, importantly, the exchange of pleasure is for mutual fulfilment. 

She Comes First puts to bed (*sorry) that oral sex is an optional aspect of foreplay, when its real role is ‘coreplay’.

“Before you give up on oral sex… if you yourself don’t know what the options are… get yourself a copy of Ian Kerner’s manifesto She Comes First: The Thinking Man’s Guide to Pleasuring a Woman and make sure your boyfriend reads it too… It is a veritable paean to the art of good oral sex, packed with instructive sentences… I cannot recommend it highly enough.”
Suzi Godson, weekly sex and relationships columnist for The Times

And all that leaves me to say is, happy National Orgasm Day!

Fingers Crossed You’ll Read This!

Throughout June/July, (as you lovely folks might have seen), we ran our hugely successful #IndependentVoices Competition to celebrate the launch of our new website.

Firstly, a BIG congratulations to Karen Nagle who won our five book bundle! We hope you enjoy reading them, Karen. Also, a huge thank you to everyone who entered; we received lots of wonderful comments about the books, which were lovely to hear. One thing we did notice was the hashtag #fingerscrossed – used for luck.

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This got us thinking about any superstitions that we believed in, and so, after a quick discussion in the office, we determined that:

  • Linda won’t open an umbrella indoors
  • Nathan won’t cross anyone on the stairs
  • Amy tries to avoid walking over a triple drain (admittedly, sometimes difficult in rush hour crowds)
  • Amanda knocks on wood for luck
  • Nikki won’t walk under scaffolding

Oh, and we’ve all at some point ‘crossed our fingers’ for luck.

Luckily, Philippa Waring, author of A Dictionary of Omens and Superstitions, is here to explain to us the superstitious nature of fingers…

Dictionary of Omens and Superstitions

“Superstition has attributed numerous qualities to the fingers, some of which are still in common usage in many countries in the world. For instance, a child with long fingers is said to be a musician and will always be unable to save money, but if the forefinger is as long as the second finger, or longer, then this is a sign of dishonesty. This forefinger is sometimes referred to as the ‘Poison Finger’ and should never be used for applying any medication, while the third finger of the left hand (on which the wedding ring is worn) is believed to be lucky and have healing powers when used for such a purpose. A crooked little finger is a sign of wealth. Anyone born with more than five fingers is said to be very lucky and probably a prodigy in the making. If you are forced into the position of telling someone a ‘white lie’ to avoid hurting their feelings, then cross your first and second fingers behind your back and no harm will come to either of you. And, of course, crossing the fingers has always been a way of avoiding any impending bad luck. According to a European superstition, if you pull your finger joints and they make a cracking sound then you can rest assured that somebody loves you.”

Similar conclusions can be drawn from Zolar’s Encyclopedia of Signs, Omens and Superstitions...

“To begin with, crossing the index and middle fingers as a sign of good luck or to exorcize the evil eye is certainly common. It is said the best time to make this sign is when passing by a cemetery or behind someone’s back while telling a white lie in order to protect the soul.”

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading this post (fingers crossed)! Do let us know whether you have any interesting superstitions in the comments below!

5 Rainy Day Reads

It might be the start of the summer holidays, but the weatherman certainly doesn’t think so. *Glances out window, sighs*

So, instead of wading through all the crowds trying to fill their day rain-proof attractions, why not pick up a great book? Here’s five of our favourite rainy day reads…

The Neruda Case by Roberto Ampuero

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Find yourself dreaming of exotic shores or sunnier climes? Head abroad (via your imagination) with Roberto Ampuero’s thrilling The Neruda CaseIn 1970s Chile Pablo Neruda, the Nobel Prize-winning poet, is close to death and senses the end of an era in Chilean politics. But there is one final secret he must resolve…you never know, perhaps thinking about all that sunshine will bring the sun out?

Want to know more about Roberto Ampuero? Check out one of our latest blog posts detailing Roberto’s speech at the Cervantes Institute in London.

Warning: When I Am An Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple by Jenny Joseph

Warning coverWho doesn’t enjoy a few laughs on a rainy Sunday? Voted Britain’s favourite humour poem, this declaration of defiance, so vividly and cleverly expressed , appeals to the rebel in all of us.

“When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me”

Simply Gluten Free by Rita Greer

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So it might not exactly be a novel, but a little rain is perfect for some experimental time in the kitchen. Ever thought of trying gluten free food? Well now’s your chance! Rita Greer’s Simply Gluten Free contains recipes for every occasion, whether you’re planning an enormous family dinner or simply spending an afternoon baking with the kids (the gingersnaps are divine).

The Practice by Barb Schmidt

The Practice cover

Weekends are for lie ins, catching up on life and doing the washing, right? Well, why not try something different this weekend…..like mindfulness? The rain might even come in handy – lovely, relaxing background noise. Specifically designed for those who live and lead busy lives, The Practice guides you through a set of practical tools that you can easily incorporate into your daily routine, and there’s no time like the present to get started! The three-steps are:

1. Waking Up: Meditation – to set a peaceful tone for the day
2. Living Present: Sacred Mantra, Focussed Attention, Reading for Inspiration – designed to focus your mind on the moment and provide comfort and support
3. Letting Go: Reflection – a wind-down period to put the events of the day to rest

And, last but not least, one for the kids…

Puppy Dogs’ Tales by Cecil Aldin

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Few people can fail to be charmed and cheered by Cecil Aldin’s mischievous puppies which first came to life on the walls of his children’s nursery, no matter how miserable the weather is outside your window.

Scamp, the mongrel; Poppy, so-called because of her red colouring and Snowball, the white terrier, were lovable rascals always looking for adventure and a stolen snack. Then there was Bill, the bob-tailed pup, who tugged at the heartstrings as he sought friendship but was scorned because of his truncated rear end.

Happy reading all!

Author Corner: Roberto Ampuero at the Cervantes Institute

We were delighted to welcome Roberto Ampuero, author of bestselling The Neruda Case, to London, where, on Tuesday 26th May, he delivered an insightful, inspiring speech to a sell-out audience at the Cervantes Institute.

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Available now in paperback, The Neruda Case spans lies and truth, travelling between uneasy peace and political coup, from life to death. Cateyano Brulé, a daydreamer and reluctant detective, is lost among Latin America’s uncertainties, venality and corruption, desperately trying to fulfil Neruda’s final request amid the brutal beginning of Pinochet’s dictatorship.

Among the pleasures of The Neruda Case is its provocative fictional portrait of Pablo Neruda, as the poet re-evaluates his life and begins to question abandoning those he loved for his poetry.

You can read the author’s Afterword on the Foyles Book Blog here.

Figuring that you’ll all be needing something to help pass the time on your extra long commute this Thursday evening, (thank you #TubeStrikes) we’re very pleased to re-produce the first of three parts of Roberto’s speech for you on the Souvenir Press blog, entitled “Why Do I Write Fiction?”

We’ll be publishing the next two parts in the coming weeks, but in the meantime, we’d love to hear what you think about Roberto’s speech in the comments section below.

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