Books by Steven Carter

Steven Carter is an assistant professor of English at Georgetown College in Kentucky and is the author of I Was Howard Hughes. He lives in Georgetown, Kentucky.


FAMOUS WRITERS SCHOOL by Steven Carter
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: Oct. 30, 2006

"A smartly conceived send-up of writerly ambition, imperfectly executed."
Correspondence classes might not make you a great author, but they can sure tell you a lot about your teacher's neuroses. Read full book review >
I WAS HOWARD HUGHES by Steven Carter
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Sept. 17, 2003

"A darkly diverting, slightly cautionary tale about a barmy billionaire and his batty biographer."
First-novelist Carter hits the scene with a madly inventive mock bio. Read full book review >
NON-FICTION
Released: Oct. 1, 1993

A heavy dose of pop advice and sympathetic handholding for those whose anxieties about commitment are messing up their love lives. Carter and Sokol (What Really Happens in Bed, 1989, etc.) explore why some men and women have trouble making a commitment, defined here as a ``promise to participate in a well-intentioned, monogamous, open-minded, responsible, and realistic relationship.'' The topic isn't a new one for the authors, who examined ``commitmentphobia'' in Men Who Can't Love (1987). But times have changed, they say, and now women, too, have their doubts and fears—hence this new look at the problem. Carter and Sokol first consider the two basic types of commitment conflict- -``active'' and ``passive,'' with men predominating in the active role. They demonstrate how these conflicts play out in relationships, with plenty of examples garnered from eight years' worth of interviews with people about their relationships. The authors then ask readers to take various quizzes to discover significant patterns of behavior in their relationships with the opposite sex and to determine what their commitment fears are; here, again, anecdotes about troubled couples provide ample illustrations. Finally, Carter and Sokol offer a guide for managing conflicts and changing relationships. Although they state that they're writers, not therapists, their advice derives from Carter's experience in leading support groups for those with commitment anxieties. Of some initial appeal to those who enjoy taking relationship quizzes—but unlikely to hold the interest of any but the truly—well, committed. (First serial to New Woman) Read full book review >

Like David Reuben's Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex. . . a keyhole look at sexual practices that's informative and fun to read. Hoping to explode the "performance myths and romantic fantasies" that warp sexual expectations, Carter and Sokol, coauthors of Men Who Can't Love (1987), interviewed 250 adults of varied socioeconomic backgrounds to explore "the real world of sex." Their findings, relayed in an affable way with much quoting of the interviewees, fascinate, amuse, and astonish. "He would try to have sex with me while I was cooking or talking on the phone. Have you ever tried to have a phone conversation with your father or mother while some man is pushing at you from behind?" says one woman in a section on "When Sex is Part of the Breakup" Or in a section on single' thoughts on sex, a 64-year-old widower's lament: "I'm too old to have to take my clothes off in front of strange women." Or, in "Sex With Two or More Women—The Classic Male Fantasy," a man on having sex with four women: ". . .it's not like you think it's going to be. It takes a tremendous amount of stamina, willpower, and physical energy. . .My knees were destroyed." This pattern of excessive complaint sustains throughout; the fundamental reason for it—as the authors argue in the final chapter of "39 Sexual Realities" that binds the anecdotal evidence and transforms it into something more than a prurient litany—is "poor communication," which they find rampant, even among marrieds. Other findings: "All men have sexual anxieties"; most women feel that men don't know how to bring them to orgasm; "almost everyone, married or single, masturbates." With no pretense to statistical surety, but carrying the rugged weight of word-of-mouth truth, this page-turner study is unlikely to dent the scientific community but may fascinate a great many lay readers—especially given the publisher's promised heavy printing and promo push. Read full book review >