In honor, or Honour as the Brits say, of Gay Pride 2009 and the 40th anniversary of Stonewall here are some delightful newish gay titles that you should be reading. Maybe not this weekend because who has time for reading a book when there are so many other things going on but soon afterward. After the headache goes away.
Here are three that you should keep in mind … among others.
SWISH: My Quest to Become the Gayest Person Ever by Joel Derfner
Robert had this to say: “Dang, I thought I was pretty darn gay: show tunes, no interest in sports, oh, and a sexual interest in men, but Derfner clearly has me out-ranked, and these hilarious, compulsively-readable essays place him immediately on the shellf with the best of Sedaris, Burroughs, Dan Savage, and their fab ilk.”
SALVATION ARMY by Abdellah Taia
Ed highly recommends: “Salvation Army is a short, but compelling, autobiographical novel by Moroccan Abdellah Taia, told very powerfully and effectively in the first person. Sensually and sexually evocative vignettes depict an uncertain journey of sexual and cultural self-discovery embodying the complex hopes and fears of a gay Moroccan ex-patriot. ”
LIGHT FELL by Evan Fallenberg
Ed loved: “Light Fell takes place at the dangerous intersection of homosexuality and orthodox religion – an Israeli man leaves his family for another man (a rabbi, no less!) and now, 20 years later, is about to reunite with his five grown sons on his 50th birthday. Author Fallenberg does a good job humanizing what I found to be an unlikable main character (and his equally unlikable children) while exploring the family dynamics of “gay”, as well as the many taboos and hypocrises demanded by organized religion, and the consequent self-loathing and narrow-mindedness it engenders.”
A Monster’s Notes by Laurie Sheck looks interesting in that way that a monster telling his side of a story that stretches far longer than the life of Mary Shelley will illuminate more than just what a simple monster might be contemplating over his years.
Here is some publisher marketing:
What if Mary Shelley had not invented Frankenstein’s monster but had met him when she was a girl of eight, sitting by her mother’s grave, and he came to her unbidden? What if their secret bond left her forever changed, obsessed with the strange being whom she had discovered at a time of need? What if he were still alive in the twenty-first century?
This bold, genre-defying book brings us the “monster” in his own words. He recalls how he was “made” and how Victor Frankenstein abandoned him. He ponders the tragic tale of the Shelleys and the intertwining of his life with that of Mary (whose fictionalized letters salt the narrative, along with those of her nineteenth-century intimates) in this riveting mix of fact and poetic license. He takes notes on all aspects of human striving–from the music of John Cage to robotics to the Northern explorers whose lonely quest mirrors his own–as he tries to understand the strange race that made yet shuns him, and to find his own freedom of mind.
In the course of the monster’s musings, we also see Mary Shelley’s life from her childhood through her elopement with Percy Bysshe Shelley, her writing of Frankenstein, the births and deaths of her children, Shelley’s famous drowning, her widowhood, her subsequent travels and life’s work, and finally her death from a brain tumor at age fifty-four. The monster’s fierce bond with Mary and the tale of how he ended up in her fiction is a haunted, intense love story, a story of two beings who can never forget each other.
And look at that cover! Creepy. It will compliment the Collins’ Library (number 6 by McSweeney’s) book Curious Men by Frank Buckland that I reading at the moment. A Monster’s Notes was released today from Knopf and is available for $30.
“Yet this writer who enjoyed only moderate success while she was alive has had a miraculous cultural afterlife. No other author, except perhaps Shakespeare, has been as adapted, appropriated and aped as Austen.”
The Globe and Mail in a, probably, paid advertisement sort of thing, have partnered with Harper Collins to showcase some great old short stories. They just so happen to coincide with some short story collections of famous writers that Harper has started printing.
You may, or not depending on how engrossed in your game of minesweaper on your iPhone you are, noticed some sections being moved around at Unabridged. It’s expansion! at the expense of others. History lost a unit. No more new age. But. We’ve got a lifetime of philosophy. Tear.
The gay section, we feel, is now more browsable than ever. Shorter shelving units have really opened up the room. No need to have mirrors and more track lighting!
Also of note: Penguin Classics are getting more room to breathe. They looked so unhappy stuffed into their little shelves barely able to flutter in the wind. And. Drama has more room. No more double-stacked Shakespeare. That’s what those covers look like…
There are a couple of other sections that have moved as a result of the changes, but they are minor and no one is worse for the wear. Except for our arms. Time for some icy-hot!
Come take a look at the shifts and tell us what you think. I’ll post some pictures as soon as I get a digital camera in my hands.