Show me the books he loves and I shall know the man far better than through mortal friends - Silas Weir Mitchell
And here is the second Inside Reader for this week; James was actually one of the first authors I interviewed more than 2 years before for another blog that I have now long ago abandoned, but I still remember with pleasure that experience.
I don’t profess to any great literary tastes as evidenced by my list. Having cut my teeth on 70’s and 80’s science fiction, devoured dime store mysteries and delved into the land of trashy romances, I’m far more pulp-fiction than highbrow. These are in no particular order.
1) The Man Who Fell in Love with the Moon by Tom Spanbauer. I loved the narrator, the half-Indian Shed (who’s name is short for Out Back In The Shed, cause that’s where he services his male customers). It’s wild and crazy and terribly sad at times. Spanbauer goes from raunchy to poignant in a matter of moments. The crazy cowboy Dellwood – Shed’s mentor and lover – obtains a black stallion for Shed…which Shed promptly names “Princess.” You don’t know who’s more insane, the prostitutes Shed calls family or the bible thumpers in their town. This is one of those books I love so much, I find it hard to talk about why.
Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Grove Press (January 6, 2000)
Publisher Link: http://www.groveatlantic.com/#page=isbn9
Amazon: The Man Who Fell in Love with the Moon: A Novel
Set against the harsh reality of an unforgiving landscape and culture, The Man Who Fell in Love with the Moon provides a vision of the Old West unlike anything seen before. The narrator, Shed, is one of the most memorable characters in contemporary fiction: a half-Indian bisexual boy who lives and works at the Indian Head Hotel in the tiny town of Excellent, Idaho. It's the turn of the century, and the hotel carries on a prosperous business as the town's brothel. The eccentric characters working in the hotel provide Shed with a surrogate family, yet he finds in himself a growing need to learn the meaning of his Indian name, Duivichi-un-Dua, given to him by his mother, who was murdered when he was twelve. Setting off alone across the haunting plains, Shed goes in search of an identity among his true people, encountering a rich pageant of extraordinary characters along the way. Although he learns a great deal about the mysteries and traditions of his Indian heritage, it is not until Shed returns to Excellent and witnesses a series of brutal tragedies that he attains the wisdom that infuses this exceptional and captivating book.
2) Brokeback Mountain by Annie Proulx. I fell in love with the story when it was still available on-line in the Washington Post archives. It hit me in the gut. I actually belong to a Brokeback Mountain fan group, although I don’t post there much any more. Never did fanfiction, the story was just too pure and simple for me to need to go beyond it. Although we had Friday Haiku days which I joined in on and I actually wrote poetry inspired by it.
Paperback: 64 pages
Publisher: Scribner; movie tie-in edition edition (November 1, 2005)
Publisher Link: http://books.simonandschuster.com/Brokeb
Amazon: Brokeback Mountain: Now a Major Motion Picture
WINNER OF THE VENICE FILM FESTIVAL GOLDEN LION AWARD. Annie Proulx has written some of the most original and brilliant short stories in contemporary literature, and for many, Brokeback Mountain is her masterpiece. Ennis del Mar and Jack Twist, two ranch hands, come together when they're working as sheep herder and camp tender one summer on a range above the tree line. At first, sharing an isolated tent, the attraction is casual, inevitable, but something deeper catches them that summer. Both men work hard, marry, have kids because that's what cowboys do. But over the course of many years and frequent separations this relationship becomes the most important thing in their lives, and they do anything they can to preserve it. Brokeback Mountain was originally published in the New Yorker -- it won the National Magazine Award and was included in the O. Henry Stories 1998. In gorgeous and haunting prose Proulx limns the difficult, dangerous affair between two cowboys that survives everything but the world's violent intolerance.
3) BabyJi by Abha Dawesar. A coming of age story told from a cultural vantage point we don’t often see in the Western World. I had the honor of reading alongside Abha Dawesar at Saints and Sinners. I heard her read, she sat down next to me and I gushed, “Holy shit I have to buy your book now.” And I did, as soon as the reading was over I ran upstairs, bought it, ran downstairs and had her autograph it. It’s sassy and funny. BabyJi in her boy’s clothes and haircut is sneaking in to have sex with all the wives and girlfriends of the men who are trying to seduce her. The sex-ed scene is damn near worth the price of the book.
Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Anchor (February 8, 2005)
Sexy, surprising, and subversively wise, Babyji is the story of Anamika Sharma, a spirited student growing up in Delhi. At school she is an ace at quantum physics. At home she sneaks off to her parents’ scooter garage to read the Kamasutra. Before long she has seduced an elegant older divorcée and the family servant, and has caught the eye of a classmate coveted by all the boys. With the world of adulthood dancing before her, Anamika confronts questions that would test someone twice her age. Ebullient, unfettered, and introducing one of the most charming heroines in contemporary fiction, Babyji is irresistible.
4) Vintage, a Ghost Story by Steve Berman. I would suggest buying the current version from Giovanni’s Room. It’s a haunting Young Adult novel about a gay, Goth teen boy haunted by the ghost of a High School athlete killed in the fifties. The Goth characters were true to the culture without being caricatures. The ghost story was subtle and vivid and had that “vintage” feel from the Twilight Zone. Plus, being a young adult novel…it felt right. It didn’t preach or feel pretentious as a lot of young adult books written by adults do. It got the whole how do I deal with my gay love and attraction and how do I solve this old story of gay love and attraction just right. I don’t know how to describe it other than, this book works.
Reading level: Young Adult
Perfect Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: Lethe Press (March 1, 2008)
Giovanni’s Room: http://www.queerbooks.com/NASApp/store/S
A lonely boy walking along a highway meets the boy of his dreams--who happens to have died decades ago and haunts the road. With its cast of offbeat friends, antiques, and Ouija boards, "Vintage" is not a typical romance but does offers readers a memorable blend of dark humor, chills, and love.
5) Anything by Naono Bohra. Its Yaoi folks. If it’s sick and twisted, Naono-sensei makes it sexy. A demon eats the flesh of his drowned lover so they both can survive in Iku Michi, Yobu Tsuki. In Kimi ni Sasayaku Mirai (The Future I Whisper to You), Renji thinks Kazuki died in a plane crash, but then Kazuki shows up at Renji’s door. Over time Kazuki proceeds to fall apart, in a very physical sense. Sex with a corpse has never been, well, sexier. Probably one of my favorites of Naono’s is Yawara Kana Onto (Gentle Warmth), where this guy with a serious teddy bear fetish wakes up to find he brought his own live bear home, and tied him up, gagged him with his own underwear... in true Naono Bohra style it’s a wee bit twisted.
Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: Media Blasters (April 1, 2009)
Amazon: Yokai's Hunger
Norito Ogami, an average student, has a tendency to attract demons. Koma appears before Norito, in accordance with the "Sigil Oath," a promise Norito made in his past life with Koma. The two are attracted to each other but Koma's siblings and his beautiful archenemy stands in their way...!? Yokai's Hunger is an eternal love story between a high school senior and a middle-aged beast brought together by fate!
6) The World Well Lost by Theodore Sturgeon. A pair of lovers, aliens, escape to Earth. They’re assumed to be heterosexual and are treated like celebrities. Eventually their home world finds them and demands they be turned over. Their crime, as one of the men charged with their return discovers, two men in love. Theodore Sturgeon is one of those authors who I found in my high school avoiding getting beaten up by hanging out in the library during lunch phase (this followed the junior high getting ink poured into my back-pack and pushed into lockers period). As a freshman I started in the science fiction section with Asimov and by the time I’d graduated I’d read through Zelazny. Sturgeon’s work appealed not only to my weird taste in speculative fiction, but I loved how he played with words. Strange poetic language, juxtaposed metaphors, it all just clicked with me. You can find “The World Well Lost,” in A Saucer of Loneliness: the Complete Stories of Theodore Sturgeon book 7.
Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: North Atlantic Books (September 5, 2002)
Publisher Link: http://www.northatlanticbooks.com/catalo
Amazon: A Saucer of Loneliness: Volume VII, The Complete Stories of Theodore Sturgeon
Kurt Vonnegut cites Theodore Sturgeon as the inspiration for his character Kilgore Trout. This volume includes 12 stories from 1953, considered Sturgeon's golden era. Among them are such favorites as the title story, "The Silken-Swift," "A Way of Thinking," "The Dark Room," "The Clinic," and "The World Well Lost," a story known for being very ahead of its time in advocating gay rights.
7) Leather, Licking and Lawnmowers by Dusk Peterson. I will never, ever see raffle tickets and carrot Jell-O rings without busting up. But it’s so great to see the Leather culture taken out of the normal ‘club hub’ and thrown into suburbia.
Format: Kindle Edition
File Size: 74 KB
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publisher: Love in Dark Settings Press (May 24, 2008)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
Amazon: Leather, Licking, and Lawnmowers
"Leather, Licking, and Lawnmowers" takes leathersex out of its usual bars and back alleys, setting it in unexpected locations: A 5&10. A potluck. A hamburger joint. A college waltz party. Even when the leatherman who narrates these stories returns to the Eagle bar, things don't go quite the way he expected. . . . Written by the former director of the Erotic Authors Association, who is also editor of "True Tales: An Erotic E-zine of Masculinity and Power," this five-tale gay erotica collection includes the story "Spontaneous," runner-up for the 2006 Rauxa Prize for Erotic Fiction.
8) Anything by Clive Barker. I suggest, “Human Remains,” from the Books of Blood, VIII, where an ancient statue comes alive, stalks a male prostitute and “becomes” him. Barker is the master of creepy.
Paperback: 528 pages
Publisher: Berkley Trade (October 1, 1998)
Publisher Link: http://us.penguingroup.com/nf/Book/BookD
Amazon: Clive Barker's Books of Blood 1-3
With the 1984 publication of Books of Blood, Clive Barker became an overnight literary sensation. He was hailed by Stephen King as "the future of horror," and won both the British and World Fantasy Awards. Now, with his numerous bestsellers, graphic novels, and hit movies like the Hellraiser films, Clive Barker has become an industry unto himself. But it all started here, with this tour de force collection that rivals the dark masterpieces of Edgar Allan Poe. Read him. And rediscover the true meaning of fear.
9) Interview with a Vampire by Anne Rice. She who made vampires for me and then destroyed them…she and the Antia Blake series – there is a point where a series should just END. But Lestat and Louis were perfect. Jaw droppingly understated and beautiful. The love hate relationship between them electrified me. Sexual imagery and innuendo without consummation except in death. I may hate every book from The Body Thief forward, but I will always love Interview.
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Ballantine Books (March 18, 1997)
Publisher Link: http://www.randomhouse.com/catalog/displ
Amazon: Interview with the Vampire
Here are the confessions of a vampire. Hypnotic, shocking, and chillingly erotic, this is a novel of mesmerizing beauty and astonishing force–a story of danger and flight, of love and loss, of suspense and resolution, and of the extraordinary power of the senses. It is a novel only Anne Rice could write.
10) The Dragon Riders of Pern. Okay, McCaffrey… chicky ended up bit apologetic about the whole gay thing and slightly homophobic – and I’m putting it nicely here. However, I read this book when I was in a really hard period about who I was. This was the book that fueled my dreams. Forget being a Bronze rider forever tied to the aloof chicks who rode Golds. I wanted to be a Brown Rider in my leathers, licking my lips, over a stable of Male Green riders who may have occasionally been bitchy or hormonal because their dragons were PMSing, but they were horny, hot dudes who rode the front lines of life and death in fighting thread. It might have been unintentional on her part, but the book gave me a look at a culture that was inherently homosexual. As an author, all I can say is sometimes we write the book we want and sometimes we write the book we never intended.
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Del Rey (July 26, 2005)
Publisher Link: http://www.randomhouse.com/delrey/catalo
Amazon: Dragonflight (Dragonriders of Pern)
HOW CAN ONE GIRL SAVE AN ENTIRE WORLD? To the nobles who live in Benden Weyr, Lessa is nothing but a ragged kitchen girl. For most of her life she has survived by serving those who betrayed her father and took over his lands. Now the time has come for Lessa to shed her disguise—and take back her stolen birthright. But everything changes when she meets a queen dragon. The bond they share will be deep and last forever. It will protect them when, for the first time in centuries, Lessa’s world is threatened by Thread, an evil substance that falls like rain and destroys everything it touches. Dragons and their Riders once protected the planet from Thread, but there are very few of them left these days. Now brave Lessa must risk her life, and the life of her beloved dragon, to save her beautiful world. . . .
About James Buchanan: James Buchanan is an award winning author of, primarily, gay erotic fiction. James grew up in a small Southwestern town, hours away from any other small Southwestern town. A stint at the State University, where he ostensibly majored in English, garnered him a degree useful for being someone's secretary. The absolute lack of employment opportunities led James to Southern California. After a stint in County Mental Health (administration not client) he ran screaming into the field of Law. James has been practicing for nine years and someday he might even get it right. James has published several short stories and novellas as well as six novels with various publishers.
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: MLR Press (October 7, 2009)
Publisher Link: http://www.mlrbooks.com/ShowBook.php?boo
Amazon: Personal Demons
Hunting a notorious hit man, FBI Agent Chase Nozick and LAPD Det. Enrique Rios Ocha delve into the inner worlds of Santeria, Voodoo and Palo Mayumbe. A missing informant, her murdered brother and a ghost from Chase's past send them on a hunt through mystics and psychic surgeons to find their witness before it's too late. Can he rely on leads from a child possessed by Orishas? Do cards hold stronger clues than blood? Chase must conquer his own personal demons to bring the killer of his partner to justice and find the strength to take a chance on Enrique.