Show me the books he loves and I shall know the man far better than through mortal friends - Silas Weir Mitchell
I have David's new book in my reading list and I will try to read it as soon as possible. I'm now even more eager to do that since David's Inside Reader List is one of the most interesting and original I have posted till now. David came by introduction of Jameson Currier, they share the same publisher, and I think the same coffee table here and there... I would love to be able to join them sometime, for now I will please myself by "hosting" David on my LiveJournal.
David Pratt's Inside Reader List
David Pratt's first novel, Bob the Book, is published by Chelsea Station Editions in New York. He has published short fiction in Christopher Street, The James White Review, Blithe House Quarterly, Velvet Mafia, Harrington Gay Men's Fiction Quarterly, Lode-star Quarterly, and other periodicals, and in the anthologies His3, Men Seeking Men, and Freshmen 2. He has directed and performed his own work for the stage in New York at Dixon Place, The Cornelia Street Cafe, HERE Arts Center, the Dramatists Guild, the Flea Theater, and in the eighth New York International Fringe Festival in 2004. Below, ten favorite queer books, in no special order.
1.) Stone Butch Blues by Leslie Feinberg - Arrestingly plainspoken, deeply felt, passionate, heartbreaking, and yet profoundly consoling and hopeful. This book is also proof that not every novel now has to come out of a workshop or from someone with an MFA in Creative Writing. One shudders to think how a workshop might have sapped Feinberg's vision and passion. But we need not worry: s/he had the good sense to avoid it, and hir novel is better for it.
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Alyson Books (April 1, 2004)
Publisher Link: Stone Butch Blues
Amazon: Stone Butch Blues
Published in 1993, this brave, original novel is considered to be the finest account ever written of the complexities of a transgendered existence. Woman or man? That's the question that rages like a storm around Jess Goldberg, clouding her life and her identity. Growing up differently gendered in a blue--collar town in the 1950's, coming out as a butch in the bars and factories of the prefeminist '60s, deciding to pass as a man in order to survive when she is left without work or a community in the early '70s. This powerful, provocative and deeply moving novel sees Jess coming full circle, she learns to accept the complexities of being a transgendered person in a world demanding simple explanations: a he-she emerging whole, weathering the turbulence. Leslie Feinberg is also the author of Trans Liberation, Trans Gender Warriors and Transgender Liberation, and is a noted activist and speaker on transgender issues.
2.) The Best Little Boy in the World by John Reid - My first "openly gay" book, and such a wonderful throwback. Good, old-fashioned self-hatred and inhibition are allowed, and it was even published under a pen name. ("John Reid" turned out to be finance guru and journalist Andrew Tobias.) And it's all so WASP-y, like me! Still closeted, I was scanning the shelves in a friend's apartment, and the second I saw the title The Best Little Boy in the World, I knew what it had to be about: the paralysis, the image-managing, always trying to say the right thing and do one's duty. And while we East Coast urbanites may think "all that's changed" for young gay men in 2010, it hasn't changed for any but the most privileged. (Not even: how privileged is Ken Mehlman?) I have not re-read Best Little Boy in years, but I am sure that today, 37 years after publication, it is still dead-on in terms of feelings.
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Ballantine Books (May 11, 1993)
Publisher Link: The Best Little Boy in the World
Amazon: The Best Little Boy in the World
The classic account of growing up gay in America. "The best little boy in the world never had wet dreams or masturbated; he always topped his class, honored mom and dad, deferred to elders and excelled in sports . . . . The best little boy in the world was . . . the model IBM exec . . . The best little boy in the world was a closet case who 'never read anything about homosexuality.' . . . John Reid comes out slowly, hilariously, brilliantly. One reads this utterly honest account with the shock of recognition." The New York Times. "The quality of this book is fantastic because it comes of equal parts honesty and logic and humor. It is far from being the story of a Gay crusader, nor is it the story of a closet queen. It is the story of a normal boy growing into maturity without managing to get raped into, or taunted because of, his homosexuality. . . . He is bright enough to be aware of his hangups and the reasons for them. And he writes well enough that he doesn't resort to sensationalism . . . ." San Francisco Bay Area Reporter
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Rather that list a second group of ten, I want to pay tribute to the explosion of work that the Internet and self-publishing have made available to us. This is a genuine triumph for democracy. I have read self-published work that could have come from a major publish-er. I have also read self-published work that no professional would touch, but that I still was drawn into and that I learned from. If a voice feels compelled to speak, it is worth listening to. I go online for a certain kind of genre story and find a vast archive, meticu-lously organized, some stories running to novel length. The quality varies, as it does in print, but much of the work is as passionate, detailed, imaginative, and involving as anything passed through a publishing house. (Proofreading varies, too, though I read one first person story of adolescent sex made unbearably sweet by the repeated misspelling of the word "semen.") So here's to the books with blank spots on their spines, and here's to the rapidly expanding body of work that exists only as electrons. Long may they wave!
About David Pratt: He has collaborated frequently with Rogerio M. Pinto, and he was the first director of several plays by the Canadian playwright John Mighton. David holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the New School. 'Bob the Book' is his first novel. He is currently at work on the book of a new musical.
Bob the Book by David Pratt
Paperback: 202 pages
Publisher: Chelsea Station Editions; First edition (October 1, 2010)
Amazon: Bob the Book
Just what is a 'gay book'? -A book attracted to books of the same gender! Meet 'Bob the Book,' a gay book for sale in a Greenwich Village bookstore, where he falls in love with another book, Moishe. But a freak accident separates the young lovers. As Bob wends his way through used book bins, paper bags, knapsacks, and lecture halls, hoping to be reunited with Moishe, he meets a variety of characters, both book and human, including Angela, a widowed copy of Jane Austen's 'Mansfield Park' and two other separated lovers, Neil and Jerry, near victims of a book burning. Among their owners and readers are Alfred and Duane, whose on-again, off-again relationship unites and separates our book friends. Will Bob find Moishe? Will Jerry and Neil be reunited? Will Alfred and Duane make it work? Read 'Bob the Book' to find all the answers.