November 19th, 2010

andrew potter

The Inside Reader: Catherine Ryan Hyde

Show me the books he loves and I shall know the man far better than through mortal friends - Silas Weir Mitchell
With this Inside Reader List serial I wanted to accomplish two purposes, giving the chance to non-author readers to know a little better their favorite authors, and the favorite books of these authors, and also giving the chance to all the spectrum of the LGBT fiction world to have a dispay window. Catherine Ryan Hyde was an author I discovered through the Top 100 Gay Books list I'm maintaining, Becoming Chloe is part of it, but Catherine Ryan Hyde is also the author of Transgender novel, like the her new book, Jumpstart the World. So please welcome Catherine Ryan Hyde and her list.

Catherine Ryan Hyde's Inside Reader List (LGBT)

Rubyfruit Jungle, by Rita Mae Brown

To me, Rubyfruit Jungle was the opening act of the Renaissance in LGBT lit. Before that, I was at the library searching out dusty tomes from the 20s and 30s like “The Well of Loneliness,” and then, wholly unable to get through them, trying to decide if they were more boring or more depressing (hint: sometimes it’s a tie). Rubyfruit Jungle was different. It was alive. It was normal. It was like opening a window and letting air into a painfully stuffy room. I breathed as if I hadn’t breathed in years. I probably hadn’t. I was about 18 when this novel came to be. I would have liked it a couple of years earlier. Better late than never.

Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Bantam; 18th mass market printing edition (April 1, 1983)
ISBN-10: 055327886X
ISBN-13: 978-0553278866
Amazon: Rubyfruit Jungle

Bawdy and moving, the ultimate word-of-mouth bestseller, Rubyfruit Jungle is about growing up a lesbian in America--and living happily ever after.

Dissonance, by Lisa Lenard-Cook

This is a rather lesser-known title. I might not have known about it had I not been asked to blurb it. And even in places where it’s known, it might not tend to be shelved under LGBT fiction. But it deserves to be. I can’t tell you too much about why, because it would be a spoiler. Let’s just call it a fabulous, on-the-literary-side novel with a lovely LGBT payoff as icing on the cake.

Hardcover: 196 pages
Publisher: University of New Mexico Press; 1 edition (October 1, 2003)
ISBN-10: 0826330908
ISBN-13: 978-0826330901
Amazon: Dissonance: A Novel

When Anna Kramer, a piano teacher in Los Alamos, New Mexico, inherits the journals and scores of composer Hana Weissova, she is mystified by this bequest from a woman she does not know. As Kramer begins to play Weissova's music, however, some of her forgotten emotions resurface. Upon reading the dead woman's journals, which begin in 1945 after Weissova is released from a concentration camp, decades-old secrets that Kramer and her family have kept buried are uncovered.

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About Catherine Ryan Hyde: Catherine Ryan Hyde is the author of 16 published and forthcoming books, and is therefore perplexed over being known almost entirely for the 11-year-old Pay It Forward. Actually, she wouldn’t mind being known only for that one book, but being known for its less-than-faithful movie adaptation is often profoundly depressing. She tries to be cheerful about this turn of events, but notes that some days are harder than others.

The books she wants to be known for include (but are not limited to) Becoming Chloe, Love in the Present Tense, The Year of My Miraculous Reappearance, Chasing Windmills, The Day I Killed James, and Diary of a Witness.

In the UK, where she’s noticeably more famous than in her home country, she is also known for the novels When I Found You and the brand new Second Hand Heart.

She wouldn’t mind being known for her short stories, not one bit. More than 50 have been published in The Antioch Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, The Virginia Quarterly Review, Ploughshares, Glimmer Train and numerous other journal. Many have received honors and awards.

Her newest novel is Jumpstart the World, a Young Adult novel on the subject of transgender. She hopes to be known for Jumpstart the World in the foreseeable future, which, considering its early reception, is not outside the realm of possibility.

Oh, yes. And she also wrote Pay It Forward.

Jumpstart the World by Catherine Ryan Hyde
Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 192 pages
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (October 12, 2010)
ISBN-10: 0375866655
ISBN-13: 978-0375866654
Amazon: Jumpstart the World

Elle is a loner. She doesn’t need people. Which is a good thing, because she’s on her own: she had to move into her own apartment so her mother’s boyfriend won’t have to deal with her.

Then she meets Frank, the guy who lives next door. He’s older and has a girlfriend, but Elle can’t stop thinking about him. Frank isn’t like anyone Elle has ever met. He listens to her. He’s gentle. And Elle is falling for him, hard.
But Frank is different in a way that Elle was never prepared for: he’s transgender. And when Elle learns the truth, her world is turned upside down. Now she’ll have to search inside herself to find not only the true meaning of friendship but her own role in jumpstarting the world.

Tender, honest, and compassionate, Jumpstart the World is a stunning story to make you laugh, cry, and honor the power of love.
andrew potter

A Realistic Romance by Andi Anderson

Actually, this is not really a “realistic” romance, but that is not a bad thing: this novel by Andi Anderson is pretty much a show business themed story about an unlikely love story between a rock star and a librarian, and as always with unlikely romance, the happily ever after is even more romantic.

Merrick is a rock star on the sunset boulevard, even if he is only 32 years old; he needs publicity, and he needs it pretty soon, and the faster way is to join a reality show: he signs to live 24/7 in an isolated cabin with a complete stranger. Of course, since Merrick is a playboy rock star, always with some bimbo beside him, the right choice is to put him together with a gay librarian, that is at the opposite of him. Only that the show hasn’t realized that Merrick is deeply in the closet, and the gay librarian is a pretty little thing that will tempt Merrick from that moment on.

There is really no question that they will have a relationship, neither 1 week and Merrick has already kissed Sammy, and after that is pretty much a short step to a full sexual relationship consumed in the bathroom, the only place where there are no camera and they can take off the microphone… it would be interesting to be on the other side of the television screen, on the mind of the people who are seeing Merrick and Sammy disappear more than one time per day together in the bathroom…

Even if Merrick and Sammy should be at the opposite, actually they are not so much different: they are both young and romantic, and Merrick is not at all the sex, drugs and rock and roll type; true, he smokes and he plays rock and roll, and indead he does also sex, plenty of that, but he has this aurea of lost soul who invites people to cuddle him; he is not able to be mean, and basically he let it go every possible chance of fight; even when he is attacked, he doesn’t react, but he cashes the blow and hurts in silence.

For the above reason, Sammy, that is basically an happy-to-go guy, always with a smile on his face and a very caring attitude, is the perfect partner for Merrick; Sammy is the classical type who is the perfect house-husband, hot dinner always ready, warm body also, and cuddling before, in the middle and after. I didn’t detach in him a mean bone, and neither selfishness or greediness; by the way, both of men will gain a million dollar each from this experience, but no one mentions the money as a reason for doing it, even if, sincerely, it’s an interesting amount that can change the life.

For some reader who thinks the feminine man doesn’t exist, A Realistic Romance maybe is too much: Sammy not only is feminine in body, he has without doubt also a feminine predisposition in his day-to-day life (of the old-fashioned feminine type, the house-wife type) and in bed (he is always the one to receive, in any meaning of the word, sometime it was like, hey Merrick, do you part as a man, I will lie here waiting and enjoying); but as I always say to the detractors of the feminine man, people, believe me, they exist, and are also wonderful men.

Amazon Kindle: A Realistic Romance

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