October 26th, 2012

andrew potter

The Inside Reader: Kergan Edwards-Stout

Show me the books he loves and I shall know the man far better than through mortal friends - Silas Weir Mitchell
It was long that I haven't an Inside Reader in this journal and I'm really glad that Kergan Edwards-Stout has joined me today to share with us his favorite books. I met Kergan at the Rainbow Book Fair in NYC and his Songs for the New Depression is a Rainbow Awards submission (fingers crossed for him), but this novel has already won the 2012 Indie Book Award in the LGBTQ category, was shortlisted in the same category for the 2011 Independent Literary Awards, and is available now in paperback, hardcover and e-Book formats. If you want to discover the new novel Kirkus Reviews calls "an engaging debut," and Frontiers Magazine notes is "simply stunning.", just leave a comment on this post, I will draw a winner and Kergan will send you a print copy (so be aware that you need to provide an home address, so please, don't leave anonymous comments, so that I can contact you).

And now please welcome Kergan Edwards-Stout!

My favorite reads are likely not on many other author’s top lists, as they’re not the most high-minded of books. Instead, they are a mixed grab-bag, evoking specific memories of places and times. Some meant a lot upon initial read, and others add layers, the more I read them. Here are my top 5, in no particular order, though I may regret the admission of some!

1. The Tales of the City Series by Armistead Maupin: It is impossible for me to begin a list of favorites without first mentioning the entire Tales of the City series. While not the first LGBT books I read, this series spoke to me in an identifiable way, which few others have, before or since. Originally a compendium of six (Tales of the City, More Tales of the City, Further Tales of the City, Babycakes, Significant Others, and Sure of You), latter tales such as Michael Tolliver Lives and Mary Ann in Autumn are an extenuation of the whole, in my mind, and cannot be separated from the rest.
The initial story of Mary Ann Singleton, a single career gal venturing into the cosmopolitan world of San Francisco, is an intoxicating story, filled with humor, surprise, and inevitable tears. But Maupin isn’t content to stop with just that. In each succeeding book, he draws you further into the world of Mary Ann and her many friends, Mouse, Brian, Mona, DeeDee, Mrs. Madrigal, and the others, in a simple, straight-forward manner, allowing this rag-tag band to feel more like family than anything else. I first began reading the collection just after high school, in 1983, and even today, the news of a new Tale is enough to perk my spirits.

Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Harper Perennial (May 29, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0061358304
ISBN-13: 978-0061358302

For more than three decades Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City has blazed its own trail through popular culture—from a groundbreaking newspaper serial to a classic novel, to a television event that entranced millions around the world. The first of six novels about the denizens of the mythic apartment house at 28 Barbary Lane, Tales is both a sparkling comedy of manners and an indelible portrait of an era that changed forever the way we live.

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About Kergan Edwards-Stout: Edwards-Stout is an award-winning director, author and screenwriter.

His debut novel, Songs for the New Depression, won the 2012 Next Generation Indie Book Award in the LGBTQ category, was short-listed for the 2011 Independent Literary Award in the same, and is available in paperback, hardcover, and eBook. Inspired by his years of working at AIDS Project Los Angeles, as well as the loss of a partner to the disease, Songs for the New Depression takes its readers on a compelling journey to personal awakening. It has been called “Simply stunning” by Frontiers Magazine and received high critical acclaim.

Shorter works, including essays and short stories, have appeared in such journals and magazines as Huffingon Post, Bilerico Project, American Short Fiction and SexVibe. His screenplays have placed highly in competition, including the Nicholl’s Fellowship, Writer’s Digest, and Amazon Studios.

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Songs for the New Depression by Kergan Edwards-Stout
Paperback: 270 pages
Publisher: Circumspect Press (October 25, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0983983704
ISBN-13: 978-0983983705
Amazon: Songs for the New Depression

Gabriel Travers knows he's dying; he just can't prove it. Despite his doctor's proclamations to the contrary and rumors of a promising new HIV drug cocktail, all it takes is one glance into the mirror to tell Gabe everything he needs to know. His ass, once the talk of West Hollywood, now looks suspiciously like a Shar-Pei, prompting even more talk around town.

Back in his 20's, life had been so easy. Caught up in the 1980's world of LOVE! MONEY! SEX!, Gabe thought he'd have it all. But every effort to better himself ended in self-sabotage, and every attempt at love left him with only a fake number, scrawled on a realtor's notepad.

The only happiness he could remember was in high school, where he'd met Keith, his first love. Only Keith had recognized the goodness within, and knew of the brutal attack Gabe had faced, the effects of which still rule his life today.

Now almost 40, and with the clock ticking, Gabe begins to finally peel back the layers and tackle his demons - with a little help from the music of the Divine Miss M and his mom's new wife, a country music-loving priest.
andrew potter

Broken Bones, Mended Hearts by William Cooper

If you are worried by the title, don’t be, even if there are indeed broken bones, the story is mostly sweet and tender, almost innocent sometime, considering these boys make love, but it’s such a natural thing that it felt like two boys playing a game.

Noah and Mark have always been best friends, since Noah was 6 and Mark 8 years old; Mark was always Noah’s protector, and nothing changed when Noah came out to Mark, even if Mark has always been a ladies’ guy. When Noah is gay bashed on the way back to the student apartment they share in college, Mark feels responsible, and I think part of his decision is due also to that, I think Mark decides to be Noah’s boyfriend to avoid Noah further dangerous situation. But I also felt that for Mark everything is natural, he doesn’t label himself as straight or gay or bisexual, he simply loves someone, and his love for Noah is bigger than everything else.

Of course when Mark proposes him, Noah has nothing against it, after all he has always been in love with his best friend. Being intimate on a physical way with Mark is a dream comes true, but that was the only thing they missed, since for all other aspects, they shared everything. As I said, being boyfriends seemed a natural step on the evolution of their relationship; and in the end, they are so young that basically they are still developing their adult personality, and so I took this as simply another step in their growth.

I also appreciated how the author managed the coming out to Noah's father, it was not dramatic, as right for the sweet and kind tone of this story, but at the same time it was not "easy", there was just the rigth level of tension.


Reading List: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading list&view=elisa.rolle