December 31st, 2012

andrew potter

Best LGBT Young Adult / Coming of Age: The Zero Knot by K.Z. Snow

Unexpected story. Maybe for the author, maybe for the publisher, I was expecting it to be more pretty, more kinky, less intense. And as usual, when you surprise me it’s totally a positive thing.

Even if The Zero Knot is about young adults on the upper side of teenagehood, it’s not really about sex or similar, and more about discovery and first love. Jess is one of the cool kids, he hangs around with other kids, pretending to be pansexual, i.e. goofing around with other kids and putting on the troubled kid show. And maybe he would have even some reason to be, his parents divorced, his mother left him to his dad, his older brother in the army during wartime… but after all, Jess is a good kid, his father is a good man, and even his estranged mother is not so bad after all. Jess’s biggest problem is that, while it’s easy to pretend being a cool kid, it’s not so easy to be true to himself and admit he is gay, and that he is starting to feel something important for his friend Dylan.

On the other side Dylan, the quite kid, the silent one, has real trouble going on: still at home, and with no prospect to going to college at the end of the summer like Jess, he cannot admit to his uber conservative parents he is gay, or he will find himself on the streets. Plus his unrequited love interest, Jess, will soon leave for another city and broader horizons. No sense dragging him down to his small town existence.

Of course life doesn’t listen to teenagers, and it has its own plans. There is a little bit of drama, there is a whole lot of tenderness, and two kids that, after all, are more lucky than many others; life maybe is putting some obstacles on their path, but nothing so huge they cannot face with little effort. And then a brighter future is awaiting them.

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=2566

Amazon: The Zero Knot
Amazon Kindle: The Zero Knot
Paperback: 222 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (October 14, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1613722044
ISBN-13: 978-1613722046



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


Cover Art by Anne Cain

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andrew potter

Gay New York: Henry Gerber (June 29, 1892 - December 31, 1972)

Henry Gerber (June 29, 1892–December 31, 1972) was the founder of Chicago’s Society for Human Rights in 1924, the first gay rights organization in the United States.

Henry Gerber was born in Bavaria as Joseph Henry Dittmar on June 29, 1892, and arrived at Ellis Island in October, 1913. With members of his family, he moved to Chicago because of its large German population. After working briefly at Montgomery Ward, he was interned as an alien during World War I. He wrote that although this was not right, he did receive three meals a day. From 1920 to 1923 he served with the U.S. Army of Occupation of Germany and during this time, he came into contact with the German homosexual emancipation movement. He subscribed to German homophile magazines and was in contact with Magnus Hirschfeld's Scientific-Humanitarian Community in Berlin. In 1924, Gerber returned to Chicago and was hired by the post office. Gerber's return to Chicago was amidst a backdrop of urbanization and an emerging gay subculture.

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Source: http://www.glhalloffame.org/index.pl?item=18&todo=view_item
Even more striking is that a movement for the rights of homosexuals had existed in Germany since the end of the nineteenth century, which at least some gay men, such as the writer Henry Gerber and the composer Charles Tomlinson Griffes, encountered while in Europe before or during the war. Inspired by such European models, Gerber organized a short-lived homosexual-rights group in Chicago in 1924, upon his return from the war (it was promptly suppressed by the police), and although Griffes did not take so dramatic a step, he told his New York friends about the work of the German homosexual emancipationist Magnus Hirschfeld and about how the German movement and Edward Carpenter's books had helped him think more positively about his homosexuality. It is likely that thousands of American gay men were similarly affected by their encounter with a culture in which homosexuals experienced a greater degree of tolerance and had begun to speak and organize on their own behalf, much as thousands of African-American servicemen were politicized by their experience of living in a less racist society while fighting to defend "American democracy". A decade after his return from Europe, and seven years after his fledging Society for Human Rights had been crushed, Henry Gerber denounced American attitudes by contrasting them with those of a supposedly enlightened Europe. Many "homosexuals live in happy, blissful unions, especially in Europe, where homosexuals are unmolested as long as they mind their own business", he insisted in a 1932 essay published in the journal of opinion Modern Thinker, "and are not, as in England and in the United States, driven to the underworld of perversions and crime for satisfaction of their very real craving for love". --Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay Male World, 1890-1940 by George Chauncey
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andrew potter

Kenneth Searight (December 1883 – 1957)

Kenneth Searight (born Arthur Kenneth Searight) (December, 1883–1957) was the creator of the international auxiliary language Sona. His book Sona; an auxiliary neutral language outlines the language's grammar and vocabulary. Encounters with Searight also influenced English author E.M. Forster's world-view, particularly with regard to soldiers.

Searight was born in Kensington, England in December 1883. He attended Charterhouse School (a boarding school) for his childhood and teenage years. In 1904 he received a commission into the Queen's Own Western Kent Regiment, and was stationed for several years in India. It was here that he befriended English author E.M. Forster (A Passage to India) and Cambridge don G.L. Dickinson. His regiment was later reassigned to Iraq, and then to Egypt. Searight also enjoyed leave time around the Mediterranean Sea—especially in Italy.

It was during this extensive travel that Searight developed his interest in linguistics and his familiarity with Middle Eastern and Far Eastern languages and cultures.

Searight retired to Rome in 1926. In 1934 he contacted Charles Kay Ogden to discuss publishing the Sona book. Ogden was the creator of a modified version of English known as "Basic English", which consisted of a reduced vocabulary (only 850 words) and simplified grammar. Ogden was also the editor of the Psyche Miniatures series at Cambridge University, and he approved and published the Sona book, as well as writing an introduction for it.

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Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenneth_Searight

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andrew potter

Wallflowers by Sean Michael

Sometime I’m interested in seeing how an author deals with disability in a romance, and so I picked this novella by Sean Michael about a relationship between a young blind man and his former college boyfriend with particular focus. I liked that the author didn’t downplayed the quiet anger DJ was mounting: afflicted by a progressive blindness, DJ was sighted until college and then he slowly but steadily became totally blind. DJ projects a “zen” attitude on the outside, but you can feel he is angry with the life, with his fate and yes, also with Ryan.

Ryan and DJ had an affair in college, but Ryan was not ready to come out and when the college ended so did their relationship. I’m not sure Ryan would have ever considered to search for DJ if not for the chance they have to meet at the marriage party of their common frat buddy. Ryan didn’t know about DJ’s blindness, but that is not the reason why he has trouble in rekindling their relationship. Having sex and enjoying a no strings attached flirt is one thing, coming out to their friends, and then to his colleagues is completely another matter.

The romance is warm and comfortable, the sex good and healthy. As I said, I liked that DJ felt real, able to be open with his feelings, if they were good but also bad. Ryan hadn’t to wonder what was DJ’s problem, because the man was ready to tell him, to ask for respect to him and to their relationship. If Ryan wanted him, then he had to claim him totally and completely.

http://www.amberquill.com/AmberAllure/Wallflowers.html

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

This journal is friends only. This entry was originally posted at http://reviews-and-ramblings.dreamwidth.org/3410968.html. If you are not friends on this journal, Please comment there using OpenID.