Show me the books he loves and I shall know the man far better than through mortal friends - Silas Weir MitchellI'm very glad to have Geoffrey Knight as one of my Inside Readers, and I think his list is wonderful, I know I added some books to my wish list after reading this one. And Geoffrey has also an exclusive info for all his fans, so read carefully all the list till the last book...
Hi everyone, I hope you enjoy my Top 10 GLBT List, however I have a confession to begin. With so many truly great GLBT books out there, I approached this list with the intention of making it as diverse and eclectic as possible by choosing favourites in different genres. Some are literary, some are fun; some are contemporary, some are classic; some are erotic, some just ooze homoerotica without any physical sex in them at all, just the hint of it. In doing so I know I have omitted some of the best GLBT books ever written, but I’m sure those books will get a nod of appreciation from other authors on Elisa’s site at some point down the track. Enjoy!
1) HOLDING THE MAN by Timothy Conigrave. If you haven’t read or heard of this book, please do yourself a favor and get your hands on a copy immediately! This autobiographical novel and winner of the 1995 Human Rights Award is a triumphant, tragic, inspiring, liberating, heartbreaking masterpiece! This all-too-real and honest book tells Tim’s story, of how he fell in love with John, the captain of the football team in high school (“holding the man” is an expression used in Australian Rules Football), and how their love went through good times and bad as they explored their sexuality until ultimately tragedy entered their world. When I finished reading this book I was at the beach and thankfully wearing sunglasses—I had to race into the surf to wash my sobbing tears away. Whatever book is next on your “to be read” list, make it second on the pile and read this book first. You won’t regret it!
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Cuttyhunk Books (August 31, 2007)
Publisher Link: http://www.cuttyhunk.us/HoldingtheManHome.html
Amazon: Holding the Man
Winner of the United Nations Human Rights Award for Non-Fiction. Sometimes there are second acts. When in high school Timothy Conigrave falls in love with the captain of the football team, John Caleo, the two embark on a passionate journey of love, betrayal and forgiveness. This bestselling true story is at once sexy, romantic, funny and sad - a masterpiece of authentic emotion that you won't forget. Now an international hit play adapted by Tommy Murphy, Holding the Man is a book for all readers, for all generations.
2) THE TALENTED MR RIPLEY by Patricia Highsmith. Some books (like mine) leave little to the imagine when it comes to sizzling mansex. Others, like THE TALENTED MR RIPLEY, let the heat between the characters simmer and brew, without so much as a word being said or a deed being done. And although this book isn’t strictly a GLBT novel, the sexual tension between Tom and Dickie is electric, and ultimately devastating. I’ve loved this book for a long time, and I was so pleased when the movie came out that instead of dumbing down the homoerotic tension (which Hollywood is so fond of doing), director Anthony Minghella actually turned the gay heat levels all the way up, even given Tom a male love interest other than Dickie! Bravo!
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: W.W. Norton & Co.; Reprint edition (June 17, 2008)
Publisher Link: http://books.wwnorton.com/books/detail.aspx?ID=8421
Amazon: The Talented Mr. Ripley
Ripley is back. This new publication of Patricia Highsmith's classic inaugurates the complete Ripley series at Norton. Since his debut in 1955, Tom Ripley has evolved into the ultimate bad boy sociopath, influencing countless novelists and filmmakers. In this first novel, we are introduced to suave, handsome Tom Ripley: a young striver, newly arrived in the heady world of Manhattan in the 1950s. A product of a broken home, branded a "sissy" by his dismissive Aunt Dottie, Ripley becomes enamored of the moneyed world of his new friend, Dickie Greenleaf. This fondness turns obsessive when Ripley is sent to Italy to bring back his libertine pal but grows enraged by Dickie's ambivalent feelings for Marge, a charming American dilettante. A dark reworking of Henry James's The Ambassadors, The Talented Mr. Ripley—immortalized in the 1998 film starring Matt Damon, Jude Law, and Gywneth Paltrow—is an unforgettable introduction to this debonair confidence man, whose talent for self-invention and calculated murder is chronicled in four subsequent novels.
3) THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY by Oscar Wilde. Oh what sinister fun! A morality tale wrapped up in a story dripping with homoeroticism and hedonism. I can’t imagine how much pleasure Wilde had when he wrote this story and how much went on his head that never actually made it onto the page as a result of the laws of the time. This luscious, lusty Faustian tale is so dark and delicious; discreet when it has to be, suggestive when it wants to be. And the picture I have of Dorian Gray in my mind is that of the most beautiful man on earth—yes, we’re all suckers for a bad boy, aren’t we!
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Penguin Classics; Revised edition (February 4, 2003)
Publisher Link: http://us.penguingroup.com/nf/Book/BookDisplay/0,,9780141439570,00.html?The_Picture_of_Dorian_Gray_Oscar_Wilde
Amazon: The Picture of Dorian Gray
Wilde's infamous novel of spiritual corruption. The Picture of Dorian Gray was a succès de scandale. Early readers were shocked by its hints at unspeakable sins and the book was later used as evidence against Wilde at the Old Bailey in 1895. Enthralled by his own exquisite portrait, Dorian Gray makes a Faustian bargain to sell his soul in exchange for eternal youth and beauty. Under the influence of Lord Henry Wotton, he is drawn into a corrupt double life, where he is able to indulge his desires while remaining a gentleman in the eyes of polite society. Only Dorian's picture bears the traces of his decadence. A knowing account of a secret life and an analysis of the darker side of late Victorian society. The Picture of Dorian Gray offers a disturbing portrait of an individual coming face to face with the reality of his soul.
4) TALES OF THE CITY by Armistead Maupin. Does every gay man start their gay reading with this book? Possibly the answer is yes, and I think that’s a wonderful thing. It’s funny but real, risky but ultimately safe (like a mother’s approving hug), and it captures a moment in time that is the foundation of contemporary gay society. For any gay man who realizes and respects how significant the 70s were for gay life, owning this book is just as important as owning CAN’T STOP THE MUSIC by the Village People or cherishing those Tom of Finland drawings.
Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Harper Perennial (May 29, 2007)
Publisher Link: http://www.harpercollins.com/books/9780061358302/Tales_of_the_City/index.aspx
Amazon: Tales of the City: A Novel (P.S.)
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.
5) THE SECRET TUNNEL by James Lear. You can’t help but feel that Agatha Christie would love to be seated next to James Lear on a long train trip, through scenic mountains and dark tunnels, with hours to observe and gossip and draw conclusions together. As a huge Agatha Christie fan, I loved how James tips his hat to Christie’s MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS, before jamming it full of horny men, bawdy sex and a devil may care attitude—and with a mystery thrown in to boot! James writes so swiftly, so wittily, I can’t help but grin with jealousy and pleasure!
Paperback: 325 pages
Publisher: Cleis Press (October 1, 2008)
Publisher Link: http://www.cleispress.com/book_page.php?book_id=276
Amazon: The Secret Tunnel
Mitch Mitchell is back! All aboard the Flying Scotsman as the horny hero of The Back Passage tackles a new case that mixes murder, mystery and mansex. Handsome, muscular Edward "Mitch" Mitchell made a splash in James Lear's spicy variation on the British cozy mystery, The Back Passage. Now he's back in this steamy send-up of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express, travelling from Edinburgh to London for a reunion with his ex, "Boy" Morgan. All aboard the Flying Scotsman for a ride that's anything but smooth, as Mitch discovers his fellow travellers include Belgian power bottom Bertrand, sleazy starlet Daisy Athenasy and her butch publicist Peter Dickinson. Add to the recipe a group of kilt-wearing soldiers, some very accommodating railway workers and a dead body tumbling out of the toilet, and you have a magical mix of comedy, mystery and non-stop sex.
6) PERFECT FREEDOM by Gordon Merrick. Growing up, I adored locking myself away with a good, trashy Jackie Collins or Judith Krantz novel—in fact MISTRAL’S DAUGHTER was one of the books that made me want to be a novelist. I love larger-than-life drama and tales of rags-to-riches or hags-to-bitches as some cases may be. So when I found Gordon Merrick’s PERFECT FREEDOM I was in heaven. Interwoven through the story of the rise and fall of the sunkissed Mediterranean-based Cosling family is the story of their gorgeous son Robbie and his sexual awakening as a young gay man. Trashy, romantic, melodramatic, scandalous, wonderful! If you can spot the soap opera undertones hiding beneath the high adventure in my books, now you know why!
Paperback: 456 pages
Publisher: Alyson Books; 1st Alyson Ed edition (July 15, 1999)
Amazon: Perfect Freedom
Gordon Merrick has created with his novel "Perfect Freedom" one of the best gay novels to date. It is a wonderfull story about the Cosling family i.c. Stuart, Helene and their son Robbie. Merrick describes their climb and struggle to fortune, their wealthy life-style during the 30's at St-Tropez and the Greek Islands and their downfall at the beginning of WWII. During the reading of the book, the Coslings will become a real family to the reader. You will laugh, cry, party, make love with them and finally participate in the downfall with such an intensity that when you have reached the last page your head is spinning from all the emotions you have endured. At end you will realise that, whatever happens, life will go on! St-Tropez will never look the same the next time you may visit it! Highly recommended.
7) BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN by Annie Proulx. When I read this book years ago, the sparseness of the story just seemed to rip more gaping holes in my already aching heart! For such a short story it tells such a huge tale of regret and love lost. Just like the best special effects in a movie are the ones you don’t even know are there, in this book it’s the dialogue that is never said, the intentions that are never acted upon, and the words that only seem to exist between the lines that make this such a haunting, impactful, heart-wrenching story.
Paperback: 64 pages
Publisher: Scribner; movie tie-in edition edition (November 1, 2005)
Publisher Link: http://books.simonandschuster.com/Brokeback-Mountain/Annie-Proulx/9780743271325
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.
8) SS MANN HUNT by William Maltese. This book opens with a plane about to crash into the South American jungle carrying two handsome Nazi-hunting adventurers on board (one dark-haired, one blond, both sweat-saturated)! Ah, so now we know where Geoff’s love of gay pulp adventure came from! Yes, William Maltese opened my heart to gay adventure, and while my style and adventures are quite different to his, I had to take the opportunity to acknowledge his unbridled passion for action (both physical and sexual) with books like GOLDSANDS, BEYOND MACHU, EMERALD SILK, JUNGLE QUEST and so many more!
Paperback: 178 pages
Publisher: MLR Press, LLC (June 16, 2009)
Publisher Link: http://www.mlrbooks.com/ShowBook.php?book=SSMANHNT
Amazon: SS Mann Hunt
FATHER. FIEND? SCIENTIST. BUTCHER? PATRIOT. NAZI? Sebastian S. Mann, prominent member of post-WWII U.S. rocket development, has gone missing with other expedition members supposedly caving in South America. Having done so just days before revelations that he may have been responsible for the deaths of over two-hundred thousand gays, Jews, gypsies, and Romanian freedom fighters. Years later, the male heirs of three missing members of Mann's lost expedition meet up in deep Brazilian jungle to explore evidence finally turned up of their fathers' possibly last campsite. Brad Lexly and Kurt Mann, childhood friends and lovers, rekindle their previous passionate relationship but know its success, beyond the isolating jungle environment, depends upon an acceptable explanation for Sebastian Mann's disappearance. More dangerous people than they, though, seek answers, too, and also provide definite possibilities for this expedition ending up just as missing as the one gone before it.
9) LOADED by Christos Tsiolkas. This story of culture, sexuality and secrecy packs an unforgettable punch! Unable to admit his homosexuality to his fiercely Greek family, the book’s young anti-hero, Ari, trades any hope of love or self-acceptance for a string of physically brutal, soul-destroying random gay hook-ups. Unlike many stories like this where the protagonist often turns to a life on the street, the interesting thing about Ari is he still has very strong ties to his family and refuses to leave them; he simply cannot figure out a way for his sexuality and his culture to co-exist. I’ve met my fellow Aussie author Christos Tsiolkas at several book readings and he is a gentle and caring soul, yet here he has written an unflinching, relentless, sexually-charged and often savage account of one young man’s downward spiral into self-destruction as a result of his inability to come to terms with who he is. This is a truly powerful and hard-hitting novel.
Paperback: 15 pages
Publisher: Random House USA Inc (December 1996)
Publisher Link: http://www.randomhouse.com.au/Books/Default.aspx?Page=Book&ID=9780091831080
The first novel from the author of the bestselling THE SLAP. Families can detonate. Some families are torn apart forever by one small act, one solitary mistake. In my family it was a series of small explosions; consistent, passionate, pathetic. Cruel words, crude threats... We spurred each other on till we reached a crescendo of pain and we retired exhaused to our rooms, in tears or in fury. Ari is nineteen, unemployed and a poofter who doesn't want to be gay. He is looking for something - anything - to take him away from his aimless existence in suburban Melbourne. He doesn't believe in anyone or anything, except the power of music. All he wants to do is dance, take drugs, have sex and change the world. For Ari, all the orthodoxies of family, sex, politics and work have collapsed. Caught between the traditional Greek world of his parents and friends and the alluring, destructive world of clubs, chemicals and anonymous sex, all Ari can do is ease his pain in the only ways he knows how. Written in stark, uncompromising prose, Loaded is a first novel of great passion and power.
10) THE DARCY BOYS AND THE CASE OF THE SECRET SKULLS by A.J. Ryan. Okay, I’m going to be very mischeivous here! For while the Darcy Boys go through all sorts of saucy pickles to solve the deadly and deliriously funny Case of the Secret Skulls (and still make it home for a champage cocktail), I have a secret of my own to divulge. A.J. Ryan is actually my pen name. But however cheeky it seems to add this book to the list, I can’t help but admit that this naughty little novelette was written by my Muse (whoever and wherever he or she is!) Proofing and reading and editing your own work can be very tedious (for me, the fun part is coming up with the story and getting it down on paper), but for some reason I can read the Darcy Boys adventures until my cheeks hurt from laughing. Is that horn-blowing? Probably. But it’s also hot, horny, hilarious fun. The Darcy Boys always brighten up my day!
Paperback: 44 pages
Publisher: Eternal Press (October 19, 2009)
Publisher Link: http://www.eternalpress.ca/thedarcyboys.html
Amazon: The Darcy Boys and the Case of the Secret Skulls
Step-brothers Tommy and Dash Darcy have only just met, and already they're stuck together for the summer while their parents disappear on a honeymoon abroad. What else are two sexy, strapping lads to do but solve a murderous mystery on a college campus full of hot male virgins who are dropping dead at an alarming rate?
So there you have it! Secrets, scandals, sorrow, sex, a little self-promotion and a lot of steamy gay fun. Thanks for joining me with the books that have made me laugh, made me cry, given my goosebumps, but ultimately have made me proud to be a gay man and a gay author.
About Geoffrey Knight: If you want to uncover a world of mysteries, maps, horny hunks and deadly traps, check out Geoffrey Knight’s two Fathom’s Five adventures—THE CROSS OF SINS and THE RIDDLE OF THE SANDS—available on Amazon now. Or for the hunky comic crime adventure of THE DARCY BOYS AND THE CASE OF THE SECRET SKULLS, or for the sizzling, fang-filled suspense of Geoffrey’s two vampire tales—MIAMI MOON and CAIRO CATWALK—check out A.J. Ryan on Amazon or Eternal Press.
The Riddle of the Sands
Paperback: 264 pages
Publisher: Cleis Press (October 1, 2009)
Publisher Link: http://www.cleispress.com/book_page.php?book_id=328
Amazon: Riddle of the Sands
Hot gay tomb raiders. Blackmailed by Jake's nemesis—the vengeful Pierre Perron—Professor Fathom's team of gay adventure-hunters is sent on a seemingly impossible mission. Will they uncover the legendary Riddle of the Sands in time to save one of their own from a rare and deadly poison? Is the Riddle a myth, a mirage, or the greatest engineering feat in the history of ancient Egypt?