Show me the books he loves and I shall know the man far better than through mortal friends - Silas Weir MitchellJim "J.P." Bowie is one of those authors that is always a pleasure to speak with. I don't know if it's possible only by an email, but I really think to "feel" the English gentleman in him. And then, his glittering past life in the show business, well, it makes him even a more interesting man to talk with. I think Jim's Inside Reader list is a mix of modern and classic, mainstream and romance, in few words, it's all him.
J.P. Bowie's Inside Reader List:
The following list is not in any kind of order—these are books I’ve enjoyed and read more than once. Of course there are many more I could list here. Perhaps another time…
1 & 2) The Geography Club by Brent Hartinger and Rainbow Boys by Alex Sanchez: I consider both these books to be ‘must reads’ for gay or questioning teens and their parents —and for everyone else as well. The stories follow the lives of gay teens, trying to find their place in the world, bonding with unlikely friends, and coming to terms with their sexuality—in some cases, a slow and painful realization. Both books are beautifully written, and tug at the heartstrings without being overly sentimental.
Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: HarperTeen (February 17, 2004)
Publisher Link: http://www.harperteen.com/books/9780060012236/Geography_Club/index.aspx
Amazon: The Geography Club
Russel Middlebrook is convinced he's the only gay kid at Goodkind High School. Then his online gay chat buddy turns out to be none other than Kevin, the popular but closeted star of the school's baseball team. Soon Russel meets other gay students, too. There's his best friend Min, who reveals that she is bisexual, and her soccer–playing girlfriend Terese. Then there's Terese's politically active friend, Ike. But how can kids this diverse get together without drawing attention to themselves? "We just choose a club that's so boring, nobody in their right mind would ever in a million years join it. We could call it Geography Club!" Brent Hartinger's debut novel is a fast–paced, funny, and trenchant portrait of contemporary teenagers who may not learn any actual geography in their latest club, but who learn plenty about the treacherous social terrain of high school and the even more dangerous landscape of the human heart.
Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Simon Pulse (May 1, 2003)
Publisher Link: http://books.simonandschuster.com/Rainbow-Boys/Alex-Sanchez/9780689857706
Amazon: Rainbow Boys
Jason Carrillo is a jock with a steady girlfriend, but he can't stop dreaming about sex...with other guys. Kyle Meeks doesn't look gay, but he is. And he hopes he never has to tell anyone -- especially his parents. Nelson Glassman is "out" to the entire world, but he can't tell the boy he loves that he wants to be more than just friends. Three teenage boys, coming of age and out of the closet. In a revealing debut novel that percolates with passion and wit, Alex Sanchez follows these very different high-school seniors as their struggles with sexuality and intolerance draw them into a triangle of love, betrayal, and ultimately, friendship.
3 & 4) Tales of the City and Michael Tolliver Lives by Armistead Maupin: I was completely captivated by Maupin’s Tales of the City — a series of books revolving around the inhabitants of an apartment building in San Francisco run by an eccentric landlady, Anna Madrigal, who regards her tenants as her adopted children. Every character, Michael (Mouse) Tolliver, Mary Ann Singleton, Anna’s daughter Mona etc., come to vivid and endearing life within the pages. The series was addictive and hard to give up, and was the inspiration behind my own foray into this crazy world of writing. Many years later Maupin wrote Michael Tolliver Lives when an aging Michael, loving and living with a younger man, finds his past catching up with him as he is forced to face the complexities of his family’s, and long-lost friends’, issues.
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
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.
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Harper Perennial (May 20, 2008)
Publisher Link: http://www.harpercollins.com/books/9780060761363/Michael_Tolliver_Lives/index.aspx
Amazon: Michael Tolliver Lives
Nearly two decades after ending his groundbreaking Tales of the City saga of San Francisco life, Armistead Maupin revisits his all-too-human hero Michael Tolliver—the fifty-five-year-old sweet-spirited gardener and survivor of the plague that took so many of his friends and lovers—for a single day at once mundane and extraordinary . . . and filled with the everyday miracles of living.
5) Dry by Augusten Burroughs: Burroughs soul searing honesty regarding his alcoholism is what kept me turning page after page of this haunting memoir. There is no self pity here, no whining, just a blunt appraisal of the mess he was making of his life. Riveting. All his memoirs are exceptional reads, e.g. Running With Scissors, but Dry remains my favorite.
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Picador (April 1, 2004)
Publisher Link: http://us.macmillan.com/dry
From the bestselling author of Running with Scissors comes Dry—the hilarious, moving, and no less bizarre account of what happened next. You may not know it, but you've met Augusten Burroughs. You've seen him on the street, in bars, on the subway, at restaurants: a twenty-something guy, nice suit, works in advertising. Regular. Ordinary. But when the ordinary person had to drinks, Augusten was circling the drain by having twelve; when the ordinary person went home at midnight, Augusten never went home at all. Loud, distracting ties, automated wake-up calls, and cologne on the tongue could only hide so much for so long. At the request (well, it wasn't really a request) of his employers, Augusten landed in rehab, where his dreams of group therapy with Robert Downey, Jr., are immediately dashed by the grim reality of fluorescent lighting and paper hospital slippers. But when Augusten is forced to examine himself, something actually starts to click, and that's when he finds himself in the worst trouble of all. Because when his thirty days are up, he has to return to his same drunken Manhattan life—and live it sober. What follows is a memoir that's as moving as it is funny, as heartbreaking as it is real. Dry is the story of love, loss, and Starbucks as a higher power.
6) Whistling in the Dark by Tamara Allen: This story about two World One vets who meet by chance and together become involved in the world of music and the early days of radio broadcasting is an outstanding read. The author captures the essence of the period beautifully, and her character depiction of both villains and good guys really brings them to life. I keep looking for the sequel!
Paperback: 340 pages
Publisher: Lethe Press; New edition (January 3, 2009)
Publisher Link: http://lethepressbooks.com/gay.htm#allen-whistling-in-the-dark
Amazon: Whistling in the Dark
His career as a concert pianist ended by a war injury, Sutton Albright returns to college, only to be expelled after an affair with a teacher. Unable to face his family, he heads to New York with no plans and little money—only a desire to call his life his own. Jack Bailey lost his parents to influenza and now hopes to save the family novelty shop by advertising on the radio, a medium barely more than a novelty, itself. His nights are spent in a careless and debauched romp through the gayer sections of Manhattan. When these two men cross paths, despite a world of differences separating them, their attraction cannot be denied. Sutton finds himself drawn to the piano, playing for Jack. But can his music heal them both, or will sudden prosperity jeopardize their chance at love?
7) All Through the Night by Suzanne Brockman: I’ve loved Brockman’s stories of her Navy SEALS since their inception – and of course have cheered her for the continuing story of Jules Cassidy, the gay FBI agent featured in many of the books. All Through the Night bring Jules, his lover, A-list movie star, Robin Chadwick, to the forefront as they prepare to get married in Boston, Massachusetts, while trying to overcome the events and people that stand in the way of their life together. Kudos to Brockman for bringing a gay romance to a mostly hetero genre.
Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Ballantine Books; Reprint edition (November 25, 2008)
Amazon: All Through the Night
It’s Christmastime in Boston, and this year the silver bells will be wedding bells as FBI agent Jules Cassidy ties the knot with the man of his dreams, Hollywood heartthrob Robin Chadwick. The pair plan a quiet, intimate ceremony, to be witnessed by family and close friends from the FBI, SEAL Team Sixteen, and Troubleshooters, Incorporated, including Sam Starrett and Alyssa Locke. But the holiday season brings more to the happy couple than they expect. A waterfall coming through their kitchen ceiling, a bat colony in the attic, old family tensions . . . even an international incident can’t dampen their spirits. But add to that a parade of unexpected guests, including a reporter looking for a scoop, an ex-lover hell-bent on causing trouble, and a dangerous stalker, and suddenly the wedding is poised to unravel in chaos. But nothing will stop Jules and Robin from getting their happy ending, because along with a guest list featuring the most elite counterterrorism force in the world, they have their own secret weapon–true love.
8) Mexican Heat by Laura Baumbach and Josh Lanyon: Possibly one of the best gay detective stories I’ve ever read. Baumbach and Lanyon keep you on the edge of your seat, and turning page after page as they skillfully weave the love affair of Gabriel Sandalini, a feisty undercover cop, and Antonio Lorenzo, against a backdrop of murder and mayhem involving wicked drug lords and hit men. Super!
Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: MLR Press (October 26, 2008)
Publisher Link: http://www.mlrbooks.com/ShowBook.php?book=CRIMECT1
Amazon: Mexican Heat
A new romantic crime series from the combined, finely blended talents of popular award winning authors Laura Baumbach and Josh Lanyon. Tough, street-smart SFPD Detective Gabriel Sandalini is willing to do whatever it takes to bring down West Coast crime boss Ricco Botelli -- including a dangerous, deep undercover gig as one of Botelli's hired guns. But Gabriel's best laid plans may come crashing down around him when he falls hard for the sexy, suave lieutenant of a rival Mexican drug lord. Turns out his new love interest may have a few secrets of his own: secrets that could destroy both men and the fragile bond between them.
9) Latter Days by C. Jay Fox: A tender and fascinating love story between a young Mormon questioning his sexuality and an openly gay man living in the same apartment complex. Sure he can bed Elder Aaron Davis, party boy Christian accepts a bet from a friend and sets out to seduce the young Mormon missionary. When Aaron’s associates discover his secret, they send him home in shame, but his relationship with Christian is far from over.
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Alyson Books; 1 edition (April 1, 2004)
Publisher Link: http://www.alyson.com/9781555838683.html
Amazon: Latter Days
“It’s an all-stops-out heart-tugger for sure . . . its emotional wallop is earned honestly and uncompromisingly.”—Kevin Thomas, L.A. Times. Winner of the Outstanding First Narrative Feature Award at OUTFest (the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Film Festival), and the Best Gay Male Feature Film Award at the Philadelphia International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival. Combine a hunky, repressed Mormon missionary and an L.A. party boy, sensual sex and knowing humor, and the result is a sure-fire crowd-pleaser. Christian is a handsome, young man who flits from guy to guy without much of a thought in his pretty little head. So when his roommate Julie discovers that the gorgeous group of young men who moved in next door are Mormon missionaries, they bet on whether Christian can bed one of them. Christian quickly moves in for the kill, identifying Elder Aaron Davis as a repressed homo—and quite a sexy one at that. Their initial encounters have a charged sexual tension, but fear of the devil keeps Aaron’s libido at bay. When the two are alone together, Aaron’s Mormon missionary roommates interrupt, spot their brother as gay and send him back in shame to his Idaho hometown and embarrassed parents. But in a heartfelt conclusion that brought festival audiences to their feet, love wins out over fear. The feature film version of Latter Days will be released in January 2004, starring Jacqueline Bisset, Mary Kay Place, Wes Ramsey, Steve Sandvoss and Amber Benson. C. Jay Cox wrote the screenplay for the smash hit film Sweet Home Alabama, starring Reese Witherspoon, and makes his directing debut with Latter Days, for which he also wrote the screenplay.
10) Cattle Valley by Carol Lynne: Imagine a town and surrounding countryside where gay men and women can live in peace and harmony without bigotry and prejudice dogging their every movement. Such is the premise for the first in this excellent series peopled with diverse and sexy characters that make you wish there was such a place as Cattle Valley, Wyoming. I’d be singing “Yippee-I-O-Ki-Ay” all day!
Paperback: 250 pages
Publisher: Total-E-Bound Publishing (July 15, 2008)
Publisher Link: http://www.total-e-bound.com/product.asp?strParents=&CAT_ID=&P_ID=282
Amazon: Cattle Valley
You first got to know them in the Good-time Boys series, now follow Nate, Rio and Ryan to their new home in Cattle Valley.
About J.P. Bowie: J.P. Bowie was born and raised in Aberdeen, Scotland. He wrote his first (unpublished) novel – a science fiction tale of brawny men and brawnier women that made him a little suspect in the eyes of his family for a while.
Leaving home at age eighteen for the bright lights of London, he found himself in the midst of a “diverse and creative crowd” that eventually led him to the performing arts. For the next twelve years he sang, danced and acted his way around the theatres of London and the provinces, appearing in shows with many famous British singers, actors and comedians.
After immigrating to the US and living for many years in Las Vegas where he worked for that incomparable duo, Siegfried and Roy, J.P. found himself entranced by the fair city of San Diego where he currently lives with his partner, Phil.
Murder Above Fourth by J.P. Bowie
Paperback: 228 pages
Publisher: MLR Press (December 16, 2009)
Publisher Link: http://www.mlrbooks.com/ShowBook.php?book=JPBMAFT1
Amazon: Murder Above Fourth
Nick Fallon always knew there would be a day of reckoning between himself and Harold Forsythe, a millionaire who headed a secret group paying big bucks to watch young men and women have sex-sometimes dangerous sex, that had resulted in the deaths of two young men. When one of the owners of 'Above Fourth', a popular San Diego nightclub, is needlessly murdered, Nick vows to take Forsythe down, but in his determination to see the man behind bars, Nick throws caution to the wind. In a reckless and ultimately dangerous move, he not only puts his own life in jeopardy, but also the future of his relationship with his lover.