1000th post = Bad Bloggers!

WOW! So I was getting ready to post and saw that this is my 1,000th post! My 4th blogiversary passed in January and I never really mentioned it…it just came and went, lol. But this is quite the landmark! I can’t believe I’ve written 1,000 posts about books 🙂 Makes me happy. And how fitting that it should be a post about me acquiring yet MORE books :p I figured I’d go ahead and do a giveaway since it’s my 1,000th post. Haven’t done one of those in a long time!! So what I’ll do is give away one of the books that I’ve acquired in this post. Well not my copy, I’ll order you your own :p So there’s 15 books to choose from! To be entered just let me know in the comments which book you’d like to win. I’ll pick a winner next Friday! And as always, it’s open to everyone everywhere! Here we go!

1. Losing It edited by Keith Gray – This looks like SUCH an awesome collection and I’ve been dying to get my hands on it. It’s a collection of short stories about, you guessed it…losing your virginity. What put this on my radar is the fact that Patrick Ness has a story in it! SOLD! (Paperback Swap)

2. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon – Will this year be the year that I finally stop trembling in fear at Chabon’s fiction? We’ll see! Heather put this on my list of books that she wants me to read, so I gots it! Point to Heather. (Paperback Swap)

3. The Hours by Michael Cunningham – Matt told me that The Hours is his favorite movie. So of course I had to go out and watch it immediately after he told me that :p I loved it so much that I wanted to read the book too….so I am. Point to Matt 😀 (Paperback Swap)

4. Necklace of Kisses by Francesca Lia Block – MORE WEETZIE BAT!!!! Nuf said. (Paperback Swap)

5. The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch – This point goes directly to the amazing Renay. AREN’T YOU HAPPY RENAY?? She’s been trying to get me to read this book for quite some time now and I told her that I would. So I am following through on that promise! And I’m really excited about it 😀 Point to Renay. (Paperback Swap)

6. The Neverending Story by Michael Ende – This is another one that Heather put on my list of books to read this year and I’m so FREAKING excited about it! I adored this movie as a kid to the point where I could recite it. Of course I did….Now I get to read the book 🙂 Point to Heather. (Paperback Swap)

7. Daytripper Volume 1 by Gabriel Ba – I don’t even remember entirely what this book is supposed to be about, but it sounded good enough to me that I preordered it as soon as I heard about it! I’ll let you know as soon as I read it :p (Bought it)

8. Married With Zombies by Jesse Petersen – Amy reviewed this one awhile back and it sounded just perfect for my taste. From what I remember from her review, it’s a little deeper than what the cover would have you believe. Looking forward to this one. Point to Amy. (paperback swap)

9. Case Histories by Kate Atkinson – And of course it wouldn’t be a bad bloggers post without a point to Ana! After her review of this one, I put it on my wishlist immediately. Point to Ana! (Paperback Swap)

10. Beyond Foo: Geth and the Return of the Lithens by Obert Skye – The kind folks at Shadow Mountain sent me this and the next four books for review! I love those guys and I’m really looking forward to these books!! Question…do I have to read the others in this series before I can read this? I haven’t read any of Skye’s books yet. (For Review)

11. Snow Rising by Matt Baldwin – Another from Shadow Mountain…This one doesn’t sound like my normal cup of tea..inspirational fiction. But I’ll give it a try and see what I think! (For Review)

12. The Evolution of Thomas Hall by Kieth Merrill – This one sounds really good! (For Review)

13. The Horn of Moran by M.L. Forman – I’ve actually been wanting to read this series so I was really excited to see this in the box from Shadow Mountain 🙂 (For Review)

14. Slathbog’s Gold by M.L. Forman – This is book one in the above mentioned series! (For Review)

15. Bayou: Volume 2 by Jeremy Love – I might have had a freak out attack when this came in the mail!!! I preordered it ages ago and I shall be reading this one tonight 😀 God I love this series!! (Bought it)

I’ve decided that I’m wiping my slate clean to get out of my book funk…the books I’ve been reading are all really good, but I’m just stuck in a rut. So I’m going to put them aside from now and start fresh…with Bayou 2 and The Fox Woman by Kij Johnson. We’ll see how that works!

Wondering Where I Am?

I’m wondering the same damn thing! LOL…Seriously guys, I don’t know where the hell my head has been lately. I know I shouldn’t apologize for not blogging or commenting, but I really do feel like I should at the same time. Because I miss everyone so very much…miss interacting with everyone, miss talking about books, miss READING books, miss knowing what’s going on in everyone’s lives. Things have just been so chaotic lately. Mostly with work. Everything else is really good. I’m not at a place in life where I can really complain. Yes, the headaches are still annoying the hell out of me, but I’ll take that over what I could have to deal with.

It’s funny how when things get so hectic and busy, it’s what we enjoy that goes out the door 😦 It shouldn’t be that way and I know that very well. But when I get home from work at 11:30 at night, I just don’t want to do anything but go to bed. Or veg out and watch TV for a little while. And I just can rarely get motivated to do anything before work. I think I just need a vacation to recuperate which I will have at the beginning of March \o/

I haven’t been reading at all lately which is really sad 😦 I haven’t read anything at all in like a week now which just feels wrong. But despite that, the books keep pouring in which reminds me I have to do a bad bloggers post soon! What I have been doing is lots of gardening since the temps have finally warmed up here!! I have tomatoes and bell peppers and asparagus and rosemary in the ground now and I’ve also planted a grape vine and a dwarf pomegranate tree! Oh! And onions! I’m doing onions for the first time. Also been enjoying the hell out of the the new PJ Harvey album, Let England Shake and DYING to hear the new Radiohead that comes out this Saturday!!!

Be patient with me guys….even though I haven’t been commenting, I’ve been reading everyone’s posts…I have like 150 posts starred in my google reader that I want to comment on :p Some of the posts go back as far as 3 or 4 weeks, lol…so some of you may be getting some comments on older posts this weekend. I miss you all!!!

London Triptych by Jonathan Kemp

I’ve been putting off reviewing this book because I haven’t quite known how to. It’s one of those books that just flooded me with emotion. It sort of connected for me all at once….and when the book really worked for me, it REALLY worked for me. It’s not a book that I think will work for everyone. There’s lots of graphic sex in the book, it makes assumptions about the life of Oscar Wilde (which bugged me at first), and delves into the lives of male prostitutes. But it is all done in such a true and beautiful and raw and honest way. And the language of the book….god, it’s like pure poetry.

I first heard about this book from the Green Carnation Prize. It’s a new prize that last year (it’s first year) awarded it’s award to the best book in gay male literature. This was one of the finalists. Next year the award will be open to lesbian and bisexual fiction as well. I can certainly see why this book was up for the award after reading it. It examines so much about gay culture…it delves into the history of gay rights by showing storylines set in the late 19th century, the 1950’s and late 1990s. It examines the interactions of gay men and the law during all three times. It shows how the underground world of male prostitutes changed, yet at the same way remained the same during those time periods. It showed how that world affected the boys that served as prostitutes. How gay men interacted in public and in secrecy. Why they HAD to interact in secrecy.

As I said, the book is set in three different time periods. The first story line is set in the late 19th century and follows a young boy who becomes a prostitute at a brothel after leaving his parents’ house at a young age. One of his client’s ends up being none other than Oscar Wilde himself. At first, I didn’t know how I felt about this particular plot. The author actually stuck as much to the history of Wilde’s trial as possible, but of COURSE he invented the relationship that forms between Wilde and the young boy, Jack. As I continued reading though the story though, I started to find that I loved Wilde’s character. Kemp seemed to capture the spirit that I imagine Wilde would have had perfectly. And this story itself was wonderful, though as you can imagine if you know Wilde’s history, tragic in the end.

The second time period is the 1950’s where a middle aged man is still coming to terms with his own sexuality. Having failed at a marriage, he now lives alone and often gets lost in his own thoughts often feeling deep shame for them. He draws as a past time and hires a model to pose for him and it’s this model that brings out intense feelings of passion in him. The model is a younger man who is much more open with his sexuality and often sees “clients” for money. But the relationship between them exists at first as solely artist and model. Until the artist begins to fall in love with him and cannot deny his feelings. This section is an exploration of coming to terms with one’s sexuality along with the main connecting piece to the three stories.

The final storyline is set in the 1990’s where being gay is much more accepted than the other two times. It’s written from the point of view of a young man in prison and we do not know why he is in prison. He writes his story in the form of a letter to a past love. Another young man that he met and shared quite a passionate experience with. Both of the boys have been in the prostitution business, but have managed to form a bond with each other that they are unable to find with the random clients that they pick up. This was by far the most beautiful of all of the stories.

As I mentioned, these stories do eventually connect in a way. In many ways actually. What Kemp did with this book was just genius in my opinion. There are so many connecting themes throughout the novel. Theme’s mentioned above. The title refers both to the three story lines and of course the drawing that our artist does. Kemp admits that Wilde’s life and work was a huge influence in this book and it’s quite obvious. The language of the book is something not to be missed. There are passages that read like pure poetry…passages that you swear that someone like Oscar Wilde himself must have written. I often forget that there are still writers around that write so well….so beautifully. These writers, like Kemp, remind you that language can truly be an art form.

As I mentioned earlier, this book isn’t for everyone. If you’re offended by graphic sex (particularly male/male sex), drug use and cursing, then this one probably isn’t for you. And normally that description might point you to some type of fluff read, but let me ASSURE you that this novel is anything but fluff. It’s a beautiful story that I would recommend highly to those that are up for it. Can’t wait to see what Kemp writes next.

Pathfinder by Orson Scott Card

As much as I’ve come to ABHOR Orson Scott Card’s views on homosexuality and his rants that he’s been known to post on them, I can’t seem to leave the man’s writing. For awhile, I read nothing by Orson Scott Card novels. I remember reading Ender’s Game for the first time and then following that up with Speaker for the Dead and it being the most incredible reading experience I’d ever had. I was amazed that somebody could write anything as incredible as Speaker for the Dead…that anyone could understand humans so well…that anyone could understand the human EXPERIENCE so well. So then I went on to read more of his books.

I read books like the Homecoming saga which is one of my all time favorite series. That book had one of the most amazing gay characters I’ve ever read in a book. What I loved about that character was that he was NOT “a gay character”…he was a character that happened to be gay. OSC wrote him that way. And he gave him such wonderful, beautiful traits. Made him into a being of such kindness and beauty and compassion. He’s written plenty of other gay characters into his novels. And they’ve all been amazing characters. Same with his straight characters…OSC just writes fantastic CHARACTERS. He’s written plenty of great Asian and Black characters as well. Characters of all different ages, he’s written characters that are male, female, and characters that are ambiguous in their gender. I’ve loved him for all of these reasons.

So I was crushed when I read an essay he wrote against homosexuality. And I’ve heard him defend himself…blah blah blah. But the fact is, he wrote that and stands by it. Being gay is wrong in his eyes and gays should never have the chance to marry. It’s a SIN. That word, that word. I just don’t get the clash of the two…what he writes vs. what he preaches. My own theory has been that what he writes is what he truly believes…that’s been what I told myself for years. I don’t think you can write characters so fluidly without relating to them somehow. Almost like his writing is his way to truly express his ideals…but at the same time, when you are such a popular author, you have a responsibility…at least I think so…and to spew that disgusting hatred into the world just saddens me so much. Is it because of his church that he feels the need to preach against the evils of homosexuality? I don’t know.

But hey! This is supposed to be a book review, huh? I vowed I was done with OSC after he posted his rants and THEN started writing books like Empire that didn’t do much for me and sounded like he was chummy with Glenn Beck *shivers*…but then I heard that he had new FANTASY coming out!!! So I had to get my hands on Pathfinder…I couldn’t help myself. I also have his other new book, The Lost Gate, which I haven’t read yet. Pathfinder was just amazing and it reminded why I do love OSC so much as an author. There they were, those same amazing characters. Characters from every class, characters that are fully formed, characters that are just so BEAUTIFUL!! And such a wonderful story.

It centers around Rigg, a young boy born with a gift to see the paths of others…the paths where people, animals, things have traveled. As far back as time has gone. Rigg was raised by a man that helped him hone his powers but is killed towards the beginning of the book. He leaves Rigg 19 jewels and instructions to find his sister in Aressa Sessamo, a town far away. But before he can leave his own town, he’s joined by another young boy named Umbo who also has his own special ability..the ability to slow down time. Together they leave on their quest to Aressa which wouldn’t be complete without many secrets unfolded and many dangers along the way 😉 Like learning the fact that Rigg is actually the son of the royal family of Aressa Sessamo.

Running along side Rigg’s own story is another story that takes place as short pieces at the beginning of each chapter. It’s the story of Ram Odin, a man traveling in space from Earth to set up a new colony. This story itself was amazing on it’s own and it’s only a matter of time before we’re able to make the connections between the two stories.

It felt good to be back in the hands of “the old” Orson Scott Card. The novels of his that I used to love and treasure so much. I hope he stays in this place. And I still continue to hope that one day he’ll come out with another essay on homosexuality. A statement supporting the rights of ALL humans. Because we ARE all one human race. That’s the one thing that unites us all, Mr. Card. You of all people should know that with these wonderful worlds you create. We share the same blood, the same chemistry, the same Earth. Why divide it? Being gay is not a choice. It’s not a sin. It’s not an evil. It’s beautiful when any two people can unite in love. If you think that your god would punish something that beautiful, then he’s no god worthy of worship in my eyes. And I’m sorry…I know that offends a lot of people, but it’s the truth. Going to hell for love…there’s a fantasy novel if I ever read one on so many levels…