My sincere thanks to Butterfly-O-Meter Books for including Songs for the New Depression on their Top 10 Books of 2012 list. I’m overwhelmed with the response to my novel, and truly appreciate the mention! Also, thanks to Out in Print, Alfred Lives Here, and QueerMeUp for inclusion on their lists as well. It has been a wonderful year, and I appreciate all of the notes from readers about how the novel has touched you.
The holidays encapsulate all of the bittersweet, subtle emotion I hoped to convey in the book. At times joyous, others sad, and still others sexy and raucous… Life is a wonderful mix, and I am grateful every day that I’m alive and able to experience and be moved by it.
I hope that you each have a wonderful holiday season!
December 23, 2012 | Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: 2012, author, best books, best of, critic, gay, gay books, lesbian, LGBT, list, literary, literature, novel, review, top books, writer | 2 Comments »
A realistic touching beautiful story of a man battling AIDS, his life and friends and loves. The story goes from clever and funny to really hard to read because it is so sad and so real. I wrote a post about this one here. If you haven’t read it yet, read it now.
Add this to the wonderful inclusion on Out in Print’s Best Books of 2012 list, and I can easily say that I’ll always remember 2012. How wonderful to have had my book resonate with so many. I appreciate your emails, notes, and support, and look forward to introducing you to a new book in 2013!
I’m so grateful for Out in Print Reviews including Songs for the New Depression in their wrap up of the top books of the year; it is a career highlight for me. Not only does it affirm my instinct to write, but it also means that others may eventually discover my tale, and hopefully it will inspire and resonate.
Out in Print wrote, in part: “Brilliantly conceived and masterfully written… You’ll read this once for its emotional impact and again to see how the author achieves it. But no matter how many times you dive in, you’ll be impressed.”
My Christmas gift came early this year!
With LGBT bookstores shuttering and the consolidation of gay media resulting in reduced promotional opportunities for publishers and authors, few venues remain for discovering literature reflecting the gay experience. Happily, Stephen Bottum continues to provide one of the best sources for LGBT publishing news on his blog, Band of Thebes, which he began five years ago.
His site has garnered a devoted following of authors, publishers, and readers, with Band of Thebes providing a wonderful mix of book reviews, posts on LGBT authors, and the latest in literary news.
In 2009, he began asking authors to share their favorite LGBT reads of the year, in all genres — fiction, non-fiction, poetry, comics — leading to the creation of an annual author survey of the Best LGBT Books of the Year. His eagerly-awaited list for 2012 has just been released, and Stephen graciously took time to share with me more about his inspiration for starting the website, his love for literature, and his annual list of the year’s best.
Stephen, Sacred Band of Thebes refers to an army of 300 men in ancient Greece, which was comprised of 150 male couples. The theory was that by fighting alongside one’s partner, the desire to succeed would be stronger. What was it about that story which inspired you to select it as the name for your website?
As far as I can remember, the first men I understood to be gay were of an old school, Paul Lynde-ilk, who at the time frightened me with their snideness. My coming out was prolonged in part by not wanting to join the bitchfest. So the idea of gay warriors fighting for each other was very appealing, minus the mayhem and slaughter. My aim was to create a site to highlight queer writers and filmmakers and artists, and enrich an eager audience who might miss them in the mainstream media.
Where did your love for literature begin?
I terrorized my parents by giving up on books around nine or ten and refusing to read anything other than movie ads and TV listings. Then, at fourteen, I quit tennis, my friends started pursuing girls, and suddenly I discovered those gray blocks surrounding the cartoons in The New Yorker held words. After a few stories by Ann Beattie and Peter Cameron, I was hooked.
What prompted you to start your blog? Was there a void you saw that you wanted to fill?
Much as I’d like to take credit for reversing the mainstream’s shortfall of gay coverage, I’m sure it was my partner’s idea. Desperate for a way to shut me up, he kept saying, “Hey, you have all these opinions about books and movies, you should blog.”
You’ve been compiling your “Best Books” lists for a few years now. When you begin the process, do you have a strategy? A certain mix of authors to approach?
Maligned as she is, Tina Brown is absolutely right that a great magazine should be like a really good party, and the survey is the same: poets rubbing against porn stars, with the added challenge of balancing the L, G, B, and T, and fair representation of ethnicities. Beginning each spring, I keep a wish list of authors to approach, and I was very, very thrilled this year to have about 24 new participants, including Lisa Cohen, Ellis Avery, Rick Whitaker, Tendai Huchu, Ivan Coyote, Farzana Doctor, the cartoonist Justin Hall, Nick Krieger, whose memoir deserved all the attention Chaz Bono’s received, and young Scottish novelist Kerry Hudson, who is going to be the next Jeanette Winterson.
How do you feel about the mix of the contributing authors?
One of my favorite websites, Stephen Bottum’s Band of Thebes, just released its list of authors’ top picks for the best in 2012 gay and lesbian literature. I was honored to have been asked to submit my favorite, and was thrilled to see two of my friends, Arthur Wooten and David G. Hallman, on the list. Congratulations, guys!
If you’re looking for interesting reads, check out this list!
I’m honored to have been asked to join a panel at the West Hollywood Book Fair’s LGBT Lounge on Sunday September 30th! Wonderful writer Nöel Alumit (author of Letters to Montgomery Clift) will be moderating on gay fiction, and my fellow panelists are Eduardo Santiago (Tomorrow They Will Kiss) and George Snyder (On the Wings of Affection). For a complete rundown on all of the exciting events, please click here.
West Hollywood Book Fair
LGBT Lounge (2nd floor/West Hollywood Library)
Sunday September 30, 2012
An author book signing will occur following the panel.
Hope to see you there!
My sincere thanks to the great folks over at Blade California for including Songs for the New Depression in their June gay pride issue! Our family did a photo shoot for them many years ago which was lots of fun, and it is terrific to be included now with my book. The magazine is on their website in flash format, so the screenshot is difficult to read, but if you head over to their site, the article is on page 31. Thank you, Blade!