June was quite a busy month. Though I have certainly participated in Pride events before, this year’s celebration truly lasted the entire month for me. The majority of my weekends in June were spent wandering around the LGBT districts of Los Angeles, Seattle, and San Francisco, and I even found some time to host my first ever Pride brunch. As a result, I fell a bit behind on my reading schedule this month, but I am looking forward to doing some catch up in the month of July. Though this month’s review is short, it contains some great reads that I hope you will be inspired to pick up.
Book 41: Of Men and Angels by Michael Arditti
I was slightly skeptical of reading this book at first, but I am quite glad I decided to do so. In this novel, Arditti re-imagines the myth of Sodom and Gomorrah, creating a narrative that spans time and location. His characters breath life into a story that has been used to condemn homosexuality and flips that tale on its head. Arditti is a talent who hopefully will continue to write such similarly profound stories that challenge the collective fictions we have been indoctrinated into believing.
Book 42: Alexander the Great by Phillip Freeman
One of the bigger issues facing the LGBTQ community is the erasure of bisexual individuals, so it was perhaps quite fitting that I should be reading about one of the more famous bisexuals during this Pride month. In this book, Freeman tells the story of Alexander the Great, a man who managed to conquer much of the ancient world and found one of the greatest empires. Though the history of Alexander is soaked in blood, his impact upon world has been monumental. Furthermore, even though his bisexuality was only one part of his life, Alexander serves as a powerful reminder that bisexual individuals deserve to be acknowledged for the role they have played within our history.
Book 43: Gods and Monsters by Christopher Bram
Previously titled Father of Frankenstein, Bram’s novel is a fascinating look into the intersections of homoeroticisim and violence. Following the fictionalized last days of famous director James Whale, who made the movies Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein, this novel provides a captivating glimpse into how a fear of mortality can lead one to make some extreme decisions. The relationship between Whale and his handsome gardener is at once exhilarating, intimate, and absolutely dangerous. Bram’s novel also inspired the academy award winning film.
Book 44: The Real Trial of Oscar Wilde by Merlin Holland
This book is incredible if only because it was authored by Oscar Wilde’s grandson himself. In this record of Wilde’s first trial, Holland brings to light the true proceedings of Wilde’s libel suit against his lover Lord Alfred “Bosie” Douglas’ father. Throughout his examination, Wilde is a witty force, but his simple mistakes and flippancy eventually lead to his downfall. After this first trial, Wilde would be twice tried for acts of “gross indecency” and sentenced to two years of hard labor. Though Wilde did not win, his courage paved the way for the LGBTQ rights movement in the 20th century and a new wave of gay literature.
If you have read any of the books I mentioned in this post, please let us know what you thought of them in the comments below.