22 7 / 2013

The World of Normal Boys (2001) K.M. Soehnlein
It is the late 1970s in suburban New Jersey, and while “normal boys” are into cars, sports, and bullying their classmates, Robin Mackenzie enjoys day trips to New York City with his elegant mother. He dutifully plays the role of the good son for his meat-and-potatoes father, even as his own mind is a jumble of sexual confusion and self-doubt. But everything changes in one, horrifying instant when a tragic accident wakes his family from their middle-American dream and plunges them into a spiral of slow destruction. As the MacKenzie family falls apart, Robin embarks on an explosive odyssey of sexual self-discovery that will take him into a complex future, beyond the world of normal boys.

The World of Normal Boys (2001) K.M. Soehnlein

It is the late 1970s in suburban New Jersey, and while “normal boys” are into cars, sports, and bullying their classmates, Robin Mackenzie enjoys day trips to New York City with his elegant mother. He dutifully plays the role of the good son for his meat-and-potatoes father, even as his own mind is a jumble of sexual confusion and self-doubt. But everything changes in one, horrifying instant when a tragic accident wakes his family from their middle-American dream and plunges them into a spiral of slow destruction. As the MacKenzie family falls apart, Robin embarks on an explosive odyssey of sexual self-discovery that will take him into a complex future, beyond the world of normal boys.

05 7 / 2013

The Folded Leaf (1945) William Maxwell
In the suburbs of Chicago in the 1920s, two boys initiate an unusual friendship: Lymie Peters, a skinny and somewhat clumsy boy who always gets good grades, and newcomer Spud Latham, a star athlete and mediocre student. Spud accepts Lymie’s devotion without questioning it, but once high school ends and the boys enter college, tensions begin to arise between them. 
Lymie is the first to meet Sally Forbes, but she will fall in love with Spud, and this will mark the beginning of the rift between them. But this rupture will be more than Lymie can bear. William Maxwell provides the reader with a moving portrayal of adolescence and the shift from youth into adulthood.

The Folded Leaf (1945) William Maxwell

In the suburbs of Chicago in the 1920s, two boys initiate an unusual friendship: Lymie Peters, a skinny and somewhat clumsy boy who always gets good grades, and newcomer Spud Latham, a star athlete and mediocre student. Spud accepts Lymie’s devotion without questioning it, but once high school ends and the boys enter college, tensions begin to arise between them.

Lymie is the first to meet Sally Forbes, but she will fall in love with Spud, and this will mark the beginning of the rift between them. But this rupture will be more than Lymie can bear. William Maxwell provides the reader with a moving portrayal of adolescence and the shift from youth into adulthood.

27 6 / 2013

The Song of Achilles (2011) Madeline Miller
Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the kingdom of Phthia to be raised in the shadow of King Peleus and his golden son, Achilles. “The best of all the Greeks” - strong, beautiful, and the child of a goddess - Achilles is everything the shamed Patroclus is not. Yet despite their differences, the boys become steadfast companions. Their bond deepens as they grow into young men and become skilled in the arts of war and medicine - much to the displeasure and the fury of Achilles’s mother, Thetis, a cruel sea goddess with a hatred of mortals. When word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, the men of Greece, bound by blood and oath, must lay siege to Troy in her name. Seduced by the promise of a glorious destiny, Achilles joins their cause, and torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus follows. Little do they know that the Fates will test them both as never before and demand a terrible sacrifice. 

The Song of Achilles (2011) Madeline Miller

Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the kingdom of Phthia to be raised in the shadow of King Peleus and his golden son, Achilles. “The best of all the Greeks” - strong, beautiful, and the child of a goddess - Achilles is everything the shamed Patroclus is not. Yet despite their differences, the boys become steadfast companions. Their bond deepens as they grow into young men and become skilled in the arts of war and medicine - much to the displeasure and the fury of Achilles’s mother, Thetis, a cruel sea goddess with a hatred of mortals. 

When word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, the men of Greece, bound by blood and oath, must lay siege to Troy in her name. Seduced by the promise of a glorious destiny, Achilles joins their cause, and torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus follows. Little do they know that the Fates will test them both as never before and demand a terrible sacrifice. 

29 2 / 2012

Even Cowgirls Get the Blues (1976) Tom Robbins
Sissy Hankshaw is a woman born with a mutation of enormously large thumbs, though she considers it a gift.   Sissy makes the most of her thumbs by becoming a hitchhiker and she travels to New York. She becomes a model for the Countess, a male homosexual tycoon of feminine hygiene products. He introduces her to a staid Mohawk named  Julian Gitche; whom she later marries. In her later travels she encounters, among many others, a sexually open cowgirl named Bonanza Jellybean and an itinerant escapee from a Japanese internment camp happily mislabeled the Chink.

Even Cowgirls Get the Blues (1976) Tom Robbins

Sissy Hankshaw is a woman born with a mutation of enormously large thumbs, though she considers it a gift. Sissy makes the most of her thumbs by becoming a hitchhiker and she travels to New York. She becomes a model for the Countess, a male homosexual tycoon of feminine hygiene products. He introduces her to a staid Mohawk named  Julian Gitche; whom she later marries. In her later travels she encounters, among many others, a sexually open cowgirl named Bonanza Jellybean and an itinerant escapee from a Japanese internment camp happily mislabeled the Chink.

26 2 / 2012

The Woman Who Gave Birth to Rabbits (2003) Emma Donoghue
A series of short stories, including the tale of an English soldier tricked into marrying a dowdy spinster, a Victorian surgeon’s attempts to “improve” women, a seventeenth-century Irish countess who ran away to Italy disguised as a man, or an “undead” murderess returning for the maid she left behind to be executed in her place.

The Woman Who Gave Birth to Rabbits (2003) Emma Donoghue

A series of short stories, including the tale of an English soldier tricked into marrying a dowdy spinster, a Victorian surgeon’s attempts to “improve” women, a seventeenth-century Irish countess who ran away to Italy disguised as a man, or an “undead” murderess returning for the maid she left behind to be executed in her place.

25 2 / 2012

The Vinland Sheep (2004) Helen Shaklady
An adventure story, set between Autumn 1470 and Spring 1471, that centres around two families, one English, one Welsh. The attraction between Agnes and Gwyneth simmers next to the Wars of the Roses and the myriad excitements that voyages across the Atlantic generated.

The Vinland Sheep (2004) Helen Shaklady

An adventure story, set between Autumn 1470 and Spring 1471, that centres around two families, one English, one Welsh. The attraction between Agnes and Gwyneth simmers next to the Wars of the Roses and the myriad excitements that voyages across the Atlantic generated.

24 2 / 2012

Mistress Moderately Fair (1988) Katherine Sturtevant
In 17th century London’s theater district, muddy streets and stimulating coffee houses, a sensitive romance develops between two women Margaret Featherstone, a playwright, and Amy Dudley, a mysterious and talented actress. Beyond the challenge of maintaining their illicit relationship, the women grapple with the choice of fulfilling love or ambition. 
Despite their intimacy, Amy does not reveal her troubled past to Margaretand her abrupt disappearance wounds her lover deeply. To assuage the pain, Margaret returns to “the strange, lonely world of invention” to write her finest play. The new work demands an exceptional actress, and both Cary and Margaret determine it must be Amy. The search for her moves rapidly toward the stunning and well-crafted denouement.

Mistress Moderately Fair (1988) Katherine Sturtevant

In 17th century London’s theater district, muddy streets and stimulating coffee houses, a sensitive romance develops between two women Margaret Featherstone, a playwright, and Amy Dudley, a mysterious and talented actress. Beyond the challenge of maintaining their illicit relationship, the women grapple with the choice of fulfilling love or ambition.

Despite their intimacy, Amy does not reveal her troubled past to Margaretand her abrupt disappearance wounds her lover deeply. To assuage the pain, Margaret returns to “the strange, lonely world of invention” to write her finest play. The new work demands an exceptional actress, and both Cary and Margaret determine it must be Amy. The search for her moves rapidly toward the stunning and well-crafted denouement.

21 2 / 2012

My Dearest Holmes (2007) Rohase Piercy
'… The accounts of these cases are too bound up with events in my personal life which, although they may provide a plausible commentary to much of my dealings with Mr Sherlock Holmes, can never be made public while he or I remain alive …'
 Although Dr Watson is known for recording some sixty of his adventures with the celebrated Sherlock Holmes, he also wrote other reminiscences of their long friendship which were never intended for publication during their lifetimes.
 Rescued from oblivion by Rohase Piercy, here are two previously unknown stories about the great detective and his companion, throwing a fresh light upon the nature of their famous partnership, and helping to explain much which has puzzled their devotees. Together Holmes and Watson face disturbing revelations as they investigate the case of the Queen Bee; and we finally learn what actually happened at the Reichenback Falls, and the real reasons which lay behind Holmes’ faked death and his subsequent return.

My Dearest Holmes (2007) Rohase Piercy

'… The accounts of these cases are too bound up with events in my personal life which, although they may provide a plausible commentary to much of my dealings with Mr Sherlock Holmes, can never be made public while he or I remain alive …'

Although Dr Watson is known for recording some sixty of his adventures with the celebrated Sherlock Holmes, he also wrote other reminiscences of their long friendship which were never intended for publication during their lifetimes.

Rescued from oblivion by Rohase Piercy, here are two previously unknown stories about the great detective and his companion, throwing a fresh light upon the nature of their famous partnership, and helping to explain much which has puzzled their devotees. Together Holmes and Watson face disturbing revelations as they investigate the case of the Queen Bee; and we finally learn what actually happened at the Reichenback Falls, and the real reasons which lay behind Holmes’ faked death and his subsequent return.

18 2 / 2012

Moll Cutpurse, Her True History: A Novel (1985) Ellen Galford
A novel based on the life of the “feminist Robin Hood” in Elizabethan England and tells the story of Mary Frith, the real life Moll Cutpurse. She was the heroine of a comedic play, The Roaring Girl and well known as a pickpocket, thief and sometimes fortune teller. Cross-dressing and gender bending abounds.

Moll Cutpurse, Her True History: A Novel (1985) Ellen Galford

A novel based on the life of the “feminist Robin Hood” in Elizabethan England and tells the story of Mary Frith, the real life Moll Cutpurse. She was the heroine of a comedic play, The Roaring Girl and well known as a pickpocket, thief and sometimes fortune teller. Cross-dressing and gender bending abounds.

16 2 / 2012

An Arrow’s Flight (1999) Mark Merlis
An Arrow’s Flight tells the story of the Trojan War and Pyrrhus, the son of the fallen Achilles, now working as a go-go boy and hustler in the big city. Magically blending ancient headlines and modern myth, Merlis creates a fabulous new world where legendary heroes declare their endowments in personal ads and any panhandler may be a divinity in disguise. 

An Arrow’s Flight (1999) Mark Merlis

An Arrow’s Flight tells the story of the Trojan War and Pyrrhus, the son of the fallen Achilles, now working as a go-go boy and hustler in the big city. Magically blending ancient headlines and modern myth, Merlis creates a fabulous new world where legendary heroes declare their endowments in personal ads and any panhandler may be a divinity in disguise.