Geek Love Or What Would You do for Love?

Vietnam 2009

Thank you Liza Barry-Kessler for suggesting this book. I have had it on my to-read list for quite awhile.  Written by Katherine Dunn, and published in 1989 this is a gut- punch of a book.  As a lover of sideshows and all things freakish, I loved this book. Be warned, it is not for the faint of heart or those who are disturbed by graphic descriptions of human wonders. As an exploration of the theme “who are the freaks here” it exemplifies what we love and hate about ourselves and each other.

As a blatant gender non-conformer and heavily tattooed person I have often felt like my own sideshow. This book will resonate with anyone who has ever felt like an outsider, alone, freakish, uncool, and/or weird.  It will also resonate with those of us who are happy in their differences, reveling in their own brand of freakishness. It will resonate with those of us who believe that the great joke is on those who believe that they are superior, simply because they are “normal”.  It is also a love story, asking the eternal question “what would you do for love?”

As a writer I am impressed with Dunn’s ability to create characters that you love and loathe, sometimes simultaneously. The characters in Dunn’s book are unique, multilayered, and anything but typical.  The art of giving your readers characters that they care about enough to find out what happens next is the essence of story telling.  Dunn’s ability to weave plot events and character story arcs in meticulous detail  is a literary demonstration of the Butterfly Effect. I also loved Dunn’s voice, her language is graphic, visual and rich with out being gaudy or poetic.

I have very vivid memories of finally being old enough to go into the sideshow.  It was love at first sight, and I could not get enough. I went through that sideshow tent three times, mesmerized by the human wonders, and geek shows.  I am as captivated by Dunn’s book as I was my first sideshow, I know I will read it again.

Have your read Geek Love? Did it resonate? What would you do for love?


Simp Heister Wayne County Fair 2013


A Year Of Women’s Voices

Halong Bay, Vietnam 2009

 Starting this week, I am embarking on a year long reading project that will focus on women writers as a way of acknowledging that women encounter resistance in getting their work published, reviewed, and taken seriously.

I was inspired to start this project after reading this post 100 Best Lesbian Fiction Memoir Books of All Time . After a little research I also found these two lists,  10 Novels / Memoirs by and about Black Lesbian, Bisexual, and Queer Women and Feminista’s 100 Great 20th Century Works of Fiction by Women .  I am not alone in dedicating this year’s reading to women writers. There is a Twitter hashtag #readwomen2014, and this Note from the Editor: Critical Flame Dedicates One Year to Women and Writers of Color .  After reading through each list with a highlighter, I felt like I had been living in a cave.   I had only read about half of the books listed.

I should explain that I read four or five books per week.  I am as likely to be reading a natural history of earthworms, as I am the latest release from my favorite romance/erotica writers.  I read literary fiction, memoir, non-fiction, creative non-fiction, mystery, romance, suspense, erotica, fantasy, science-fiction, and horror.

As an obsessive reader of all manner of books, and not content to follow someone else’s list, I decided to create my own list.  I asked my friends for recommendations in person, and on my Facebook page. The response was wonderful. I have so many suggestions that I may have to do this again next year!  I am looking forward to reading new books, and rereading a few books that are favorites.

Why reread? Books speak to you in different ways at different times in your life. You can’t step in the same river twice, and you can’t read a book again for the first time.  This time when I reread some of my favorites, I will also be reading as a writer.

Prior to a recent milestone birthday, writing for publication was a nebulous idea.  I wrote in journals, and spiral notebooks. I never considered myself a writer, or showed anyone my writing.  It was my secret.  Then I hit the half-century mark. I decided to gift myself a writing conference, and to take the craft and work of writing seriously. It was the best gift I have ever given myself.  Reading a book as a writer is different than reading as a reader.  As a long time reader I knew I loved some books, as I study the craft of writing, I understand why I love them. My posts will talk about the books I read in two way. One as they resonate, or not, with me as a person, and how the books are crafted.

Thank you to my friends who contributed ideas for the book list.  I appreciate your help.  Each month on the blog I will publish the list of books for the month.

Books have been my refuge, my solace, my escape, and my teachers for as long as I can remember. They have inspired me to take great adventures, change my thinking, and appreciate life. 
Do you feel the same way about books? Come along on the grand adventure. 
Halong Bay, Vietnam 2009