Monday, January 19, 2009

The Great Gay Reads

I have been slightly absent from the inter-dolly for the last few weeks and haven’t blogged at all despite my promise to blog much, much more. Well I haven’t blogged on here anyway. The reason for my absence is that firstly my Book Blog Savidge Reads is doing really well and had a huge overhaul over Xmas and is now seeing some of the UK’s top book bloggers adding supportive comments or sending emails as to how much they like it. This has been brilliant and though I am not normally one for self promotion (though you are getting two doses of it from me today) if you should wish to check it out then its

The other reason for the absence is that as I have been hinting I have started a new project. I am searching for The Great Gay Reads. Now I don’t simply mean making a list of the best Gay Books Ever or doing a big vote, though there is voting involved. I am actually going to read through them all. This isn’t as some people may think, anything to do with Bent, though they are interested and helping, this is something I thought would be interesting in looking at what gay books are out there, what the history of gay literature is, what qualifies as a gay book and what good ones are there out there?

As a young-ish gay man I still have no idea the mass of gay works there are – though believe me I am beginning to. You can always find out what’s new and upcoming in the media because of course people are promoting it. I know there was The Big Gay Read but that was three years ago and has gone silent, it was great for some of my research though. What about the history of the gay novel and great gay novels of the past? I haven’t seen anything and believe me I have been looking. There seems to be lack of information about Gay History in this country and I want to find out more about my passion, books. (You all thought I was going to say willies and bums then didn’t you?) The great thing is I seem to have the publishers on side too!

So far the project has been undergoing a ‘test’ phase the layout has changed lots the contents keeps changing but I think it’s done now. I don’t like the header yet but it’s a work in progress and with being on a mammoth deadline I am quite pleased. What’s amazed me is the amount of emails I have already had, how have people found me? I have had some lovely emails, some fantastic suggestions, some of the ‘what gives you the right?’ emails and a little bit of homophobia, you can see some of this on the site. I am just pleased am getting traffic. The biggest shock for me has been the amount of gay books that are out there, I have wondered a few times if I may have bitten off more than I can chew! I have also been invited to and talked at a gay mans book group it’s been bizarre, but am loving it, just need to remember the day job now.

So… enough about me, me, me. I want to hear from you, you, you. Have you got a favourite gay novel, did one change your life, which ones supported you through coming out? I want to hear it all. Through the world of blogs, facebook, myspace and the likes I know there are lots of authors out there, would any of you be up for interviews, chats, suggestions? Everything is welcome email me (if you have it at my personal address) if not at I would love to hear from you all.

Oh and the blog of course


Scott De Buitléir said...

Pshhh... that last link doesn't work... :(

Simon Savidge said...

It does now... I missed a THE! Tut!

Aricia Gavriel said...

Hello Simon,

You're going to read them all?! If you read a book a week, they'll be wheeling you (and me as well, by that time) along in the bathchair before you're done! Seriously --

I started a blog myself, a few months ago -- with the object of reviewing "favorite old books and favorite writers, as well as the new ones." I've reviewed about 30 so far (I sometimes do a trilogy or series at one time), and I think I have about another 100 to go, just to catch up with where I wanted to be at the outset.

And then I started getting offers from writers and publishers -- new(ish) books to review, too. I think I've created a monster.

There's thousands of gay books out there; mind you, as with everything else in the world, 50% are probably not what you were hoping for in a "great" gay read.

Anyway -- you were looking for recommendations. Anything on my blog is a decent place to start, but I *am* only starting. The surface is so far just barely scratched.

My favorite writer is Mel Keegan -- I'm lucky enough to be a proofie (proofreader) for DreamCraft -- so I have to be saying, "Mel Keegan, anything." MK has about 28 titles available and four or so more in the works at this time. I also like Josh Lanyon a lot; I'd have to say, "JL, anything," and I think he has about 18 titles and a half dozen more in the works. I have a lot of liking for Vincent Lardo, but there's only a few books on his gay list (three?) ... and I like Chris Hunt a great deal too, but it's damned hard to find those now -- long out of print; she was with GMP, like MK and JL, and went into limbo along with them. Keegan and Lanyon have fought back, but Hunt seems to have done a vanishing act. Hopefully not permanently??

You can find Keegan, Lanyon and Lardo online easily, with a Google search. Any problem, the links are all on my blog. Mel has a great blog as well as a massive website on the dot-com. Josh Lanyon has a v. good website on his dot-com. Vincent Lardo has a website on his dot-com, but there's not much there ... perhaps, the more high profile you are as a writer (millions of copies in print, etc.) the less you need to communicate with readers??

Mel's best (in my estimation): either DANGEROUS MOONLIGHT, if you're into gay historicals, or the NARC series if you want gay SF, or THE SWORSMAN if you want gay fantasy.

Josh's best (again, imho): THE HELL YOU SAY, which is the third Adrien English story. Contemporary gay mysteries, of course, which nobody does better than Josh Lanyon.

Chris's best: MIGNON, or STREET LAVENDER, depening on your mood. (All CH's books are historicals.)

Hope this helps!
Aricia Gavriel

Aricia's Gay Book Blog