Book of the Week, LGTBQIA+, non-fiction

Book of the Week: Legendary Children

So, anyone else watching the latest series of Drag Race? I could bore you for hours about my latest obsession. And in fact some of my work colleagues have had to put up with me going on at them as I binge my way through the entire back catalogue (sorry guys). So now I’m going to tell you all about Legendary Children – don’t worry, it’s not boring!

So Fabulous Children: The First Decade of RuPaul’s Drag Race and the Last Century of Queer Life does exactly what it says on the tin – it uses Drag Race – and RuPaul as a framing device to examine queer culture over the last one hundred years. Tom Fitzgerald and Lorenzo Marquez are a married couple who run Tom + Lorenzo – which looks at celebrities, fashion and pop culture and they bring their breadth of knowledge to walk you through the lives and struggles of LGBTQI+ people that have got us to a point where a show about Drag Queens competing for a crown has won a bunch of Emmys. It doesn’t shy away from some of the controversies the show (or Ru) has seen, but to be honest, the show is the way in to the wider issues. This is not a history of what happened on Drag Race and if you come to it expecting that, well you should have read the subtitle better. Insert your own Reading is Fundamental joke here, it’ll be better than anything I come up with.

I learnt so much from this book. The authors say they want you to be googling as you go along while you’re reading this – and boy was I. I look forward to seeing what Google ads serves up to me after this – because my search history is a riot. And I had to go googling some stuff beyond the people, because this is a book written for a queer audience, not the those of us who need explanatory commas (which by the way, is exactly as is should be). Fascinating, clever and touching – and you’ll watch Drag Race with new eyes afterwards. And the first episode I watched afterwards had a actual Tom of Finland mention and I felt so in the know you wouldn’t believe it.

I’m off to worry about whether the ‘Rona will be over in time for me to still get to see BenDeLaCreme in London this summer. You got Dela megamix video because it’s (mostly) safe for work. Tom of Finland is… not. Legendary Children is out now in paperback, Kindle and Kobo and as an audiobook  (read by Tom and Lorenzo!).

Happy Reading!

books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week in Books: March 23 – March 29

Another very weird week. I hope you and all of your loved ones are doing ok, being kind to each other and yourselves and most of all STAYING AT HOME. I continue to be a key worker and make my trips in to the newsroom every few days, and every time it seems to have got quieter – which is exactly what should be happening so keep it up everyone.

Now you may notice a bit of a theme with the list this week – and I blame kindle unlimited for making it so that I could just go straight through a series with no guilt about spending money. Anyway I’m still mostly in the mood for romances and mysteries, but I’m trying to mix a bit of literary fiction in there too.

Read:

Legendary Children by Tom Fitzgerald and Lorenzo Marquez

Open Book by Jessica Simpson

Death by the Book by Beth Byers

Left-Handed Death by Richard Hull

Death Witnessed by Beth Byers

Death by Blackmail by Beth Byers

Death Misconstrued by Beth Byers

The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa

Deathly Ever After by Beth Byers

Death in the Mirror by Beth Byers

A Merry Little Death by Beth Byers

Started:

Conjure Women by Afia Atakora*

Death Between the Pages by Beth Byers

Still reading:

Anna K by Jenny Lee*

The Animals at Lockwood Manor by Jane Healy*

Unflappable by Susie Gilbert*

She-Merchants, Buchaneers and Gentlewomen by Katie Hickman

A fair few books acquired, more borrowed from the library, very little from the to-read pile read. But it still feels like normal rules are suspended, so I’m being nice to myself about it.

Bonus photo: my mother has reached the tidying out forgotten cupboard stage, so here’s a picture of me and my grandma in a pedalo that she sent me.

An * next to a book title indicates that it came from NetGalley.

books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week in Books: March 16 – March 22

So the week started ok, and then everything in the world changed. Again. I’m exhausted and a bit anxious and I’m sure you all are too.  I’m still working on that bonus content that I mentioned last week, but my reading mojo is quite hard to find at the moment (you’ll notice I’ve started a lot and not finished much of it because I can’t keep my focus) and I’ve already talked about a lot of the stuff I really love – and at some length. Please stay safe everyone, follow your government’s advice for where ever you are and remember that it’s not just about you, it’s about the other people that you could make ill too.

Read:

In Prior’s Wood by G M Malliet

Secrets on the Shore by Katherine Woodfine

Murder by Matchlight by E C R Lorac

Almost Just Friends by Jill Shalvis

Undercover Bromance by Lyssa Kay Adams*

Started:

Legendary Children by Tom Fitzgerald and Lorenzo Marquez

Unflappable by Susie Gilbert*

Open Book by Jessica Simpson

She-Merchants, Buchaneers and Gentlewomen by Katie Hickman

Still reading:

Anna K by Jenny Lee*

The Animals at Lockwood Manor by Jane Healy*

I bought a bunch of books and I’m not sorry about it. And a preorder or two showed up as well. In fact at these difficult times I’m not sure I’m even going to keep count.

Bonus photo: I class as a key worker (I was as surprised as you are) and I was working this weekend, so I had my hostel room booked as usual because the Sunday trains are unreliable and don’t start very early. I was a bit apprehensive about still staying because it’s usually shared rooms. Not any more – YHA has moved to one booking one room – so I had a choice of six beds, and it really brought home to me how everything is changing – I’ve been using various YHA hostels around London for at least 9 years and I’ve never had a dorm to myself. My brain could just not compute.

An * next to a book title indicates that it came from NetGalley.

books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week in Books: March 9 – March 15

A slightly better week in general. I mean it’s still very stressful and anxiety inducing, but I’m operating more as normal. Not quite the normal list, but better than last week and some really good stuff here. I’m plotting some bonus posts too so watch out for some extra content coming soon.

Read:

American Sweethearts by Adriana Herrera*

The Five-Year Plan by Carla Burgess*

Death Stops the Frolic by George Bellairs*

Unfrazzle by Stephanie Lam

Murder in the Mill Race by E C R Lorac

Love Hard by Nalini Singh*

Started:

The Animals at Lockwood Manor by Jane Healy*

In Prior’s Wood by G M Malliet

Still reading:

Anna K by Jenny Lee*

Two ebooks bought – but for my sister so they don’t count right? – and a preorder of Greg Jenner’s new book, which I am so excited to read.

Bonus photo: some of my ebook stockpiling in case of need…

An * next to a book title indicates that it came from NetGalley.

book round-ups, Recommendsday

Recommendsday: Mini Reviews from February

Yes, this was meant to go up last week. I did say the week got away from me a bit… anyway, it’s here now.  Only a couple this time because February was a short month, but I am trying to make this a regular thing this year, so I didn’t want to fall down on month two. If you missed January’s mini reviews, you can find them here.

World of Wolf Hall 

The Mirror and the Light is now in the shops but if you’ve forgotten what happened in the first two, this kindle freebie (which I’ve also saw in actual paperback in Foyles, but no idea how much it costs/how to qualify for one) recaps the events so far, the cast of characters, the world and some key themes and reader questions. It’s slight, but if it’s been a while since you’ve read the first two parts then it’s a nice reminder. I’m still conflicted about whether to buy this in hardcover (I love the cover, I prefer to read these on paper) or in ebook (so much lighter, but so much easier to ignore in favour of romances). I’ll keep you posted.

Meat Cute by Gail Carriger

This is definitely not the place to start the series, but this is the long wished for prequel that tells the story of the infamous hedgehog episode where Alexia Tarabotti (heroine of the Parasol Protectorate series) meets Conall Maccon. If you’re a fan of this does everything you’re hoping for, and a little bit more! If you’re not yet a fan, I have a lot of posts about my love for Gail Carriger’s steampunk world. My advice is start with Soulless and go from there.

Case of the Drowned Pearl by Robin Stevens

There’s still a few months to go before the final (sniff) full-length book in the series comes out, but there’s a Wells and Wong short for World Book Day. The Case of the Drowned Pearl sees the Detective Society and the Junior Pinkertons on a seaside holiday with Daisy’s Uncle Felix. Again, probably not the place to start the series, but it’s a lot of fun. The mystery is clever and Olympic-themed and I loved Hazel’s reaction to the British seaside. This has some Daisy PoV stuff too, which is always nice. Do start at the beginning with these too – and if you haven’t already bought them for the middle-grader in your life, why not?

So there you go, three slightly belated mini reviews for other stuff that I read in February. I bought all of my copies of these (except for the free one but you know what I mean) so you should be able to get all of them fairly easily – although you might want to rush if you want a physical copy of the Robin Stevens.

Happy Reading!

Book of the Week, memoirs

Book of the Week: You Gotta Get Bigger Dreams

I said yesterday that I wasn’t sure if there would be a BotW pick this week, but I had a think and had a write and this is what I came up with. It seemed a shame not to have a book of the week post for the week that included world book week – even if I didn’t have the greatest week and it had an impact on my reading. But You Gotta Get Bigger Dreams perked me up last week when I was feeling a bit blue and stressed so here we have it.

You Gotta Get Bigger Dreams is a coffee table book with a bit of extra. It’s a set of picture essays about moments in the actor and singer’s life. Depending on your age you’ll know Cumming from GoldenEye, the first batch of X-Men movies, The Good Wife or his work on stage – notably as the MC in the revival of Cabaret. If you’re a certain age and British, you may remember him from his sitcom about a minor Scottish airline, The High Life. His life has been eventful and this gives you snapshot glimpses of it all – from his difficult relationship with his dad, to his fragrance range (Including a body wash called Cumming all over) to meeting Liz Taylor and being friends with Liza Minnelli. Cumming has picked his stories carefully and it feels gossipy and revealing as you read it, but is actually very cleverly picking what it’s divulging. He has written a memoir about his relationship with his father which was painful and difficult and this is not that and I don’t think covers much of the same material at all – it’s more about the different facets of Cumming’s life and the pictures he’s taken of it.

I bought this when I saw Cumming in concert in London a few years ago*, which is why the book is signed and it had a fairly similar mix of stories to that gig – which was lovely and brought back the memories of that night in the theatre. I’m not ruling out reading Cumming’s memoir about discovering his real family history when he went on Who Do You Think You Are (even after hearing the story from the video below) but that wasn’t what I needed last week – and this was.

This one might be a little tougher to get hold of than some of my other picks because it is a couple of years old now, but Amazon tells me that it has hardcover copies in stock. It’s also available in Kindle and as an audiobook, but the photos are such an integral part of this that I can’t imagine that it would work anywhere near as well without them alongside at the least.

Happy Reading!

*I found the ticket for that concert tucked in this book and was shocked, shocked I tell you, to discover how long this has been on the to-read pile.

books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week in Books: March 2- March 8

So this week got away from me somewhat. Can’t really explain what happened, except that my brain was frazzled and all I could cope with was binge watching old seasons of Drag Race on Netflix. There may or may not be a BotW post tomorrow – it depends if I can actually write more than a sentence about any of these. Fingers crossed this week is better.

Read:

You Gotta Get Bigger Dreams by Alan Cumming

Love and Other Scandals by Caroline Linden

A Warning by Anonymous

Aunty Lee’s Chilled Revenge by Ovidia Yu

Started:

American Sweethearts by Adriana Herrera*

Unfrazzle by Stephanie Lam

Still reading:

The Five-Year Plan by Carla Burgess*

Anna K by Jenny Lee*

A couple of books bought for me, a whole bunch bought for other people. I can’t work out if that is progress or not!

Bonus photo: it was World Book Day this week, so here’s a shelfie of some of the collectables and some of the favourites.

An * next to a book title indicates that it came from NetGalley.