Bookish geographer, Feral reader.

While wasting time on a certain social networking website, I noticed that a couple of my friends had joined a group called Queer Book Club.  Seeing that it was started by someone else I know through the local queer community, I submitted a request to join as well, which was quickly granted.  In the ensuing online discussion, I found out that the Club’s plan was to focus on the books for this year’s Canada Reads competition.

Now, I love Canada Reads as much as another other CBC-obsessed literary nerd… And I honestly believe that as queers, we bring a unique and valuable perspective to any and all interprepations of plot and character, no matter the genre or category… But really?  Canada Reads?  Dudes, I can talk about Canada Reads with my mom, or my dentist, or the lady sitting next to me on the bus… I joined this club because I’m craving long discussions about novels such as Zami with 8 other queers who’ve also read it five million times like I have!

Or who are at least willing to read it once, outside of a university classroom.

I try to eventually get through the books that make it into each year’s Canada Reads competition, and sometimes I even read them ahead of time… Though usually that’s a fluke, or because my mother sends them to me.  Sometimes, the books may even be ones that I love:  The Book of Negroes is a case in point (and it won the 2009 competition).

(Of course, if you were reading The Book of Negroes with a book club with me, I’d get all intercontextual on y’all, and ask that you also read Nalo Hopkinson’s Brown Girl in the Ring, and a book or two from Octavia Butler’s Patternist series… My parents were English teachers, and I’ve been conditioned to make everything into a 1000-word compare-and-contrast essay.)

So yeah, Canada Reads is great, and I’m glad that this group of queers in my town are going to sit down and discuss those books.  However, there’s a ton of literature out there that’s written by queers authors and features queer characters and I never get enough chances to talk about it.  I know the books exists, because they crop up on reading lists here and there, and the writers themselves blog about writing them.  I also seek them out, searching the library catalogues and perusing the GBLTetc section of used book stores.

But I don’t just want it to be easier for me to find books with characters whose lives include a wide diversity of sexual and gender identities:  I want a regular, ongoing opportunity to engage in face-to-face discussions, a community of readers to share my rants and raves.  Oh, Queer Book Club, how I wish you were what I wanted you to be.

I actually posted a brief note on the group’s page, asking for anyone wanting to read queer books to message me.  I got no bites, and was kinda told off by the group moderator.  Well, she called me rude, and I couldn’t tell if she was joking, though I apologized for trying to poach members.  Anyway, I could see how that would put off any potential collaborators, especially if we’ve never met in real life.

Le sigh.

In related news, I’ve added several literary blogs to the Queer Canada Blogs blogroll this past week.  We’ve got a real live author, a few avid readers, a book club (!!!) and a professional bookseller thrown in for good measure.  Delving into the world of book blogs has been a whole new experience for me:  They have their own memes and themed reviewer blogrolls!  Who knew?  I’d previously always thought that if I were to do a topic-specific blog, it’d be about DIY foodie stuff, but now I’m thinking I’d do something bookish.

Just going through these new QCB additions inspired me to make a list of what I read this past year, which is harder than expected simply because all my books are currently in boxes still (and my library doesn’t show my borrowing history when I log into my account:  Annoying!).  While I don’t necessarily own everything I read, seeing certain books always reminds me of other ones, and I think I need that in order to do an accurate 2010 list.  So, I confirmed with my boss that I have all next week off work, and my priority is making and installing the new built-in bookcases I’ve planned for the apartment… That’ll be a dozen or so less boxes to trip over, which will make me a dozen or so times happier.

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15 responses to “Bookish geographer, Feral reader.

  1. I am actually reading “The Well of Loneliness”. My husband and I are trying to read banned or once banned books. While I identify as bi, I would like to join you in your reads.

    • Awesome! Though I must confess, I’ve never read The Well of Loneliness… I know, I know, it’s a classic and I *ought* to have read it, but someone once told me that it was the most depressing book in the world and so I’ve avoided it. But! Nevermore! I will get it from the library tomorrow, okay?

      • It is kind of sad. My husband has read more of it than I have. There are some parts I can identify with, it starts out with the main character in childhood. READ IT! :) Libraries are our friends.

        • ZOMG THE LIBRARY DOESN’T HAVE IT. Seriously… WTF? It lists the only copy of the book as “In Processing”. Grrr…
          Okay, I’ll go to a used bookstore this weekend. Except that it’s Christmas. Drat.
          Now I’m determined to track it down!

  2. Which queer books would you say are required reading?

    • Fucked if I know! Heh heh… No, seriously, this is a damn good question, and I’m drafting another post on the topic… Especially since Oats and I talked about it this morning, and each came up with pretty different lists. I want to say that this is simply cuz she’s a million years older than me, but A) she actually isn’t, and B) I think it’s more complicated than that. Stay tuned for more musings about this.

  3. How disappointing that the only queer thing about this queer book club is that its populated by queer folk. In a queer book club, that’s not quite enough.

    • Well, I don’t want to rain on their parade, cuz really they can do whatever they want… And given that safe spaces for meeting other queers in this town is limited to two gay bars, the university and college pride groups, and too many cliques of various descriptions, I think it’s cool that there’s some other activity geared towards folks of diverse sexualities/genders. Like when there used to be queer yoga here, you know? I didn’t go to that for the yoga, I only went to pick up (and I did! Heh heh.)

      But the difference between yoga and literature is pretty big, so yeah… I’m disappointed!

  4. P.s. I think I’m in love with “Bookish butch”

  5. Hello :) Thank you for finding me and getting me added to that blogroll. I wanted to say that there is a GLBT reading challenge in the book blogging community that a friend and I have created a reading list for and will be reading and discussing (on no real set schedule unfortunately) through the year. Cass talks about it here: http://bonjourcass.com/2010/11/17/glbtq-challenge/

    You would be more than welcome to join in and discuss with us!

    • feralgeographer

      Thanks so much, Amy. I read about this challenge, and am stoked to try it out!

      And thank you for blogging too.

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