[image description: an orange and black banner reading “queer halloween reads, part one: classics”. it is surrounded by four book covers of the titles listed below.]
The is the first of four posts featuring queer and queer-ish reads for Halloween. Enjoy!
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
Jackson has penned several creepy classics, including We Have Always Lived in the Castle and The Lottery. This 1959 literary ghost story is a landmark of the genre, inventing (as far as I can tell) the strangers-gathered-in-a-spooky-house trope. Many fans of the novel have read at least one of those strangers as queer.
Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu
An 1872 novella (now in public domain and available online) that tells the story of a young woman named Laura who befriends a strange girl named Carmilla. This pre-Dracula vampire tale is sometimes subtitled: “A Tragic Love Story”.
The Gilda Stories by Jewelle Gomez
A runaway slave is taken in by two kindly vampire women who operate a brothel - for them and their kind, giving life is as important as taking blood. This unconventional vampire story then follows Gilda over the next two hundred years as she travels the world and seeks connection. Confession: I’m too much of a wuss to read most of the scary stories that will be in these Queer Halloween Reads, but I’m working my way through this one, and it’s pretty great.
Drawing Blood by Poppy Z. Brite
Lost Souls, the debut novel by Billy Martin (the author’s current name), is perhaps more well-known, but I went with his second book, Drawing Blood, to keep the vampire-to-haunted-house ratio even. It stars a cartoonist named Trevor, the only one spared when his father killed his family and himself. Returning to his childhood home to confront his father’s demons, he also crosses paths with Zach, a bisexual hacker on the run from the FBI.
La Classe Américaine (Le Grand Détournement) - 1993
Chino Otsuka : Imagine Finding Me
Chino Otsuka uses photography and video to explore the fluid relationship between the memory, time and photography. At age 10 she moved from Japan to the United Kingdom to attend school. Her experience of becoming familiar with a new place, a different language and new customs while she was developing her adolescent identity has profoundly shaped her work in photography, video and writing. Her series Imagine Finding Me consists of double self-portraits, with images of her present self beside her past self in various places she has visited. As Otsuka says: “The digital process becomes a tool, almost like a time machine, as I’m embarking on the journey to where I once belonged and at the same time becoming a tourist in my own history.” - via AGO
I am unexpectedly weepy looking at this.
gosh that’s… moving in a really gentle kind of “mother your inner child” way…
It’s so good that I ALMOST SCROLLED PAST IT because I assumed they were just regular pictures
(Leikkona speaking, helloooow~)
Other good links are Green Shinto and the Shinto Encyclopedia. And you also have the website of the Tsubaki Grand Shrine of America and the Shinzen Foundation, which are shrines situated outside Japan with some resources in English (also in Dutch and French for the Shizen Foundation)
Someone else was extremely disturbed while reading The Reader by Bernard Schlinke ?
It’s not even the big twist that got me (that was actually spoiled by the summary, for fuck sake, editors need to learn about not telling big twists in their summaries). It was the first few chapters. It was how fucked up the relation between Michael and Hanna is from the beginning. How Michael tell, again and again, that is memory is fuzzy except on some details, because, yeah, it was long ago he was a fifteen years old boy, but he was happy, you know ? How she keeps calling him “kid”. Her reactions. The fact that it’s seen as acceptable, as a love story, this 30-and-a-bit-more years old woman and this 15 years old boy.
I don’t know, it’s just extremely disturbing to me. It’s not even emotionally taxing like Mendelssohn is on the Roof. With the former, I can’t read more than two or three chapters in a row because it’s exhausting, because of how the comedy descend into the horror. But with The Reader, I’m just plain disturbed, and I had to force myself to advance in the book, because it was an imposed reading.