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Archives > ** February Monthly Challenge - It's Mardi Gras Time! **

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message 1: by Mandapanda (last edited Jan 29, 2011 01:06AM) (new)

Mandapanda Introducing our new Mini-Monthly Book Challenges. Each month a challenge (chosen from suggestions from our wonderful group members) is put out to read one book that fits our theme or genre.

February‘s theme: It’s Mardi Gras Time!
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Every year Sydney hosts one of the biggest parties in Australia, the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. It’s one of the largest gay pride parades and festivals in the world and is a major draw card for Aussie tourism.

The challenge is to choose a book that has a gay character or choose a book that has been written by a gay author. There are many more resources to find LGBT novels in every genre including here on goodreads.

Melbourne’s literary centre, The Wheeler Centre is also hosting the Big Gay Week - “Between Midsumma and Mardi Gras, join us for the politics and the writing, the romance and the taboos, the agonies and the ecstasies of being queer“.

To get you in the mood here is a list of the Top 50 Gay Songs voted by visitors to the 2009 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. Which of them do you love?

Some February facts: February’s birth flowers are the Viola and the Primrose and its birthstone is the amethyst which symbolizes piety, humility, spiritual wisdom, and sincerity.

Book/Author examples you could try: Mortal Instruments series, Kay Scarpetta novels, Trudi Canavan's Black Magician series, The Hours, Val MacDermid, J.R. Ward, Suzanne Brockmann, The Slap, Harry Potter series, Patrick White, E.M. Forster, Glee spin-off novels, Stephen Fry, Diana Gabaldon, Joanna Trollope, David Levithan, Mercedes Lackey, W.H. Auden, Buffy TVS Graphic Novels, Truman Capote etc, etc.


message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

Fabulous, I've been looking for an excuse to get Stephen Fry's latest book.


message 3: by Laura (last edited Jan 29, 2011 12:52AM) (new)

Laura | 4299 comments Oh that is easy! I've got my book picked already..lol Just dunno if I can place it here as it isn't eh for people under 18. It's still a novel though and it's in my GR list.

Oh and I've another book which is Straight Talk with Gay Guys

And like Gail, any excuse to buy/read Stephen Fry's book :D!


message 4: by Brenda, Aussie Authors Queen (new)

Brenda | 71754 comments Mod
Deception: An Alex Delaware Novel
Fantastic to be able to take it from my BS table, and lower my TBR list by at least 1!! :D


message 5: by ★ Jess (new)

★ Jess  | 3071 comments City of Glass by Cassandra Clare.
Alec Lightwood, a supporting character is gay. So I can take part in this challenge, I guess :)


message 6: by ★ Jess (last edited Jan 29, 2011 03:40AM) (new)

★ Jess  | 3071 comments I love Alec :)
He and Isabelle are by far the best characters so far. Issy reminds me so much of myself-except for being beyond gorgeous, that is :P


message 7: by Rachel (new)

Rachel (rach-x) | 1 comments Yes, I thought of Alec when I saw this event !


message 8: by Mandapanda (last edited Jan 30, 2011 04:36PM) (new)

Mandapanda I've picked a book by Josh Lanyon (a goodreads author) called All She Wrote which is the second in a series about two mystery authors, one a has-been amateur sleuth and the other an author at the peak of his craft. There is always a lot of Agatha Christie in JL's books. Great mysteries and wonderful understated relationships between the characters so I'm looking forward to reading it. Probably a couple of explicit scenes so not for younger readers.;)


message 9: by Mandapanda (new)

Mandapanda Thanks Carmel!!


message 10: by Brenda, Aussie Authors Queen (new)

Brenda | 71754 comments Mod
Carmel wrote: "I saw your new avatar yesterday Mandy, very cute!!"

Yes, it is seriously cute!!!


message 11: by [deleted user] (new)

I see Mandy has picked a mystery novel for this challenge which I might have to copy. Can anyone else recommend any good crime fiction with gay characters? I used to read an Australian series by a woman called Clare McNab that featured a lesbian detective in the NSW police but I've read them all and also read enough of the Jonathan Kellerman books to last me a lifetime. Of course I can do some googling but thought the fine people of this group might have some suggestions too.


message 12: by Laura (new)

Laura | 4299 comments Carmel wrote: "If anyone is interested in a book with gay character/s in it, The Vintner's Luck is an amazing book and the movie is brilliant!!
The Vinter's Luck by Elizabeth Knox"

Nice! Will have to give it a look see!


message 13: by Laura (last edited Jan 30, 2011 12:37AM) (new)

Laura | 4299 comments Oh some books if you don't wanna read a novel and wanna read a comic/graphic novel go for Runaways Deluxe Vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughan .

It's a great series currently waiting a revamp (there is more than this one book). Been reading since I found it in graphic novel form.


message 14: by Mandapanda (new)

Mandapanda Bernadette wrote: "I see Mandy has picked a mystery novel for this challenge which I might have to copy. Can anyone else recommend any good crime fiction with gay characters? I used to read an Australian series by a ..."

I just found a couple of suggestions but haven't read them myself. You could try any of the following three which are parts of series:

Hostage by R.D. Zimmerman
Simple Justice by John Morgan Wilson
Grave Silence by Rose Beecham

Or you must be familiar with the books of Val McDermid.


message 15: by Dot (new)

Dot (busyozmum) | 116 comments This a great challenge.
I've just about finished listening to Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim. I'm glad I've been listening to this in the car as I'm sure I would have put it down before I got halfway if I was reading it. The reviews rave about how funny this book is but I've found it incredibily sad. Go figure? The audio goes into a 'stand-up' routine by the author about two thirds of the way through which is hilarious but then it slips back to Sedaris's life and again the terribly difficult time he had growing up. He has a kind of melancholy voice and I wonder if I would view this differently if I was reading the book rather than listening to it. Don't know. I am glad I kept listening to it now as it's been very interesting and a worthwhile read/listen.

Like others, I am a huge fan of Stephen Fry. I would love to get a hold of his new book and read it.


message 16: by Andrea (last edited Jan 30, 2011 04:33PM) (new)

Andrea (andreakhost) Bernadette wrote: "Can anyone else recommend any good crime fiction with gay characters? I used to read an Australian series by a ..."

You might consider the Phryne Fisher series by Kerry Greenwood, since unless my memory serves me wrong, Phryne's love for men does not mean she overlooks women. [If not, it's a fun 1920's Australian series worth checking out.]

Otherwise, if you can get hold of them, try Laurie R King's Kate Martinelli series featuring a lesbian police detective (series starts with A Grave Talent I believe). I also thoroughly recommend King's Mary Holmes books, though they don't fall into the ambit of the challenge.

As a side-note to "has a gay character", my current read, Marsh' When in Rome has a gay character, but it's not the most sympathetic portrayal.

In the SF and fantasy area, consider books by Melissa Scott (one of my favourite writers).

[Unless one shouldn't recommend one's own fic, my [book:Champion of the Rose: Darest Book 1|9832204] is set in a socially bisexual world.]


message 17: by Mandapanda (new)

Mandapanda @ Dot. What an interesting author David Sedaris is! I had heard his name before but for some weird reason I thought he was a Sci Fi writer (maybe the surname sounds a bit like a star system!). I will definitely read one of his books but I might start with his original bestseller Naked.

@ Andrea Thanks for all those recs. Your own book sounds great. I do like fantasy myself and have put it on my TBR shelf!

Champion of the Rose Darest Book 1 by Andrea K Höst


message 18: by Mandapanda (new)

Mandapanda There are so many people mentioning Stephen Fry's books that I thought I would start a competition to win one copy of his latest book (I think it's his latest!) The Fry Chronicles. Please go to this thread to enter the competition: http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/4...


message 19: by Maggie (new)

Maggie | 3 comments Harlan Coben's "Myron Bolitar"series has a gay lead character, I'm sure, Windsor Horne Lockwood III.


message 20: by Laura (new)

Laura | 4299 comments Mandy wrote: "There are so many people mentioning Stephen Fry's books that I thought I would start a competition to win one copy of his latest book (I think it's his latest!) The Fry Chronicles. P..."

Nifty!!!


message 21: by Maggie (new)

Maggie | 3 comments I'm going to read Luna and Boy Meets Boy, both YA fiction.


message 22: by SueM (last edited Jan 30, 2011 07:41PM) (new)

SueM (4tun8) | 16 comments @ Bernadette, Laurie R King writes a crime series featuring a lesbian detective, Kate Martinelli, based in San Francisco. The first in the series is A Grave Talent. It was first published in 1993 so some of the tech might be a bit dated but I really enjoyed the book when I read it. Hope this helps.

ETA: Oops! must have missed Amanda's reply... Oh well..


message 23: by SueM (new)

SueM (4tun8) | 16 comments I just finished (well, yesterday) Cut & Run which features two male FBI agents who fall for each over the course of an investigation. I really enjoyed the book but a warning just in case, it is on the darker side and is more of an erotic romantic suspense than romantic suspense.


message 24: by Dot (new)

Dot (busyozmum) | 116 comments Mandy wrote: "There are so many people mentioning Stephen Fry's books that I thought I would start a competition to win one copy of his latest book (I think it's his latest!) The Fry Chronicles. P..."

You ripper! Thanks Mandy.


message 25: by Brenda, Aussie Authors Queen (new)

Brenda | 71754 comments Mod
She's a legend, is our Mandy..:D


message 26: by [deleted user] (new)

Thanks for all the suggestions people, I'm off to check the library catalogues right now.


message 27: by [deleted user] (new)

Thanks for all the suggestions people, I've just ordered A Grave Talent by Laurie R King from my local library as two of you suggested it - plus I've added a couple more of these other suggestions to my wishlist.


message 28: by Laura (new)

Laura | 4299 comments Just added both the books to my currently reading list...Eeeek, the amount of books I am reading keeps climbing :o! But I've some spare time this morning so I'll get stuck into them :D!


message 29: by [deleted user] (new)

Hope you enjoyed your spare time Laura. Wanna swap? I have two kids, a full time job and a husband who isn't keen on housework. (He does cook if that helps sell it.)


message 30: by Murray (new)

Murray Gunn (murraygunn) | 211 comments Bugger. I finished Audrey Hepburn's Neck a day too early to count for this challenge.


message 31: by Laura (new)

Laura | 4299 comments Gail "cyborg" wrote: "Hope you enjoyed your spare time Laura. Wanna swap? I have two kids, a full time job and a husband who isn't keen on housework. (He does cook if that helps sell it.)"
Hehehe, is there anyone who is keen on housework besides when you get mad,i think only then cleaning is enjoyable.


message 32: by Lyrpa (new)

Lyrpa | 1 comments Maggie wrote: "Harlan Coben's "Myron Bolitar"series has a gay lead character, I'm sure, Windsor Horne Lockwood III."

Windsor Horne Lockwood III is not gay. He's just extrememely handsome with pale blonde Patrician features. He's actually quite a womanizer. However, another lead character, Esperanza Diaz is bisexual and flops between men and women lovers on a regular basis. Last time out she got married.


message 33: by Maggie (new)

Maggie | 3 comments Finished Boy Meets Boy this afternoon. Say, 3 or 4 stars. A quick read, need to get past the first couple of chapters when they introduce a few too many characters all at once, all 'out there' - you wonder what the book is going to be about? But then it quickly settles into a coming of age, light romance.


message 34: by Laura (new)

Laura | 4299 comments Maggie wrote: "Finished Boy Meets Boy this afternoon. Say, 3 or 4 stars. A quick read, need to get past the first couple of chapters when they introduce a few too many characters all at once, all 'o..."
Graatttzzzz! I think you are the first to have a book dusted on the challenge :)


message 35: by Mandapanda (new)

Mandapanda Laura wrote: "Maggie wrote: "Finished Boy Meets Boy this afternoon. Say, 3 or 4 stars. A quick read, need to get past the first couple of chapters when they introduce a few too many characters all ..."

Sounds good Maggie. Well done!


message 36: by Brenda, Aussie Authors Queen (new)

Brenda | 71754 comments Mod
Just started Deception: An Alex Delaware Novel for my February challenge...so far, so good!


message 37: by Sharon (new)

Sharon | 160 comments Finished City of Bones. Really enjoyed it.


message 38: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl  (cherylllr) Finished our Kevin's book, Drama Queens with Love Scenes - adorable.


message 39: by Sharon (new)

Sharon | 160 comments Carmel wrote: "Terrifc Sharon, onto the next one?"

Thanks. Had to rush out and buy the second book City of Ashes. Am about 1/2 way through.


message 40: by Bronwyn (new)

Bronwyn Rykiert | 315 comments I have just finished listening to Shall We Dance? by Maggie Alderson - one of the supporting characters is Gay. It was an okay book.


message 41: by Laura (new)

Laura | 4299 comments haaaaaa...the book i am reading for this challenge is like shouting at me. i dunno i just get an odd feeling while read it.

Grats Cheryl and Brownwyn!!


message 42: by Dee-Ann (new)

Dee-Ann | 644 comments A friend has lent me a copy of Twilight of Love: Travels with Turgenevwhich she recommended.


message 43: by Mandapanda (last edited Feb 08, 2011 06:28PM) (new)

Mandapanda Dee-Ann wrote: "A friend has lent me a copy of Twilight of Love: Travels with Turgenevwhich she recommended."

What a brilliant book! I am definitely going to read it. I love travel writing and linking it with a great literary figure and his concepts of love and romance is fascinating.


message 44: by [deleted user] (new)

I was wondering how I was going to fulfil this challenge without purchase a book. Fortunately this morning I forgot to bring with me the book I am currently reading. I did have my kindle with me so I chose a book at random.

The book I chose was In a Strange Room. It was a book I had selected to read from the booker prize 2010 long list. It fits this challenge. Yay!


message 45: by Laura (new)

Laura | 4299 comments Straight Talk with Gay Guys was the book I was reading for this challenge. I got up to page 120 and couldn't read anymore of it. I bought it because from the description it seemed somewhat interesting. I just didn't enjoy the style of writing and I kept getting this 'shouted' at feeling everytime I read more and more pages..Like I was doing something wrong. I dunno, it's meant to be a book that empowers you but everytime I stopped reading it I would always feel cold.

I've another book on the go that I'm also reading for this challenge. I'm not going to list it here because it's 18+ but for the curious just check my profile.


message 46: by Emily (new)

Emily | 83 comments I've read that Bronwyn. I thought it was ok too. Just ok.
I finished my book for this challenge.
City of Bones. Such an easy and amazing read. I just love Magnus and Alec so so much!!


message 47: by Laura (new)

Laura | 4299 comments Carmel wrote: "Laura wrote: "Straight Talk with Gay Guys was the book I was reading for this challenge. I got up to page 120 and couldn't read anymore of it. I bought it because from the descriptio..."

AH preaching..YES that's the word I was looking for instead of shouting.


message 48: by Brenda, Aussie Authors Queen (new)

Brenda | 71754 comments Mod
Have finished my Mardi Gras February challenge book Deception: An Alex Delaware Novel.

Another rivetting Alex Delaware novel! Had lots of twists and turns in the plot, making it hard to work out who was the 'bad guy' until close to the finish! Love it when I think I have it solved, then I'm oh, so wrong... Johathan Kellerman makes it easy to keep following Alex Delaware and Milo Sturgis with each new mystery.


message 49: by [deleted user] (new)

I'm going to have a go. I'll start with 'City of Bones'.


message 50: by Laura (new)

Laura | 4299 comments Seems this City of Bones is a book many people like and have been reading...I might have to add it to my TBR pile..eggrrgghhh..ahaha :P


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