Brilliant Book Titles #5

An occasional series of blog posts whenever something takes my fancy.

I passed this book on the shelves this morning and I remembered how much I loved it, both the book and the John Hurt film!


naked civil

You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.

In 1931, gay liberation was not a movement–it was simply unthinkable. But in that year, Quentin Crisp made the courageous decision to “come out” as a homosexual. This exhibitionist with the henna-dyed hair was harrassed, ridiculed and beaten. Nevertheless, he claimed his right to be himself–whatever the consequences. The Naked Civil Servant is both a comic masterpiece and a unique testament to the resilience of the human spirit.

Woman in the Making: A Memoir by Rory O’Neill (aka Panti)

woman in the making

First things first, Rory can write, which was a nice surprise – sometimes people from other fields who write a memoir aren’t always suited to it, but he has a keen ear for a nice turn of phrase. His style is clean and very readable, but also at times quite beautiful.

His story is laid out chronologically starting with his childhood, talking about his art school days, his time in Tokyo, his life in Dublin, drag, HIV, and ending with his Noble Call, which made him world-famous.

I don’t have anything much more constructive than to say it’s quite brilliant, full of deftly observed characters and situations, full of warmth and memory and love.

If you’re interested in drag, this is a must-read. If you’re interested in Panti(gate), it’s also a must-read. I loved how it was the Panti/Rory that I’d seen in person at his shows that was speaking, as in, there was no censorship of events (there’s quite a discussion about his club days and anal adventures thereof – which to this day, is still something people in Dublin talk about). I ended up staying up until 3am finishing it!

It’s evenly balanced with not too much, or too little written about each chapter of his life. In short, it’s highly recommended. A word on the trade paperback and smaller, recent paperback – the recent one has a new prologue, set after the passing of the 2015 marriage referendum.


You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.

BONUS POST – 5 Film Books to Watch Out For

Here’s five new or forthcoming books about films or films stars to watch out for!
[All links below direct you to our catalogue where you can reserve a copy online]

master of ceremonies
Master of Ceremonies: A Memoir by Joel Grey (13 Apr 2016)
Joel Grey, the Tony and Academy Award-winning Master of Ceremonies in Cabaret finally tells his remarkable life story. Born Joel David Katz to a wild and wooly Jewish American family in Cleveland, Ohio in 1932, Joel began his life in the theater at the age of 9, starting in children s theater and then moving to the main stage. He was hooked, and his seven decades long career charts the evolution of American entertainment – from Vaudeville performances with his father, Mickey Katz to the seedy gangster filled nightclubs of the forties, the bright lights of Broadway and dizzying glamour of Hollywood, to juggernaut musicals like “Cabaret,” “Chicago,” and “Wicked.” “Master of Ceremonies” is a memoir of a life lived in and out of the limelight, but it is also the story of the man behind the stage makeup. Coming of age in a time when being yourself tended to be not only difficult but also dangerous, Joel has to act both on and off the stage. He spends his high school years sleeping with the girls-next-door while carrying on a scandalous affair with an older man. Romances with to-die-for Vegas Showgirls are balanced with late night liaisons with like-minded guys, until finally Joel falls in love and marries a talented and beautiful woman, starts a family, and has a pretty much picture perfect life. But 24 years later when the marriage dissolves, Joel has to once again find his place in a world that has radically changed. Drawing back the curtain on a career filled with show-stopping numbers, larger-than-life stars and even singing in the shower with Bjork, “Master of Ceremonies” is also a portrait of an artist coming to terms with his evolving identity. When an actor plays a character, he has to find out what makes them who they are; their needs, dreams, and fears. It s a difficult thing to do, but sometimes the hardest role in an actor s life is that of himself. Deftly capturing the joy of performing as well as the pain and secrets of an era we have only just started to leave behind, Joel s story is one of love, loss, hard-won honesty, redemption, and success.

elizabeth taylor
Elizabeth Taylor: A Private Life for Public Consumption by Ellis Cashmore (21 April 2016)
Elizabeth Taylor, who reigned empress-like in the 1960s, intrigued her global audience with her marriages and extra-marital improprieties, as well as her extravagant jewelry, her never-ending illnesses, her dependency on alcohol, and her perplexing friendship with Michael Jackson. She made over seventy films, though most people are hard-pressed to name three. Despite this, the name Elizabeth Taylor resonates like a thunderclap.

Ellis Cashmore s book sources celebrity culture in Taylor s scandalous affair with Richard Burton in the early 1960s. One iconic photograph taken by Marcelo Geppetti in 1962 announced the arrival of a new generation of predatory photojournalists we now know as the paparazzi. The picture propelled the world s most famous woman into a delirious media vortex. It changed Taylor s destiny. And, in a sense, it changed popular culture.

Taylor, Cashmore argues, remains the most influential Hollywood star ever: fascination in her was less about her body of work, more about the features of her life that made fans feel as if she shared the same kinds of torments as everyone. Untouchable and godlike, yet human in her frailties, Taylor was an engaging and reassuring symbol of humanness at a time when stars were remote and seemingly flawless.

citizen kane
Citizen Kane: A Filmmaker’s Journey by Harlan Lebo (13 May 2016)
With the approach of the 75th anniversary of Citizen Kane in May 2016, Harlan Lebo has written the full story of Orson Welles’ masterpiece film. The book will explore: Welles’ meteroric rise to stardom in New York and the real reason behind his arrival in Hollywood Welles’ unprecedented contract with RKO Studios for total creative control and the deeper issues that impeded his work instead; The dispute over who wrote the script The mystery of the “lost” final script, which the author has in his possession, and the missing scenes, which answer questions relating to the creation of the film; The plot by Hearst to destroy Welles’ project through blackmail, media manipulation, and other tactics; A detailed look behind the scenes of a production process that was cloaked in secrecy; The surprising emergence of Citizen Kane as an enduring masterpiece; Using previously unpublished material from studio files and the Hearst organization, exclusive interviews with the last surviving members of the cast and crew, and what may be the only surviving copy of the “lost” final script of the film, Citizen Kane: A Filmmaker’s Journey recounts the making of one of the most famous films in Hollywood history.

Alien: The Weyland-Yutani Report by S. D. Perry (20 May 2016)
For 100’s of years, scientists at Weyland-Yutani Corp. have been monitoring the behaviour of an alien life-form whose potential for military application appears limitless. Though all attempts to harness its abilities have ended in bloodshed, acquisition of the Xenomorph remains a priority. As such, Weyland-Yutani has granted you access to their files on the alien in the hope that you will be able to help capture this fascinating, deadly creature.

killing for culture
Killing for Culture, from Edison to Isis: A New History of Death on Film [2nd ed.] (1 Jun 2016)

“I thought I was desensitized. I’m not. No hope for humanity… I feel like my quest is over.” – Comment posted online in reaction to the video, 3 Guys 1 Hammer.

Unlike images of sex, which were clandestine and screened only in private, images of death were made public from the onset of cinema. The father of the modern age, Thomas Edison, fed the appetite for this material with staged executions on film. Little over a century later the executions are real and the world is aghast at brutalities freely available online at the click of a button. Some of these films are created by lone individuals using shaky camera phones: Luka Magnotta, for instance, and the teenagers known as the Dnipropetrovsk maniacs. Others are shot on high definition equipment and professionally edited by organized groups, such as the militant extremists ISIS.

KILLING FOR CULTURE explores these images of death and violence, and the human obsession with looking – and not looking – at them. Beginning with the mythology of the so-called ‘snuff’ film and its evolution through popular culture, this book traces death and the artifice of death in the ‘mondo’ documentaries that emerged in the 1960s, and later the faux snuff pornography that found an audience through Necrobabes and similar websites. However, it is when videos depicting the murders of Daniel Pearl and Nick Berg surfaced in the 2000s that an era of genuine atrocity commenced, one that has irrevocably changed the way in which we function as a society.

The Outsider: My Autobiography by Jimmy Connors

the outsider

Jimmy Connors took the tennis world by storm like no other player in the history of the game. A working-class kid from the wrong side of the tracks, he was prepared to battle for every point, to shout and scream until he was heard, and he didn’t care whom he upset in doing so. He was a brat. He was a crowd-pleaser, a maverick that was loved and hated in equal measures.  Along the way he won more tournaments – an astonishing 109 – than any other man in history, including eight Grand Slam singles titles.

In this autobiography, Connors sets the record straight on what really happened on and off the court: his intense rivalry with John McEnroe that frequently threatened to turn violent, with Bjorn Borg, and Ivan Lendl; his romance with Chris Evert, which made them the sweethearts of the sport. (They both won the Wimbledon title while engaged at the age of 19 in 1974); and the deep impact his Mother Gloria had on his life and his many love interests along the way. He married Playboy model Patti McGuire in 1979 and against all odds, they are still together. He outlines the many escapades with his partner in crime, Ilie Nastase and the deep roots of his fierce determination that made him the best player on the planet.

This autobiography is written very much in the way Jimmy Connors played tennis throughout his career: unflinchingly, hard-hitting, humorous, brash and above all true to character.  This book tells the story of a legend – the one and only Jimmy Connors!

Not for the purists but it’s a roller coaster of a read!


You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.


Brilliant Book Titles #4

An occasional series of blog posts whenever something takes my fancy.
I came across this book this morning. Apparently, it’s been republished as just “Clothes Music Boys” which is nowhere near as good as the original.


You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.


In 1975, Viv Albertine was obsessed with music but it never occurred to her she could be in a band as she couldn’t play an instrument and she’d never seen a girl play electric guitar.

A year later, she was the guitarist in the hugely influential all-girl band the Slits, who fearlessly took on the male-dominated music scene and became part of a movement that changed music.

A raw, thrilling story of life on the frontiers and a candid account of Viv’s life post-punk – taking in a career in film, the pain of IVF, illness and divorce and the triumph of making music again – Clothes Clothes Clothes Music Music Music Boys Boys Boys is a remarkable memoir.

Brilliant Book Titles #3

An occasional series of blog posts whenever something takes my fancy.
I spotted this book on the library shelves today!


You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.

In BAMBI VS. GODZILLA, David Mamet, the award-winning playwright and screenwriter, gives us an exhilaratingly subversive inside look at Hollywood from the perspective of a film-maker who has always played the game his own way. Who really reads scripts at the film studios? How is a screenplay like a personals ad? Whose opinion matters when revising a screenplay? Why are there so many producers listed in movie credits? And what the hell do those producers do, anyway? Refreshingly unafraid to offend, Mamet provides hilarious, surprising and bracingly forthright answers to these and other questions about virtually every aspect of film-making, from concept to script to screen. Demigods and sacred cows of the movie business — beware! But for the rest of us, Mamet speaking truth to Hollywood makes for searingly enjoyable reading, and will sit alongside classics like ADVENTURES IN THE SCREEN TRADE as essential primers on the movie business.

Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin


This monster of a book gives a fascinating insight into Abraham Lincoln and the men he surrounded himself with, to achieve his goals of emancipation and ending the civil war.

For me, the strength of the book rests in Goodwin’s ability to make each member of the cabinet real and recognisable. We enter into the minds and motivations of the Lincoln’s cabinet, especially Bates, Chase and Seward. We are persuaded to care for each of these men and we get a huge insight into the mind of Lincoln. Goodwin unfolds the story slowly and carefully, but it never feels laboured, due to her skill. She never loses sight of the bigger picture, but she knows we need the details of each life to make us care.

Mary Todd Lincoln is portrayed in a less than flattering or sympathetic light, but history does prove that she was a fragile character. Lincoln’s “team of rivals” are drawn as very distinct individuals who disliked each other intensely. Lincoln’s skill was in bringing them together and getting them to work together for the “Chief”.

This book has to deal with the fact that we know the tragic ending, but it is a book more wonderful for that. In spite of our knowledge of the dreadful ending, we can rejoice in the journey towards that ending and marvel at the achievement of the great president and his band of enemies, who left their enmity aside for the greater goal. In this, Goodwin has written a hugely inspiring, yet eminently readable book.


You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.

BONUS POST – 5 Gay Romance Books to Watch Out For

Here’s five new and forthcoming gay romance novels (also referred to as m/m or male/male romance) to watch out for:
[All links below direct you to our online catalogue where you can reserve a copy]

Men in Love – Edited by Jerry L. Wheeler (12 Apr 2016)
Spring approaches with the promise of new beginnings, fresh adventures, and the thrill of romance rekindled or discovered. Hot, sexy guys abound-meeting on the ball fields or the boardroom, at the theater or the classroom-falling in love and lust for the first time or celebrating a lifetime. Come join the rites of spring and indulge yourself in the passion and pleasures of our luscious men in love. Stories from some of today’s popular m/m romance authors explore the many faces of men in love: gay for you, seductions, weddings and more.

Selfie by Amy Lane (18 Apr 2016)
One year ago, actor Connor Montgomery lost the love of his life to a drunk driver. But what’s worse for Connor is what he still has: a lifetime of secrets born of hiding his relationship from the glare of Hollywood. Unable to let go of the world he and Vinnie shared, Connor films a drunken YouTube confession on the anniversary of Vinnie’s death.

Thankfully, the video was silent-a familiar state for Connor-so his secret is still safe. He needs a fresh start, and a new role on the hit TV show Wolf’s Landing might be just that.

The move to Bluewater Bay may also mean a second chance in the form of his studio-assigned assistant. Noah Dakers sees through Connor’s facades more quickly than Connor could imagine. Noah’s quiet strength and sarcastic companionship offers Connor a chance at love that Hollywood’s closet has never allowed. But to accept it, Connor must let Vinnie go and learn to live again.

heart as he hears it
The Heart as He Hears It by A. M. Arthur (19 Apr 2016)
Love can slip through the smallest crack in the door.

While most of his friends have moved on to “real” careers, Jon Buchanan is content skating through life as a part-time waiter and gay porn star. Firmly single thanks to a previous relationship disaster, he focuses his spare time on Henry, a dear friend dying of cancer.

And with Henry’s happiness paramount, Jon is on a mission to help Henry meet his recently discovered grandson.

Isaac Gregory hasn’t set foot outside for the past year. He has everything he needs delivered, and his remaining family knows better than to visit. When a complete stranger shows up claiming to be his grandfather—with a distractingly handsome younger man in tow—his carefully structured routines are shaken.

Despite his instant attraction, Jon senses Isaac is too fragile for a relationship. Yet tentative friendship grows into genuine companionship. And when Henry’s health begins to fail, they realize Fate brought them together for a reason.

triad blood.jpg
Triad Blood by ‘Nathan Burgoine (17 May 2016)
The law of three is unbroken: three vampires form a coterie, three demons make a pack, and three wizards are a coven. That is how it has always been, and how it was always to be. But Luc, Anders, and Curtis-vampire, demon, and wizard-have cheated tradition. Their bond is not coterie, pack, or coven, but something else. Thrust into the supernatural politics ruling Ottawa from behind the shadows, they face Renard, a powerful vampire who harbors deadly secrets of his own and wishes to end their threat. The enemy they know conjures fire and death at every turn. The enemies they don’t know are worse. Blood, soul, and magic gave them freedom. Now they need to survive it.

all the wrong places
All the Wrong Places by Ann Gallagher (13 June 2016)
Three cheating girlfriends in a row have given skateboarder Brennan Cross the same excuse: he wasn’t meeting their needs. Desperate and humiliated, he goes to the professionals at the local sex shop for advice.

Zafir Hamady, a sales clerk at Red Hot Bluewater, has an unusual theory: he doesn’t think Brennan is a bad lover. In fact, he doesn’t think Brennan is heterosexual. Or sexual at all, for that matter. He also can’t stop thinking about Brennan. But even if he’s right and Brennan really is asexual, that doesn’t mean Zafir has a chance. Brennan’s never dated a man, and Zafir’s never met anyone who’s game for a Muslim single father with a smart mouth and a GED.

Brennan’s always thought of himself as straight. But when sex is explicitly out of the mix, he finds himself drawn to Zafir for the qualities and interests they share. And Zafir can’t help enjoying Brennan’s company and the growing bond between Brennan and his son. They work well together, but with so many issues between them, doubts creep in, and Brennan’s struggle with his identity could push away the one person he didn’t know he could love.

The Guns of Easter by Gerard Whelan

guns of easter

Jimmy Conway lives in the tenements of Dublin in 1916. His uncle Mick who supposed to take him to the Fairyhouse races at Easter never shows up and bitterly disappointed he goes out to find his friends to cheer himself up only to find total chaos on the streets of Dublin. In the meantime Jimmy’s sister gets very sick with a fever and he has to cross the city to get money from his well off aunt for a doctor. His aunt lives on Northumberland Road however, one of the scenes of the heaviest fighting in the Rising. As he crosses the city he encounters soldiers on both sides fighting and bravely tries to make his way to his aunt’s house

This book for 9-12 year olds provides an unbiased account of the rising and doesn’t favor one side over the other, both sides are equally represented in this gripping page turner.


You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.

Brilliant Book Titles #2

An occasional series of blog posts whenever something takes my fancy.
I spotted this book on the library shelves this afternoon!


You can reserve a copy online on South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.

I was only sixteen when I bought an electric guitar and joined a band. A year later, I formed an all-girl band called the Marine Girls and played gigs, and signed to an indie label, and started releasing records.

Then, for eighteen years, between 1982 and 2000, I was one half of the group Everything But the Girl. In that time, we released nine albums and sold nine million records. We went on countless tours, had hit singles and flop singles, were reviewed and interviewed to within an inch of our lives. I’ve been in the charts, out of them, back in. I’ve seen myself described as an indie darling, a middle-of-the-road nobody and a disco diva. I haven’t always fitted in, you see, and that’s made me face up to the realities of a pop career – there are thrills and wonders to be experienced, yes, but also moments of doubt, mistakes, violent lifestyle changes from luxury to squalor and back again, sometimes within minutes.