Categories
Books

The Book of Matt by Stephen Jimenez -The Matthew Shephard Story

bookofmatt

 

 

If you’re unfamiliar with Matthew Shepard, he was a young man murdered in the late 90s and his death was labeled the worst hate crime.  Jimenez wanted to investigate further:

What role did crystal meth and other previously underreported factors play in the brutal murder of gay college student Matthew Shepard? The Book of Matt is a page-turning cautionary tale that humanizes and de-mythologizes Matthew while following the evidence where it leads, without regard to the politics that have long attended this American tragedy.

Late on the night of October 6, 1998, twenty-one-year-old Matthew Shepard left a bar in Laramie, Wyoming with two alleged “strangers,” Aaron McKin­ney and Russell Henderson. Eighteen hours later, Matthew was found tied to a log fence on the outskirts of town, unconscious and barely alive. He had been pistol-whipped so severely that the mountain biker who discovered his battered frame mistook him for a Halloween scarecrow. Overnight, a politically expedient myth took the place of important facts. By the time Matthew died a few days later, his name was synonymous with anti-gay hate.

Stephen Jimenez went to Laramie to research the story of Matthew Shepard’s murder in 2000, after the two men convicted of killing him had gone to prison, and after the national media had moved on. His aim was to write a screenplay on what he, and the rest of the nation, believed to be an open-and-shut case of bigoted violence. As a gay man, he felt an added moral imperative to tell Matthew’s story. But what Jimenez eventually found in Wyoming was a tangled web of secrets. His exhaustive investigation also plunged him deep into the deadly underworld of drug trafficking. Over the course of a thirteen-year investigation, Jimenez traveled to twenty states and Washington DC, and interviewed more than a hundred named sources.

There are many shocking bits to this story:

  • Young Matt Shepard’s brutal death
  • Laramie Wyoming’s horrific drug problem
  • gay and straight sex trade for drugs industry
  • potential cover-ups by police

With so many items to tackle, this story was bound to be difficult to read.  And it was.  I felt sleazy and dirty at times but couldn’t put the book down.  I’m not sure that I liked the story, but it certainly was interesting to unravel the pieces behind the murder.  I still have unanswered questions but what I DO know, thanks to Jimenez, is that young Matthew Shepard’s murder did not appear to be a targeted hate crime.  To be sure, Shepard was gay, but that was probably not why he was killed.

Only Aaron McKinney knows the truth.

This story is not for the faint hearted or for kids!

 

 

Categories
Books Reviews Young Adult

Geography Club by Brent Hartinger

 

Unconventional Librarian Geography Club

Are you looking for a YA book that discusses issues important to LGBT teens?  You can thank my new bestie Brent Hartinger for bringing it to you!  The Geography Club series contains LGBT teens who aren’t stereotypically gay and the book is about so much more than that!

I had a chance to chat with Brent and ask him to provide some insight into what’s going on in Geography Club, page 99.  Here’s what he said:

So page 99 of Geography Club. It’s a scene of Russel and Gunnar riding their bikes home from school. Gunnar has pressured Russel (who is gay) into going out with Kimberly’s friend Trish because that’s the only way Kimberly will go out with him. Got all that? Yeah. High school drama much?

 One of my favorite things about the Russel Middlebrook Series — one of the things I’m most proud of — is the relationship between the three best friends, Russel, Gunnar, and Min. I probably don’t always achieve what I’m trying to do when I write a book, but so many people have commented to me on how that three-way friendship rings interesting and true that I do sort of feel like I achieved what I had set out to do there. And I think this is one of those scenes where we see why the relationship between Russel and Gunnar ends up such a close one. Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger? That’s true of friendships too.
Here Russel is slowly realizing: Kimberly is only using Gunnar to get him to get Russel to go out with her friend Trish. And Russel’s starting to realize this isn’t going anywhere good: Trish will eventually learn that Russel’s not into her, and Gunnar will eventually realize that Kimberly’s not into him. But Russel can’t quite say of this because it would mean revealing uncomfortable truths — truths that he’s really not ready to deal with yet. He hasn’t yet learned that NOT revealing those truths only makes things much worse in the long run.
That’s one of the big themes of the whole book: basically, that secrets have power only as long as they ARE secrets. Turn on the lights and lets look at the monster in the closet. Whatever it is, it can’t possibly be as scary in the light as it is in the dark.
I guess the other thing I’d say about this page that, well, in general, I get annoyed when adults dismiss or belittle teenage concerns. If you really want to, you can always find a reason to feel superior to other people, but what’s the point of that? What good does that do? All of us who are adults were teenagers once. Did your own feelings not matter then? Because that’s what you’re saying when you dismiss teenager feelings now.
The point is, I wrote this book more than twelve years ago, and I took the feelings of teenagers seriously. I think that’s pretty evident on this page. Anyway, I’m happy to see it on page 99 and elsewhere in the book. I think it explains a lot of this book’s success.
A lot has changed in the world over the last twelve years, but I’d like to think a lot of the emotions in this book still hold up.

Doncha love getting inside an author’s head?  I do!

 

Categories
Books Diversity Reading Challenge

The Curse of the Bridal Chamber by @YeahHunter is My JAM!!

Yall, run to your local bookstore, online store, resident hoarder, or wherever you get books and get this book NOW. Go ‘head. I’ll wait.

bridal-chamber

There. Did’ja get it? Now, here’s what is so AWESOME about this book. Read a little blurb:

The indomitable senior sleuth Imogene and her outrageously endearing Alabama family find themselves in hot water while on a family vacation at a mermaid convention in sunny Florida. When Imogene and her brood, including Goose the bulldog, encounter a dead body floating in the freshwater springs beneath their glass-bottom boat, the local police immediately arrest one of the Alabama visitors for the crime.

Now the aging amateur crime solver must exonerate her own family, but unearthing a killer among the park’s past and present mermaids and employees promises to be no easy task, since so many of them are thrilled that the victim is sleeping with the fishes. And a decades-old curse that has deposited more than one dead body in the Bridal Chamber spring now seems focused on Imogene and her kin, who are wading into dangerous waters indeed. Witty and colorful, The Curse of the Bridal Chamber will keep you enthralled until the final surprising revelation.

So, Imogene is like 70 and her sister is older. But these two rascals don’t let their age get in the way. When I get to be that age I want to be as bad ass as them! These old broads have southern spunk, charm, and family pride that will make you cry from laughing so hard.  The best bit about this book is that two of the characters are gay, but it’s not the driving motivation of the story. They just happen to be that way. It doesn’t detract from the story and it’s in no way in appropriate. It’s good, clean, fun! Heck, even the cursing is cleaner than I’ve seen in recent YA books, although this isn’t targeted to YA.  Mild violence, but again, seen worse from middle grade books.

Imogene, and I believe the correct Southern pronunciation is I as in eye, mo- geen, will be your next favorite read. It’s perfect for EVERYONE!

Totally calling myself Maw Maw when I’m an older person. Heck I think I’d like to be called it now.  Total Diversity Reading Challenge material.

Did I mention MERMAIDS??

 

Categories
2015 Diversity Reading Challenge Banned Books

Banned Books Week-Day 2

 

BBW13_Profile

8.  The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky

The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky

 Click the link for My review . Why this book is on the banned book list every year is beyond mystifying.

 

7.  The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini

The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini

The Kite Runner is one of those books you need to read more than once to appreciate
the many facets of this beautiful story of two young friends.

This book is always on the list, it seems, for these reasons: Offensive language, unsuited to age group, violence
I dunno.  This book is real world. Again, what age group are you giving this to?

Have you read either of these books? What are your thoughts?  If you’re just now getting around to either, they qualify for the Diversity Challenge also.

 

 

Categories
2015 Diversity Reading Challenge Books Young Adult

What’s In My Ear: I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson

Welcome to this edition of

What’s In My Ear!

Today’s submission is a little gem called

I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson

I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

If you haven’t heard of this title, run out and grab it NOW!

Twins Jude and Noah have had some interesting experiences in their short lives

but the one thing constant in both of their lives is their need for each other and art.

Aside from learning about being true to yourself, death of loved ones, and art,

these kids experience life in bright, loud, in your face creative experiences that

make you realize you’re not alone.

It’s incredible. For the creative mind who sees color in everything.

This book glorifies you.

I’ll Give You The Sun could qualify as a Diversity Reading Challenge pick

because the main character is gay.

Read it.

Be true to yourself.

Categories
2015 Diversity Reading Challenge

An Unconventional Librarian’s 2015 #DiversityReadingChallenge

IT’S TIME FOR DIVERSITY!

I’ve been wanting to start my own reading challenge and I’ve finally done it! Let’s ring in 2015 with a reading challenge that celebrates the multicultural reader and challenges the status quo.

Presenting the Diversity Reading Challenge!fd

DIVERSITY CHALLENGECollage

 

This challenge pairs well with almost any other challenge you’re participating in; there are multicultural books in every genre. If you’re new to reading diverse books, you’ll be hooked. If you’re an avid consumer of multicultural reads, then this challenge will suit you just fine.  There are no complicated rules to this challenge; participate how you want, when you want.

Wanna chat about books? Tweet me @pamlovesbooks with #DiversityReadingChallenge, leave a comment here, or leave a link to your #DiversityReadingChallenge page! Let’s keep this conversation going…

Categories
Books Young Adult

Guardian by Alexander London. A Review

If you haven’t figured it out by now, you should know that I LOVE LOVE LOVE Alexander London! It’s almost as if we are SIBLINGS

separatedatbirth

 

SEPARATED AT BIRTH! I mean look at us! We are practically TWINS! I have ears, he has ears. We both wear glasses, and our mouths are both open in this picture.

Uncanny, right?

Because Al is my secret twin, I’m so proud of him for writing the sequel to Proxy, which is called Guardian.  I couldn’t love Proxy any more because the world needs more dark skinned homosexual heroes, ya know? Sure, Sid is gay but that’s not the point. The point IS that he is a human being who just happens to like other boys. He handles his business, kicks ass when he needs to, and is just trying to survive in the world, just like everyone else.

In Guardian, poor Sid is now the wunderkind, the guy who everyone hangs their hopes on. There’s been a revolution and now that the world is putting itself together, people are still trying to kill Sid. But at least he has a few friends. And all you need is one good friend, right?

Deeper still than Proxy, Guardian is a good platform to discuss political and economic systems if you’re into that sort of thing. What a great semester you‘d have if you taught this in World Civilization, Economics, English, Sociology, or History class! Teachers, get on this.  Fortunately for us, fascism is long dead, but Guardian helps you take a look at this and other failed systems in a way that teens who are trying to figure the world out, can relate to.

I can’t wait to see what happens in book 3.  There will be a book three, right?

Right?

Also? Am I the only one who envisions Harvey Fierstein or Topol as Counselor Baram?

Did I mention that I‘m part of Lady Reader Bookstuff‘s tour, which ROCKS. HARD.

rp_LONDON-TOUR.png

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories
Books

The Book of Matt by Stephen Jimenez

bookofmatt

 

 

I struggled with whether to share this book with you.  To be sure, I read lots of books but don’t review them here for various reasons.  This book, however, caught me.  Stephen Jimenez, came to Towne Book Center & Cafe last night and I was reading his book in preparation for his visit.  If you’re unfamiliar with Matthew Shepard, he was a young man murdered in the late 90s and his death was labeled the worst hate crime.  Jimenez wanted to investigate further:

What role did crystal meth and other previously underreported factors play in the brutal murder of gay college student Matthew Shepard? The Book of Matt is a page-turning cautionary tale that humanizes and de-mythologizes Matthew while following the evidence where it leads, without regard to the politics that have long attended this American tragedy.

Late on the night of October 6, 1998, twenty-one-year-old Matthew Shepard left a bar in Laramie, Wyoming with two alleged “strangers,” Aaron McKin­ney and Russell Henderson. Eighteen hours later, Matthew was found tied to a log fence on the outskirts of town, unconscious and barely alive. He had been pistol-whipped so severely that the mountain biker who discovered his battered frame mistook him for a Halloween scarecrow. Overnight, a politically expedient myth took the place of important facts. By the time Matthew died a few days later, his name was synonymous with anti-gay hate.

Stephen Jimenez went to Laramie to research the story of Matthew Shepard’s murder in 2000, after the two men convicted of killing him had gone to prison, and after the national media had moved on. His aim was to write a screenplay on what he, and the rest of the nation, believed to be an open-and-shut case of bigoted violence. As a gay man, he felt an added moral imperative to tell Matthew’s story. But what Jimenez eventually found in Wyoming was a tangled web of secrets. His exhaustive investigation also plunged him deep into the deadly underworld of drug trafficking. Over the course of a thirteen-year investigation, Jimenez traveled to twenty states and Washington DC, and interviewed more than a hundred named sources.

There are many shocking bits to this story:

  • Young Matt Shepard’s brutal death
  • Laramie Wyoming’s horrific drug problem
  • gay and straight sex trade for drugs industry
  • potential cover ups by police

With so many items to tackle, this story was bound to be difficult to read.  And it was.  I felt sleazy and dirty at times but couldn’t put the book down.  I’m not sure that I liked the story, but it certainly was interesting to unravel the pieces behind the murder.  I still have unanswered questions but what I DO know, thanks to Jimenez, is that young Matthew Shepard’s murder did not appear to be a targeted hate crime.  To be sure, Shepard was gay, but that was probably not why he was killed.

Only Aaron McKinney knows the truth.

This story is not for the faint hearted or for kids!

 

 

Categories
Books Young Adult

Proxy by Alex London = LOVE!

I love it when I discover a book that moves me because it is written so well and the action is fast paced and the characters are believable.

That is why I

Love

Proxy.

If you haven’t had a chance to read it yet, put it on your TBR list NOW!

 

Categories
Books Reviews Young Adult

Geography Club by Brent Hartinger and Giveaway

Have you read Geography Club by Brent Hartinger?

Unconventional Librarian Geography Club

Are you looking for a YA book that discusses issues important to LGBT teens?  You can thank my new bestie Brent Hartinger for bringing it to you!  The Geography Club series contains LGBT teens who arent stereotypically gay and the book is about so much more than that!

I had a chance to chat with Brent and ask him to provide some insight into what’s going on in Geography Club, page 99.  Here’s what he said:

So page 99 of Geography Club. It’s a scene of Russel and Gunnar riding their bikes home from school. Gunnar has pressured Russel (who is gay) into going out with Kimberly’s friend Trish because that’s the only way Kimberly will go out with him. Got all that? Yeah. High school drama much?

 One of my favorite things about the Russel Middlebrook Series — one of the things I’m most proud of — is the relationship between the three best friends, Russel, Gunnar, and Min. I probably don’t always achieve what I’m trying to do when I write a book, but so many people have commented to me on how that three-way friendship rings interesting and true that I do sort of feel like I achieved what I had set out to do there. And I think this is one of those scenes where we see why the relationship between Russel and Gunnar ends up such a close one. Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger? That’s true of friendships too.
Here Russel is slowly realizing: Kimberly is only using Gunnar to get him to get Russel to go out with her friend Trish. And Russel’s starting to realize this isn’t going anywhere good: Trish will eventually learn that Russel’s not into her, and Gunnar will eventually realize that Kimberly’s not into him. But Russel can’t quite say of this because it would mean revealing uncomfortable truths — truths that he’s really not ready to deal with yet. He hasn’t yet learned that NOT revealing those truths only makes things much worse in the long run.
That’s one of the big themes of the whole book: basically, that secrets have power only as long as they ARE secrets. Turn on the lights and lets look at the monster in the closet. Whatever it is, it can’t possibly be as scary in the light as it is in the dark.
I guess the other thing I’d say about this page that, well, in general, I get annoyed when adults dismiss or belittle teenage concerns. If you really want to, you can always find a reason to feel superior to other people, but what’s the point of that? What good does that do? All of us who are adults were teenagers once. Did your own feelings not matter then? Because that’s what you’re saying when you dismiss teenager feelings now.
The point is, I wrote this book more than twelve years ago, and I took the feelings of teenagers seriously. I think that’s pretty evident on this page. Anyway, I’m happy to see it on page 99 and elsewhere in the book. I think it explains a lot of this book’s success.
A lot has changed in the world over the last twelve years, but I’d like to think a lot of the emotions in this book still hold up.

Doncha love getting inside an author’s head?  I do!

Now, watch my video for a surprise.

So, whaddaya think? Can’t wait to get your hands on these books? Enter by commenting below.  Contest runs until Midnight May 1st.

BUT WAIT!!

Don’t forget to enter the contest to win!

Good luck!