Books on My Desk

Just so you don’t think I’m going to be constantly dumping links on you, I’ll tell you about 2 books I’ve recently read.

The first, a paperback original from the new Harper Perennial line, is a memoir called I Am Not Myself These Days by Josh Kilmer-Purcell. Josh lived a double life—by day, he was a successful advertising executive and at night, he transformed into Aquadisiac, a successful drag queen. This is all on the back of the galley. They even got a blurb from James Frey, so you know it’s going to be full of drugs, if not a bit trashy (sorry, I didn’t think much of Frey’s book). It’s not as all tawdry as they would have you believe. The other executives at his firm know about his night life, mainly because he shows up at work either hung over or still slightly drunk and won’t shut up about it. I found him sympathetic though. The book mostly focuses on a relationship he had with Jack, a hot rich male escort who also has a crack habit. Josh, only several months in NYC, moves into Jack’s clean white penthouse and they settle into a sort of hybrid domesticity. The funniest parts are when Josh comes home to find some of Jack’s S&M clients tied up on the floor. It ends sadly of course, as Jack gets more dependent on crack and Josh realizes his lifestyle (the up all night wasted, spending 2 or more hours getting into his drag costume lifestyle, not the being gay part) no longer suits him. If this tells you anything about the book, there’s a note from the executive editor of HarperCollins that let’s you know the film rights have already been bought by Clive Barker.

The other book to appear on my desk this week is a fantastic smaller hardcover from the great David Godine. Bibliotopia or, Mr. Gilbar’s Book of Books & Catch-All of Literary Facts & Curiosities clearly is cashing in on the popularity of small trivia books such as Schott’s Original Miscellany. But this one is classier and looks better. The cover and binding alone make the book worth a look. The endpapers have fonts illustrating them. The book begins with the beginning of books. There are no chapters, rather the whole thing is bulleted with a heading and the facts. It’s all literary trivia, such as ‘Some Authors With Medical Degrees’, ‘Genius Award Novelists’, and ‘French Authors Pronunciation Guide’. Throughout the book are wonderful illustrations of authors by Elliott Banfield. I thought they were woodcuts or something, but it turns out he used a Mac G5 and some Adobe software. I am fascinated with this book. Everyday I’ve been coming into my office, grabbing Bibliotopia, and opening it to a random page. It’s marvelous.