LORD OF THE SENSES (STORIES) BY: VIKRAM KOLMANNSKOG |BOOK REVIEW

Lord of the Senses (Stories)
By: Vikram Kolmannskog
Genre/Themes:LGBTQ/Gay, Fiction, Drama, Short Stories, Religion, Multi-Culture, Anti-Classism (18+)
Publisher: TeamAngelica
Release Date:  September 6, 2019

TeamAngelica | Amazon | AmazonUK

Synopsis:  A groundbreaking collection of frank, provocative short stories from gay Indian-Norwegian Vikram Kolmannskog, published to coincide with the anniversary of the decriminalization of homosexuality in India.

From the forest-fringed suburbs of Oslo to the bustling heart of Bombay; from the timeless banks of the Ganges to the never-closing nightclubs of Berlin, Lord of the Senses captures a headily contemporary sense of what it is to be queer, cosmopolitan, spiritual and sexual.

My Thoughts

~~With a combination of an extended month of unanticipated work, and several hiccups at the beginning of the school year for my cousin—this post is well overdue.~~

In terms of context and themes, Lord of the Senses does not hold any punches. The stories are straightforward, in your face, honest, revealing, open and unapologetic with a lot of the erotic material the stories cover. That’s not to say that the book needs to be apologetic or reined in. Moreover, since the stories build on this sense of caution, due to shameful (and dangerous) social judgment, the secretive means of being affectionate with their partners and the openness of these stories seem to counteract those barriers.

Trying to condense all of the themes and genres we can pick up in this book was a challenge as I did not want to spiral down any mythological or fantasy rabbit-holes, but Shredded Dates and Raven Leela were two of the main contenders for my notes on that.

And I love the simplistic bittersweetness we get from the shorts Raja, Nanima and Roger Toilet, Growing Up Queer, The Sunset Point, and The Sacred Heart. Moments and pieces from each of those just seemed to linger with me the longest as I moved on to the next story.

Lord of the Senses should not be viewed as a book entirely made up of short stories that have physically erotic scenes—even though it does—but rather, a collection of stories intent on invoking a connection of each character to the reader. Hence, another aspect I liked in this book was the different levels of (sometimes anonymous) intimacy; emotionally, physically, and spiritually.

The writer takes us on these brief journeys with each character/tale conveying these strong, open, and liberatingly potent perspectives. Some of which came directly from the deeply obscured minds of the characters, that as an outsider, I felt like I had been intruding on their private thoughts.

While organizing my thoughts to mention how the micro-detailed descriptions interlaced with the intricate sensory markers, and scenery specifics of these stories help to transport your mind to some of these places—I ended up reading this great interview with Vikram.

He brings up points on how some of the pieces in Lord of the Senses have developed from drafts over the years and through the course of the movement for equal rights for the LGBTQ community in India. In the interview, Vikram also speaks about his desire to not only have his stories tether connections to the LGBTQ community within India. But also, to straight individuals outside of the community with ties to India as a means of highlighting, as I understood it, just how similar we all are at our core.

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Book Review: For Today I Am A Boy by Kim Fu

For Today I Am A Boy
By: Kim Fu
Genre: GLBTQ+, Realistic Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, YA Fiction
Rating: 3.5 stars
Release Date: March 10, 2015
Publisher: Mariner Books
Synopsis:
At birth, Peter Huang is given the Chinese name Juan Chaun, “powerful king.” To his parents, newly settled in small-town Ontario, he is the exalted only son in a sea of daughters, the one who will finally fulfill his immigrant father’s dreams of Western masculinity. Peter and his sisters grow up in an airless house of order and obligation, though secrets and half-truths simmer beneath the surface. At the first opportunity, each of the girls lights out on her own. But for Peter, escape is not as simple as fleeing his parents’ home. Though his father crowned him “powerful king,” Peter knows otherwise. He knows he is really a girl. With the help of his far-flung sisters and the sympathetic souls he finds along the way, Peter inches ever closer to his own life, his own skin, in this darkly funny, emotionally acute, stunningly powerful debut.

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2016 Book Challenges Update: Month Seven

Well this month just kind of flew by, didn’t it?!…

Happy Saturday, Fellow Book Lovers:

I think I might have mentioned this before a little while back, but I will be moving (again) come the beginning of August. With the addition of my darling little pup  this past month, preparing to move and packing? I am beyond grateful I was able to stick to the reading schedule I made and consume all of the stories that I did this month. In addition to the list below, I also tackled   Sorcerer To The Crown by: Zen Cho,  Hammer Of Witches by Shana Mlawski  and Dragon Charmer by J.C. Kang

Something new I also did this month was space out my reviews instead of waiting until the last week to post them all =) And you know what? It makes things a whole lot easier! Go-figure. I’m going to try to stick to this new method if time (and the puppy) allows me to. Also, with my tablet still out of commission, I will have to wrap up my #RockmyTBR pile challenge until I buy more books as the others I was hopping to read for that particular challenge are locked away on my tablet. It isn’t a complete lost, seeing as how I’ve just joined another reading challenge in June ^_^.

I think that just about covers for all of my updates. Now, on with the reading challenges review wrap-up.

Organized in the order I signed up for each challenge.

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Book Review: If You Could Be Mine by: Sara Farizan

If You Could Be Mine
Rating: 3.8./4 stars
Genre:
YA, Romance, GLBTQ, Contemporary,Culture, Realistic Fiction
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Released Date: August 20th 2013

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N

Synopsis:

Seventeen-year-old Sahar has been in love with her best friend, Nasrin, since they were six. They’ve shared stolen kisses and romantic promises. But Iran is a dangerous place for two girls in love—Sahar and Nasrin could be beaten, imprisoned, even executed if their relationship came to light.So they carry on in secret—until Nasrin’s parents announce that they’ve arranged for her marriage. Nasrin tries to persuade Sahar that they can go on as they have been, only now with new comforts provided by the decent, well-to-do doctor Nasrin will marry. But Sahar dreams of loving Nasrin exclusively—and openly.Then Sahar discovers what seems like the perfect solution. In Iran, homosexuality may be a crime, but to be a man trapped in a woman’s body is seen as nature’s mistake, and sex reassignment is legal and accessible. As a man, Sahar could be the one to marry Nasrin. Sahar will never be able to love the one she wants, in the body she wants to be loved in, without risking her life. Is saving her love worth sacrificing her true self?

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2016 Book Challenges Update: Month Six

Okay, need to focus and do this quick…

Hiya:

So, I only have about an hour or so to get this post up and running before I’m off chasing the new pup around. :-/. Which means my reviews might be shorter than expected, but also yay for less reading? Regardless, I have three new reviews for you below, as well as a reminder about the other book reviews I’ve posted this month: Wander This World by: GL Tomas, The Mother by Yvvette Edwards & Delilah by Angela Hunt. Now, on with the rest of the reviews.

Organized in the order I signed up for each challenge.

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Audiobook Review: The Wrath And The Dawn by: Renee Ahdieh

This audiobook was amazing. 🙂

The Wrath And The Dawn
By: Renee Ahdieh
Narrator(s):
Arianna Delawari
Rating:
4.5 stars
Genre:
YA Fiction, Romance, Fantasy, Cultural Retellings,
Mythology, Magic
Publisher:
Listening Library
Format:
Unabridged Audiobook
Length: 10hrs and 38 mins
Released Date:
May 12th 2015

Goodreads | B&N | Amazon | Audible

Synopsis:

A sumptuous and epically told love story inspired by A Thousand and One Nights.

Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi’s wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.

She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.

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Read Diverse Books Year-Round & Diversity On The Shelf 2016 Book Reading Challenges

Hiya, Guys:

So, I realize that I’m a little late to the Diversity On The Shelf 2016 book challenge here, but I’m not new to the game ;).

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I’ve already read about 12 or 13 diverse books this year (by authors of color), so I’m aim for the 4th Shelf: 19-24 books to complete this year. And based on the bit of research I’ve done so far, I’m going to have to list a few books I know I can get my hands on ie: Audiobooks and Physical copies from Amazon, thriftbooks and the library as my tablet (where I read most, if not all of my ebooks) has almost officially broken up with me and refuses to allow me access to all of the ebooks it’s holding captive -___- The rules for this challenge are simple: read books by and/or about people of color throughout the year to encourage other readers to have a more diverse reading experience and to support diversity in the publishing industry. Quoting challenge creator Akilah, over at The Englishist

And for the Read Diverse Books Year-Round, (which just started this month and is a variation of the first challenge), I’ve made a list of ten options that are subsidiaries of this particular challenge just below. And while these two reading challenges go hand-in-hand, the books of this #readdiversebooks2016  will have a few cross overs, but my ultimate goal is to stick to and only count books that have been written by/are about people of color, QPOC/LGBT characters books and characters with disabilities.

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