The Winter Reading List, 2014-15
MALE SEX WORK AND SOCIETY
RESEARCH: Edited by Victor Minichiello and John Scott
Published by Harrington Park Press
The term ‘prostitute’ has become so inexorably linked to the female sex that it is unlikely one would imagine a man upon hearing the word. That perception is not only factually incorrect, but sadly enough this misalignment of reality and impression has led to a global socio-political and policy response that reflects its ignorance. The general lack of awareness on issues of male sex work, leads to (or perhaps to a certain degree even stems from) a similar paucity of attention from the academic community- where research has historically focused on female sex workers.
While Minichiello and Scott must be lauded for an intense scholarly work on a hitherto untouched territory, their biggest achievement remains that they have managed to change the narrative of Male Sex Work from a “problem” to a ‘’phenomenon’’. While providing a critically needed resource in the academic space, it manages to open up vast new avenues of research for social scientists and much food for thought for policy makers across the globe.
NOVEL: By Janice Pariat
Published by Vintage Books, Random House India
Nehemiah is a student of English Literature at Delhi University when he first meets art historian, Doctor Nicholas Petrou who, as mentor, steers him into a world of pleasure and artistic discovery—transforming his life entirely.
Years later, during a seemingly innocuous spell in London as a Writer in Residence, the unexpected happens—lives, like passing ships, are re-illuminated. Nehemiah is plunged into a search for the people from his past: Nicholas, his stepsister Myra, and even himself, the young, drifting boy changed irrevocably by his encounter with them.
Seahorse is a contemporary retelling of the story of the sea god Poseidon and his young male lover Pelops. The young men in these narratives must journey
beyond themselves to wrestle free from the protective yet stifling gods of their pasts.
Seahorse traces how loss and healing, undoing and recreation, may eventually shape us into creatures of grace.
PRIDE CLIMBING HIGHER:
Nepal’s sexual and gender minorities share their experiences in a newly published anthology
ANTHOLOGY: Edited by Chad Frisbie
Published by Creative Nepal
Nepal is currently at a pivotal moment with respect to the state’s and society’s attitudes towards sexual and gender minorities. A seemingly groundbreaking 2007 Supreme Court decision was the first ruling in South Asia to guarantee non-discrimination and equal rights. As a result, Nepal has often been lauded as South Asia’s leader regarding the legal progress of sexual and gender minorities. However, the past several years have revealed that Nepal’s reputation has perhaps preceded more widespread acceptance: arbitrary arrests have increased under the guise of “public indecency,” Kathmandu’s largest cruising area has been shut down, Nepal’s largest LGBTI organization, The Blue Diamond Society, almost had its registration revoked in 2013, LGBT candidates from the major political parties were dropped as days before the 2013 elections, and, perhaps most alarming, the Ministry of Law and Justice has drafted a new criminal code that will recriminalize any non-vaginal penetrative sex.
SHIKHANDI: AND OTHER TALES THEY DON’T TELL YOU
ESSAYS: By Devdutt Pattanaik
Published by Penguin
Patriarchy asserts men are superior to women, Feminism clarifies women and men are equal, Queerness questions what constitutes male and female.
Queerness isn’t only modern, Western or sexual, says mythologist Devdutt Pattanaik. Take a close look at the vast written and oral traditions in Hinduism, some over two thousand years old and you will find many overlooked tales, such as those of Shikhandi, who became a man to satisfy her wife; Mahadeva, who became a woman to deliver his devotee’s child; Chudala, who became a man to enlighten her husband; Samavan, who became the wife of his male friend; and many more.
Playful and touching and sometimes disturbing-these stories when compared with their Mesopotamian, Greek, Chinese and Biblical counterparts, reveal the unique Indian way of making sense of queerness.
By Olivier Lafont
Published by Penguin
The novel ‘Warrior’ is a high octane, action-packed story that travels all over India and beyond. The hero, Saam, is an immortal warrior who is forced to come out of hiding in today’s Mumbai to pick up arms again and take to the road. His epic journey spans three days across an India torn by unnatural cataclysms, and even stranger lands. To bring back peace Saam must stoke his consuming hunger for war – but at what cost to himself? The book was shortlisted for the Tibor Jones South Asia prize