Home » Hot Type for Savvy Travelers — The Best Books For October 2022

Hot Type for Savvy Travelers — The Best Books For October 2022

by Jim Gladstone
Book Review October 2022
Our October Reads take you to Hawk Mountain, the chilling debut novel from Conner Habib then to Diary of a Misfit: A Memoir and a Mystery, about the disappearance of Roy Hudgins, “a woman who lived as a man” in a small Louisiana town during the late 20th century; and more!
Hawk Mountain by Conner Habib

Hawk Mountain by Conner Habib

Todd, a New England schoolteacher in his mid-30s finds himself unexpectedly reunited with Jack, the bully from his high school years in Hawk Mountain (W.W. Norton & Company. $26.95. connerhabib.com), the chilling debut novel from Conner Habib. “Should he treat him…as if he were an entirely new person?” Todd wonders when his one-time tormentor beseeches him for help. Surely people can change, right? The extent to which one evolves or remains permanently mired in past trauma is at the heart of this story’s horrors. As the book begins, Todd is a sympathetic protagonist: The divorced single father of six-year-old Anthony, his caring parenting and modest lifestyle seem wholesome, even innocuous. But after Jack shows up at a local beach one day, asking for pity, then inveigling his way into his old classmate’s guest room, the long-lingering friction between the two men erupts into shocking violence. At this point, stunned readers will find themselves reconsidering Todd: Do we still empathize with him, or do we now need to see him as an entirely new, and utterly despicable, person? Making matters even more psychologically complex is the mutually repressed sexual attraction that seems both to have been at the root of the men’s teenage altercations and to have curdled into lifelong self loathing for Todd. And there’s one more character this book may lead you to consider anew: previously, you may have only encountered Conner Habib (born Andre Kahlil) online, performing in gay porn; now, he’s earned recognition for unimpeachable literary talent.

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Queer Maximalism Machine Dazzle

Queer Maximalism By Machine Dazzle

“I’m not interested in products,” says theatrical costumer Machine Dazzle (né Matthew Flower), now being celebrated in an exhibition at New York’s Museum of Art and Design through February, and in a photo-illustrated book, Queer Maximalism x Machine Dazzle, edited by Elissa Auther (Rizzoli Electa. $50. machinedazzle.com). Dazzle, most widely recognized for the wearable extravaganzas worn by performance artist Taylor Mac (a day-glo chlorophyll-veined bodysuit sprouting flowers from its headpiece, a ragtag Statue of Liberty more honestly evocative of Emma Lazarus’ “homeless, tempest tost” masses than the bronze behemoth that inspired her) explains the difference between his work and the fashion industry: “Selling something that I make never crosses my mind. If I’m selling anything, I’m selling an experience. And it’s your experience…I think you can change someone’s life by walking across the room, wearing something…for a specific reason.” Leftist politics, sexual freedom, and transformative creativity are consistent threads in his pieces, the unlikely lovechildren of punk and glamour.

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Glitter by NIcole Seymour

Glitter by NIcole Seymour

Given his sparkly aesthetic, its no surprise that Machine Dazzle also shows up dropping knowledge in the pages of Glitter by Nicole Seymour (Bloomsbury. $14.95. bloomsbury.com/us/series/object-lessons), a recent entry in Object Lessons, a compulsively curious series of short extensively researched books, each of which finds wonder and deep meaning in artifacts of the mundane (Other titles include Gin, Hashtag and High Heel. Have you ever thought about how glitter is made? Why it’s useful in blurring gender lines? How it impacts the environment? Or what happens if you accidentally eat it? Hard facts, philosophical musings, and trivia galore commingle in this madcap toss of shimmery delight.

BUY BOOK When you purchase a book from our curated Bookshop.org shop we earn an affiliate commission. The books are independently reviewed by our book editor and the potential commission does not influence the review in any way.


Imagine A City by Mark Van Hoenacker

Imagine A City by Mark Van Hoenacker

Mark Van Hoenacker’s dayjob is flying a Boeing 787 Dreamliner. The Massachusetts native’s side gig? No big deal, just writing evocative essays and opinion pieces about travel and transit for The New York Times, Financial Times and other publications. Interviewed in this magazine about his last book, Skyfaring, Van Hoenacker is back with Imagine A City: A Pilot’s Journey Across the Urban World (Knopf. $30. markvanhoenacker.com). It’s a lovely mix of travelogue and autobiographical musing that will prompt readers to think about the way their own life stories impact the way they perceive and appreciate their travel destinations. While this book offers poetic, sometimes surprising insights about cities from Rio de Janeiro to San Francisco to Delhi, its most valuable offering is Van Hoenacker’s articulation of the alchemy that can transform a queer kid’s desperate impulse to escape the world into an adult’s openminded, curiousity-driven approach to the world. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the flight.

BUY BOOK When you purchase a book from our curated Bookshop.org shop we earn an affiliate commission. The books are independently reviewed by our book editor and the potential commission does not influence the review in any way.

AIRPLANE READ OF THE MONTH

Diary of a misfit by casey parks

Diary of a misfit by casey parks

The subtitle of Casey Parks’ debut book was initially just: “A Memoir.” Fortunately, the Washington Post journalist’s riveting debut has been been rechristened to showcase its page-turning narrative energy: Diary of a Misfit: A Memoir and a Mystery (Knopf. $29.00. caseyparks.com) is a gripping read. Parks brings readers along on a tangent-tangled investigation into the circumstances surrounding the disappearance of Roy Hudgins, “a woman who lived as a man” in a small Louisiana town during the late 20th century. Its unlikely that Hudgins’ story would inspire such intense detective work from any other journalist, but for Parks, herself a native of small town Louisiana, it taps into a profound personal narrative. During the summer after her freshman year away at college in 2002, Parks came out to disastrous results (Her mother “told me that thinking of me made her want to throw up”; her family’s pastor shamed her in front of a full congregation and publicly beseeched God to kill her). But there seemed to be a glimmer of support from her grandmother who, in passing, mentioned having grown up across the street from Hudgins and spiked the story with further intrigue by mentioning that Roy had been spent his early childhood as a girl before being kidnapped by a woman who was not his birthmother, and subsequently raised as a son. Years later, after graduating from college and moving to Portland, Oregon, Parks decides to delve into the Hudgins story, in no small part because it gives her an excuse to visit, engage with, and hopefully reach a state of peace with her family. Digging into the social perceptions and attitudes that shaped Roy’s life, two-generations ahead of her own, also proves invaluable to Parks, deepening her own self-acceptance. Rich in quirky color and characters, Parks’ book brings to mind another southern investigative chronicle by a queer author: John Berendt’s Midnight In The Garden of Good and Evil, a huge bestseller nearly 30 years ago. Here’s wishing such good fortune to Diary of a Misfit..

BUY BOOK When you purchase a book from our curated Bookshop.org shop we earn an affiliate commission. The books are independently reviewed by our book editor and the potential commission does not influence the review in any way.

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