Pour Yourself a Glass of Curious Wine

Lately, I’ve been reading things that I normally wouldn’t even look at in bookstores. It’s important to explore other genres to see what they have to offer and what you can learn from them. So, I decided to give a lesbian fiction novel a chance. One of the books that Goodreads suggested from the 100 Best Lesbian Fiction list was Katherine V. Forrest’s Curious Wine. Four hours later when I finished the book, I was amazed by how empowering this love story is.

Regardless of your sexual orientation, everyone should read this book. While some parts of the story are slightly dated (who does trust falls on a week vacation in a cabin with their friends?) it is a beautiful story about two former heterosexual women who experience their first discovery together.

But there’s so much more to it than that!

The best thing that this book teaches you is that these two women, Lane and Diana, had no intentions of falling in love with each other. They didn’t even know it could happen, but it did and it was beautiful. Both Lane and Diana’s previous lovers were male. They weren’t expecting anything of this sort to happen during their time at Lake Tahoe. But a friendship was built and it progressed from there. This goes to show that you might think you’re dead set on who you think you are, but all it takes is one person to come into your life and change everything.

Unfortunately, there are still so many negative connotations with people who are gay. While I read this book, I wasn’t thinking “Oh my gosh, this is so wrong! How could two women do this?!?!” Instead, I was impressed by how natural this relationship formed and how delicate and delightful it was. Their relationship is admirable.

Due to the story being a first discovery novel, I should have expected detailed sex scenes. Trust me, they were there, but I wasn’t quite ready for them! However, these sex scenes are in the story; it happens. Was I weird-ed out or disgusted by it? Nope. It was interesting to read. Their love was so tender and gentle, it’s no wonder women go/become/are lesbian!

Even if one of them was a guy, it is no different from any of the other romantic literature out there (I would imagine from descriptions I’ve heard that Fifty Shades of Grey is way more graphic than this…so if you could read Fifty Shades of Grey, you can’t complain or judge Curious Wine).

All of your ideal qualities you would want in a person of the opposite sex can be found in someone who is the same-sex as you. It starts with a friendship. If given the opportunity to make a move, and you become interested in them, there’s nothing wrong with that! When you start falling for someone, the last thing you are thinking about is what gender they are. Diana and Lane prove this. Quite frankly, I think it’s beautiful.

People need to realize that their feelings and beliefs are not set in stone. Again, one person is all it takes to change your life. Katherine V. Forrest does an excellent job of describing a first discovery love story. There’s also great imagery, witty humor, and characters you love to hate! Read it!

-T

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The Wonderland You Never Knew

Over the years, one movie that has captured the hearts of many adults and children is Alice in Wonderland. Whether it is the Disney version, Tim Burton’s, or any other adaptations, we love it. Why? Because we are intrigued with the creativity, the colors, the variety of characters and the uniqueness of the film.

I have always watched Disney’s Alice in Wonderland for the sake of just watching it; I never really thought about what was going on. Wanting to know more, I decided to read Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass. What I discovered is that there is much more to the story than you think there is! My interpretation of the story is unlike the rest, but it makes sense. Wonderland is not just about a random dream that Alice has…

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass is the story of Alice on her quest to figure out (and accept) her true sexual identity. Whether she’s a lesbian, bi-sexual or bi-curious, it doesn’t matter. She knows how she feels and heterosexual isn’t one of them. Sounds crazy, right? Absolutely not.

Lewis Carroll’s story starts off the same as Disney’s: Alice’s sister is reading to her, but she’s not paying attention. She is distracted by her thoughts. She also gets distracted by the White Rabbit that she sees and decides to follow it down the rabbit hole.

Let’s talk about that rabbit hole for a split second. It is a long, dark, and narrow tunnel. Sound familiar? It should be! It’s a yonic symbol, aka a vagina. How does this tie in to her not being straight? She tells you herself, she’s “Curiouser and curiouser” as she gets further down the rabbit hole.

As she finally stops falling, she sees the rabbit and continues to follow him. As she enters a room filled with doors, she finds the one that she has to go through is locked. Just as the Disney film, Alice goes through the process of becoming the right size so she could get through the door to continue on her journey.

Did you notice how when she drinks, she shrinks? Or when she “Eats me,” she gets really big? It’s only until the room becomes a “pool of tears,” that she succeeds in getting through the door. What does that sound like to you?

That’s not the only time that happens. When Alice finds the White Rabbit at his house, he asks her to go find his white gloves. Where does Alice have to go to find his gloves? In the White Rabbit’s bedroom. What happens to Alice when she’s in his bedroom? She grows erect again, becoming rather large.

This part of the story is also important to look at because Alice isn’t interested in men. The White Rabbit is one of the first men that Alice rejects. The narrator states, “Presently, the Rabbit came up to the door, and tried to open it; but, as the door opened inwards, and Alice’s elbow was pressed hard against it, that attempt proved a failure. Alice heard it say to itself “Then I’ll go around and get in at the window.” “That you won’t!” thought Alice.” She clearly is not interested, and the White Rabbit is not as cute and innocent as we have always perceived him. After Alice told him no, he was still going to try to “get in.” He is definitely not making men look good here.

After this episode with the Rabbit, the next character that Alice meets is the Caterpillar. Here, we see where the Caterpillar shows interest in Alice, but yet again, she’s not interested. The Caterpillar is a phallic symbol, and we see that through her interaction with him. Alice and the Caterpillar don’t get along, but it isn’t hard to figure out why. It also doesn’t help that he keeps asking her “who” she is. Alice doesn’t have an answer. She might be confused, or maybe she just doesn’t want to explain herself for fear of rejection.

Before Alice meets Duchess, she meets the Cheshire Cat (who belongs to Duchess). All throughout the novel, this cat is constantly smiling at Alice. You know the slang term for a cat/vagina… There’s no need for an explanation of why this cat is smiling at her. After a quick talk with the cat, she finally meets Duchess.

Image result for cheshire cat

Here, we learn that Duchess does not like her baby. She purposely beats it because it sneezes, but the baby sneezes because she puts too much pepper in its food. Needless to say, Duchess calls her baby a pig.  Later, Duchess is walking happily with Alice, and Duchess is so close to her that Duchess’s chin is resting on Alice’s shoulder. Duchess also wants to put her arm around her, but she’s afraid that the flamingo in Alice’s arms would bite her. Clearly, Duchess likes the girl. That also makes Duchess a lesbian and explains exactly why her child is repulsive to her. Obviously, lesbians couples cannot produce children on their own.

After walking with the Duchess for a little while, the Red Queen comes out of nowhere and catches them walking with arms linked together. The Queen does not like this and ends up “frowning like a thunderstorm.” Why would the Red Queen be angry with seeing two girls walking together and acting they way they were? Red is symbolic of blood/ menstruation, meaning that the Red Queen is symbolic for Mother Nature. To the Queen, Alice and Duchess are going against the Mother Nature and their actions are seen as “unnatural.”

Later on in the story, Alice ends up at the Queen’s castle. After playing croquet, the Queen realizes that somebody stole her tarts. Making a big fuss out it, she decides to hold a trial. Having no idea who stole the tarts, she calls three people to the stand. The Mad Hatter, the March Hare, and Alice. Why would she call Alice to the stand? Because society thinks she has done “wrong.” The trial goes on, and Alice ends up growing as tall as the ceiling and she throws a fit. What happens next? All the little card men end up attacking her until Alice wakes herself up. That’s a little messed up, don’t you think?

In Through the Looking-Glass, Alice is still experiencing problems with her sexuality. When she enters this new realm through the mirror, Alice becomes a part of a game of chess. She immediately meets the King and the Queen. Right afterwards, Alice wants to explore this new world. She walks outside and sees this beautiful garden that she wants to go see.

When you think of flowers, which gender do you think of? Females; flowers are very feminine. This garden is bursting with flowers of all different species, all different colors, yet all beautiful. Also, they are all women. It’s not hard to figure out why Alice wants to go there. Yet when she does get there, it’s not as pleasant as she thought it would be.

Right away, all of these women are judging her appearance and criticizing her. They say she looks the right color, but her petals aren’t right and she’s not smart. Long story short, she’s not like the rest of them. Again, this is because of her sexuality. While they tell her that she’s not like the rest, they do say that there is another flower like Alice that roams around the garden. Low and behold, it’s the Red Queen.

Upon meeting, Alice informs the Queen that she would like to be a Queen as well. The Queen tells her that it isn’t hard to do and she gives Alice instructions. After their talk, the Queen tells Alice that they must start running to get somewhere. They run “faster and faster,” and Alice is all out of breath. And when they stop running, they are still in the same place. It’s quite sexual. When they are done, the Queen gives her the instructions on how to be a queen. Next thing you know, Alice continues on her journey.

Over time, Alice meets a lot of different people. She meets more creatures, Tweedledum and Tweedledee, the White Queen, and Humpty Dumpty. While talking to Humpty Dumpty, they come to a good understanding of each other. He teaches her what impenetrable means, and they start bonding. What makes his character so important in all of this, is the fact that regardless of what her sexuality is, he points out that she is still human. Right before they part, Humpty tells Alice, “I shouldn’t know you again if we did meet…Your face is the same as everybody has–the two eyes, nose in the middle, mouth under.” Props to you Humpty Dumpty for being the first man in the novel to accept her!

Alice continues to meet different creatures as she goes on her way. The next important event is when Alice becomes a prisoner to two different knights. Alice tells both how she doesn’t want to be a prisoner, she just wants to be a queen. The knight in tin armor tells her that she’s close to being a queen, she just needs to cross the next brook. Instead of capturing her, they start talking. Alice sees that the knight is tin armor cannot sit upright (erect) on his horse properly, he keeps falling off. Alice has her first one-on-one interaction with a man, and he can’t “keep it up.” But, because she showed the slightest interest in him, Alice was rewarded with the title of Queen. Nothing like bribing someone into doing the “right” thing.

However, the bribe doesn’t work. After Alice becomes Queen and everyone is at a dinner party celebrating, the Red Queen and White Queen begin criticizing her, just like the flowers in the garden. Being a queen, Alice thought she was finally going to be accepted and be able to be herself. Unfortunately, that’s not how things worked out. Not being able to stand how rude everyone was, Alice destroys the dinner table and acts violently towards the Red Queen. Can you blame her? Next thing you know, Alice wakes up.

Still don’t believe me that the story is about is about the struggle of Alice’s sexual orientation? In the chapter “The Lion and the Unicorn,” Alice keeps getting referred to as “the Monster.” As a side comment, the narrator says, “She was quite used to being called a ‘monster.'” It’s sad that such an innocent little girl is seen as a freak. Which leads me to a great question; if Alice’s dreams are this bad, what is the real world like for her?

Everyone always assumes the story is about drugs. I don’t believe it is. Yes, it might play a part in the story, but that is not what the main focus should be on. As for the nonsense factor, Alice is always being told what she should do and how she should act. The reason why she’s so confused is because who she “should” be is not who she is.

Cheers to Alice for staying true to herself, accepting who she is, and staying strong while battling for her acceptance!

-T

10 Reasons Why You Need to Read House Of Leaves

Hello fellow bloggers! I know this isn’t my typical kind of post, but when I’m reading, you’re going to hear about it! If you are looking for a great read or something that isn’t your typical story, I highly suggest reading Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of Leaves. I just finished reading the book, and I am in pure awe of Danielewski’s talent. Here’s why:

  1. It’s unlike any other book you have ever read. It is an experimental piece of work, and Mark nailed it. It goes against the traditional way of telling a story. You’ll see for yourself! What’s just as crazy is that it is about a book, about another book, about a film, about this house. As if that’s not enough, the genre is a mixture of romance and horror. How awesome is that?

2. House of Leaves won’t leave you bored! Every single page in this book is a piece of art. The formatting on each page is different. While you’re trying to keep track of which story is being told, the words on the page crave a different kind of attention. Sometimes there’s two words on a page, sometimes you have the flip the book upside-down to read it, and sometimes you have to use a mirror to read it correctly. Some words are italicized, some are bold, and some are typed in red ink with a strike through it. There’s so many different things going on at once, but you’ll love it!

3. It’s a puzzle waiting for you to put it together. There is some huge mystery behind this book. I haven’t figured it out. I might have to read the book fifty more times to solve it. I don’t think anyone could ever figure it out. The book took ten years to write, that’s a lot of room for twists and turns. BUT…

4. There are websites on websites of Fan pages and notes! The fact that there is a community of people so intrigued with this book is incredible. Honestly, this is one of the reasons why I wanted to read House of Leaves. So many people are talking about it! There are people who teach you how you should read this book and some people who will tell you what they figured out. If you have a question (besides the answer to the entire book), I’m guarantee you that one out of the 59,000,000 search results should be able to provide you with some kind of answer. Seriously, check the number of Google search results for this book… Outrageous!

5. You feel every emotion! This book will have you depressed, scared s***less, happy, miserable, laughing so hard you almost pee yourself, and will leave you wanting to pull your hair out. Danielewski has this way of bouncing through different scenes, and when something happens, you will feel it just as much as his characters do.

6. The language. It’s dirty, fun, raunchy, exciting, rotten, yet wonderful at the same time. Another thing I love about this book is that every once in a while, Danielewski will surprise you the most beautiful lines you will ever read. It will literally make you pause because you appreciate the sound of the words and how poetic the language is. There’s so much to learn from his writing.

7. Women have an interesting role. I’m not telling you why, you will have to figure that one out for yourself.

8. It’s scary! When you read the synopsis of what the book is about, it might not sound scary. “Ooh, a story about a house that is bigger on the inside than on the outside…how scary can that be?” Don’t worry, you’ll figure out how scary it is when you start having nightmares. Just make sure you don’t read this before bed!

9. The book consumes your mind. You will be thinking about this book long after you’re done with it. Why? Because of the way that Danielewski approaches subjects and how it makes you feel. For example, fear. There’s death in the book, but there’s no clowns, no chainsaws or any other of that sort of scary thing. Instead, Danielewski takes actual fears and he plays with them. He understands what really freaks people put, and he won’t let you forget it.

10. Nightmares! I already mentioned nightmares, I know. This was another main reason why I wanted to read the book. I love a good scare. However, I was one of those people reading the book reviews that thought, “There’s no way this book is going to give me nightmares.” Wrong. I had three nightmares during the span of reading this book! And not just any nightmares, but the kind that make you shoot out of bed with sweat pouring down your face. There’s nothing to worry about though. If you get too freaked out by the empty space under your bed, just sleep with the book next to your pillow. You will be able to knock someone out with how firm the book is!

There is so much to talk about in House of Leaves. I could continue giving you reasons, but you really need to read it and see for yourself! It is truly a unique piece of art. Also, I really hope you fall in love with the beauty of the language like I did. This is one experiment that succeeded. If you do read it or have read it in the past, let’s talk!

Have fun and good luck!

-T