You know when you have one of those massive barrels of sweets – usually at Christmas over here in the UK. Quality Street’s the nation’s favourite and they have a great selection of sweets in them. Nut clusters, caramel cups, toffees, fudge etc etc.
And then Christmas is over, and you are left with a handful of sweets that no-one wants. Orange, Strawberry and COFFEE creams. BLEURGHK.
Now this is obviously only indicative of what my family like – I’m sure there are lots of people who love these flavours, but it does seem to be coffee that is the least favourite, if the brilliant Revels Roulette adverts are anything to go on.
And where am I going with this??? Well, I don't know if you know but I run "Speak Its Name" which is the only review site that concentrates on gay historical fiction and although I have choice as to what books I read for pleasure, when it comes to Speak its Name I have to read a lot of eras that really make me go meh, even before I've opened the book and it's not really fair on the book. I’ve noticed a worrying trend recently, that I tend to leave the westerns till last and right now, out of 40 or so books to be reviewed, more than half of them are westerns. I hate to say it, but I’ve found that westerns are my coffee creams.
And I’m sorry about this. I don’t think there are more westerns written than any other gay historical — although, this might be the case, I’ve not done a fact-finding mission to find out — it’s just that, because I’m not mad on the genre, I tend to put them to one side and then I end up with a ton of them to do at once–which doesn’t do anything for my temper or the balance of the site.
I don’t know when I stopped being a fan of the western, either. I used to love them as a child and even went to the cinema to catch classics such as True Grit, and I was such a huge fan of Rawhide (Gil Favour for the win) but now I tend to avoid most of them, except for Slashy goodness such as The Searchers. (Yes, really. If you don’t believe me, go and watch it again, John Wayne’s character is most certainly bisexual at the very least.) The very worst western and one that will make me run screaming from the sofa is anything Mexican. Don’t ask me why. I like coffee to drink, and I LOVE strawberries and oranges so nothing really makes sense.
And my aversion to western gay fiction makes no sense either because there’s been a good few that I’ve really enjoyed. Mark Probst’s “The Filly” is a beautifully written restrained piece of fiction, Jamie Craig’s “Those Who Cherish” was highly enjoyable, and Kiernan Kelly’s “In Bear Country” duet of books have everything necessary for a reader, adventure, romance and a good historical feel. I don't think that at the moment, Carina Press has any gay historical westerns - that's odd.
So I don’t know why I’ve got this westernphobia. Perhaps it’s because for every good book, there’s three not so stellar with more cliches than tumbleweeds, but then that’s true of every kind of fiction really isn’t it?
Perhaps in future for reviews I’ll take a tip from the Russian Roulette advert and just pick a book blindfold and not allow myself to push the least favourites to the back of the drawer.
Is there any genre you find yourself avoiding? Is there any logical reason for it (unlike me!)