Happy Wednesday, friends! I hope that those of you who celebrated the holidays had a pleasant time these past two days. For those of you who don’t celebrate, like me, I hope you had a lovely day in general. If it’s a difficult time for you, then you have survived and that’s always a good feeling, I believe.
I’m quite ecstatic to bring you today’s top 5 list of books as it’s not brought by me at all, but by Sir Betrothed (yes, you read that correctly; it’s betrothed. 😉)! They have read nearly every book on the list, and since they have fantastic taste in books, I know that these recommendations are definitely worth trying out if they sound interesting to you. Some of them are also #OwnVoices recommendations based on how Sir Betrothed identity’s as an individual.
Every single book here is an #OwnVoices non-fiction book that is a memoir of sorts from either a professional wrestler or a musician who has struggled with finding and accepting their Queer identities. Each one is unique and has something special and different to offer to readers, and I believe that there’s a title here for all sorts of readers, whether you’re a fan of these respective subjects (wrestling and music) or not.
Check out these books and Sir Betrothed’s commentary on them and see if there’s something here that catches your fancy!
05. The Grand Illusion: Love, Lies, & My Life with Styx by Chuck Panozzo
The story of Chuck Panozzo is one of a closeted gay man in the 1970s, who was part of one of the hottest rock bands of the era, trying to hide who he was during a time of sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll. Finally, he learns to come to terms with who he is and accept himself. The book is great for anyone who is a fan of the 70s rock-n-roll scene, as well as for those who are coping with self-acceptance.
04. Wrestling Reality: The Life & Mind of Chris Kanyon, Wrestling’s Gay Superstar by Chris Kanyon
Christ Kanyon writes a very open book about his struggles as a gay man who also has bipolar disorder, during the 1990s boom period of wrestling. He chats about his fear of coming out and the impact it would have on his wrestling career. Kanyon goes into detail about his struggles with maintaining a double-life, while also coping with bipolar during a period when far less was known about it. Unfortunately, the book does not have a happy ending as Chris Kanyon committed suicide shortly before it was published. Nevertheless, I highly recommend his book to fans of wrestling as it contains a lot of fun stories from that time (where else are you going to read a first-hand account of Blood Runs Cold?). I also recommend this to fans who may not be interested in wrestling but are facing difficulties with coming out and those who battle mental health.
03. Facing the Music: My Story by Jennifer Knapp
Facing the Music tells the story of Jennifer Knapp who was once one of the most popular performers in Christian music. After accepting that she was a lesbian, she left the scene and spent time discovering who she was before returning to it. She now uses her story to help other Christians in accepting themselves as God created them. This is another very honest and emotional book. As you read about the scrutiny and hatred that she had to face, as well as her fear of how being gay meant she couldn’t be Christian, you can feel the heartbreak in Knapp’s writing. This is a must-read—if not a must-have—for every Christian, as it will challenge your perceived notions of many things and can also open much-needed conversations. I also recommend this to anyone who is connected to faith—no matter the denomination—that are conflicted about coming out for fear of ostracization and condemnation.
02. Tranny: Confessions of Punk Rock’s Most Infamous Anarchist Sell-Out by Laura Jane Grace
This book tells the story of Against Me’s lead singer and their struggle with being a trans person, coming to terms with it, and finally beginning their transition. It’s supremely honest and quite emotional that delves into the torment of trying to hide who you are and the losses that occur when you finally make the decision to come out. There are some good punk rock stories mixed in, which makes it a must-read for fans of punk, and any individual who’s dealing with gender identities, or have friends and family that may be experiencing something similar.
01. Accepted: How the First Gay Superstar Changed the WWE by Pat Patterson
This book is the best one that I’ve read as far as own-voices non-fiction goes when it comes to music and wrestling. It’s a story about one man’s dream to become a professional wrestler by overcoming, not only the tribulations of being a foreigner who barely spoke English, but also one who was gay in a time and industry where being so was totally unacceptable. The book is fun and funny, but also at-times very sad. I highly recommend this book to wrestling fans, people who are looking for excellent own-voices gay non-fiction representation, and for those that may be facing hardships with following their dreams in the face of overwhelming odds.
That does it for today’s top five post! I hope you enjoyed Sir Betrothed’s recommendations and conversation on why they love these books so much and feel that they can be beneficial to anyone facing similar difficulties. What I love about this list is that it contains titles that many folks may have never heard of, and a lot of these can offer interesting and fresh perspectives that are a bit outside of the norm.
Thank you so much, Sir Betrothed, for taking the time to contribute to BiblioNyan. You’re the bestest human ever. ❤️