Tinderbox: The Untold Story of the Up Stairs Lounge Fire and the Rise of Gay Liberation

June 22nd, 2018 by cmcneil · Reviews

By Denise Conejo

Written by  Robert W. Fieseler

Read by Paul Heitsch

Did you know that:

1) On June 24, 1973, an arsonist set fire to the Up Stairs Lounge, a much-beloved hangout spot for the gay community of New Orleans.

2) 31 men and 1 woman died.

3) This was the largest mass murder of gay folks until the 2016 Orlando Pulse attack.

And yet, the fire was taken lightly by all major newspapers and radio outlets. Despite the magnitude of the fire, government officials made no comments on the deaths of these 32 individuals. The media minimized the fact that the victims were LGBT patrons because at the time they couldn’t grapple with talking about people who weren’t supposed to exist. Essentially, it seemed that the Up Stairs Lounge fire “had disappeared willfully, hushed by a nation not ready to look.” (Preface, xix)

Robert Fieseler’s timely-written book, Tinderbox: The Up Stairs Lounge Fire and the Rise of Gay Liberation, (narrated by Paul Heitsch) is an unprecedented reclamation of a forgotten piece of LGBTQA+ history. A history that Fieseler asks us to remember as being essential in propelling the Gay liberation movement. This book is a call to our humanity. This book is required reading.

A proverbial coming out of the closet, Tinderbox does much more than give readers and listeners an unfolding of this tragic event, but also serves as an exposé of our nation’s intolerance towards the gay community and their indifference in times of tragedy involving gay folks. Fieseler weaves a nuanced narrative that reflects the New Orleans subterranean gay culture of 1973, which was a community of men and women still very much in the closet. Terrified of losing everything they’d worked for—careers, families, and relationships—being outed was a fear realized for the victims and survivors of the fire when friends, families, and co-workers learned of their whereabouts that night.

Told as an intimate portrait of the 32 lives lost, Tinderbox is made more intimate by Paul Heitsch’s reading of the book. At times it was difficult to discern whether I was listening to Heitsch’s raw and genuine emotions coming through or rather a well thought out performance meant to reflect and carry the gravity of the events being described. In other words, the narration was flawlessly executed. Paul Heitsch transforms the audiobook into the moment of silence that the remaining friends and families of the victims have been asking for and were never given; especially for the survivors who lost their loved ones and closest friends that night. At the very start of the first chapter, Fieseler asks “what does it mean to remember?” I would argue that remembering humanizes and recognizes those often left within the margins of history. In celebration of Pride month, why not remember.

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Featured Audio Giveaway-June 2018-Welcome to Lagos

June 5th, 2018 by cmcneil · Featured Audio Giveaways

 

Read by Robin Miles

Full of humor and heart, Welcome to Lagos is a high-spirited novel about aspirations and escape, innocence and corruption. It offers a provocative portrait of contemporary Nigeria that marks the arrival in the United States of an extraordinary young writer. Read the full description.

“In her winning U.S. debut, Onuzo anatomizes a tumultuous city and its inhabitants, from street hustlers to well-connected government ministers. . . . Onuzo’s briskly plotted novel is a rewarding exploration of the limits of idealism and transparency against widespread cynicism and corruption.” Publishers Weekly

How to Win This Audio CD

  1. Send an email to newsletter@highbridgeaudio.com
  2. Put the words “Love” in the subject line.

Entries must be received by June 30, 2018. Open to the US only.
See the Program Details for more information.

 


May Giveaway Winner

Congratulations to Sherry Oliver, winner of last month’s giveaway, Enemies in Love. Thanks to all who participated.

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Featured Audio Giveaway-May 2018-Enemies in Love

May 1st, 2018 by cmcneil · Featured Audio Giveaways

Read by Allyson Johnson

A true and deeply moving narrative of forbidden love during World War II and a shocking, hidden history of race on the home front. Read the full description.

Enemies in Love expands beyond the beleaguered couple to examine some of the lesser-known aspects of the war, from the discrimination faced by African Americans in the military to the interaction between German prisoners of war and the communities that reluctantly housed them. A powerful tale of love against all odds. ”— Booklist

How to Win This Audio CD

  1. Send an email to newsletter@highbridgeaudio.com
  2. Put the words “Love” in the subject line.

Entries must be received by May 31, 2018. Open to the US only.
See the Program Details for more information.

 


April Giveaway Winner

Congratulations to Tryphine Schruba, winner of last month’s giveaway, The Perfume Burned His Eyes. Thanks to all who participated.

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Featured Audio Giveaway-April 2018-The Perfume Burned His Eyes

April 2nd, 2018 by cmcneil · Featured Audio Giveaways

Read by Michael Imperioli

Matthew is a sixteen-year-old boy living in Jackson Heights, Queens, in 1976. In the span of a few short months, he loses his two most important male role models: his father and grandfather. Read the full description

“Imperioli’s lived-in details about the city help make the world feel realistic…[The novel] is an immersive trip into its narrator’s memories of a turbulent time. Some fictional trips into 1970s New York abound with nostalgia; this novel memorably opts for grit and heartbreak.” —Kirkus Reviews

 

How to Win This Audio CD

  1. Send an email to newsletter@highbridgeaudio.com
  2. Put the words “Imperioli” in the subject line.

Entries must be received by April 30, 2018. Open to the US only.
See the Program Details for more information.

 


March Giveaway Winner

Congratulations to Debra Cantaluppi, winner of last month’s giveaway, Rainbirds. Thanks to all who participated.

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Featured Audio Giveaway—March 2018—Rainbirds

March 1st, 2018 by cmcneil · Featured Audio Giveaways

Read by David Shih

Clarissa Goenawan’s dark, spellbinding literary debut opens with a murder and shines a spotlight onto life in fictional small-town Japan. Read full description

“A beautiful, well-crafted story, Rainbirds is an exploration of grief, love and loss. Clarissa Goenawan has written a powerful debut novel that will leave readers craving more.” —Hollie Overton, internationally bestselling author of Baby Doll

 

How to Win This Audio CD

  1. Send an email to newsletter@highbridgeaudio.com
  2. Put the words “Rainbirds” in the subject line.

Entries must be received by March 31, 2018. Open to the US only.
See the Program Details for more information.

 


February Giveaway Winner

Congratulations to Kevin Doyle, winner of last month’s giveaway, Dreadful Young Ladies. Thanks to all who participated.

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Mary Rose

February 13th, 2018 by cmcneil · Reviews

By Kaleigh Lawson

Written by Geoffrey Girard

Read by Henrietta Meire

When it comes to discovering a new read that will keep me hooked, I have always leaned toward the thriller, mystery and just an overall creepy book; so when I saw that Mary Rose is a mystery I thought to myself, “Sign me up.” This modern reworking of the classic ghost story written by J. M. Barrie kept me guessing and trying to figure out what exactly was going on, and it didn’t turn into a gory book which was a plus.

I really enjoyed how Geoffrey Girard painted a detailed picture by using descriptions that made you feel as though you were also exploring the island in the book right alongside the characters. Throughout the story, there were plenty of moments that kept the reader on the edge of their seat.

As for the ending, I am not really sure how I feel. I suppose the ending is definitely successful at one thing…It keeps you trying to figure out what actually happened. What was real? You continue to talk about the book after the story comes to an end.

Henrietta Meire was a great narrator choice for this book. I thought she did a wonderful job with the characters and keeping the readers enticed.

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Featured Audio Giveaway—February 2018—Dreadful Young Ladies

February 1st, 2018 by cmcneil · Featured Audio Giveaways

Read by John Lee

From award-winning, New York Times bestselling author Kelly Barnhill comes a stunning first collection of acclaimed short fictions, teeming with uncanny characters whose stories unfold in worlds at once strikingly human and eerily original. Read the full description.

“The eight short stories and one novella in Newbery Medalist Barnhill’s collection are haunting and beautifully told . . . Each story is written in intensely poetic language that can exult or disturb, sometimes within the same sentence, and evokes a dreamlike, enchanted mood that lingers in the reader’s mind. These tales are made to be reread and savored.” —Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

 

How to Win This Audio CD

  1. Send an email to newsletter@highbridgeaudio.com
  2. Put the words “Barnhill” in the subject line.

Entries must be received by February 28, 2018. Open to the US only.
See the Program Details for more information.

 


January Giveaway Winner

Congratulations to Ediebe, winner of last month’s giveaway, The Night Market. Thanks to all who participated.

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Featured Audio Giveaway—January 2018—The Night Market

January 2nd, 2018 by cmcneil · Featured Audio Giveaways

 

Read by James Patrick Cronin

The Night Market follows Carver as he works to find out what happened to him, soon realizing he’s entangled in a web of conspiracy that spans the nation. And that Mia may know a lot more than she lets on. Read the full description.

“A sharp and scary near-future thriller that delivers a dark message about society’s love affair with technology . . . the not-quite-nihilistic yet still utterly shocking revelations in the third act are the stuff of nightmares. You’ll never look at a flock of sparrows the same way again.”—Kirkus, Starred Review

How to Win This Audio CD

  1. Send an email to newsletter@highbridgeaudio.com
  2. Put the words “Night” in the subject line.

Entries must be received by January 31, 2018. Open to the US only.
See the Program Details for more information.

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December Giveaway Winner

Congratulations to Gayle Cochrane, winner of last month’s giveaway, A Lady in Shadows. Thanks to all who participated.

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Black Dahlia, Red Rose

December 15th, 2017 by cmcneil · Reviews

By Kaleigh Lawson

Written by Piu Eatwell

Narrated by Robertson Dean

The Black Dahlia, Red Rose by Piu Eatwell is the first true crime I’ve listened to on audio. I have to admit, I knew nothing about the case of the Black Dahlia before listening to this book. All I was aware of was that it was and is a highly sensational unsolved murder back in the 1940s.

What I found interesting is how the book is written. It comes across like a fictional tale, but the details included are all facts from police interviews and memoirs. She even researched specific details of the weather on specific days. This, combined with the absolute horror of the murder, almost seems as though something that HAS to be made up. But we are assured in the intro that everything mentioned is nonfiction.

Since this book was published there has been a lot of discussion on whether Eatwell broke the case. Did Eatwell find the real killer? I can’t say that I definitively believe or don’t believe that she has solved the decades-old murder of Elizabeth Short, but I will say that the book keeps the listener “hooked.” You can’t help but keep listening to discover the next bit of evidence revealed and theories exposed. I even found myself doing a little research of my own, so I could put names to faces and discover more about the lives of the people mentioned in the book.

The icing on the cake is Robertson Dean. He is—to me—the ideal narrator for the story. His deep tone add to the mystery and fluidity of the story. So, if you are a fan or true crime in any form, then you’ll be sucked into this book.

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Featured Audio Giveaway—December 2017—A Lady in Shadows

December 1st, 2017 by cmcneil · Featured Audio Giveaways

Read by Nicola Barber

New York Times bestselling author Lene Kaaberbøl returns with her beloved protagonist Madeleine Karno—an ambitious young woman who shatters the confines of nineteenth-century France as she struggles to become the first female forensic pathologist and hunt down what appears to be a Jack the Ripper copycat. Read the full description.

“Madeleine’s inquisitive mind and candid voice are enough to keep us reading.”—The New York Times Book Review

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How to Win This Audio CD

  1. Send an email to newsletter@highbridgeaudio.com
  2. Put the words “Shadows” in the subject line.

Entries must be received by December 31, 2017. Open to the US only.
See the Program Details for more information.

________________________

November Giveaway Winner

Congratulations to Debra Cantaluppi, winner of last month’s giveaway, Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance. Thanks to all who participated.

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