1 Question, Several Answers

Hi, kids! This month, we decided to do something different. Usually, we pick a bunch of authors to give us an answer to some goofy question we throw at them, but THIS time, we picked a bunch of READERS! That is, people who do not consider themselves authors or writers but are more than happy to read, read, read. We thought that’d be kinda fun, to bring some readers into the mix.

So the question we asked this time is:

OMG there’s been a zombie apocalypse. You have to hit the road with limited supplies. In a few sentences, what 3 books are you going to put in your backpack and why? And remember, there’s no electricity, so these are print books.

Heh! Oh, in case you were wondering, These are the 3 books Andi would stash in a backpack as she was heading for the hills in a zombie apocalypse: This one [survival tips for a zombie apocalypse], this one [wilderness medicine], and this sorta-classic one [hunting, shelter, foraging skills]. I figure I can pick up escapist reading material while on the run. 😀

Jove’s picks are: All mine are books that inspire hope (for me). O Pioneers by Willa Cather, Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls, and To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. And if I could sacrifice a couple of granola bars in favor of more room, I’d also bring Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Cafe by Fannie Flag, and Middle of Somewhere by Clifford Henderson.

And now, the readers’ answers!

Jo Brower

The books I would pick are The Three by Meghan O’Brien. That book has basic skills and hot sex so it’s a win win combo.

Next would be None so blind by LJ Maas.

source: Barnesandnoble.com (re-sized here)

Fated Love by Radclyffe. I chose those two just because it’s they are terrific love stories.

BIO: I live in Connecticut where I love to travel and visit with friends and family.

Annette Clancy
The way our world is going, I was not surprised about the zombie onslaught. I was mentally prepared, so I placed three books in my backpack.

The first book, was The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead by Max Brooks. [Andi note: SWEET! That’s one of mine, too! :D]
source for image: zombiesurvivalkit.org (re-sized here)

Second, The Lonely Hearts Club by Radclyffe.

And third, also by Radclyffe, Trauma Alert.

Not wanting to show fear, I remained light-hearted, hoping to find others who were not of the living dead (yet). Until then, my sense of humor was my hope to make it through. All this nonchalance caused a great deal of confusion to the undead.

BIO: I am a retired nurse and a veteran of the Air Force Nurse Corps. I live in a small, historic town in New Mexico with my partner and 4 cats we rescued. I grew up in New Jersey, but wanted to find the freedom of the desert Southwest. I still marvel at the pureness of the blue skies and the nights so alive with the sparkling stars.

Beni Gee
Hi, tried to get this little composition within 100 words, but it is a tad longer, hope you don’t mind! What 3 books would I take with me in the case of a zombie apocalypse? Difficult one, but here goes:

The first book I would choose would be The Complete Illustrated Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. From a child I have always been fascinated by the stories of Sherlock Holmes. [Andi note: Big-ass book! But heavy, and potentially a decent weapon against a zombie. :)]

My second book would be The House on Olive Street by Robyn Carr. It is a book based on women’s friendship, which I read at a very low point in my life and strikes a chord with me.

My third choice is Jericho by Ann McMan.

One of the first lesfic novels I ever read, I liked the way Syd and Maddie’s story developed, especially the supporting characters of David and Michael who added humour to the story.

BIO: My name is BeniGee and I live on the south coast of England where I run a transport company. My main interests are reading and hiking.

Trish Hindley
First book is We Were the Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oates. This hauntingly beautiful book made me ache with nostalgia for a place and time I’ve never even been or known and made me cry as I witnessed the disintegration of a family that was as inevitable as it should have been avoidable. Written in layers of description and observation, it is an emotional, beautiful story — the only book I’ve ever given a 10 to.

source: Lambda Literary

My second book is Arusha by J E Knowles. Sharply observational, it examines family relationships and self- examination and how we survive when those relationships flounder. In Arusha I can sit on the porch swing and eavesdrop on conversations, I can dig my hands into the rich Tennessee earth alongside grandma, but I can only watch, helpless, as Joe sets out on a path which, while honest, has devastating repercussions for those who love him until time brings a tentative peace and redemption.

My third book is a laugh-out-loud, irreverent, microscopic examination of a woman’s survival in an ordinary life. Women Talking Dirty by Isla Dewar, celebrates being a woman with clever insights and observations into the depths and layers of being a working mother living an ordinary life.

BIO: Trish is a just-about-to-retire Police Officer living in London and looking forward to having more time to read all the good books out there.

Kara Leonardo
Hmmm, well I think this is a very, very hard one! I’m really not sure what I would bring if it’s only 3, but here are my best guesses for the moment.

The first one I think would be Mercedes Lackey’s Queen’s Own. This is a trilogy of the first books in her Valdemar series. I love the strong heroine in these sci fi stories. It is such a great tale of overcoming all odds!

My second would be Tough Girls, edited by Lori Selke. Since this has my absolute favorite erotica story in it of all time, I would have to take it with me. I couldn’t be without my erotica for any length of time and if I can’t have my Kindle (which has way too much of it on it) then it’s Tough Girls! It also happens to have my second favorite erotica story in it, so pretty special book, if you like a certain type! *Grins*

source: Goodreads

The last I think would be Roselle Graskey’s Life’s Little Edge. This is one of the sexiest books I’ve ever read and I re-read it on a regular basis. I know that if it’s some kind of apocalypse, I will probably be one of the first to die considering my disabilities and chronic pain…that is unless I happen to be somewhere around a group of Amazons or warrior women and then they still might decide that I wasn’t worth saving because I wouldn’t be a horribly productive member of society but I can dream! The reasons for Life’s Little Edge is beyond its innate sexiness. I could always dream that Irish would come and save me while I was waiting to be killed! [Andi note: Screw that, Kara. We’ll take care of you! We’ll get some kind of transport thingie rigged up and you will be the keeper of the maps and the person who is charged with writing stuff down to record the apocalypse.]

Now, I’m going to stray from the rules a little and tell you that if it hadn’t been three, I would have included Joan Opyr’s Idaho Code. This is the funniest book I have ever read and though I loved the follow up, nothing beats this one. If it hadn’t been stolen from me I would have definitely included Words Heard In Silence by T Novan and Taylor Rickard! This is probably one of my favorite books of all time and I am still so upset that some postal worker in Nashville has that book and quite a few of the rest of my collection but nothing I can do about it. The others that I
would have included if it had been okay to bring a series as one, would be Chris Anne Wolfe’s Aggar Series, Jean Stewart’s Isis Series, Karin Kallmaker’s Tunnel of Light Series, Radclyffe’s Honor series and Kim Baldwin and Xenia Aliou’s Elite Operatives series. [Andi note: Um, Kara? This backpack is freakin’ HEAVY!] These are all just off the top of my head and I’m sure I’ve forgotten something or someone that should be on the list but for now, I will let it stand.

BIO: My name is Kara Leonardo and I have been an avid reader for as long as I can remember. Some of you might recognize the name from an auction some of my great friends had for me last year. It was called CaringForKara and so many people did so much for it that I am so grateful and feel so blessed that I can’t even put it into words. Now, back to the reason why, I was in a near-fatal car accident in February of 2012 that killed my partner. I was already disabled at the time from an accident at work from October of 2000 so having the help, love and support of my community meant so much to me and helped me in ways that were in no way just monetary. It really gave me a reason to live again when I couldn’t find one. I spent 2 months in the hospital and 9 months in rehab and am now back in an apartment of my own. I plan on being in Dallas for GCLS this year and would love to meet any and all of you and especially thank all of those involved in any way in the auction. Oh, let’s see I also have a 20yr old daughter and a degree in Social Work and Women’s Studies. I’ve been reading lesfic since about 95/96 and have found so many wonderful books but also so many fabulous friends! If you want to friend me, I’m on facebook. Look me up and tell me you saw this! take care all and big hugs, k

[Women and Words note: And we appreciate your support for the lesfic community, Kara. Thanks so much for joining us today.]

Henrietta M (bookgeek)
This got me thinking and organizing, rethinking, making lists, evaluating, new lists…, but wait — not much time: So I grab my most, most cherished lesbian romance ever: Fated Love by Radclyffe.

I own several copies just in case, but with zombies approaching, it must be the autographed one. This is just the ultimate in comfort reading. Several love stories in one book (yep, as a German I can be in love with football — called, mistakenly, soccer by the US girls — too). When the last re-read is more than four weeks ago it needs to be revisited, zombies or not!

My next choice is either Homer, a large selection of Ancient Greek Poetry (including
Sappho and Catullus, the rascal) or my most favorite collection of Rumi & Hafez and what about Mary Oliver? Oh my, something has to go … or do I
find a big collection just in one tome? [We at Women and Words are still wondering which of those Henrietta is going to grab…]

And the last: My cherished collection of early love letters by my wife. Can’t leave that for the zombies and they are my biggest comfort read ever. [WaW note: AWWWWWWW! Seriously romantic! :D]

BIO: As a true bookgeek I have been reading for ever and a day. Fortunately, the advent of e-readers and a long commute give me the opportunity to do it a lot. I am living happily ever after with my wife in the Black Forest area of
Germany, which is known for its beauty, gourmet food, and excellent wine (yes to all of it).

Mercy Sdc (Facebook handle)
The Way Home by Anastasia Vitsky
Spanking is a fetish that’s foreign to me, so when I don’t understand why a character acts a certain way, I obsess on the possible reasons why. Thinking about this book can kill a lot of time as I wait for the apocalypse to pass.

Tell Me by Deanna DiLorenzo
This book got me hooked from the moment I turned to page one. With relate-able characters and truer than life circumstances, this book will do well to keep my mind away from the devastating thought that my friends and family have probably turned into zombies.

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

Source: Amazon (re-sized here)
Gaiman has a brilliant way of taking a reader to another world, possibly parallel to that of Earth, and making it convincingly real. This would make for a great read when my mind will need an escape from a zombie apocalyptic world.

BIO: Mercy is a contributor for the LesFic !NSOMNiAC blog site, which includes lesbian fiction book reviews and recognizes lesfic novels for their artistic and fictional qualities.

Amber Stewart

source: Rainbow Reviews
Beebo Brinker by Ann Bannon, my first that led to my coming out.

Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown, my second that led to my first date.

Safe Harbour by Radclyffe…I won’t say where that led.
[Women and Words note: Hopefully, a second date!]

BIO: I am happily married (Jennifer) with two amazing kids/adults (Jamie and Rachel) and three wonderful four footed friends: two pugs and a puggle. (Chloe, Sadie and Sophie.)
A good job…wonderful friends…and a full life…

Donna Wells
The three books I would take if forced to leave my home because of this apocalypse are:
1. U S ARMY field Survival manual
2. SAS Survival Handbook: Surviving Anywhere, by John Wiseman.

source: Slickguns.com (re-sized here)
Both of these books are self explanatary as to why I would take them. I would need them!
3. My third book would be a blank journal, because I would like to record my experiences.
[Note: Andi’s pretty stoked about these choices, because if Donna shares, then Andi can pick up some mad ninja skillz from the SAS Survival Handbook…]

BIO: I live in San Antonio Texas, with my cat, Rusty and my Dog Binky. I work at moving people, driving a paratransit van for our public transportation. I love to read, and prefer a picnic over a fancy restaurant. I live a simple uncomplicated life, alone but not lonely. Lastly, I would say I would NOT leave my home, apocalypse be damned. I could probably take Binky but not Rusty, therefore I’m staying right where I am and live happily ever after with my pets and my books.

Thanks, all, for joining us this month at Women and Words! And thank you, readers, for supporting the work that we do. Happy May!


  1. What a fantastic idea this was, Andi!

    You know, an author writes with this image of the ideal reader in the back of her mind. This post has definitely refined that image for me. Thanks to all of you for this candid glimpse into what you’re looking for and what you enjoy in a book.


  2. Andi, that was a lot of fun … and to answer your question: I cheated and took several books of poetry .


  3. I don’t have specifics in mind, but I would grab one of my camping cookbooks and try to find some sort of survivalist book.

    For my third, because zombies are always looking for brains to eat, I would bring a cheap, trashy, hetero romance novel, a real bodice ripper. Why? Read it enough times and voila! No brains left for the zombies to find.


  4. Wow, haven’t been on-line since Friday night, and look what I missed! Damn! Hope it’s not too late to contribute to this conversation just for fun.

    I have no survival skills whatsoever, and I’m not sure taking a survival skills book along would help me much, unless I was with someone who was good at picking up the required techniques, so I’d probably have to find somewhere to hide and hope to wait out the apocalypse. So, the 3 books I would take along…hmmm, that’s a tough one, since I have literally hundreds of lesbian fiction books. Probably at least one of the Ali Vali “Devil” series. I really love that one so much. Then, I’d have to choose between Radclyffe’s “Fated Love” and one of the Provincetown Tales series. Then, I’d go for “Triple Delight” — a trilogy of novels in one volume published by the now-defunct Women’s Work Press. That way I’d have 5 books instead of only 3.

    Of course, ask me again tomorrow, and I might change my mind, as I have so many wonderful books.


  5. It figures that I missed this one! I can’t believe I’m a whole month late on this! Btw, because of medical problems I’m not going to the Dallas Con this year and probably why I missed seeing this! Well, thanks for asking for my input and I had a great time writing it up. (Even if I did cheat and include way too many books….but ya know I just can’t live without lots of books! They are my refuge and escape!)

    Thanks so much Andi for finding a way to save me! I do realize that the backpack is probably way too freakin heavy but I figure that if it’s the end of the world…I’m gonna keep all the stuff that I love with me for as long as I possibly can! I’ll be like the people in Jean Stewart’s Isis series that spent their last days in the Seattle library reading their favorites as they died!

    Well thanks again Andi and Jove for letting me participate in this one! It was alot of fun! I will always support lesfic and the authors and readers within the community the same way that the community has supported me all these years! For the info, I’m planning on being at the GCLS Con next year in Portland so I’m hoping to get to see everyone then and get to say thanks and give hugs in person!

    Again, anyone who had anything to do with CaringforKara…thank you from the bottom of my heart and will always be grateful for the support and love of everyone involved!

    very big hugs all, kara


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