So it’s October which means it’s the annual time of year where I listen and watch The Rocky Horror Picture Show on repeat. It is just the perfect time of year for this incredible queer cult classic film. And as I was dancing along to the music this month, I thought it would be fun to create a book tag to go along with the film! I’ve used the songs as prompts because I absolutely adore the music from this film, it is one of the most catchiest musicals ever and I know every word. I have never ever created a book tag before and tagging people without knowing if they want tagged gives me so much anxiety so who knows how much attention this will actually get. But I hope you enjoy this, and if you love the film as much as I do, please consider yourself tagged! Please feel free to use all the artwork as well.
For full transparency, I did have a search to see if anyone had done one of these, and BookTuber Sophie Holden had created a book tag based on the characters from Rocky Horror in 2014, you can check out their video here!
1. Science fiction, double feature: Rocky Horror is a parody film of scifi and horror films from the 70s, so let’s start with a book that has been made into a TV show or film!
2020 has been pretty shit, but it has also given us the announcement of several amazing books which are going to be made into TV! Not only are we getting Mexican Gothic and The City of Brass, but we’re also getting the absolutely legendary gangster fantasy Jade City by Fonda Lee. This book has the best fight scenes I’ve read, characters who you would give your life for, and such interesting family dynamics that I know this show is going to be outstanding.
2. Damnit, Janet: Damnit, Janet is the song where we first meet Brad and Janet, two innocent young lovebirds who are about to go on the awakening of a lifetime. So this prompt is for a YA romance book!
For this prompt, I thought I’d talk about one of my favourite YA romances of the year, It Sounded Better in my Head by Nina Kenwood. And it surprised me that I loved this as much as I did because there are no queer people ANYWHERE. BUT! Have faith my friends, this one heterosexual YA book has rights. This was just such a funny book, I love sarcastic, self-deprecating characters and Natalie is both of these things. This book literally just felt like a hug, it was happy and full of joy, which I needed so badly this year!
3. Over at the Frankenstein Place: In Over at the Frankenstein Place, we see the towering castle in the rain where Brad and Janet take refuge, so what’s your favourite gothic fiction?
We all know what book I’m going to mention don’t we? Of course Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia is my favourite gothic fiction. This book destroyed me when I first read it earlier this year. The atmosphere is so foreboding and so creepy, there’s just such a sense of darkness in this house, and then it gets so so so fucked up. I read this every night before bed when I first read it, and boy DO I REGRET THAT. This is a daytime book only, or your dreams will be HAUNTED.
4. Time Warp: In Time Warp, we first meet Columbia, the character who wears just an incredible amount of glitter and sequins. So for this prompt, what is the prettiest book cover you own?
As a side note, I actually dressed up as Columbia for Halloween one year, and spent many painstaking hours sewing on sequin fabric to a black blazer. The only picture I have is with a cat (because I am an introvert stereotype at parties) and you can’t really see the blazer but check it out!
There have been some incredible book covers this year, Felix Ever After, The Mermaid, the Witch and the Sea and Mexican Gothic being some of my favourites. But the prettiest book cover I own has to go to The Animals at Lockwood Manor. Not only is it such an intricate, delicate illustratrated cover, but I have a special edition which comes with beautifully patterned sprayed edges and special endpapers and so this book is just GORGEOUS.
5. Sweet Transvestite: Frank N Furter, is just one of the most iconic characters in film, so for this prompt, give us an iconic queer book!
I had lots of ideas for what book to choose for this prompt, but in the end I’ve gone with The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon because I think this book has really done a lot in changing the way the fantasy genre is viewed. It’s a fantasy world completely free of many of the elements so common in adult fantasy (rape etc…), and it really sort of shows you how ingrained a lot of opinions are. There were so many moments I read this, where you are introduced to a new character and are shocked when it turns out the character is a woman. And I’m someone who reads a lot of fantasy written by not white men, and so I was so shocked at how this book challenged subconscious expectations I hadn’t been aware I held. So I think this is definitely an iconic queer book because it completely subverts your expectations for the genre, and it’s just incredible to see an 800 page fantasy book actually feature queer women at the helm.
6. I Can Make You a Man: Parodying the classic Frankenstein, Dr Frank N Furter makes us a man in this number, so give us a book set in a medical setting/about medicine/with a doctor or nurse main character etc.
Wow, go Rachel at making a prompt I seriously struggled to actually think of a book for… Turns out I don’t read many books that have healing/medicine as a core feature? But! I did manage to think of one. In Missing, Presumed Dead by Emma Berquist the main character really struggles with her mental health thanks to the horrific lonliness she suffers from thanks to her magic power, that allows her to see a person’s death if she touches them. So she checks herself into a mental health ward in the book when things get too much. It’s such a brilliant book and I really love that it explored the negative side of having magic and really looked at the impact of having such an awful power.
7. Hot Patootie: Hot Patootie is my favourite song in the musical, and it’s sing by none other than Meatloaf! So let’s go back in time, with a novel set in the 1970s or 80s (when Meatloaf was at his peak!)
Like a Love Story by Abdi Nazemian just fits into the 80s, as it’s set in 1989 in New York during the AIDS crisis. Not many books have brought me to tears, but this one did. Every page is just so full of emotion. Even at the darkest moments of loss and grief in this book, there is still an undercurrent of hope and love. This book felt like a little slice of history and is such a powerful and unflinching look at a really awful time in queer history.
8. Toucha Toucha Touch Me: Toucha Toucha Touch Me is all about Janet losing her innocence and becoming a more confident woman. What’s a book with a character who loses their innocence, in whatever way that means to you?
Losing your innocence can mean so many different things to different people, but I decided to go with Crier from the duology Crier’s War/Iron Heart by Nina Varela. In Crier’s War, Crier is a very privileged and naive princess who isn’t really aware of what is going on in the human world. But by Iron Heart, she had to face up to the mistreatment of the humans and has had to learn how to take care of herself as she goes on the run.
9. Eddie: Eddie, the character who sings my favourite song, of course does not make it to the end. So what’s a book where a character you love dies?
I feel like this is such a mean prompt, but ALAS. I did consider choosing The Song of Achilles for this prompt, because that book broke me, especially the first time I read it where I hadn’t actually known how the myth ended. But I decided to go with The City of Brass by S.A Chakraborty! This series is one of my favourite fantasy series (even if I’ve been too scared to read the final book yet…) The worldbuilding, the history, the politics, it is so detailed and so interesting and I just found the whole world fascinating. AND THE ENDING! That was certainly a rough wait for book 2….
10. Rose Tint My World: To wear rose tinted glasses is to have an optimistic and idealistic outlook, keeping you safe from the trouble and pain in the world. So what’s a book that keeps you happy and distracted from trouble and pain?
I read The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J Klune back when the pandemic was just starting to ramp and the terrifiying uncertainty of the future was a newer feeling and this book just provided so much joy in such a dark time. It is such a comforting, cosy book full of found family and love and with a main character who is so full of hopelessness finally finding the people that give him hope. It’s just beautiful and so full of love. I really need to reread it, because I need something hopeful right now!
11. Don’t Dream It, Be It: The creator of Rocky Horror says the line “don’t dream it, be it” came from an underwear advert in a magazine that was known to cater to trans women and crossdressers. So for this prompt, give us a book by a trans, nonbinary or gender diverse author!
I never give up a chance to talk about my favourite book! Victoria Lee is the bigender author of The Fever King series (and also one of my most anticiapted books of 2021, A Lesson in Vengeance). This book just blew me away, I am in awe of how much this book just destroyed me. It’s set in a world with a virus wiped out the population and those who survive wake up with magic. It’s also about overcoming trauma and overthrowing the government and everything about it is just excellent.
12. Wild and Untamed Thing: For all the wild and untamed energy in this song, what’s a book that makes your heart race?
Most recently, the book that made my heart absolutely race is The Ikessar Falcon by K.S. Villoso. I need more people to talk about this series!! It is so anxiety inducing. My favourite thing about K.S Villoso is that you’re reading her books and thinking ‘okay, this is it, this is rock bottom, nothing else awful can possibly happen to these characters that I love”. And then of course it does. It’s a rollercoaster of feelings and anxiety as Tali the Bitch Queen fights to get back to her son, and when I say she’ll do whatever it takes, I really do mean that (even when the thing she has to do is HEARTBREAKING).
13. I’m Going Home: I’m Going Home is the song where Frank N Furter thinks he’s going home, to the place and people he has always dreamed of returning to, the family he’s longed for. So for this prompt, give us a book with the found family trope!
I usually talk about The House in the Cerulean Sea and The Weight of the Stars when asked about found family because those two are some of my favourites. But I thought I’d change things up by talking about Dangerous Remedy by Kat Dunn! This is such a fun historical fantasy about a group of disaster queers who are trying to free people from the guillotine in revolution France. Disaster after disaster happens to this group as they try to outsmart both the revolutionaries and the nobles looking to get back into power.
14. Superheroes: The last song of the musical has such dark lyrics when you listen to it, so for this prompt, what’s a book with one of your favourite villains or monsters?
I am a big fan of villain narratives and monster romances because villains always seem to be way more interesting characters to me? But for this prompt, I wanted to talk about a villain I found really scary, which is in The City We Became by N.K Jemisin! This is the first book in a new trilogy by Jemisin and it’s set in our world, in New York, where cities can have souls and when they “wake up”, they smash through several universes, destroying other worlds during their birth. So this enemy wants to stop New York City from waking up, and it uses this terrifying, really insidious way of manipulating New Yorkers susceptible to bigotry to twist them into their control. The way the enemy works with Aislyn, the character with the soul of Staten Island, was such a terrifying analogy for the way white supremacy and right wing ideaolgy sneaks it’s way into the minds of white people, and how social structures can be used to uphold white supremacy. Utterly terrifying and an absolute must read!!
And that’s the tag!! For ease of copy and pasting, here’s the questions again below in a nice list. Please feel free to use the artwork I’ve created, that’s totally fine. If you could also link back to my post to credit me so I can read your answers, I would love to see your posts!
As I mentioned above, tagging people when I don’t know if they want tagged gives me MUCH ANXIETY so thank you to those who showed interest/support in getting on Twitter – so I tag Justine from I Should Read That, Kal from Reader Voracious and Kait from Kaitlyn’s Cosy Reading Corner. (Obviously, no pressure to do anything, especially if I misinterpreted your interest!)
And if you liked this tag, or love Rocky Horror, please do consider yourself tagged in this!!
- Science fiction, double feature: a book that has been made into a TV show or film
- Damnit, Janet: a YA romance
- Over at the Frankenstein Place: your favourite gothic fiction
- Time Warp: your prettiest book cover
- Sweet Transvestite: an iconic queer book
- I Can Make You a Man: a book set in a medical setting/about medicine/with a doctor or nurse mani character
- Hot Patootie: a book set in the 1970s or 80s
- Toucha Toucha Touch Me: a book where a character loses their innocence
- Eddie: a book where one of your favourite characters die
- Rose Tint My World: a book that makes you happy
- Don’t Dream It, Be It: a book by a trans, nonbinary or gender diverse author
- Wild and Untamed Thing: a book that makes your heart race
- I’m Going Home: a book with the found family trope
- Superheros: a book with one of your favourite villains or monsters