Last month I wrote my post Summer reading, sharing three books you might like to consider buying (from your local LGBT bookstore of course) or taking out from your library. They included a series of erotic short stories, a political commentary on the LGBT movement and a murder mystery that takes place in Europe.
Now it is my turn to ask you for some summer suggestions. I’ve just finished reading local author, Matthew Pearl’s book The Poe Shadow, and I am now looking for suggestions on what to read next. Some of my favorite genres include: historical fiction (like The Poe Shadow), LGBT fiction, Science Fiction / Fantasy, and mystery / detective literature.
Next weekend – Memorial Day Weekend – is the official opening of prominent New England summer destinations like Provincetown, Ogunquit, Newport and the islands. Traditionally, I share a few gay-themed book options for those looking to add to their summer reading.
My first suggestion is Take This Man: Gay Romance Stories. This 232 page paperback published by CLEiS Press is available starting on June 26th and can be pre-ordered at your local LGBT bookstore (here in Boston contact Calamus Bookstore in the Leather District).
This book is a compilation of sixteen romantic / erotic short stories. The book opens with the 10-page short story, A Good Heart Is This Day Found, a very seductive and endearing story about two men who have just married by Rhidian Brenig Jones. The short stories make for easy summer reading and I enjoyed the naughty narratives, despite rarely reading this genre.
For those who prefer non-fiction, I would strongly recommend Michelangelo Signorile’s latest book, It’s Not Over, which is published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and is currently on sale everywhere.
Signorile’s 259 page book is a wake up call of sorts. He warns the LGBT community not to take for granted the amazing progress we’ve made by assuming equality is inevitable. He makes a persuasive argument pointing to how the conservative movement is reorganizing and how groups the LGBT community often view as allies are sometimes without even realizing it becoming complacent and as he puts it “become a roadblock to progress.” Definitely worth the read if social justice and politics are your thing.
My third and final suggestion is actually an older book that was first published by St. Martin’s Griffin in 2008 called The Conversion and is written by Joseph Olshan (author of the popular gay novel Nightswimmer).
The 278 page novel captured my imagination as it centers on Russell Todaro, a young American translator who wakes up one morning in Paris to find his lover dead. The story quickly relocates to Tuscany where you learn more about this conflicted man against the backdrop of one of my favorite places in the world, Italy.
As I mentioned previously, while all these books are available via sites like Amazon.com, I’d ask that you consider ordering / purchasing one or more of these books from your local LGBT bookstore. If you don’t have a local LGBT bookstore, consider calling Boston’s last remaining store, Calamus Bookstore and having them ship you the book(s).
Just days before Indiana Governor, Mike Pence, signed the state’s bogus “religious freedom” law and made IN a poster child of intolerance, I received an advance copy of Michelangelo Signorile’s latest book, It’s Not Over.
Talk about timing…
Signorile postulates that the incredible progress seen with regards to LGBT rights and in particular marriage equality in recent years has fanned the flames of homophobia in America and stiffened the resolve of conservatives who are determined to win this cultural war. He also turns a critical eye to supposed “allies” of the LGBT community in Washington, the media and Hollywood who too often remain complacent and in the words of the book “become a roadblock to progress.” I’ve yet to read the book and have based my summary on reviews as well as the inside book cover’s description and will write about it again after the book is available for sale.
The timing of this book could not be more appropriate as other states emboldened by Indiana now contemplate similar “religious freedom” laws and an increasingly conservative wing of the Republican Party begins to flex its muscle as the Presidential Primary season for 2016 begins.
The 259 page book (77 of which are notes added to the end of the book) is published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and will be available for sale on April 7th. If you plan on purchasing this book consider supporting your local LGBT bookstore. In Boston you can order a copy at Calamus Bookstore.
Since the start of the new year I’ve become hooked on podcasts (again). It all started when a colleague suggested I listen to the podcast series, Serial. I hadn’t listened to a podcast in a few years but the series got me hooked and since then I’ve downloaded several others.
Two of my favorite podcasts are Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! and TED Radio Hour. Other podcasts I currently have on my iPhone include Stuff You Missed in History Class, Real Time with Bill Maher (although I never seem to end up listening to this one) and PBS News Hour. I had forgotten how much I enjoy listening to good stories and or just funny commentary.
If you happen to see me at the gym spontaneously burst out in laughter – now you know why. Do you listen to podcasts? Which are your favorites?
Queerty recently wrote a post, Ten Of The Hottest Sex Scenes In Popular Literature.
They wrote, “We have become accustomed to increasingly realistic sex scenes in film but what about the similar pleasures from literature? Examples of literary homoeroticism abound, many times long before cinematic breakthroughs became routine.” Looking at their list of the ten “hottest sex scenes in popular literature”, I realized I had only read one of the books (Maurice) and watched two of the books as movies (Less Than Zero and Broke Back Mountain).
I love reading gay fiction but the ‘sex scenes’ are not the reason I buy a book (or take them out from the library – yes, I do that too). I just like reading stories that have gay themes, because when it is done well – they resonate with me.
Here is a list of gay fiction novels that I loved reading. This isn’t a complete list by any means but is a nice start. Do you like to read gay fiction? What are some of your favorite gay fiction novels?
The entire Tales of the City series by Armistead Maupin
Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aciman
Hey Day by Michael Viktor Butler
Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin
How I Paid for College by Marc Acito
The national campaign director for Freedom to Marry, Marc Solomon, is back in Boston on Monday, November 10th at Club Cafe to kick off his national book tour to promote Winning Marriage: The Inside Story of How Same-Sex Couples Took on the Politicians and Pundits – and Won.
The book, with a forward by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, shares the inside story of how marriage in Massachusetts was won and the state’s critical role in making this a national dialog.
Meet Marc Solomon at Club Cafe at 209 Columbus Avenue – Monday, November 10th from 6:00 – 8:00 pm. The program is free and open to the public.
Tonight Herbie Hancock kicks off the 2014 Boston Book Festival with his Memoir Keynote and on Friday evening Susan Minot gives the Fiction Keynote. On Saturday the 2014 BBF starts in earnest with programs through out the weekend.
Peruse the full calendar of events for Saturday and Sunday which are mostly free and open to the public: 2014 BBF Calendar of Events.