Land’s End by Pulitzer-Prize winning author, Michael Cunningham, is a quick read (172 pages) that was written a decade ago about Provincetown, MA.
Cunningham literally dissects the town into geographies with chapters like the West End and East End. Individual chapters describe the town and some of the more unique aspects of Provincetown like the dunes and wilderness. Through out the book he shares a loving (almost reverent) perspective of Ptown; talking about specific residents, locations and the many unique attributes of the city and the city’s history. For those familiar with Provincetown, you will find yourself nodding and smiling. And as was my case, often times thinking “next year I need to check that out.”
For those who have never been to this special place at the tip of the Cape, its still worth the read. Cunningham’s profound love for this place is obvious and will be endearing for you to read.
I love how Cunningham describes Provincetown near the start of the book: Provincetown stands on a finger of land at the tip of Cape Cod, the barb at the hook’s end, a fragile and low-lying geological assertion that was once knitted together by the roots of trees.
Scott Pasfield will be signing copies of his latest book, Gay in America at the Harvard COOP bookstore on Monday, November 14th starting at 7PM.
Photographer Scott Pasfield spent three years travelling the United States gathering stories and documenting the lives of 140 gay men from all 50 states in the United States. The stories of these men are moving testaments of what it means to be gay and challenges stereotypes we all have. The hard cover book is 224 pages with 100 full color photographs and retails for $45.00.
For more information about the signing call the COOP at (617) 499-2000.
The third annual Boston Book Festival (the largest literary event in New England) is this Saturday (October 15) in Copley Square. The event will host more than 100 world-renowned authors, workshops and events. If you are in the city, check out the festival.
Whatever your interests, fiction, history, science, food writing, sports writing, crime fiction, etc… they have something for you. You can check out the full calendar of events by linking to their site here and individual event descriptions here.
In truth, this is less of a review about Steven Saylor’s book, Empire: The Novel of Imperial Rome, published in 2010 by St. Martin’s Griffin than it is a recognition of this gay author who writes superb historical fiction novels at a mind-boggling rate.
For those fascinated by ancient Rome, his novels are compelling reads. Saylor is best known for his Roma Sub Rosa series, set in ancient Rome featuring a detective named “Gordianus the Finder” who lived during the time of Cicero, Julius Caesar and Cleopatra.
Empire is nearly 600-pages and opens in Rome in 14 AD with Lucius Pinarius, a young man born into a prominent Roman family. The novel traces the Pinarius family for the next 100+ years. With imperial Rome as a backdrop, Saylor weaves a story chalk full of intrigue, drama and action.
If you enjoy historical fiction or are fascinated with this era, I would recommend trying one of Saylor’s novels. He has an easy-t0-read writing style. Should you opt to buy one of Saylor’s books, I’d recommend Calamus Bookstore. Calamus is the last standing GLBT bookstore in Boston and you can purchase books online if you don’t live in the area.
Calamus Bookstore 92B South Street, Boston Tel: (617) 338-1931
I’ve been a bit disappointed by the past few books I’ve read, but that all ended when on impulse I picked up Kathryn Stockett’s 500+ page book, The Help.
This book had me regularly reading late into the night. For those unfamiliar with the book which I understand has been made into a movie that will star, Emma Stone, Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer, it takes place in Jackson, MS during the early 1960s.
For those not familiar with modern US history, it may be shocking to realize the evil that was called segregation. The story centers around a college educated, single woman in her early 20s who’s returned home after getting her degree and is struggling to start her career as a journalist / writer as well as two maids who work for different white families in Jackson.
Comparisons with Lee’s To Kill a Mocking Bird are easy to make. Both authors are southern woman, both address the racism that was rampant and the social injustices that seem inconceivable to us today. Unlike Lee’s novel though, Stockett’s story balances tension with humor and I found myself regularly laughing out loud. This may go down as my favorite book of 2011.
Looking for some summer reading? Don’t be put off by the deep nature of the subject matter; this book is an absolute page turner. For those who are not of the reading variety, I’ve included the official movie trailer.
Have you heard of Adam Mansbach’s book which was released last week?
The book’s facebook page, describes the story as a beautifully, subversive, and pants-wettingly funny book for parents new, old, and expectant.
Although I have no children, I’m familiar with the sleep deprivation that seems to go hand-in-hand with parenting and in light of this past Sunday’s celebration of Fathers, I thought it somewhat timely to share. The book can be bought online and is sold at most major bookstore retailers.
Have you read the book, Gay Men Don’t Get Fat? Its modeled after the successful (and cheeky) book, French Women Don’t Get Fat.
According to the article in Gawker, “There is only one thing that keeps gay men in shape: fear. Yes, every gay—at least those of the stereotypical abdominal-obsessed physique that populates Fire Island and Palm Springs—is brought about because gay men are afraid that they will be alone for the rest of their lives.”
I’m definitely prone to obsess about my weight and definitely have a far more intimate relationship with my gym (a.k.a. The Gay Temple) than any of my straight / heterosexual friends, but am I a walking cliche? What do you think? You can read the full article on Gawker, here.
UPDATE A reader pointed out that back in April I wrote a post called Is it vanity or health? The brief post was a question to readers who work out; what was their motivation. (Thanks for the reminder Mike.)
Thanks to Andy for pointing me to the article.
I’ve been reading a fair amount of gay fiction lately and wanted to write about two books for anyone looking for something to read. The first book, Catch Me If You Can by LB Gregg was a surprisingly funny and quick read. In just over 200 pages Gregg weaves a tale told from the perspective of Caesar Romano, “a lowly gallery assistant” who is living with his grandmother in New York City. Returning to work the following morning after a particularly successful gallery opening, Caesar realizes all is not right when a Justin Timberlake bust from the collection is missing. What ensues is an entertaining mystery full of miscommunications, misunderstandings and a hint of romance. If you are looking for a light and easy read, this is one worth trying.
The Silver Hearted is a darker, less straight forward story than the previous book. Billed as an updated gay-themed version of Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, this 200+ page book is less transparent and more ominous. The parallels to Conrad’s classic are obvious (maybe too obvious). However, the author, David McConnell, is a gifted writer and he quickly pulled me in with his exotic settings and strange characters. Similar to the classic a sense of confusion and foreboding persists throughout. Where this book definitely deviates from Conrad’s is the gay theme, which is subtly introduced and beautifully written. The sexual tension between the main character and a young deck hand is the real story and becomes more enthralling with each passing chapter.
I hope that by providing two very different options, one may speak to you and you will go to your local library or bookstore to take-out or buy a copy. If possible, I’d like to encourage other avid readers to support their local libraries which have been strapped for cash and can certainly use your patronage or if owning a personal copy is important – consider going to your local bookstore. Too many local bookshops have had to close shop in recent years.
I saw this “consensus cloud” on Iced Tea & Sarcasm and figured I would post it (click on image below to make larger). I underlined the books I remember reading. Clearly, based on this list, I have a lot of reading ahead of me. According to Information is Beautiful, the source of the “consensus cloud”, the image is based on the most mentioned titles from various book polls and top 100 lists.
I can’t help but add my two cents for books I would have liked to have seen included. I’ve focused on adding books from authors that appear to have been snubbed vs. listing a preferred book from an author who was mentioned. Here’s a short list of books I would suggest adding.
Classics: Anything from Shakespeare, Murders in the Rue Morgue, The Great Gatsby, Ivanhoe, Count of Monte
Carlo (oops…) Cristo, Robinson Crusoe, Murder on the Orient Express
Modern Classics: Night, In Cold Blood, Cujo, The Godfather, Pillars of the Earth, The Bourne Identity
Gay: Tales of the City, The Men from the Boys, Giovanni’s Room, Call Me By Your Name
I’m curious, what books you would have suggested adding to this list?
I arrived without incident on Thursday afternoon at La Concha Hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The flight down was uneventful (thankfully) and the first 24-hours have been both relaxing and funny. I’ve already finished my first book, Catch Me If You Can by LB Gregg. It is 200+ page gay novel that is funny and easy to read about a lowly art gallery assistant who’s world turns upside down. I found myself laughing out loud on more than a few occassions while reading this easy to solve, but entertaining gay-themed mystery.
I’m inserting a couple of tweets from the past 24-hours with accompanying photos as follow up from my previous post, Off to Puerto Rico. The picture quality leaves something to be desired but I took these with my blackberry and the camera is only mezza mezza. If you click on the photos they should enlarge.
TWEET: Zoom in + see #SluttyCouple. Makeout session aside, he has killer abs #GetaRoom
TWEET:#DrunkUglyCouple who kept bumping into me at the bar last night. Yup that’s her leg on him. #ISeeUglyPeople
For more entertaining “Tweets”, follow me on Twitter at @BosGuy.
In just a few days I’ll be taking an extended break from work. I plan on visiting my local library or possibly Calamus Bookstore in Boston’s Leather District to nab a few gay themed novels, and I’m curious if you have any to suggest.
To be fair, I’ll list a few novels that I’ve enjoyed to both give you an idea of what I like and to share in case you too are looking for something to read.
Heyday by Michael Butler – takes place during prohibition in NYC and is fraught with funny scenerios
Call me by your name by Andre Aciman – is about a teenager’s first love and is beautifully written
How I paid for college by Marc Acito – an hilarious story that tracks the adventures of a NJ H.S. senior
Where the boys are by William Mann – Actually I’ve enjoyed all his books
My blue heaven by Joe Keenan – I’ve enjoyed this funny series as well
The books listed above are not the only gay fiction I’ve read, but it is meant to serve as a sort of guide or insight into the books I’ve enjoyed. I also like and have read a number of books from local authors including Johnny Diaz, Michael Thomas Ford, and J.G. Hayes to mention a few. I should say that my interest in authors extends beyond my hometown’s city limits so please share your suggestions. I’m quite open and looking forward to hearing from you.
Despite the rains and wind forecast this weekend, the Boston Book Festival will be in full swing on Saturday. If you’ve never been to this festival – you should really check it out.
Authors like Dennis Lehane – author of best sellers like Shutter Island and Mystic River, Pulitzer Prize winning non-fiction author, Stacy Schiff and Joyce Carol Oates are among a long list of distinguished and accomplished authors and poets who will be present. For more information check out the link above or you can go to the BBF blog.
If food is more your thing then come over to my neighborhood and attend the Boston LobsterParty. Unlike the BBF, this will cost to get in, but you can easily purchase tickets online here, and all the proceeds go to the very deserving Community Servings charity, which brings warm nutritious meals to those suffering from critical and chronic illness and diseases like AIDS.
How can you go wrong with chefs from all around Boston sharing different dishes with lobster and plenty of beer available to wash the tastey crustacean down. Event details: Saturday from 2:00 – 4:30pm at The Trolley Barn. 540 Harrison Ave., Boston.
What are you reading this summer to pass the hours? This past week I read Robert Parker’s
book, Widow’s Walk
. I love his fictional character Spenser and how his stories take place in Boston. After, I picked up the Jeffrey Archer
novel, A Prisoner of Birth
, which is sort of a modern day Count of Monte Cristo
. I’ve read several of Archer’s novels and they are always epic stories that I get completely sucked into.
I have to head off to the library to pick up a few more books. What have you been reading? Any suggestions?
Earlier this year a couple of branches of the Boston Public Library (BPL) were forced to close and it made me realize that with the exception of random visits with my nephews, I had not taken out a book in several years. I’m sure this is partly due to laziness (ordering books online is so much easier) and in part because I think that the way libraries are organized needs to be seriously reconsidered – but that is the topic for another blog entry.
The point I’m trying to make is the library closings made me realize if you don’t support something you can not expect it to remain relevant. The library – in particular the BPL - is a beautiful place. I’m loving the fact that I can easily return these books rather than shuffle them from closet to cabinet drawer once they’ve been read as I normally do with books I’ve purchased. Additionally, the environentalist in me likes the library… does that ring true for anyone else?
The next time you get the urge to log on to Amazon or drop by a national chain – think about how supporting your local library not only saves you a bit of money but also sends a message that this public resource brings value and enriches your community.
I just finished reading two gay-themed stories which I really enjoyed, and for those few of us out there who like reading gay literature sometimes the options can be quite slim so I wanted to give an online ‘shout-out’. The first is a touching story about two men who grow up in Melbourne, Australia in the mid-70s and their life together. It is well written and very touching; normally I shy away from stories that take place during the AIDS epidemic – I just find it too sad, but this really touched my heart. Title: Holding the Man by Timothy Conigrave, 286 pages, Published by Penguin Books, ISBN: 978-0-14-320282.
The second book takes place a decade later (1983 to be exact) in New Jersey and is about a high school senior’s plans to attend Julliard to become a famous actor. The story is entertaining to say the least and the author’s wit and humor had me unexpectedly laughing out loud at times. Title: How I Paid for College: A tale of sex, theft, friendship and musical theatre by Marc Acito, 276 pages, ISBN: 978-1-4088-0221-2.
I’ve read many gay-themed books (fiction and non-fiction), but if you would like to comment on a book of particular interest or a favorite please share with me as I’m always looking for another book and appreciate personal recommendations.