Category Archives: What’cha Reading

20 Summers Series presents Michael Cunningham and Daniel Mendelsohn

Ptown, Hawthorne BarnIn a little more than a month Michael Cunningham, winner of numerous prizes including a Pulitzer, and the internationally best-selling essayist, critic, and translator Daniel Mendelsohn will discuss how writers turn to literature to broaden their own horizons.

Unfortunately, I won’t be able to get down to Provincetown for this discussion but I am always fascinated by how artists get their inspiration and channel it into a creative output. I’ve been a fan of Cunningham’s work and think this would be an intriguing discussion to hear first hand in such an intimate setting.

 
The Hawthorne Barn
29 Miller Hill Road, Provincetown

Ticket Information Here

Boston Gay Men’s Book Club meets February 26th

shirtless guy, man with glasses, reading, bookIf you are looking for ways to meet people that doesn’t involve sports or going to bars, Boston’s Gay Men Book Club, which meets every month at the Trident Booksellers & Cafe on Newbury Street might be the perfect social outlet for you.  This month the group is reading Quit the Race by Jonathan Strong, who teaches fiction-writing at Tufts University and lives in Rockport, MA with his partner, the short-story writer S. P. Elledge.

What: Boston Gay Men’s Book Club Meeting
When: Monday, February 26th at 7PM
Where: Trident Bookseller’s & Cafe at 338 Newbury Street
RSVP: Here

Quit the Race is the story of Joel, a musician and composer, and Sean, a social worker, whose long-term relationship is tested when they find themselves pulling in opposite directions as they enter the last chapter of their lives. Set in Strong’s home city of Chicago and rural Wisconsin, the novel is a love story after the love has been lived in and change is coming. Joel and Sean discover that they have different assumptions about domestic life.

Boston Gay Men's Book Club, gay boston

This book can be purchased online at major resellers but you may also buy this in person or online at local bookstores. If you’re open to supporting local bookstores try one of these links, which will take you right to the book so you can make a quick purchase online if that is your preference.

Brookline Booksmith 279 Harvard Street by Coolidge Corner
Harvard Bookstore  1256 Mass Ave in Harvard Square
Papercuts JP 5 Green Street, Jamaica Plain
Porter Square Bookstore 25 White Street in Porter Square
Trident Bookseller’s & Cafe 338 Newbury Street in Back Bay

The Boston Gay Men’s Book Club will meet at the Trident Bookseller’s & Cafe on Monday, February 26th at 7PM. The group welcomes everyone but does request people RSVP if they plan to attend. You can join the group and RSVP, here.

Boston Gay Men’s Bookclub meets January 22nd

Boston Book FestivalBoston Gay Men’s Book Club will be meeting in a couple of weeks on Monday, January 22nd at the Trident Bookseller & Cafe in the Back Bay to discuss this month’s novel, Paul Takes The Form of a Mortal Girl, by Andrea Lawlor.

The debut novel from Lawlor puts a fantasy spin on gender and sex as the reader follows Paul, a bartender with shapeshifting abilities who uses his malleable appearance to explore humanity and intimacy through sex. Winding his way through the heyday of ’90s queer culture, Paul begins to question his motives, his future, and the true nature of his identity in this clever, provocative tale.

The book can be purchased online at major resellers but you may also buy this at local bookstores. If you’re open to supporting local bookstores try one of these links, which will take you right to the book so you can make a quick purchase.

Brookline Booksmith 279 Harvard Street by Coolidge Corner
Harvard Bookstore  1256 Mass Ave in Harvard Square
Papercuts JP 5 Green Street, Jamaica Plain
Porter Square Bookstore 25 White Street in Porter Square
Trident Bookseller’s & Cafe 338 Newbury Street in Back Bay

For more information about the book club or to RSVP to attend (there is no cost) visit, meetup.com/Gay-Book-Boston.

Book Review: Beijing Comrades

gay fiction, bei tong, scott e. myers, gay chinese fictionI had never heard of Beijing Comrades when I purchased the book but there was something about the novel’s description that caught my attention. Before I share with you what the story is about, let me give you some history because the way the story came to be known is slightly notorious. Bei Tong is the pseudonymous author whose real-world identity remains unknown since the story was first published in 1998 as an e-novel. The Translator’s Note in my copy said it is among mainland China’s earliest, best known and most influential contemporary gay novels and after finishing the nearly 400-page book I can believe it.

This may be one of my favorite gay novels of all-time

The love story – because that is what it is – opens in Beijing in 1987 and chronicles the on again, off again relationship between Chen Handong and Lan Yu. Handong is a narcissistic businessman from a well-connected family and Yu is a poor student who moves to Beijing to attend university. The novel is extremely sexually explicit and generally such books don’t capture my attention, but his novel is the exception to that rule. The story couldn’t exist without the sexual nature of their relationship. In many ways it is the glue that keeps these two together and provides fodder for the ups and downs, fights and making up.

The book’s opening lines read, “He’s been gone three years now. A thousand days and nights and each time I close my eyes there he is before me, the person I see in my dreams.“, so I’m not spoiling anything by telling you that the ending isn’t a happily ever after but it doesn’t matter because it touched me in a way that few stories ever have. A few times while I was reading the story, I thought to myself, here we go again – another fight or another make up sex scene – but now that the novel is over and I’ve put the book down I wish there was another hundred pages so I can continue to read about this complicated couple who so clearly loved each other but often times were their own worst enemies.

NOTE: If you decide to purchase this book, look for the cover I’ve shown above and the copy translated by Scott E. Myers. Over the years there have been several translations and some of the previous translations have watered down or edited the graphic sexual content. I can’t imagine this book having the same impact it did for me if I read such a redacted or toned down translation and for that reason I suggest you get this copy: Beijing Comrades by bei tong and translated by Scott E. Meyers.

Online novel: Theta by Damien

Damien OzAn Aussie blogger who now calls the land of Dorothy home is writing an interesting online novel, that you can read at your leisure for free. At the time I wrote this post he had published a prologue and the first three chapters.

I would describe Theta as a modern day action-suspense novel set in Australia, that will appeal to those who enjoy Gothic and Sci-Fi genres. The moral codes that drive some of these characters is reminiscent of comic book superheroes who are driven by a sense of justice. I’ve pulled a section from the book to provide you with a taste of the authors writing style and part of the story.

She looked back to see a figure dressed entirely in black with a balaclava over his head.  For a moment, she was amused at the absurdity of his dress given it was inner city Melbourne in the twenty-first century and not Russia during the Cold War.  He fired at her but she was prepared.  She easily evaded the bullet and sprinted forward to knock the gun out of his hand.  What she was not prepared for was the strength with which he returned the blows she was raining down on him.  This was no average assassin; this was one of their allies’ kind.  With that, she flashed into her Human/Lycan hybrid form and called on all her speed and strength.

I suggest you check out Theta, starting with the prologue which you can read here: Theta: Prologue.

Victor Corona comes to Boston this week

Calling all club kids: NYU sociologist, Victor P. Corona comes to Boston this week for a book signing at 6PM at the Newton Center Barnes & Noble on Wednesday for his book Night Class: A Downtown Memoir.

Meet this club kid turned professor and get a signed copy of  his book which dishes on meeting Lady Gaga’s old Lower East Side tribe, diving into the midnight madness of NYC’s wild hotspot, The Box, and hanging out with grown up Limelight club kids and the surviving Factory Superstars who are still shadowed by their friendship with Andy Warhol.

Then on Thursday, join Corona who will be at a party in downtown Boston with Season 9 RuPaul Drag Race contestant (and fellow Bostonian) Charlie Hides at a party hosted by the divine Dusty Moorehead at Whiskey Saigon.

gay boston

Gay Men’s Book Club: Gary In Your Pocket

Next month Boston’s Gay Men’s Book Club meets on Monday, July 24th in the Back Bay at Trident Bookseller’s & Cafe on Newbury Street. If you are looking for something to read and interested in meeting gay men in a more social setting that doesn’t involve a gym or a bar, this may be just the group for you.

This month the group is reading Gary In Your Pocket. The book is about Gary Fisher and was edited by Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick after Gary passed away from AIDS at the age of 32 in 1994. Gary Fisher was a gay African American man who enjoyed writing and drawing and was a dedicated diarist. He was born on June 19, 1961 in Bristol, PA, and he attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill from 1979-1983 where he studied English and creative writing.  

Gay Men’s Book Club
Monday, July 24th at 7PM
At Trident Booksellers & Cafe