Friday, November 14, 2014

A HUNDRED LITTLE LIES - Audiobook Just Released


The Audiobook of A Hundred Little Lies just became available from Audible. Read by JP Handler.

You can find it HERE.


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Review: China Dolls


China Dolls
China Dolls by Lisa See

My rating: 3 of 5 stars



Another book I hope to some day soon offer a full review for. I will say briefly, the revolving POV did not work for me, mainly because I didn't understand the point of it. I never felt it offered any deeper insight into the relationships of the three main characters and, except for very minor cosmetics, there wasn't a lot of difference in their voices. (Was this to point out a universal similarity? As I say, I never figured out why the author chose to write the story that way.)

The other main thing that annoyed me was that again and again plot points were sprung on the reader like grand "AHA!" moments, but never were actually AHA moments. Anyone paying attention knew well before it was revealed that Ruby and Joe were sleeping together, and that Helen betrayed Ruby. And, god knows, the bit about the weird dude attacking the other dancer with a knife wasn't so much foreshadowed as telegraphed.

Still a fast and comfortable read. Seemingly well-researched and written with an obvious love of the subject and period.





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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Review: The Boys on the Rock


The Boys on the Rock
The Boys on the Rock by John Fox

My rating: 5 of 5 stars



Probably my favorite "Coming Out" story.



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Review: Eminent Outlaws: The Gay Writers Who Changed America


Eminent Outlaws: The Gay Writers Who Changed America
Eminent Outlaws: The Gay Writers Who Changed America by Christopher Bram

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



I found this to be a very accessible and informative read (two traits that don't necessarily coincide). Personally, I would have liked more depth earlier on (re Vidal esp.) rather than the later works (Angels in America, etc.), undoubtedly because the latter works are more familiar to me.

I do wonder about those neglected entirely (Jon Fox anyone? He wrote one of my favorite books!) and those (Joseph Hansen!) mentioned only in passing. Again, a personal quibble. I've read far more Hansen than any of the other writers mentioned in the book and assume he was something of an outlaw.

I suppose Bram wanted to concentrate on the "important" writers. Unfortunately, the more "mainstream" a gay writer was (Vidal, Williams, Capote and Baldwin), the more, it seems to me, they capitulated to the system. Which makes them somewhat less outlaws, no?




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Review: Eminent Outlaws: The Gay Writers Who Changed America


Eminent Outlaws: The Gay Writers Who Changed America
Eminent Outlaws: The Gay Writers Who Changed America by Christopher Bram

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



I found this to be a very accessible and informative read (two traits that don't necessarily coincide). Personally, I would have liked more depth earlier on (re Vidal esp.) rather than the later works (Angels in America, etc.), undoubtedly because the latter works are more familiar to me.

I do wonder about those neglected entirely (Jon Fox anyone? He wrote one of my favorite books!) and those (Joseph Hansen!) who were mentioned only in passing. Again, a personal quibble. I've read far more Hansen than any of the other writers mentioned in the book and assume he was something of an outlaw. I suppose Bram wanted to concentrate on the "important" writers. Unfortunately, the more "mainstream" a gay writer was (Vidal, Williams, Capote and Baldwin), the more, it seems to me, they capitulated to the system. Which makes them somewhat less outlaws, no?




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Friday, October 10, 2014

Review: Giovanni's Room


Giovanni's Room
Giovanni's Room by James Baldwin

My rating: 2 of 5 stars



An awful book about awful people being awful to each other...With the worst of the bunch narrating the whole unhappy affair in a whiny, navel-gazing voice.

Let me begin with an interesting (to me) side note: There is a somewhat famous gay bookstore in Philadelphia called Giovanni's Room. I've never been, but heard about it when it nearly closed it's doors recently and there was a push in LGBT circles to save it. I gathered from what I heard of the bookstore (and from the crusade itself) that the bookstore had long provided a sort of haven for the local gay community--a safe place to gather and, of course, explore gay fiction and poetry. That led me to believe that the book Giovanni's Room would be about a refuge that allowed two men to explore their attraction to one another.

Now, having read the book, I wonder if the people who opened the bookstore and named it Giovanni's Room had read the book. In the book, the room is a sort of nadir of cosmic horror and repulsion. It acts on those who enter it in a palpably malevolent fashion, crushing them between it's dank and dirty, claustrophobia-inducing walls. It drives one of the men, ultimately to murder. In fact, now that I'm really considering the story, I guess what I'd most liken it to would be one of the early Lovecraft tales--you know, where not much actually happens, but the author paints a word picture of man's futile struggle against an either malevolent or indifferent universe. Giovanni's room (the place in the book, not the bookstore, nor the book itself) is like dreaming Cthulhu or, better yet, Azathoth.

Was it well-written? Most assuredly. Baldwin knows his way around prose. And he occasionally uses colons to off-set his dialogue tags, which I also like to do, but which has recently become something of a no-no, apparently. But the story could never rise to the level of the words telling it.

Reading the other reviews I'm honestly wondering if I didn't read some other book! Another check on my "501 Must Read Books" List that fails to live up to the hype.




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