Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

"Come home to Thanksgiving! Dear Children, come home!
From the Northland and the South, from West and the East,
Where'er ye are resting, where'er ye roam,
Come back to this sacred and annual feast."

 Horace Greeley (1846)
 New York Herald Tribune 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Barefoot in the Prints of our Ancestors

I meant to post all this week with historical and fun facts about Thanksgiving, but tonight as so many fires burn and so many more immutable crimes prove ultimately incombustible , I'm just going to reflect on the words of wiser men…

The quotes are assembled/ordered by me rather than as a reflection of any text or even any chronology. Which, I suppose, is a round-about way of saying: "Emphasis Mine."


James Baldwin, from The Fire Next Time:

“There are too many things we do not wish to know about ourselves.”


“The American Negro has the great advantage of having never believed the collection of myths to which white Americans cling: that their ancestors were all freedom-loving heroes, that they were born in the greatest country the world has ever seen, or that Americans are invincible in battle and wise in peace, that Americans have always dealt honorably with Mexicans and Indians and all other neighbors or inferiors, that American men are the world's most direct and virile, that American women are pure. Negroes know far more about white Americans than that; it can almost be said, in fact, that they know about white Americans what parents—or, anyway, mothers—know about their children, and that they very often regard white Americans that way. And perhaps this attitude, held in spite of what they know and have endured, helps to explain why Negroes, on the whole, and until lately, have allowed themselves to feel so little hatred. The tendency has really been, insofar as this was possible, to dismiss white people as the slightly mad victims of their own brainwashing.”



“If we—and now I mean the relatively conscious whites and the relatively conscious blacks, who must, like lovers, insist on, or create, the consciousness of the others—do not falter in our duty now, we may be able, handful that we are, to end the racial nightmare, and achieve our country, and change the history of the world”


Thurgood Marshall:

“I wish I could say that racism and prejudice were only distant memories. We must dissent from the indifference. We must dissent from the apathy. We must dissent from the fear, the hatred and the mistrust…We must dissent because America can do better, because America has no choice but to do better.”



W. E. B. Du Bois:

"One ever feels his twoness—an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder."



Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.:

"I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality... I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word."

"We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools."



And, since I began with him, I'll let Baldwin have the final word (from The Fire Next Time):

"Whose little boy are you?”


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?




View all my reviews

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?




View all my reviews