Tuesday, February 28, 2012


If I were able to use my pc to write this I could justice to the form. Had I but the internets flowing I would do the searching for you and give links to tbe books and author bios. You would not want for the wealth of info I would provide.

Alas sucks to be you. I'm doing it near the pc but am relegated to phone blogging still, so any googling that proves necessary is your responsibility.

And now since you asked so nicely and because it's been so long, let's talk of books.

Let us not just look at books in general, but let's focus on the stack of books before me, four from the library and one borrowed from a coworker, which are the five books I've most recently read.

We begin with the one I havent quite finished yet, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, by Sherman Alexie. It's a fairly depressing read at times, to be quite honest, which is the reason I put it off. The stories are mostly about drunk indians on the reservation. But then you continue reading and the stories pull you in. They aren't stories of winning against all odds or beating the demon drink. Sometimes they are about succumbing. But even in the sadness is beauty. There is also a sadness for the wrongness of it all. I would recommend this book.

We'll get Christopher Moore out of the way next. I thoroughly enjoyed A Dirty Job, but it was one of those guilty pleasures. I'm not against fun and easily read books, but lately I've gravitated toward more earnest type stuff.

The main character in the story loses his wife soon after she delivers their daughter, and through some accident of fate he stumbses upon the guy who came for her soul. The next few years are a whirlwind of bad forces gaining power because our hero is too busy missing clues. I'm looking forward to more by this author.

Moving on we can discuss The Folding Starr by Alan Hollinghurst. I must say first that I did enjoy the book and in the end only care for Luc out of all the characters. Don't really think of it as Death in Venice, but there are some similarities, older lech falls for young boy, but our Tadzio is a little older and more aware of the world around him, though it doesn't seem to do him much good in the end. I did enjoy the book, though in spite of some discomfort brought on by the protagonist. Will revisit the author.

Another light read was Andromeda Klein, and this one came from the teen shelves. I have admitted to this often enough, but I love well written juvenile and teen and young adult fiction. I even love well written kids books. I'm a sucker for good writing, and the author here, Frank Portman is one of my favorite writers. He has only written one other book. But he's the athor of some of he greatest pop punk songs ever written as Dr. Frank, along with his band The Mr. T Experience.

Google them. Thank me later.

But back to the story. Andromeda Klein is a teenage witch with enough problems. Her best and possibly only friend may be dead, but she may also be trying to send her some sort of message. Her boyfriend is gone but suddenly she's getting texts from his id on her phone. It's also possible that her new friends don't have her best interests at heart. Her parents aren't really helping much as they also have problems to deal with. Okay, so it also isn't really up high on the serious scale, but it's a really great story, and I say that as more than just a fan. I do enjoy Frank Portman's play with language and words, and I enjoy his sometimes silly, sometimes frank humor. Ha! See what I did there?

Finally we get to Jean Genet. I'm still not sure how to take this guy, so unsure that I stopped at the library for mere moments today to grab another of his books. Actually I needed to get some dvd's back before they started costing me, but while there I grabbed a book.

Miracle of the Rose isn't the Jean Genet book that is considered his greatest, but it was banned enough in the US once upon a time. He celebrates the worst of humanity in the form of a man in jail for killing a child and then the only prison guard who ever treated him well. But more important is the sub plot. It isn't so much a sub plot. A book needs a plot to have someting as simple as a sub plot, but for lack of a better word right now let's go with that.

Being gay is what I took away from the book. And being gay in the late forties and early fifties was so much different than what I'm used to in the nows. The Jean in the book seemed to except that being gay made him a pervert and possibly a kind of monster. It's hard to imagine having so little support for something so inherent to oneself, to imagine knowing that your orientation was inevitable and that you were a pariah because of this thing.

At the same time only gay men can realy know this exact version of the feeling, and all too often we still feel the stigma and the disdain and even the hatred.

But read the book. Your mileage may vary. I know I haven't described it worth a damn, but don't let that stop you. I really would have given a better synopsis/review, but I don't know that I can.

I've begun another Jean Genet book, Querelle, and I expect more moral ambiguity. I'm also looking for some little bit of the history of gay men. This book was first published right around the time we started thinking about not apologizing and hiding so much. Now we need to work more on acceptance of both ourselves and others like us.

To be quite honest, I'm sure I will soon need more lighter reading. I can only throw so much at my brain before it needs a day off. The lighter fare I've mentiond here is good for that, and any good fiction can be good exercise, but I alo love a book that asks for a little work in return.

And now I have to ask, what are you reading?

Published with Blogger-droid v2.0.4

1 comment:

philhull said...

Moonlight Mile by Dennis Lehane. Everything of his I've read is very dark which I enjoy for some reason. I could go into some long, philisophical reason for enjoying this type of novel. I won't.