The Year of Magical Thinking/Joan Didion (2005)
The Year of Magical Thinking/Joan Didion (2005)
As a mystery story I found it surprisingly un-put-down-able, but otherwise so relentlessly clever.
Published in 1933, under the pseudonym Richard Meeker, this is a rare story from that period with a gay protagonist whose story has a happy ever after ending, which the author in fact went on to live with his life partner, who appears fictionalized in the book. On that basis alone, this is an interesting read.
Ryszard Kapuscinski/The Emperor (1978)
Richard Lee Marks/Three Men of The Beagle (1991)
John Preston/Mr. Benson (1983)
Ambitious, masterful, maddening, really scary in its evocation of the shifting boundaries of the house, but ultimately the footnotes and pseudo-critical stuff weigh the book down: in the end, just too many words.
Darieck Scott/Traitor to the Race (1995)
Jonathan D. Spence/The Question of Hu (1989)
Jeanette Farrell/Invisible Enemires: Stories of Infectious Disease (1997)
Invisible Enemies: Stories of Infectious Disease by Jeanette Farrell (1997)
A novel aimed at a young adult audience but appropriate for older readers too. Really sweet, lovely story of two adolescent girls falling in love with each other in New York City. Garden captures the feelings of growing attraction and questioning of sexual identity really well. I read it in one sitting. A beautiful book, apparently a classic of young adult LBGTQ fiction.
The City & The Pillar, Revised by Gore Vidal (1965)
Dancing on Tisha B’Av by Lev Raphael (1991)
Irritating, full of trendy academic-speak, post-Foucault in its placing of the creation of the homosexual as an identity to the late nineteenth century, critical of essentialist notions of sexual identity, and a bit humourless – one of his mentors is Gore Vidal and he writes with a bit of Vidal’s chilly condescension – but, not without a lot of challenging and thought provoking ideas about what heterosexuality is, when it gained currency as an idea, and what the implications of that are for the future of our notions of gender, sex, sexuality identity, how we understand ourselves.
The Undergrowth of Literature/Gillian Freeman (1967)
Napoleon/Vincent Cronin (1971)
Intimate Companions: George Platt Lynes, Paul Cadmus, Lincoln Kirstein, and Their Circle/David Leddick (2000)
The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher, or, The Murder at Road Hill House/Kate Summerscale (2008)
News of a Kidnapping/Gabriel Garcia Marquez (1997)
Low Life: Lures and Snarls of Old New York/Luc Sante (1992)
Hooked: Seven Poems/Carolyn Smart (2009)
The Forbidden Experiment: The Story of the Wild Boy of Aveyron/Roger Shattuck (1980)
The Monster of Florence/Douglas Preston with Mario Spezi (2008)
The Death of Classical Paganism/John Holland Smith (1976)
Every Book Its Reader: The Power of the Printed Word to Stir the World/Nicholas A. Basbanes (2005)
Misogynies/Joan Smith (1989)
Tales from the German Underworld: Crime and Punishment in the Nineteenth Century/Richard J. Evans (1998)
Fascinating and depressing history/examination of American history from the end of the slavery of black Americans to the granting of full civil rights to them in the 1960s. This period is known as Jim Crow. I didn’t realize there was a period of relative harmony in the U.S. South after slavery was revoked while whites and blacks remained in proximity to each other and maintained amicable relationships, largely based on the kind of power structure that prevailed before the end of slavery. But it was also a period of huge advances in opportunity and status for many black Americans. And then, when the South (and much of the rest of the country) realized what was going on, there was a huge swing to the right and virulent segregation became the norm. Why are human beings so bigoted and fearful? The history of the racism of white Americans against black Americans is appalling, terrifying, and very hard to understand. It still affects the lives of black America today, in terrible ways. This book was very informative about a period of American history I knew nothing about, a period of much more contradiction and complexity than I knew. Slavery didn’t just end and civil rights begin: it was a long, painful struggle for freedom and justice.
John Bierman/Righteous Gentile (1981)
John Bierman/Napoleon III and His Carnival Empire (1988)
Anthony Blond/The Private Lives of the Roman Emperors (2008)
Peter Hay/My German Question: Growing Up in Nazi Berlin (1998)
Jan T. Gross/Neighbors: The Destruction of the Jewish Community in Jedwabne, Poland (2001)
Janet Malcolm/In The Freud Archives (1984)
Virginia Woolf/The Waves (1931)
Paul Strathern/A Season in Abyssinia: An Impersonation (1972)
Karen Armstrong/The Spiral Staircase: My Climb Out of Darkness (2004)
Mark Merlis/American Studies (1994)
Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons/Watchmen (1987)
Martin L. Friedland/The Trials of Israel Lipski (1985)
Don Hannah/Ragged Islands (2008)
Gregory Gibson/Hubert’s Freaks: The Rare-Book Dealer, The Times Square Talker, and The Lost Photos of Diane Arbus (2008)
Merlin Holland/Irish Peacock & Scarlet Marquess: The Real Trial of Oscar Wilde (2003)
John Cornwell/Seminary Boy (2006)