Books

Book 604: Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies – Michael Ausiello

Talk about a gut punch—I knew going in this one was going to be brutal, I mean it’s right there in the full title: Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies, but I was not expecting to cry as much as I did. I’m not talking about a single tear escaping as I gaze wistfully into the distance. I’m talking snot running down my face, holding back sobs, and generally making people uncomfortable around me as I read it.

Yup, you read that right. I didn’t hole in up in my room or stay at home to read this, even with the very clear warning on the cover. I read it in public, on a cruise ship on the way to the Caribbean. Smart right? The timing wasn’t the greatest, but it came in at the library and I’ve been waiting to read it since it appeared on Towleroad, so I figured I would plow through it and I did. I got a chapter or two read on the plane after reading Don’t Be Cruel (#3 & #4) and then blazed through this, snot, tears and all, while laying out by the pool on the ship.

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Books

Book 600: Shortest Way Home – Pete Buttigieg

Damnit. Now I want to move to South Bend, Indiana—well, maybe only a bit. I love my “mid-sized” Boston and “quaint” Cambridge, liberal East Coast elitist state a bit too much, to really consider it. I reached out to the publisher for a copy of this book after Mayor Pete announced his exploratory run for U.S. President.*

As the first openly gay (married, veteran) person considering a run for this office, of course I wanted to read it. I wanted to know why he felt he could go from being the mayor of small Midwest city to running the United States; I wanted to know his coming out story (it’s what binds us gays [broadly LGBTQ+] together); and I wanted to see what his vision was for the future. Did I get all of this? Not quite. Was it worth reading? Definitely.

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Books

Book 594: River Queens – Alexander Watson

Watson reached out to me about this way back in July of 2017, well ahead of publication. Unfortunately, due to an impossible work-life balance and other random crap I only just now got around to reading it.*

This memoir tells the tale of Watson and his partner, Dale, as they purchase, restore and then travel the rivers from Texas to Ohio by boat. It touches on family, friendship, urbanization, and a bit of politics.

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Books

Book 576: Boy Erased – Garrard Conley

This was harder to read than I thought it would be. Not because of anything I’ve personally experienced, but because it kept hitting me over and over that what was happening in this book was not happening in the 60s, 70s, 80s or even 1990s.

It was happening in the mid-2000s, the same time I was coming to terms with my sexuality and learning about the wider LGBTQ+ world. It was also incredibly eerie how many of the thoughts Conley had mirrored thoughts I had myself and I did not grow up religious, just southern!

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Books

Book 572: Tip of the Iceberg – Mark Adams

I REALLY want to go back to Alaska. Like really really want to go back and reading this book is almost enough to make me want to LIVE there. And that’s just crazy for me who has a love/hate relationship with cities. I received a copy Tip of the Iceberg: My 3,000-Mile Journey Around Wild Alaska, The Last Great American Frontier from the publisher* and I really wish I would’ve read it earlier.

Adams has a way with words and really putting you into the place he’s visiting. I remember when I tried to recap our Alaskan cruise I struggled (and still struggle) to talk about the beauty and the sheer immensity of everything you see when you’re there. We only visited the panhandle (the furthest north we went was Skagway) and I cannot even imagine visiting some of the places Adams visited during his trek.

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Books

Book 505: Finally Out: Letting Go of Living Straight – Loren A. Olson

I’m nearing the end of my galley/ARC backlog. With this one finished I only have four more. I’ve had this since March and finally got around to it this past week.

The publicist for this book reached out to me and with my Masters degree (Gender, Sexuality and Queer Theory) and a friend who at one point studied gerontology, I of course said yes!

Finally Out is Olson’s look at gay men/MSM who come out/acknowledge their practices later in life. What seriously strengthens the book is Olson’s own story and experience of coming out at the age of 40. What Olson really needs though, is a good Queer Theory 101 course. In general he did a really good job of writing about these men, but there were some problems when it came to sexual orientation/identity/practice. He basically gets it, but in choosing not to use the pre-existing language, I feel that the book suffers.

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Books

Book 464: You Will Not Have My Hate – Antoine Leiris (Trans. Sam Taylor)

leiris-antoine-you-will-not-have-my-hateI don’t want to generalize things, but we’ve all seen the headlines about someone’s world being shattered in an instant. We’ve all seen, heard about or experienced some after-effects of terrorism at this point. We hear about the people who commit these acts, we hear about those that die and those that survive, but what we rarely hear about are those that are left.

It’s those people whose world isn’t shattered in an instant, but over a grueling length of hours where they know nothing about their loved one’s fate, that this book’s story shares with the world.

I don’t go out of my way to read books associated with grief or with current political issues, but when the publisher reached out to me about a copy* of this book I thought I would give it a chance. The title is what drew me to it, the fact that Leiris, was not going to allow the attackers to have his hate, that he was going to raise his now-motherless little boy without that hate that spoke to me.

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