ARC, Books

Book 332: Male Sex Work and Society – Victor Minichiello and John Scott (eds.)

Minichiello, Victor and John Scott - Male Sex Work and Society

This book simultaneously highlights what is good and what is bad about the white tower of academia. It explores a specific topic (Amazon Afiliate link) in depth, while establishing absolutely nothing, other than the need for more research. I received a copy of this book from the publisher and received no compensation for my honest opinion.

I’m going to start with my frustrations with the book (or academia/academics in a broader context) first and then move to what they did well. What frustrated me most about the entire collection were the isolationist tendencies of the authors. In a move to over-compensate for any sort of collective or global identity (and not Western-wash everything) every single paper started out within the first few paragraphs by using the almost exact phrase of, “due to cultural circumstances, male sex workers (MSWs) circumstances in this country cannot be compared to those in any other country.” The reason this was so infuriating is that there were clearly overarching themes, sexual identity (or lack thereof), technology and public health, to name a few, that Manichiello and Scott picked out and even acknowledged. However, rather than encouraging the authors to use them to tie everything together within the papers across borders and identities, they were used to bridge each of the papers between the papers in editorial asides. Seriously, if they would’ve just taken this as a given, at least 50 pages could’ve been cut out of the book due to repetitiveness.

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Book 123: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy – John Le Carré

John le Carré’s espionage thriller can definitely carry it’s weight, but for once I think I prefer the film to the book. This is the third book in a row (of five) which have absolutely nothing to do with my challenges, but I wanted to read them.

Overall Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy was well written and the story was interesting, but if I hadn’t seen the film I would have had very little idea about what was going on in the story. Le Carré, pen name of David John Moore Cornwell, definitely has a way with words and there were a few turns of phrases which struck me as extremely well written or beautiful, specifically the fourth and sixth quotes below.

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Book 60: Amerika (The Man Who Disappeared) – Franz Kafka

The American dream isn’t all it’s cracked up to be in this Franz Kafka novel.

As an introduction to Kafka I thought it was decently well written and had an interesting story line. I can only imagine the improvements of the work had Kafka finished the novel in his lifetime and had time to rewrite and edit the novel. As it is the novel has a few interesting quirks pointed out in the preface, like a bridge between Boston (whoop) and New York City, and what appear as the Rocky Mountains just outside of New York City (between NYC and Oklahoma). I’m definitely interested in reading more of Kafka. I have The Metamorphosis on my Kindle, so maybe I’ll get to it soon.

Without knowing how Kafka meant to end the book, one can only surmise on the lessons the novel appears to teach. From the hardship of his forced immigration to the US by his parents, to the abandonment by his uncle, and the indentured servitude to his friends, the protagonist, Karl Rossman has a tough time in America.

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