After reading No Straight Lines: Four Decades of Queer Comics, I knew I had to revisit Alison Bechdel’s work. I’ve previously talked about her autobiographical graphic memoirs Fun Home and Are You My Mother?, but the last time I read any of the “Dykes to Watch Out For” I wasn’t blogging yet. I must’ve read one of the earlier compilations because I was in undergrad and Houghton Mifflin published this one after I graduated. This was a collection of most of the strips from the 25 year run of the comic strip.
After seeing this over and over being the darling of the book blogosphere and reading the rave reviews of it I figured I should check it out. I read a lot of LGBT literature, a lot of young adult literature, and quite a bit of adventure literature so I thought why not. And although I wasn’t completely disappointed, I was genuinely underwhelmed and for once it wasn’t the mood I was in. I’ll start with the not-so-great and finish with what I enjoyed.
I’m a finicky reader at best and have curated a pretty good system of choosing the books I read, including taking into account books that fellow bloggers who have similar tastes to me read, but this one just didn’t click for me quite like others have. I kept to my usual style of not reading anything about the author or the book after I decided I want to read it. [Generally I get excited about a book/author and purchase/reserve something by them and then I let it sit for a while so that I can clear my palate.]
Of course after I saw the trailer for Love, Simon (embedded at the end of this post) I HAD to read the book they adapted it from. Who doesn’t love an awkward teen romance, especially an LGBT one? Seriously, just go watch the trailer so adorkable!
I’m not sure if I’m in love with Simon or in love with Simon’s hopelessness. I’m sad that books like this weren’t around when I was a teenager, but also so incredibly happy that books like this exist for teens! Was this a literary wonder? No. Was this a beautiful coming of age/first love story that anyone could identify with regardless of their sexuality? Yes.
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.
I wanted to like this so much more than I did. And this says a lot about both myself and the book/writer. Even though my response isn’t that friendly to the book there were some occasional one liners that made me smile.
When I requested a copy of this book from the publisher,* I wanted to identify with the characters, I wanted to revel in our shared experiences of growing up in the south during a certain time, but I just couldn’t.
Perhaps this is because I didn’t grow up in the deep south (I grew up in a military town in NC) or maybe because my family wasn’t too religious, (we went to church some times, but we were Episcopalian and compared to other southern denominations, they’re pretty damn liberal), or perhaps it’s just because of the writing or the non-shared experiences of the book that i just couldn’t click with it.
I can’t remember where I first heard about this book, but when I did I remember flagging it to look into. I’m not a big Manga reader or erotica reader for that matter, but when I found out there was an entire genre of manga dedicated to larger gay men I thought it sounded interesting. It is read like a normal manga from right to left and thankfully my earlier dabbling with Jane Austen manga adaptations helped prepare me for that. Two things to note, the word “erotic” was replaced with “Japanese” for some reason in the US Library of Congress’ database and m cover has a different beefy man on it, also drawn by Jiraiya. Continue reading “Book 477: Massive: Gay Erotic Manga and the Men Who Make It – Anne Ishii, Chip Kidd and Graham Kolbeins”
I had no idea who Steven Gaines was and after reading this, I don’t have that much more of an idea. I’d love to say I’ve done more research but I haven’t, but I may try to read Philistines at the Hedgerow later this fall as we’re going to a wedding in the Hamptons and it’s about property there.
All of this being said, my thoughts are not a bad thing, especially as I enjoyed his writing, but an observation of my usual lack of background knowledge going in to a book.
The lovely people at Open Road Media reached out to me with a copy of One of These Things First* as I had previously read In Youth Is Pleasure and I can see the similarities in story, style and experience even though they’re set in different countries and quite a bit apart temporally.