Books

Book 603: Don’t Be Cruel (#3 & #4) – Yonezou Nekota

When I returned Don’t Be Cruel (#1 & #2) to the library, I was pleasantly surprised they had this one on the shelf so I grabbed it. Sadly, it’s the last one I think the library has, but I haven’t looked at all the digital options yet.

This one was much more to my taste than the first two volumes. It was much more loving and nurturing and much less focused on blackmail and rape/sex. There were still a few blush-inducing scenes, but they were more loving and caring than in the first anthology. I was able to successfully read this without closing it and quickly putting it in my bag.

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Books

Book 602: Don’t Be Cruel (#1 & #2) – Yonezou Nekota

Similar to Tableau Numéro 20, I found this on Grace’s Books Without Any Pictures. This one, however, is much more sexually explicit than the other. It jumps in pretty quick with hands down pants and what is basically a rape scene within the first 20-30 pages.

I’m not sure how much I liked it because of this change and the subject matter. If I’m honest, I think I prefer the non-explicit sexual tension and love that was portrayed in Tableau Numéro 20 versus this explicit blackmail. I was honestly surprised the library had this after I started reading it. It was in the general “Graphic Novels” section and not teen, so maybe that’s how they don’t get in too much trouble?

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Books

Book 580: Freak Show – James St. James

Wow – there’s a lot to take in from this book and I’m glad I read it even though it definitely took me for a bit of a spin. And even though it took a while for me to get used to the writing, the characters, and the flamboyancy, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Unlike other young adult LGBT+ novels—emphasis on “G” (Out of the Pocket, Autoboyography, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, Geography ClubBoy Meets Boy, Two Boys Kissing, etc.), this book has a character who doesn’t happen to be gay, who isn’t some jock that likes guys. Billy Boyd is loud and proud, even if he doesn’t quite know how to define himself just yet.

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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 462: The Courtesan – Alexandra Curry

curry-alexandra-the-courtesanWhen Dutton reached out to me about a copy* of this book for its new paperback release I jumped at it because of my trip to China this summer! What I didn’t realize was that it was predominantly set in two of the cities I visited: Suzhou and Beijing! It was really neat to read through the fictionalized life of Sai Jinhua and actually feel like I know what and where she was talking about for the post part!

This is a debut novel that I probably would not have read just because I don’t read too many, but with my trip to China, the cover and having someone reach out to me about it, I figured I would give it a chance and I’m glad I did. Add in that the book also featured a subplot line about the one non-English classic from Asia I chose for my Classics Club list: Dream of the Red Chamber and it was well worth the read.

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ARC, Books

Book 372: Not Gay – Jane Ward

Ward, Jane - Not Gay“Straight boys and men, I believe, already have all of the information and proclivities they need to manufacture situations that facilitate homosexual (and heterosexual) activity.” (165)

FINALLY! Academia is talking about fluidity of male sexuality (perceived, lack thereof, the dangers of, etc.). We’ve come a long way from Foucault, Butler, Muñoz. When we’re now looking at the idea that “heterosexuality is, in part, a fetishization of the normal,” (35) and no one is batting an eye. We’re starting to get somewhere.

One of the biggest critiques I had while pursuing my master’s degree was the lack of research, or even recognition, of the fluidity of male sexuality. So much of what we discussed resolved solely on women, women’s sexuality and feminists critique.

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Books

Book 260: Openly Straight – Bill Konigsberg

Konigsberg, Bill - Openly StraightI saw this book first on Sarah’s blog Sarah Reads Too Much and as soon as I saw the author and read her review I knew I wanted to read it. My first introduction to Bill Konigsberg was through his debut novel Out of the Pocket. It’s hard to believe I read it three years ago AND it was my very first book on my old Sony e-reader.The best part is as I did a quick re-read of that post Konigsberg answered quite a few of my critiques and he’s clearly matured as a fiction writer over the past few years!

As I read the book I couldn’t help but notice the similarities between this and Andrew Smith’s Winger which was a great novel I read last year. However, they are distinctly different and as much as I enjoyed Winger I would probably put this one ahead, not for the writing, but for the story and the subject matter.

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