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 563: You Are Not Alone – Debbie Augenthaler

When the publicist reached out to me about this book I said yes.* I didn’t know if I wanted to say yes, because my mother had passed only weeks before, but I knew at some point I would want/need to read this.

In many ways, I wish I would’ve read it sooner or at the very least before I read Grief Works. What I was looking for in Grief Works, an in-depth “this was my experience of grief” story and this is how I survived, struggled, thrived, etc.

I teared up a few times reading this one, not so much because of my experience (although that did happen at least once), but because of how heartfelt and how beautifully written Augenthaler’s work is. She goes in-depth into what feel like the four stages of grief and even talks about them at some point, but on the whole she stays pretty far away from psychotherapy babble and writes about her personal experience.

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Books

Book 536: The Self-Love Experiment – Shannon Kaiser

I received an unsolicited copy of this from the publisher and aside from the title making me giggle continuously (seriously it took about 200 pages before I stopped giggling), I figured everyone needs to be more “kind, compassionate, and accepting of [ourselves] so I thought I’d give it a go.* Unfortunately, it wasn’t for me.

It’s not even that the book was poorly written or that the subject matter is a bit too hokey for me it’s not. I’ve ready hokier things. I think for me it was the repetitive monotony of Kaiser’s vague references to things that she chose not to discuss (i.e. her former drug problems?). Why allude to them constantly and then not talk about them? Maybe she discusses it in another book, but for the number of times she mentioned it I kept waiting for that story and it never materialized.

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