I’m not one of those who is obsessed with any particular character of Jane Austen’s like the author. I love the broad strokes of her stories and the general caricatures and stereotypes she works in across all her work. So when the fan-fiction gets super specific, like this one, I’m never quite sure what will come out of it. Will I enjoy this authors take on the character? Will they stay true to not only Austen’s works but the generally accepted views of the character? Will it be enjoyable and readable?
I’m slowly making more progress on my ARC/Galleys. It’s been a while since I last read a collection of short stories, last summer I read a couple of collections, but they’re not something I seek out very often. So when the publisher reached out about this one I figured why not.*
I’ve enjoyed Sittenfeld’s writing, Prep, from way before I started this blog and more recently Eligible, her retelling of Pride and Prejudice as part of the now (seemingly?) defunct The Austen Project. The downside of this collection in particular, is because I enjoy Sittenfeld’s writing, I had already read at least three, if not five of the previously published short stories of the ten, but I’ll talk more about this later.
I hadn’t planned to read more than one of these, but when you’re caught up in the moment you can’t really control what comes through on your kindle (or you buy at a bookstore, get from the library, or… well you know what I mean). After finishing Hot Head, I checked to see if this was available at the library and it was, so of course I checked i tout and blazed through it.
Lickety Split, is sort of the opposite of Hot Head in that it’s set in super rural Texas and you’ve got small town life versus big city living. There are still some family hiccups in this one as there were in the first. I guess Suede writes what he knows with a big impact either way. He grew up in small town Texas (surprise, surprise) and fled for the big city at the first opportunity he could.
I decided to read this after attending the panel at the BPL way back in September and I’m just now getting around to writing this post at the end of November. It’s just been one of those stretches where I didn’t have the time (or desire) to blog. The break was a needed refresher and now I’m making my way through a backlog of posts.
Hot Head tells the story of Griff, a buff red-headed (probably Irish) NYC fireman, and his best friend Dante, a smaller but still buff Italian American fireman. They grew up together, survived 9/11 and are now facing the aftermath of everything that happened. Long story short Griff has realized he is gay and has started to fall for Dante.
I know when I requested a copy from the publisher I wasn’t expecting this to be the next National Book Award winner.* I expected a somewhat light fluffy read with a bit of drama and hoped that it would pull at my heartstrings just enough to make me get that giddy feeling of a new-found/re-discovered romance and that’s exactly what I got.
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.
Perhaps I’m too smart for my own good, but overall this book was a bit disappointing. With a title like Jane Austen, the Secret Radical, you’d expect there to be revelations of sorts and yet there weren’t. I mean that’s why I requested a copy from the publisher.* I was hoping as the 200th anniversary of Austen’s death rapidly approaches there’d be something completely new and innovative to talk about, but there wasn’t.
Sure Kelly highlighted a few things that I missed when reading Austen, but really she just expounded upon the things that those of us who don’t read Austen ONLY as a romance novelist, but as a social commentator hopefully picked up on. She provided more detail of course, especially when it came to names and places, but overall there just weren’t a lot of revelations.