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Novels that have touched your soul.


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A friend once said to me. You HAVE to watch Beautiful Thing, you have to. Whatever you do this weekend go out and buy it. This was back in early 2000s. I wondered what all the fuss was about but he was insisted it would change my life. Those were his words - it would change my life. I went to a few shops and looked around but they didn't have it. I settled on HMV who said they would "order" it in for me but it would take a week. I was so egged on to watch this move by my friend a week seemed like an eternity.

Anyway... It did change my life and I think I watched it over 20 times. Then I got into reading gay novels on sites such as this. And I've read a few stories which really stayed with me. Domluka had a way of writing that really got into my head and some novels by Mark Arbour and my first LTR was with a guy in the Royal Air Force. I love romance and coming of age as it takes me back to my own experience of coming out and finding your first love. I'm in my 30's so although it was a while back I still remember that first kiss, and the first night I went to bed with another male. Books can really take you back to that time.

So I'm wondering if there are any stories you guys have read on here or elsewhere which have, well touched your soul where the novel lingered in your mind for a long time and where you couldn't get away from what you had read?

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For a story that can really grab your heart and soul I highly recommend It Started With Brian - conveniently located right here at Gay Authors:

I will freely admit I'm a bit biased though.  I personally knew Sam and the most of the rest of the cast in this autobiography.  I even helped Sam come up with the story description.  We were pretty darn close and I can honestly say I still miss him and think of him pretty much every day.

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Dancer From The Dance by Andrew Holleran is one of the few novels that has profoundly impacted my life. Despite the novel being set/written in the 1970s, I felt such a deep connection to the main character and saw so much of my own life in him and his surroundings. I could very much relate to the feeling of trying to drown out the baggage of a past life through hedonism, and getting swallowed up in the process. 

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I think I've said this in a different thread, but there's a local author here that wrote stories about impoverished people set in Kentucky and Michigan back during WWII. Two of her novels I really fell in love with and I actually take time to read them every year. Harriet Simpson Arnow's, The Dollmaker, and Hunter's Horn. They're not novels that would typically touch everyone that reads them, as it does focus (sometimes to the extreme) how people in Kentucky lived. I found her when I was in college and my professor had a poster of Local writers on the wall in her office. I had never heard of her before then, but I'm glad I got nosy enough to buy both books when I saw them on the shelves of a local bookstore that has since went out of business. 

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6 hours ago, Krista said:

I think I've said this in a different thread, but there's a local author here that wrote stories about impoverished people set in Kentucky and Michigan back during WWII. Two of her novels I really fell in love with and I actually take time to read them every year. Harriet Simpson Arnow's, The Dollmaker, and Hunter's Horn. They're not novels that would typically touch everyone that reads them, as it does focus (sometimes to the extreme) how people in Kentucky lived. I found her when I was in college and my professor had a poster of Local writers on the wall in her office. I had never heard of her before then, but I'm glad I got nosy enough to buy both books when I saw them on the shelves of a local bookstore that has since went out of business. 

Wow, I love historical novels, especially WWII. I don't think enough is written about them from a LGBT perspective. I guess that's because there is not a lot of source material to call on seeing as it was all hidden back then... and illegal! I am going to check these out.

 

Thank you Krista, that's great!

 

James

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9 hours ago, James Matthews said:

Wow, I love historical novels, especially WWII. I don't think enough is written about them from a LGBT perspective. I guess that's because there is not a lot of source material to call on seeing as it was all hidden back then... and illegal! I am going to check these out.

 

Thank you Krista, that's great!

 

James

They're not LGBT novels though. I didn't think we were 'only' discussing LGBT novels within this discussion. :P They both have distinctly religious and superstitious elements in them.  So I wouldn't suggest them if you're only looking for LGBT representation as those definitely won't have them in there. Woops. 

To add, I've not sat down and read any life changing LGBT novels, most of my outside of GA reading with those elements have been rather mainstream and common themed. 

Edited by Krista
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Pat Barker's Regeneration trilogy is set during WW1 and the main character is bi. It's one of the few books that can set me off crying.

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On 8/26/2021 at 2:48 AM, James Matthews said:

Wow, I love historical novels, especially WWII. I don't think enough is written about them from a LGBT perspective. I guess that's because there is not a lot of source material to call on seeing as it was all hidden back then... and illegal!

Yeah, Truman started the process of racially integrating the U.S. Army, but it took decades longer for being gay to stop being a reason for a dishonorable discharge.  I know gay guys who served before Don't Ask, Don't Tell was implemented, and they had to be extremely careful, especially during the periodic witch hunts.  Depending on what they were caught doing, they could well have ended up in Leavenworth, as well as discharged.  I was very fortunate that the Viet Nam draft ended just before my number got called up.

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@James MatthewsI think the first gay fiction stories I read was over on Nifty Archives, it was a forbidden pleasure that I just stumbled on and most of the stories were sexually explicit.

At some point in 2003, I ventured into the High School section and found Brew Maxwell's Tim, it changed my outlook on being gay as it wasn't explicitly sexual, it was warm and comforting, something masculine that called to me. I continued reading the Foley-Mashburn Saga as the series would be called from that point on, Brew Maxwell taught me a lot of lessons that as a young gay teen I had no one to ask or fictional characters to look up to. It was my escape into a world where there wasn't homophobia, fear, or other things. An old friend of mine online called it "Leave it to Beaver" series of gay fiction, Brew has a formula in his story that you will figure out after a while. I understand its wholesome (despite the nudity and lack of shame about PDA with partners, it had actually very little sex), but being a gay teen in the 2003, it was hard to find that.

Interestingly enough, I can't remember if I discovered @Bill WCastaway Hotel around the same time as I was reading Brew Maxwell's series. Brew left a bigger impression on me, but I know I read Bill's stories in 2000's as well on Nifty.

It also opened me up to reading stories from Crvboy.org, where the Foley Mashburn saga now sits and other authors outside as well like Jeff Allen or Sara Bell. That led me here to GA, when I was recommended DanKirk's Do-Over Series as I wanted something with gay Science-Fiction.

Edited by W_L
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  • 2 months later...
On 8/24/2021 at 11:53 PM, James Matthews said:

A friend once said to me. You HAVE to watch Beautiful Thing, you have to. Whatever you do this weekend go out and buy it. This was back in early 2000s. I wondered what all the fuss was about but he was insisted it would change my life. Those were his words - it would change my life. I went to a few shops and looked around but they didn't have it. I settled on HMV who said they would "order" it in for me but it would take a week. I was so egged on to watch this move by my friend a week seemed like an eternity.

Anyway... It did change my life and I think I watched it over 20 times. Then I got into reading gay novels on sites such as this. And I've read a few stories which really stayed with me. Domluka had a way of writing that really got into my head and some novels by Mark Arbour and my first LTR was with a guy in the Royal Air Force. I love romance and coming of age as it takes me back to my own experience of coming out and finding your first love. I'm in my 30's so although it was a while back I still remember that first kiss, and the first night I went to bed with another male. Books can really take you back to that time.

So I'm wondering if there are any stories you guys have read on here or elsewhere which have, well touched your soul where the novel lingered in your mind for a long time and where you couldn't get away from what you had read?

Truth be told, my soul was hooked by Amok. Stefan Zweig

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