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Holiday reading - Book recs


JParker

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Hello Lovely People,

the holidays are approaching and I a) intend to curl up with a good book in the not too distant future, and b) might want to give a good book as a gift.
(a physical book with paper pages). Hence: recommendations more than welcome.

I'm thinking anything with a gay protagonist that has some depth, some humor and is ultimately upbeat or at least hopeful. I love love love first person narrative, but that's not a must. Basically anything that did touch you, sucked you in and left you with good feelings (that sounds unintentionally naughty, I know, but ya catch my drift ;)).

Thanks, Alex

Edited by JParker
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How It All Blew Up

Arvin Ahmadi has written a novel that is authentic, hilarious and heart-wrenching all at once. A unique point of view combined with riveting storytelling, How It All Blew Up will grab you from the first page and won't let go - Angie Thomas, #1 New York Times bestselling author of THE HATE U GIVE and ON THE COME UP

Eighteen-year-old Amir Azadi always knew that coming out to his Muslim family would be messy, but he wasn't expecting it to end in an airport interrogation room. Now, he's telling his side of the story to the stern-faced officer.

Amir has to explain why he ran away to Rome (boys, bullies, blackmail) and what he was doing there for a month (dates in the Sistine Chapel, friends who helped him accept who he is, and, of course, drama) . . . all while his mum, dad and little sister are being interrogated in the room next door.

A nuanced take on growing up brown, Muslim and gay in today's America, HOW IT ALL BLEW UP is the story of one boy's struggle to come out to his family, and how that painful process exists right alongside his silly, sexy romp through Italy.

 

https://books.google.fr/books/about/How_It_All_Blew_Up.html?id=FPLbDwAAQBAJ&source=kp_book_description&redir_esc=y

https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/625445/how-it-all-blew-up-by-arvin-ahmadi/9780593202890#

PS. If you want the ebook I'll send it to you.

Edited by James K
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I always recommend Andrew Holleran's Dancer From The Dance. It's considered a gay classic, written in 1978 in the wild and crazy decade of post-Stonewall and pre-AIDS. It's told from the perspective of multiple unknown narrators, and some would even argue that the narrator is the city itself. It's got plenty of humor, but definitely does not have an upbeat tone or ending. The story follows a young man's futile search for love in all the wrong places and all the wrong ways in the newly liberated gay scene of 1970s New York City. Even if it is not necessarily "happy", it's absolutely worth a read.

Snippets from the Wikipedia page:

The novel revolves around two main characters: Anthony Malone, a young man from the Midwest who leaves behind his straight life as a lawyer to immerse himself in the gay life of 1970s New York, and Andrew Sutherland, variously described as a speed addict, a socialite, and a drag queen. Their social life includes long nights of drinking, dancing, and drug use in New York's gay bars. Though they enjoy many physical pleasures, their lives lack any spiritual depth. The "dance" of the novel's title becomes a metaphor for their lives. Malone is described as preternaturally beautiful;

The book switches perspective often. Sometimes characters are tracked closely using more traditional omniscient narrative techniques. On other occasions (especially later in the book), the lives of Malone and Sutherland are seen from the perspective of bystanders in the New York gay scene — the book itself is literally written by the other dancers at the dance.

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Totally Joe, by James Howe. 12-year-old Joe is a walking stereotype of the "flamer" gay kid. But he's just so sweet and funny, you can't help but want to cheer him on anyway. I loved the "encyclopedic" format of the story. While the plot certainly could have run deeper, I think it's perfect for teens and tweens looking for reassurance that who they are is perfectly okay.

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Thanks you guys. I should add - don't hesitate to recommend works from authors on here. I would love to know about and support not so widely published and self-published material. The only thing is, it would have to be available in print.

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  • 2 months later...
On 11/27/2021 at 6:54 PM, TetRefine said:

I always recommend Andrew Holleran's Dancer From The Dance. It's considered a gay classic, written in 1978 in the wild and crazy decade of post-Stonewall and pre-AIDS. It's told from the perspective of multiple unknown narrators, and some would even argue that the narrator is the city itself. It's got plenty of humor, but definitely does not have an upbeat tone or ending. The story follows a young man's futile search for love in all the wrong places and all the wrong ways in the newly liberated gay scene of 1970s New York City. Even if it is not necessarily "happy", it's absolutely worth a read.

Snippets from the Wikipedia page:

The novel revolves around two main characters: Anthony Malone, a young man from the Midwest who leaves behind his straight life as a lawyer to immerse himself in the gay life of 1970s New York, and Andrew Sutherland, variously described as a speed addict, a socialite, and a drag queen. Their social life includes long nights of drinking, dancing, and drug use in New York's gay bars. Though they enjoy many physical pleasures, their lives lack any spiritual depth. The "dance" of the novel's title becomes a metaphor for their lives. Malone is described as preternaturally beautiful;

The book switches perspective often. Sometimes characters are tracked closely using more traditional omniscient narrative techniques. On other occasions (especially later in the book), the lives of Malone and Sutherland are seen from the perspective of bystanders in the New York gay scene — the book itself is literally written by the other dancers at the dance.

You may not believe it, but I did read the book on your recommendation. I think you recommended the book on another thread, and seeing that, I read a synopsis of it, and thought it sounds interesting and started reading it ... it took me a long, long time to finish it though because the writing was a bit too challenging for me. I mean, once I got into like 50 or so pages, then it became a breeze to read, but before that I found it confusing. I absolutely loved Frankie's character and hated when Malon cheated on him (though it was necessary for his development). The descriptions were so hauntingly beautiful ... some of the lines are etched in my mind. And loved the descriptions of the sex scenes, so raw and yet rings so true to the gay culture. ❤️ It's my second fav book, second only to At Swim Two Boys (another gay book, though of a different type, but writing style and literary qualities are similar, you might want to check it out).

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I just finished reading this book and I am absolutely thrilled.Why didn't I read it before😀

On 11/28/2021 at 1:54 AM, TetRefine said:

I always recommend Andrew Holleran's Dancer From The Dance. It's considered a gay classic, written in 1978 in the wild and crazy decade of post-Stonewall and pre-AIDS. It's told from the perspective of multiple unknown narrators, and some would even argue that the narrator is the city itself. It's got plenty of humor, but definitely does not have an upbeat tone or ending. The story follows a young man's futile search for love in all the wrong places and all the wrong ways in the newly liberated gay scene of 1970s New York City. Even if it is not necessarily "happy", it's absolutely worth a read.

Snippets from the Wikipedia page:

The novel revolves around two main characters: Anthony Malone, a young man from the Midwest who leaves behind his straight life as a lawyer to immerse himself in the gay life of 1970s New York, and Andrew Sutherland, variously described as a speed addict, a socialite, and a drag queen. Their social life includes long nights of drinking, dancing, and drug use in New York's gay bars. Though they enjoy many physical pleasures, their lives lack any spiritual depth. The "dance" of the novel's title becomes a metaphor for their lives. Malone is described as preternaturally beautiful;

The book switches perspective often. Sometimes characters are tracked closely using more traditional omniscient narrative techniques. On other occasions (especially later in the book), the lives of Malone and Sutherland are seen from the perspective of bystanders in the New York gay scene — the book itself is literally written by the other dancers at the dance.

 

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On 2/16/2022 at 2:19 AM, kellyf said:

I just finished reading this book and I am absolutely thrilled.Why didn't I read it before😀

 

It's surprisingly muted amongst my generation (20s and 30s), considering it was written over 40 years ago. Yet the amazing thing about it is that how little has changed about urban gay life from the 1970s to the 2010s and 20s. I live in New York, and frequent the bars/clubs/parties that happen here. While the people have changed and the names of the places have switched, the basic premise of it all remains eerily the same. I know so many people like Malone and Sutherland and the people who tag along with them, and see a lot of that in myself as well. The attitudes about living for the moment and chasing something that they subconsciously continue to reject are all just as present in 2022. 

The scenes of the wild house parties on Fire Island happen year after year now just as they did then. The cruising, the drugs, the dancing, the music....it's all still there in very recognizable form. It's beautiful and tragic all in the same breath. The only difference is that the boys in the '70s had no idea their newfound freedom was about to run head first into deadly tragedy. That tragedy has been largely minimized now (amongst certain segments at least), but new problems have reared their head as well. 

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