Do you read gay literature?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 14, 2007 2:36 AM GMT
    And if so, who are your favourite writers?
    I love the work of Armistead Maupin for its everyman tales, and I think Alan Hollinghurst is an amazingly talented writer.
    Joe Orton's work from the pre-Stonewall era shines a light on the hidden world of the homosexual post war, and Larry Kramer often exposes the seedy underworld side of gay life and explores the early years of the AIDS crisis.

    Who do you enjoy in the genre?
  • Timbales

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    Dec 14, 2007 2:38 AM GMT
    I read the gay equivalent of chick-lit when I'm in the mood for that kind of thing.
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    Dec 14, 2007 2:53 AM GMT
    The last gay fiction I read was "Dancer from the Dance: A Novel." It came out in 1978 just before AIDS struck. It tells about the wild gay life in NYC, if I remember correctly. The image that has stuck with me all these years is that of one drag queen (I think) shouting out a window and waving her red wig.

    Then, of course, AIDS came and the whole lifestyle became anachronistic.

    dancer.jpg
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    Dec 14, 2007 2:55 AM GMT
    Thats a good book, Caslon, I read that years ago.
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    Dec 14, 2007 3:06 AM GMT
    I've not come across a lot of Gay Literature. Of course being in India does not help. Recommendations are gladly welcome.

    So far I've only read "The Line of Beauty" by Alan Holinghurst and "Seventy times Seven" by Antonio Sapienza (I think).
    The non-fictional work "Love's rite" by Ruth Vanita is also interesting.

    Would "The picture of Dorian Gray count?"
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    Dec 14, 2007 3:18 AM GMT
    Yes, very much. The Picture of Dorian Gray caused quite a stir due to its gay themes when it was released. There was tonnes of "closeted" gay lit before Stonewall. Oscar Wilde, Capote, Noel Coward, Isherwood, Proust, Ginsberg etc. Some of it is fascinating.
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    Dec 14, 2007 3:22 AM GMT
    I have read about 50 novels and short story collections this year. Here are my favourite for 2007.

    "The House At The End Of the World" by Michael Cunningham;
    "Send Me" by Patrick Ryan;
    "Dream Boy" by Jim Grimsley;
    "At Swim, Two Boys" by Jamie O'Neill;
    "Leave Myself Behind" by Bart Yates;
    "The Coming Storm" by Paul Russell
    "Geography Club" by Brent Hartinger
    "Rainbow Boys" by Alex Sanchez
    "Bleeding Hearts" by Josh Artevois
    "Dancer from The Dance" by Andrew Holleran
  • cityguy39

    Posts: 967

    Dec 14, 2007 3:33 AM GMT
    I run a gay mens book group, for the start of our 2008 season we are starting out with one of my favs, "A Single Man" by Christopher Isherwood.

    Some of our previous titles:

    Invisible Life-E.Lynn Harris
    Another Country- James Baldwin
    Before Night Falls-Reinaldo Arenas
    Giovanni's Room-James Baldwin
    B-Boy Blues-James Earl Hardy
    Boy Culture-Matthew Rettenmund
    Alternatives To Sex-Stephen McCauley
    Dry-Augusten Burroughs
    Running With Scissors-Augusten Burroughs

    Doug
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    Dec 14, 2007 4:01 AM GMT
    Damn! Pity I'm so far from Chicago or I would join!
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    Dec 14, 2007 4:02 AM GMT
    Caslon--

    I really think reading "Dancer from the Dance" prevented my coming out for years. The portrait of gay life presented in it was so depressing--particularly at the end, where the one doomed queen kills himself by walking into the ocean and drowning himself--I remember discussing this endlessly in the therapy sessions I underwent before I came out. It still makes me shudder.
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    Dec 14, 2007 4:25 AM GMT
    Wow! I was able to go right to the book in a bookcase I seldom open. Cost $9.95 in 1978. I dont remember anything about the ending. My lasting impression was of a liberated lifestyle...with guys living as they wanted. Of course, it was a view of life before AIDS transformed everything.

    I can remember when we first started hearing of AIDS on the east coast. No one knew it was an epidemic starting. I got the warning at the theater from an ex-bf. I was sitting there with my date, and my ex stood before us on the other side of the seats and went on about the epidemic that was coming. I went celebate for 5 years in the early years before its tranmission was known. I wouldnt even let guys kiss me. I learned to turn my cheek to them just at the last moment. I remember one fellow, Marcello, made a crack about it. He died of AIDS a few years later. Back then the obits were full every week. It sounds grusome now, but everybody used to check the obits every week in the Blade to see who died. Many you didnt know by name from the bar but you recognized their pictures.
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    Dec 14, 2007 4:37 AM GMT
    I liked Paul Monette's work and I think the best gay literary writer alive is Edumund White. I read his memoir recently. (And I used to enjoy Larry Kramer's essays until his jealous, prissy rage was directed at White...and Holleran, whose work has never impressed me.)

    Except for the presence of the poseur Augusten Burroughs, I like Cityguy's list.

  • Artesin

    Posts: 482

    Dec 14, 2007 5:33 AM GMT
    I usually watch/read gay animes/manga just because theyre so outrageous and random. Sanami matoi is currently my favorite manga writer >.
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    Dec 14, 2007 8:25 AM GMT
    I occassionally do read 'gay lit', and more frequently memoirs (Dave Kopay, Billy Bean, Tab Hunter, Esera Tuaolo, Mark Tewksbury, others), sports interest (Steve Kluger, Dave Pallone, etc) or social interest works (Eric Anderson's 'In the game' was great", or Dan Woog).

    I also admit a fondness sometimes for some light trashy mystery reading from Mark Zubro (Tom & Scott mysteries), Greg Herren, or Richard Stevenson (Donald Strachey mysteries).

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    Dec 14, 2007 9:41 AM GMT
    David Sedaris is delightful. Unless I missed it, I am shocked he did not make the lists. His recent New Yorker article about monogamy (why isn't it monoandry?) was fantastic.
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    Dec 14, 2007 10:21 AM GMT
    when i was about 14/15 my english teacher gave me 'maurice' by e. m. forster to read. i read and reread it with a mixture of horror and ecstasy. she was a kind and gentle woman. i wonder if a teacher dare do that today?

    later i loved 'a boy's own story' by edmund white. remember being completely depressed with baldwin's 'giovanni's room'

    enjoyed isherwood, mann's 'death in venice'. loved the beautiful and humbling 'de profundis' by wilde. orton's plays are great fun. heady burroughs.

    more recently, i thoroughly enjoyed hollinghurst's 'the line of beauty'. extraodinary detail, observation and command of language. i decided to read a few of his other novels but found them slick and well written but ultimately feckless.

    the power of reading these novels illicitly in the 70s before i was out is hard to describe.
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    Dec 14, 2007 2:28 PM GMT
    I have been reading a collection of essays from the 80's by Gore Vidal called At Home. His disgust with Reagan and the conservative backlash of the 1980's is bracing and delightful.

    I thought the best thing about The Line of Beauty was its detailed picture of Thatcher's Britain, the manners of the nouveau riche, and their obsession with social class. I expected to enjoy it more. I felt like having the main character be a student writing a thesis on Henry James was pretty daring. I kept thinking, "Maybe I should be trying to read a novel by James instead."

    My ladyfriend who teaches American lit tells me I must read Giovanni's Room. Everything I pick up by James Baldwin strikes me as incendiary and brilliant.
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    Dec 14, 2007 2:53 PM GMT
    I'm with ITJock on a lot of his picks. Add Rich Merritt's " Secrets of a Gay Marine Porn Star" and Sessum's "Mississippi Sissy".
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    Dec 14, 2007 3:44 PM GMT
    Samuel Delaney writes characters with honest, human sexuality. Brilliant fiction writer and theorist (Times Square Red, Times Square Blue is either the smartest erotica or most erotic cultural criticism ever written, and I'm not sure which). Also, he's all about the rough trade. That helps.
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    Dec 14, 2007 3:47 PM GMT
    Uh, this may be a shameless plug, but I'm actually writing some.
    I just started writing a story not too long ago about a gay painter who thinks his model is falling in love with him (not porn). Probably well-trekked territory, I know, but I am having fun writing it. Lemme know if ya wanna read it.... I could make it an installment in the forum, perhaps.
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    Dec 14, 2007 3:59 PM GMT
    As a writer I like serious literature, not that there can't be fun had in pulp fiction, esecially gay pulp.

    I like David Leavitt. The Lost Language of Cranes is a very beautifully written book. I also read his book of short stories, Arkansas (which has nothing to do with the state).

    I enjoyed Patrick Gadol's Light at Dusk, in which the characters were (refreshingly) matter-of-factly gay. I also enjoyed The World of Normal Boys by K.M. Soehnlein.

    Though Chuck Palhuniak is gay he doesn't really write gay literature, but I will forever love his schizophrenic Fight Club. And like every gay man, I think David Sedaris can do no wrong.

    Oddly, I have never liked Maupin's writing, though I find the man engaging (in intereviews, etc.). When I lived in the Bay Area everyone convinced me to read his work, but I found it shallow and unaffecting. There is a good documentary about him called Armistead Maupin Is a Man I Dreamt Up. The latter phrase is an anagram of his name, just as A Man and a Girl was an anagram of his character Anna Madrigal.

    I find Maupin's books feature only two types of characters: savvy gays and stupid hicks. Given that he once worked for Jesse Helms, I suppose I could forgive that last part. icon_lol.gif
  • irishboxers

    Posts: 357

    Dec 14, 2007 4:26 PM GMT
    I joined a gay book club about a year ago hoping to expand my circle of friends and meet some guys who like books and to read. After one interesting book with nothing gay about it, the next 7 books were all gay-themed and, honestly, so melodramatic I couldn't read them. The straw that broke it was three books in a row about teenage boys coming out and having fortutius sex with the school jock. Dreck...

    Probably doesn't help that two of my favorite writers are Ernest Hemingway and John Steinbeck, two no-nonsense guys if ever there were any.
  • irishboxers

    Posts: 357

    Dec 14, 2007 4:26 PM GMT
    I do, however, like Michael Cunningham's "A Home At The End Of The World". Not his women books, but I liked that one.
  • fryblock

    Posts: 387

    Dec 14, 2007 4:58 PM GMT
    I really love all of Christopher Rice's books.
  • SpartanJock

    Posts: 199

    Dec 14, 2007 5:18 PM GMT
    I'm with ITJock, as well. Billy Bean's book hit pretty close to home for some reason. Obviously, our lives don't parallel, but some of his emotions he described I can relate to.
    I particularly enjoyed Coach Anderson's "In The Game". He has a very unique and dead-on perspective regarding gay athletes. Daniel Woog's "Jocks" was not outstanding, but still interesting and insightful.
    I have read Christopher Rice's books as well. Even though the writing was a bit sophomoric, I enjoyed "A Density of Souls", mostly for the raw emotion. His third book "Light Before Day" was very nicely written, and kept me turing pages.
    I also enjoy Clive Barker, and am currently working my way through his work. My favorite is still "Imajica"
    Neil Gaiman isn't bad either.