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Author Topic: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)  (Read 527169 times)

Offline gattaca

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Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
« Reply #3870 on: October 08, 2018, 02:20:04 AM »
^^^^^
You guys got me interested in Gale's other works.  The titles have not been real grabbers so they have languished on my kindle queue.

OK... In TNWY, how does that story compare to MIAOS?  Are the characters as likeable as Michael and Thomas or Adam and Steve? 
V.   

Offline tfferg

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Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
« Reply #3871 on: October 08, 2018, 05:02:52 AM »
^^^^^
You guys got me interested in Gale's other works.  The titles have not been real grabbers so they have languished on my kindle queue.

OK... In TNWY, how does that story compare to MIAOS?  Are the characters as likeable as Michael and Thomas or Adam and Steve? 
V.   

I haven't had a chance to see MIAOS yet. There are a number of likeable characters in TNWY- the protagonist Eustace, his very likeable older gay mentor Louis and his partner, accompanist Ebrahim, his cello teacher Carla, his private schoolmate Vernon, Vernon's father and a group of straight working-class schoolmates at the comprehensive school, one of his exes, his old cellist friend Naomi, his new romantic interest, Theo and one character who quite surprisingly turns out to be admirably likeable when push comes to shove in the latter part of the book.

Offline Sara B

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Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
« Reply #3872 on: October 08, 2018, 05:34:11 AM »
Agreed! It’s all told from Eustace’s POV, partly his life from childhood, partly his present situation. I’m really trying not to give spoilers, but it’s a lot less overshadowed by tragedy than either MIAOS or A Place Called Winter, even though an outline of the plot might make you think otherwise! An optimistic book.
“When we grow older still we’ll speak about those two young men as if they were two strangers..... And we’ll want to call it envy, because to call it regret would break our hearts.”

Call Me by Your Name, André Aciman.

Offline tfferg

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Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
« Reply #3873 on: October 08, 2018, 09:03:12 AM »
Agreed! It’s all told from Eustace’s POV, partly his life from childhood, partly his present situation. I’m really trying not to give spoilers, but it’s a lot less overshadowed by tragedy than either MIAOS or A Place Called Winter, even though an outline of the plot might make you think otherwise! An optimistic book.

It certainly concludes on a pleasurably and not unrealistically optimistic note !

Offline tfferg

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Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
« Reply #3874 on: October 20, 2018, 10:59:44 PM »
Jonny Appleseed

I was interested to read a new novel because it is described as the story of a two-spirit /Indigiqueer
character Jonny Appleseed (not to be confused with the American Johnny Appleseed who planted apple trees in West Virginia). Nor, the author points out are two-spirit people to be confused with transgender people.

Poet and prose author Joshua Whitehead and his character are Ojibwe-Cree. He says his story and Jonny's story are braided together. The book rewards patient reading with its unconventional fever-dream structure and non-linear treatment of time. The publishers promote it as a novel for adults, though Joshua Whitehead wrote it for a young adult readership. He was inspired by novels of the reality of youth culture such as Go Ask Alice and The Outsiders. In his studies for his Bachelor's and Master's degrees and currently toward a PhD he has been frustrated by the invisibility of Indigenous/queer people in the canonic reading lists.

He writes for two-spirit or queer Indigenous youth to showcase them “in powerful and sexual and meaningful and healthy ways”. He says that you need to see yourself in order to know yourself and that now there are so many harmful representations of Indigeneity, specifically queer Indigeneity, made by non-Indigenous people, or sometimes even Indigenous people. He is inspired by a number of contemporary Indigenous writers. In 2017, he first published a book of poetry full-metal indigiqueer. He says writing has saved him.

Jonny Appleseed, a twenty-something year old who is living in Winnipeg has a week to earn enough money as a webcam boy to travel back to the reservation on Peguis First Nation Treaty 1 territory in Manitoba to support his mother at the funeral of his stepfather. Self-described NDN glitter princess Jonny Appleseed has had to leave the reservation because of homophobic threats by others who are ignorant of so much of their traditional culture, including respect for two-spirit people, thanks to the destructive residential schools. The story is both Jonny Appleseed's physical and metaphorical journey as he reflects on his experiences and memories of his life on the rez and in the big city, as he tries to piece together his identity and where he belongs. At the age of 8, he was secretly watching Queer As Folk with the sound down in his kokum's (grandmother's) attic after she has gone to bed. She accepts him completely when he comes out to her.

Jonny Appleseed is not portrayed as a traditional “mystical”, “spiritual”, figure from anthropology but as a contemporary person who is working to survive the effects of colonisation and violence, poverty, addiction and homophobia.

Jonny Appleseed is a love story, portraying familial love, tenderness, nurturing love, platonic love, very sexual love. Jonny is much loved by his best friend/lover Tias who claims he is not gay, his kokum and his mother. Tias' fierce girlfriend Jordan becomes his good friend. The characters, especially the women, are complex people dealing with traumas but positive people who can laugh and joke too, so the book is often funny.

Jonny Appleseed is a finalist for the Canadian Governor-General's Award to be announced, I think, later this month.
« Last Edit: October 20, 2018, 11:09:27 PM by tfferg »

Offline brian

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Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
« Reply #3875 on: October 24, 2018, 06:00:41 PM »
Has anyone read "Where you are" or any other books by J.H. Trumble. I was surprised, after an extensive search, to find J.H. Trumble is a woman, Janet. Her home page is very coy.

I have read the book before, perhaps 2014, published 2013 but did not remember a lot (not unusual, do not ask me to describe a movie I saw a few months ago). Some of you know that I hated "Call Me By Your Name" and this could be seen as similar but the age difference is smaller. Andrew, the teacher is 24 (2nd year of teaching) and Robert 17 (almost 18) is in his final class at school. I was still annoyed at Andrew, he makes some very stupid decisions and it nearly ends in disaster. I, especially in my early years, fell in love with a number of students but never crossed the line.
Of course life was different. Robert is openly gay at school with a boyfriend (who he wants (understandably) to drop but Andrew wants him to keep as a cover) and Andrew also does not hide his sexuality although he is divorced with a little girl. That would have been totally impossible when I was in my 20's.  Also, perhaps thankfully, the cellphone had not been developed.
Possibly my 2nd reading has been more emotional for me because of what I have come to know about the boy with whom I fell madly in love when I was 22 and he was 16/17. I still think of him as the greatest love of my life. We never did anything more than hug, and walk arms around each other, buy some identical clothes (sounds ridiculous now considering I was 5/6 years older). I have always described him as very heterosexual, he was no virgin. I was and also was very naive, but on consideration and from conversations with his best mate from kindergarten, I now believe he was bisexual and, in more recent times our relationship might have gone further but I had no idea, he probably did.
Garry died in 2011. By chance I managed to visit him late in 2010 when he was already in an advanced stage of Cancer. I have since had several conversations with his best mate (M) who, although a grandfather, I believe to be bi and have been told he and Garry visited gay bars (when I had no idea they even existed). M flew from London to Sydney to visit Garry just before he died and has become very emotional when talking about him to me. I would like to ask M more but not by email and not in front of his wife so it is difficult. I have told M how much I was in love with Garry.
I later developed a similar feeling for another student, by then the age difference was 11 years. We are still good friends and he is definitely not bi and still thinks of me as a much loved big brother and treats me accordingly always with a big hug but jokes he draws the line at a kiss.  I, of course, am now quite open with him but he does not seem to understand why I developed such a friendship with him when he was 17 and I was 28.  I ended up being best man at his wedding. By then I was not a virgin but had still not discovered the openly gay scene in Sydney and was certainly not out although, when I did tell him a number of years later, he told me it was no surprise to him.
Anyway reading "Where you are" has brought up many thoughts and regrets but I still believe that older men should be very very careful when dealing with highly charged and volatile teenagers. Andrew is at first careful but is easily led by the much less circumspect Robert who has so much less to lose.

Offline brian

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Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
« Reply #3876 on: November 02, 2018, 05:58:05 PM »
Hide, Matthew Griffin's debut novel is an original one. It is the story of Wendell Wilson and Frank Clifton's faithful life together over six decades.

Hide opens with Wendell coming home with the groceries to their deeply secluded house outside of town and finding 83-year old Frank lying collapsed in the vegetable garden, having suffered a minor stroke. Frank's admission to hospital excites their worst fears.

It took me a while to get into the first chapter depicting Wendell's efforts to cope with Frank's declining condition and the details of their domestic routines until Wendell's memories in the second chapter begin to illuminate their love story. It starts in the post-war era of intense oppression of homosexual people as criminals and perverts, a quarter of a century before Stonewall.

Returning to a North Carolina town after World War II, veteran Frank stops outside Wendell's taxidermy shop. What follows is a magnificent image of the coup de foudre, love at first sight. Fearfully aware of their vulnerability as a same-sex couple and at great cost, they literally forsake all others to live together.

Hide is told from Wendell's point of view. The strain of being the aged sole caretaker of the increasingly demented Frank and grief at his loss of the partner he has loved for so long makes him often snippy and sometimes cruel, but his thoughts are nuanced and even poetic. Scenes vary from pathos to comedy (sometimes black), emotionally intense and occasionally very visceral. Much of it is hard going, but the quiet climax of the conversation in what Wendell fears might be Frank's last lucid moments is revealing of their enduring love.


Matthew Griffin is a gay activist, but Hide is not an overtly political novel. There is no mention of marriage equality in the book. Frank and Wendell are not members of a gay community, but their fictional story reveals the truth of the unrecognised, long-term, real marriage relationships some same-sex couples have been able to maintain against the odds. Matthew Griffin hopes his novel can give hope to young gay people. Australian Marriage Equality encourages same-sex couples to tell our personal stories especially to recalcitrant politicians in the protracted struggle in this country.
I have just read (most) of this novel which I picked up in our public library. I had my doubts when reading the cover and really wished I had not read it. I stopped in horror this morning at the death of the dog and then turned and read the last chapter. Interesting to find a recent review which compares it with BBM https://spectrumculture.com/2018/03/06/hide-matthew-griffin-book-review/
I guess it describes what things could have been like if Ennis and Jack had taken up "the sweet life".
"Matthew Griffin’s Hide is the rare novel that actually warrants comparison to Proulx’s work. Like Brokeback Mountain tells the story of a love affair between two men in a time and place where such love was incredibly dangerous. The difference here is that, unlike Brokeback Mountain’s Ennis and Jack, Hide’s Wendell and Frank are able to make their relationship a priority, and the meat of the novel concerns their lives together as older men. Hide is a sad tale on many levels, but not a tragedy, which shows how far both society and publishing have come in the 20 years since Brokeback Mountain was published."
Of course I found BBM heart breaking but have gone back and watched it many times but this book is too much for me.
I hear too much about dementia in the friends of my sister and brother-in-law (mid 80's) and now have an example within my own walking group so it is not a comfortable subject.
Even this review says
"There are plenty of cruel scenes of the book, some of which go over the top, but the dog scene is a step too far. It feels as if Griffin was trying to take the Flannery O’Connor approach, but it’s simply too cruel for the level of sensitivity that he’s established with his storytelling. "

It just increased my anger at the way things were for gays, probably 15 to 20 years older than me, and I think rural USA may have been much worse than metropolitan Australia. Even the description of factory work in the USA (50's through to 80's) made this Socialist angry.
So not a pleasant read for me.