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Author Topic: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)  (Read 670255 times)

Offline michaelflanagansf

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Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
« Reply #3975 on: May 04, 2020, 10:45:38 PM »
Thanks so much for these suggestions, Michael. I will try to look for these online or from Amazon!!

I read the print version of "The Barbary Plague" and listened to the audio book of "Black Death at the Golden Gate." They're both interesting in their own way. "Black Death at the Golden Gate" goes into how the plague changed the city into a modern city more than "Barbary Plague" does.
I do my thing, & you do your thing. I am not in this world to live up to your expectations, and you are not in this world to live up to mine. You are you and I am I, and if by chance we find each other - it is beautiful. If not it can't be helped.

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Offline Gazapete

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Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
« Reply #3976 on: May 05, 2020, 01:40:04 AM »
Like This Afternoon Forever  a novel by gay Colombian-born American writer Jaime Manrique.

It is a double narrative weaving the love story of Lucas and Ignacio with a suspenseful political/crime thriller with some social criticism set between 1987 and 2011.

Lucas is the son of struggling farmers and Ignacio is a descendant of the indigenous Bari people of Colombia. Both young boys enter a Catholic seminary motivated by a desire to help others and because it is the only way they can get an education. They are confronted by the indiscriminate violence of gangs, the drug cartels, the Marxist FARC guerrillas, paramilitary forces and the Colombian state as they all struggle for control at the expense of the population, vast expanses of the Amazon and homesteaders and displaced people in the mountainside barrios of Bogota.

The early chapters show the perspectives of the boys as they struggle to understand their sexuality in a homophobic society and their growing attraction to each other. They are affected both by the reactionary attitudes of the Church hierarchy and secretly more permissive figures in the seminary and also the machinations of a homosexual priest there. Later chapters take us through the complex development of their relationship and their development as trainee priests at university and in their roles as ordained priests in two contrasting parishes in Bogota. Of course, this ia also the time of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

In spite of their different temperaments and experiences as young men and the radically different attitude toward the Church, its doctrines and their vocations they come to, they make an absolute  commitment to stay together till the end of their lives.

Having revisited Colombia, the author writes about aspects of the gay scene in Bogota and gay priests there.

I knew about the decades of violence in Colombia, but I didn't know about the "false positives" atrocities.

The denouement of the novel is based on real events that took place in 2011.

It is quite a quick read. There are both lyrically romantic and more reportorial passages

The novel, published in New York 2019, was originally written in English. The Spanish version, Como Esta Tarde Para Siempre, came out in 2018.

Thanks for the tip, Tony! I will try to catch this in Spanish

Offline ingmarnicebbmt

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Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
« Reply #3977 on: May 05, 2020, 02:21:00 AM »

Tony, this sounds very interesting.
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And maybe, he thought, they'd never got much farther than that.

Offline fritzkep

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Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
« Reply #3978 on: May 05, 2020, 12:59:31 PM »
Actually no, I had never heard of it. I'm not much of a science fiction fan, I really need to be in the right mood to read it.

Well, it's only marginally science fiction, it's quite short, you might find it an interesting read.

Especially considering its SF location.

Werd ich zum Augenblicke sagen, "Verweile doch! Du bist so schön..."

Offline killersmom

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Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
« Reply #3979 on: May 05, 2020, 02:29:10 PM »
I read the print version of "The Barbary Plague" and listened to the audio book of "Black Death at the Golden Gate." They're both interesting in their own way. "Black Death at the Golden Gate" goes into how the plague changed the city into a modern city more than "Barbary Plague" does.

I wonder if "The Barbary Plague" is on audio as well. I'll have to look.

Offline killersmom

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Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
« Reply #3980 on: May 05, 2020, 02:41:22 PM »
Michael, I presume that you are familiar with this fiction work by Jack London. Prescient, after its own fashion.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Scarlet_Plague



It mentioned in the Wiki article, Fritz, that Jack London was inspired in part by Edgar Allan Poe's 1842 short story "The Masque of the Red Death" and that it fell under the genre of apocalyptic fiction featuring a universal plague that nearly wipes out humanity. Other examples include Mary Shelley's The Last Man (1826), George R. Stewart's Earth Abides (1949), Michael Crichton's The Andromeda Strain (1969) and Stephen King's The Stand (1978).

I've read Poe's short story. Mary Shelly's, Crichton's and King's novels. It may be right up my alley.

Offline fritzkep

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Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
« Reply #3981 on: May 05, 2020, 02:49:37 PM »
Linda, Earth Abides is another one that starts out in SF until the city becomes uninhabitable by earthquakes and fires.

There's an hour-long dramatization of it from the radio program Escape from 1957, and it's quite good.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1K-FgM1xK2o

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Offline ingmarnicebbmt

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Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
« Reply #3982 on: May 06, 2020, 04:22:22 PM »

John Updike

IN THE BEAUTY OF THE LILIES (mid-90s)

a fascinating read: a saga covering four generations of the Wilmot family - set in New Jersey, Delaware, California, Colorado

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And maybe, he thought, they'd never got much farther than that.

Offline killersmom

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Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
« Reply #3983 on: May 06, 2020, 04:56:00 PM »
I'll have to look for all this good reading material!!

Offline ingmarnicebbmt

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Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
« Reply #3984 on: May 07, 2020, 01:28:29 AM »

 ;)
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And maybe, he thought, they'd never got much farther than that.

Offline tfferg

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Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
« Reply #3985 on: May 12, 2020, 01:44:22 AM »
I came across Swimming in the Dark, the debut novel by gay author Tomasz Jedrowski. It was published early this year. It's a very absorbing story of two young Polish men.

It opens with the 20-something Ludwik in New York in December 1981 a year after he fled alone from Poland for the "dreadful safety of America". The night after hearing the news of the declaration of martial law by the Communist government, he cannot sleep because he cannot stop thinking of Janusz back in Warsaw. 

"I don't know whether I ever want you to read this, but I know that I need to write it. Because you have been on my mind for too long..."

The story is addressed to Janusz, beginning with an account of Ludwik's childhood growing up with his mother and grandmother in Wroclaw and disturbing experiences that make him take refuge in books. When he is a little older, the two women include him in their secret listening to broadcasts of Radio Free Europe.

As a university student in Warsaw, he overhears a conversation about James Baldwin's Giovanni's Room which was banned in Poland. He manages to get a copy which he hides inside the cover of an approved book and takes it with him when after passing their final exams and in order to be allowed to graduate, the final year students have to do gruelling manual labour during the summer harvesting beets in the country. It is there that he becomes intrigued by Janusz and reluctantly lends him his clandestine copy of Giovanni's Room.

At the end of their service in the work camp and brought together by the Baldwin novel, they spend an idyllic time camping together in the countryside.

But as autumn approaches, they have to return to Warsaw where conditions are grim. The repressive regime is foundering with a collapsing economy, shortages of food and fuel for heating and corruption as a protest movement grows in the streets.

Although homosexuality is not illegal, the regime and society are very homophobic, so Ludwik and Janusz, despite their passion, cannot develop their relationship openly or live together. Sadly, they discover they have diametrically opposed responses to the political situation and very different ideas about their future. The story becomes more and more dramatic and suspenseful as the months pass.

"You were right when you said that people can't always give us what we want from them."

Tomasz Jedrowski's writing is very powerful, so much so that I worried how much of it was based on his own life.

He was born to Polish parents in West Germany, but his family used to visit Poland. He met a family friend there, a man who he thinks was in love with his father and was interested in what his life must have been like. Having studied law in Cambridge, England and Paris, Tomasz Jedrowski worked for a London law firm until he left in 2012 to write his novel. He took time to explore life in Poland, resulting in vivid word pictures of Warsaw and the countryside. He was also inspired by reading Giovanni's Room in New York.

The book is dedicated "To Laurent, my home."

Swimming in the Dark has an extra resonance now as the populist right-wing government has used a homophobic scare campaign with the collaboration of the Catholic Church to win elections and works to roll back what little legal protection there was for LGBTIQ people.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2020, 01:51:58 AM by tfferg »

Offline gattaca

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Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
« Reply #3986 on: May 12, 2020, 08:18:38 AM »
^^^ Sounds interesting.  Added to my Kindle sample / eval listing!  TY!

Offline tfferg

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Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
« Reply #3987 on: May 28, 2020, 11:29:22 PM »
Michael recommended Garth Greenwell's novel What Belongs to You (2016) to me.

The unnamed narrator is an out gay American man who enjoys teaching his students English at the prestigious American School in Sofya, Bulgaria. The book opens with his account of going to a beat in the underground toilets at the National Palace of Culture where he hooks up with Mitko B, a 22 year old hustler. He falls into a complicated affair which becomes more and more intense, despite (and also because of) the real risks which he is well aware of. He can't resist his intense desire for him, though the relationship struck me as unfulfilling from the very start.

He knows, as the reader does, that it cannot end well, but he cannot resist his overwhelming desire for him, his sexual magnetism and his moments of charm. He is shamed by it, guilt-ridden because of the inequality between them and the semiliterate Mitko's hopeless prospects. The narrator's tormented thinking and feeling is explored in well-controlled prose so that it does not become agonising for the reader.

There is also a passage of elation as he walks in Blagoevgrad on a spring day and he shares Walt Whitman's feelings about the world.

The first section of the novel, "Mitko" is in fact the award-winning novella Garth Greenwell published some years before. He adds another section "Grave". This is a long paragraph in which the narrator, having received a message from his estranged, sick father, explores his emotional responses as he recalls his childhood and his traumatic early development in his broken family in Republican Kentucky in the 1990s.

In the final section, "Pox", the narrator brings his mother to Sofya and travels with her in Bulgaria. There have been some hopefully happier developments in his life and there are some happier shared times until Mitko's reappearance brings a crisis and their story reaches its conclusion.

The narrator doesn't psychologise or explain himself so much as examining himself all the time, but not in an abstract way. His feelings are always complex and open to question. It is only in this section that he touches on why he chose to live and work in Bulgaria, the country in which his Bulgarian students see no future unless they leave.

What Belongs to You has been much acclaimed by significant gay writers. It is hardly a happy story, but an interestingly human one in which the narrator tries to understand himself more deeply.


« Last Edit: May 29, 2020, 12:01:28 AM by tfferg »

Offline CellarDweller115

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Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
« Reply #3988 on: August 02, 2020, 06:08:41 PM »

So, has anyone read Mary Trump's book?

Offline gattaca

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Re: What good book have you read lately? (New or old)
« Reply #3989 on: August 02, 2020, 07:45:04 PM »
^^^ Not yet.  Still trying to decide.  Not sure I want to be even more irate (and depressed) that enough Americans were duped by this con-man to be POTUS and that indeed there is a true nut-job charge.