Posts Tagged ‘gay’

Our aspirations are wrapped up in books, our inclinations are hidden in looks –Belle and Sebastian

“That day Henry made a choice…that some men are just too interesting to die” –Seth Grahame-Smith

“So keeping the box closed just keeps you in the dark, not the universe.” –John Green

This weekend was a big reading weekend for me. I finished Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter  by Seth Grahame-Smith and I read Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan. I wasn’t sure which of these books to review (they were both very good) so I figured that I would do a quick review of both of them.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Author: Seth Grahame-Smith. Publication year: 2010

The “quirk-book” trend of taking classic works of fiction and revamping them with zombies or sea monsters was a trend that I jumped head first into. The fact is that these books whether they be re-worked classics or re-worked histories of famous people, the history is still there. The entire plot of Pride & Prejudice & Zombies and Sense & Sensibility & Sea Monsters was still there and a few details were added to make the story have otherworldly elements. The entire history of Abraham Lincoln’s life is in AL:VH. That’s what makes these books so good and so appealing. You get the history and you get the classic literature, but it is more accessible to today’s generation because they do want to read about zombies and monsters and vampires.

I enjoyed AL:VH very very much. I love all things Abe Lincoln. I am so excited for the movie to come out in a few weeks. The book took a turn for me during the Civil War parts, but the ending was just so spectacular and so historically relevant and so, just, well…gnarly that I ended up giving Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter 5 out of 5 stars! I highly recommend it!

Will Grayson, Will Grayson. Authors: John Greene & David Levithan. Publication Year: 2010.

What was great about this book is the fact that it was so obviously written by two different authors. The story is that of two high school aged youth boys in Illinois both named Will Grayson. The story is told in two points of view with each chapter being voiced by the two Will Grayson’s (eg. Chapter one is Will Grayson 1 and chapter 2 is Will Grayson 2 and chapter 3 is Will Grayson 1 again, etc. etc.). The voices are obviously different and the fact that each author wrote the POV of one Will Grayson worked PERFECTLY. I had no idea that this was the style that the two authors were doing so halfway through chapter 2 I realized that Will Grayson 1 wasn’t actually suffering from a bi-polar disorder, but rather it was the other Will Grayson narrating.

The trend of dystopian fiction and vampire fiction in YA literature as of late has been exhausted, in my humble opinion, so it was very refreshing to read a story about “normal” high school students dealing with “normal” high school problems. I also enjoyed this book because it really is a very good LGBT choice. One of the Will Grayson’s is gay and the other Will Grayson’s best friend is gay. A few of the supporting characters are also gay and several characters belong to a gay/straight alliance at school. A major event in the book revolves around a very gay character writing, directing, producing and staring in a musical designed to bring an understanding and a tolerance to gay students. The book is at the same time heartwarming and heart breaking. I loved it. It had humor, love, and honesty. The ending took a weird turn for me so I couldn’t give it the full 5 stars that it could have earned. However, I do recommend it for anyone who may be gay or questioning, especially high school students. This is not a YA book that I would recommend to my middle school students (the language and some of the situations were a little advanced). This is a book that could be beneficial to bullies who may be harassing gay students. This is even a good book for adult parents of gay teenagers and it’s just a good book for anyone looking for a good read. It was a quick read (I read it in a day). 4 out of 5 stars!


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“There’s a fine line between being private and being ashamed.”  -Portia de Rossi Unbearable Lightness: A Novel of Loss and Gain

I want to start off by letting you know just how much I despise memoirs and biographies. It is very rare that I will read (and enjoy) a memoir. I don’t really much care for non-fiction of any type, actually now that I think about it. Ever since I was a child I have always had a very active imagination and have prefered fiction. However, surprisingly, I don’t much care for the fantasy and sci-fi stories. I do love a vampire and I loved vampire fiction BEFORE it was cool (so take that, Edward Cullen. I like the wolf better in those stories ANYWAY!).

I was browsing GoodReads the other day and decided to make a list of all of the memoir books that I had read and added to my list there. They are as follows:

My First Five Husbands (And the Ones That Got Away) -McClanahan
If I Knew Then What I Know Now…So What? -Getty
Here We Go Again: My Life in Television -White
I adore the Golden Girls and that’s why these books got on my list! Had Bea Arthur written one I would have devoured that one too!

Eat, Pray, Love -Gilbert
I read this one this past summer because I love Julia Roberts and I was dying to see the film. It was a pretty good book. I did not hate it! I actually rather enjoyed it, though it was very hard to connect to a narrator who has the luxury of being able to drop everything and move to three different countries for a year and a half. Too bad her readers in the real world go to mindless jobs every day and just read about those lucky few.
Me Talk Pretty One Day
(and ALL the David Sedaris books because they are just 100% hilarious!)

The Diary of Anne Frank -Frank
I read this one in school and was blown away by what this girl had to go through. I think that this was one of my first exposures to Nazism.

Night -Wiesel
I remember reading this one in school as well. I remember thoroughly loving it.

Lucky -Sebold
I borrowed this one from a feminist roommate I had in college. I remember reading it thinking that it was a fictional story. I was so surprised to discover that it was a memoir. Surprised and infuriated.

Marley and Me -Grogan
Sentimental dog love. I remember taking this copy from the library I worked (volunteered) at in graduate school. I also remember I read it right after I got my sweet baby Sheldon (a sprightly little sheltie). I paced the living room of my apartment at the end clutching baby Sheldon and weeping.

Three Cups of Tea -Mortenson
What a mess this author is in right now! I did not like this book. I felt like it was just one big pat on his own back. A “look at me! I’m so selfless, I’m so great! I do great things for other people! You should love me!” kind of book that I am just not into reading.

Girl, Interrupted– Kasen
Again, I wanted to read the book before I saw the movie because I adore Winona Ryder. I think that I was way too young to have understood this book at the time and I would like to re-visit it now that I am older, wiser, and more understanding of BPD.

A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of A Boy Soldier -Baeh
It’s hard to believe as I sit in my comfortable townhouse in America that these kinds of things go on in another part of the world.

Prozac Nation -Wurtzel
In the same vein as Girl, Interrupted. I think that I need to re-visit this one. I do remember reading it in high school and loving it. I lost my copy that I dragged around with me everywhere back then and ordered a new one in college.

Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia -Hornbach
I didn’t care one way or another about this one. It wasn’t great. It wasn’t awful. It wasn’t memorable at all.

The Bell Jar -Plath
I love this book. I think I read this one when I was way too young (8th grade, roughly) but I remember reading sneakily any chance I got. It felt like i was doing something wrong and I loved that feeling alone!

Maus I -Spiegleman
As much as I detest memoirs, I detest graphic novels even more which it why I was surprised to find myself thoroughly enjoying these two books that were assigned to a contemporary authors class I took in college.

Go Ask Alice -Anonymous
Teen Drama!

sTori Telling– Spelling
Yes, I read this book. Yes, I enjoyed this book. No, I didn’t absolutely love it.

The Things They Carried -O’Brien
Wow, Really? I was surprised to see this one listed as a memoir on GoodReads, but I guess that it was. I remember having to read this book for not one, not two, but THREE classes in college. I guess I am now somewhat of an expert on it!

Skin Game -Kitwell
One memoir of self-harm is the same as another.

Fugitive Days -Ayers
I found this guy to be obnoxious. I heard an interview with him on NPR in grad. school and HAD to read this book. If only the book were as good as the interview…

The first book that I read for my month of memoirs was Unbearable Lightness: A Novel of Loss and Gain by Portia de Rossi. I started out LOVING this book! It was so interesting to get insight into the life of a relatively unknown actress like de Rossi. It moved along so quickly for the first 3/4 of the book, but then it just started repeating itself. We heard a lot about dress sizes and Vera, her costume person on the set of Ally McBeal, as well as all of the places that she burst into a run in her platform shoes; and that was great, at first. I wanted to hear more about Francesca and Ellen and Mel! I wanted the dirt!
I understand that when a person elects to pen a story of their life, that they are able to discuss certain things and they may also leave things out. However, I wanted to hear more about her private life that is only glossed over with back-alley photographs and airbrushed wedding portraits in the tabloids. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some tabloids, but I also love getting the real inside scoop straight from the horse’s mouth which is why I thought that this memoir in particular would be a little bit easier to swallow.

It was a pretty good book overall though. I thought that the end section with Ellen was very rushed and I would have liked to have read more of the happy-ending stuff that was so forced and so quick and then suddenly over. I found myself skimming as I got more towards the end to get to the happy and away from the misery.

I think that I would recommend this book to someone, especially someone who may be gay or who may be struggling with an eating disorder. Overall, one of the better memoirs that I’ve ever read (not that I’ve read many!)

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