Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aciman

This is the most romantic book I have read in a long time. Maybe ever. It’s also the sexiest. Hubba, hubba. I’m a little embarrassed to admit just how much it all held my attention. I found myself both anxious to turn the page to find out what happened next and reluctant to move on because what was written was so intense I didn’t want … Continue reading Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aciman

Role Models by John Waters.

I heard about this book on an episode of A Good Read my favorite book related podcast from BBC 4. The host and both of her guests loved it, went on and on about how good it was, with a few caveats, it is the BBC after all. I’ve been a fan of Mr. Waters’ work since I first saw Pink Flamingoes, with my hands over my eyes … Continue reading Role Models by John Waters.

My New Favorite Book: Days Without End by Sebastian Barry

The story opens with a corpse. A soldier’s body being prepared for burial in the then frontier state of Missouri circa 1855. So I should not have been surprised by how violent the rest of the book was. But I had never really considered just how much violence was involved in the beginning years of the United States.  Not systematically. And I had just finished … Continue reading My New Favorite Book: Days Without End by Sebastian Barry

My New Favorite Book: The Power of the Dog by Thomas Savage

I have no idea how this book found its way into my house. I’m guessing that  I bought it by mistake, thinking it was The Power of the Dog by Don Winslow which I’ve had on my wish list for a while now. However I came to read it, I am very glad I did. It’s wonderful. The story concerns a small set of characters living on … Continue reading My New Favorite Book: The Power of the Dog by Thomas Savage

Sunday Salon: Ponyboy and Johnny and Dally

Reading is a creative act. This is a controversial idea, one that many people resist strongly, one I resisted when I first learned about it.  But, over the years, I’ve come to appreciate it as an adult reader.  That young readers are creative agents is apparent to me and to probably anyone who has spent more than a few years working with them. In her … Continue reading Sunday Salon: Ponyboy and Johnny and Dally

Hard Rain Falling by Don Carpenter

The main character, Jack Leavitt, deserves no sympathy.  True, he was born into a terrible situation, orphaned by his mother who abandoned him to the state in secret just to keep his father from ever finding him.  He grows up under very bad circumstances; faces young adulthood without anyone to help him steer a path through the mean streets of Portland and Seattle where the … Continue reading Hard Rain Falling by Don Carpenter

What Belongs to You by Garth Greenwell

I don’t know. I guess I liked What Belongs to You, Garth Greenwell’s debut novel, maybe in spite of myself. It’s complicated. In What Belongs to You an American school teacher living in post-soviet Bulgaria meets a young hustler in a public men’s room.  Over the following months he seeks out the young man again and again, developing a relationship made up of desire, loneliness, and something like … Continue reading What Belongs to You by Garth Greenwell

The Lonely CIty: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone by Olivia Laing

“Imagine standing by a window at night, on the sixth or seventeenth or forty-third floor of a building. The city reveals itself as a set of cells, a hundred thousand windows, some darkened and some flooded with green or white or golden light. Inside, strangers swim to and fro, attending to the business of their private hours. You can see them, but you can’t reach … Continue reading The Lonely CIty: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone by Olivia Laing

Season of the Witch by David Talbot

What struck me, most about David Talbot’s history of  San Francisco was just how violent the times were. Season of the Witch concentrates on the years between the Summer of Love, 1968, and the AIDS epidemic of the 1980’s.  The 1970’s are largely remembered today for disco and very, shall we say, creative fashions but this was a period of violent upheaval in America, certainly … Continue reading Season of the Witch by David Talbot

Mr. Loverman by Bernadine Evaristo

Was it okay for Bernadine Evaristo to write this book? I ask this question in light of the ongoing controversy over cultural appropriation, specifically who has the right to write about whom. If you haven’t been following this issue lately you might want to check out Lionel Shriver’s keynote speech at the Brisbane Writers Festival and Yassmin Abdel-Magied’s essay explaining why she walked out on … Continue reading Mr. Loverman by Bernadine Evaristo

The Beauty of Men by Andrew Holleran

Once every so often, a blogger somewhere asks if it’s possible to recognize how good a book is without liking it.   I think we’d all agree that a book can be good even though it does not fit our own personal taste.  At least in theory.  But when the rubber hits the road, or the fingers turn the pages, could you praise what is … Continue reading The Beauty of Men by Andrew Holleran

We Are The Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson

What if you like a book in general, but there are some things that bug you about it? Do you always end up with one of those weighing the scales reviews? List the pros? List the cons?  It’s so difficult to do that without being wishy-washy. There is a lot to like in Shaun David Hutchinson’s YA novel We Are the Ants.  The story is about … Continue reading We Are The Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson