LGBT reading material for younger guys

Discussion in 'Lifestyle' started by cedric, Oct 16, 2004.

  1. cedric

    cedric I don't have a contract

    Joined:
    May 9, 2004
    Messages:
    88,516
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    San Francisc:noes:
    The movie Latter Days, that Sam posted about a few days ago, has spurred me to start this thread. If you have a chance to watch Latter Days, as you can see from Sam's thread, watch it. I can't say anything else besides, you won't regret it. I enjoyed the movie so much, I'm gonna check out the book too.

    Anyway, I have a short list of books that I've read over the past few months that might be of interest to you younger queer or questioning guys. I'm 23 myself and in the closet to most of my friends. If nothing else, these books have given me some small degree of comfort, knowing that I'm not the only one out there who had to go through this.

    These are primarily first love stories, but what makes them truly good reading is the fact that the main characters are always ordinary guys leading ordinary lives. They learn that being gay is something to come to grips with and isn't nearly as disastrous as they had previously believed. In fact, it can be a wonderful thing if you give it a chance. Keep in mind that they can be fairly optimistic in their outlook, in that the love stories are a little more ideal than they should be, but I guess everybody wants a happy ending. Nevertheless, they are good reading.

    Leave Myself Behind by Bart Yates
    This book has a very Catcher in the Rye feeling to it. It's really just as much a mystery novel as it is a love story. That's what I appreciated about it. The entire story wasn't just about the protagonist being a homosexual.

    Noah York is a closeted gay teenager with a foul mouth, a critical disposition, and plenty of material for his tirades. After his father dies, Noah's mother, a temperamental poet, takes a teaching job in a small New Hampshire town, far from Chicago and the only world Noah has known. While Noah gets along reasonably with his mother, the crumbling house they try to renovate quickly reveals dark secrets, via dusty Mason jars they discover interred between walls. The jars contain scraps of letters, poems, and journal entries, and eventually reconstruct a history of pain and violence that drives a sudden wedge between Noah and his mother. Fortunately, Noah finds an unexpected ally in J. D., a teenager down the street who has family troubles of his own. Rape and other physical violence, alcoholism, and incest--the novel describes these abuses in a brutal, matter-of-fact way that may leave some readers uncomfortable. Most of the time, however, Yates effectively captures the honest, sometimes silly, often tender interactions between his fragile characters. - James Klise

    Almost Like Being in Love by Steve Kluger
    This one is my personal favorite (I've read it 5x since I bought it at the beginning of summer). In fact, I gave my first well-worn copy away to somebody else and bought another for myself. It's pretty light-hearted and something that I think people of all ages would enjoy. I'd really like to see this made into a movie, but I know it probably won't happen.

    High school jock Craig McKenna and Broadway musical-obsessed Travis Puckett fall in love during their senior year at the Beckley School in Tarrytown, N.Y., spend a summer in Manhattan, then drift tearfully away to different colleges: Travis to USC, Craig to Harvard. Twenty years later, oddball Travis, now a history professor at his alma mater, is a favorite with students thanks to some unorthodox teaching methods, but he's laughably unlucky in love. An injury ended Craig's college football career, and he's now an upstate New York attorney with activist inclinations and a soft spot for runaways. He's also about to marry long-term boyfriend Clayton-though he's never forgotten his first romance. As Travis wades through the dating pool (most of his dates score badly on his "Boyfriend Checklist") and doles out advice to his straight screenwriter roommate Gordo, Craig takes on the biggest case of his life: a run for the state assembly. When Travis becomes determined to reunite with Craig, he sets off on a wild cross-country adventure, providing perfect fodder for Gordo's ultimate screenplay. In true fairy-tale fashion, Travis insinuates himself back into Craig's life, but will the pair end up happily ever after? Though the narrative is overlong, Kluger keeps it absorbing with a parade of newspaper articles, letters, diary entries, checklists, court transcripts and charts, all composed to brilliant comic and dramatic effect.

    The Continuing Journals of Will Barnett by Ronald Donaghe.
    This is actually a 3 book series.
    Book 1: Uncle Sean
    When fourteen-year-old Will Barnett meets his Uncle Sean, whom he has not seen since he was six years old, Will is instantly captivated by his uncle's beauty and begins at that moment to fall in love. That such love is dangerous and forbidden, young Will is only vaguely aware. While trying to understand what his feelings mean, he is driven to write about his Uncle Sean and begins with these words: "Uncle Sean sure is pretty, but there's something wrong with him, anyway." "Donaghe's magic in crafting this tale was writing Will's journal in the voice of a fourteen-year-old...The book is so realistic that one wonders what has become of Sean and Will since the box containing Will's journal was stowed away in the barn thirty years ago...The novel is a natural for high school and publics libraries." --John R. Selig

    Book 2: Lance
    When Lance and Will meet on a windswept ledge on the edge of a desert mountain, neither young man knows the trials they will each face. Lance, the troubled, violet-eyed young man will find the love and support of a family he never had. But more importantly the pure love of a man—for Life. But he must make a heart-wrenching choice: to embrace that love, or take the opportunity of a lifetime, which may well mean giving up his chance at love.

    Book 3: All Over Him
    When Will and Lance decide to separate for two years while Lance goes to art school in San Francisco and Will moves to Austin, Texas, to attend university there, neither of them can imagine the powerful temptations that await them in each city. Lance moves in the lofty circles of artists and actors, while Will fights lingering temptations of his own, sharing an apartment with his beloved and beautiful Uncle Sean. Both young men stand at a crossroads and must decide if the love they have shared was merely a teen romance or the real thing.
     
  2. Sam Gamgee

    Sam Gamgee Every tool is a weapon if you hold it right. OT Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2001
    Messages:
    78,919
    Likes Received:
    64
    Location:
    Western MA
    wow... cool. Thanks!
     
  3. boris yeltsin

    boris yeltsin New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2004
    Messages:
    32,056
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    This one sounds good, im going to check it out.
     
  4. cedric

    cedric I don't have a contract

    Joined:
    May 9, 2004
    Messages:
    88,516
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    San Francisc:noes:
    :bigthumb: You won't regret it!
     
  5. cedric

    cedric I don't have a contract

    Joined:
    May 9, 2004
    Messages:
    88,516
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    San Francisc:noes:
    I almost forgot this one...

    Half Life by Aaron Krach
    I picked this one up at an airport while I was on layover in LA. Overall a good read. It had a distinctly different flavor than the rest of the books I've listed. The main character: Adam, is easy to sympathize with, and the cop: Jeff is pretty much the ideal man (to me at least). This book may be a little slow-going for some, but I enjoyed it.

    The geography of 18 year-old Adam Westman's life changes dramatically in the two weeks before his high school graduation. True, many of the familiar landmarks are still there when he looks for them: his best friend Dart riding shotgun; the suburban house where he lives with his depressed dad and younger sister, Sandra; the on-ramps and off-ramps that connect his hometown of Angelito to Los Angeles's endless maze of freeways. But when death and love arrive at once and unexpectedly—as they often do—Adam learns that trouble sometimes has to rumble through a tidy world in order to make room for miracles. Which isn't to say that miracles are such a big deal. For the characters whose lives intersect in Half-Life, the miraculous appears in the jumble of everyday details. Adam's emotionally distant mother finds herself drawn into the arc of family through the simple act of making a salad. Marc, Adam's stepdad, learns the subtle art of conversation as he shuttles Sandra to and from elementary school. Jeff, a handsome cop, decides to take a risk and discovers in 18-year-old Adam the kind of openness and sincerity he thought other men no longer wanted. In a book Edmund White calls "funny, romantic, surprising, lusty, and totally original," debut novelist Aaron Krach draws our attention to the ever-present possibilities for connection and the magic that makes ordinary lives extraordinary. Basically: Half-Life has three stories that connect, overlap and slide by each other quietly. The first is the story of a group of friends, perhaps the best friends you wish you always had in high school. The second is about a man and his son, and what happens when love and hope run out. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, is a story of new romance between Adam and the older man in uniform that is not coming to his rescue.
     
  6. Sam Gamgee

    Sam Gamgee Every tool is a weapon if you hold it right. OT Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2001
    Messages:
    78,919
    Likes Received:
    64
    Location:
    Western MA
    :confused: What the fuck are you talking about?
     
  7. boris yeltsin

    boris yeltsin New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2004
    Messages:
    32,056
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    My question exactly? Mind explaining Chevere?
     
  8. cedric

    cedric I don't have a contract

    Joined:
    May 9, 2004
    Messages:
    88,516
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    San Francisc:noes:
    Don't think he can, seeing as how he got banned.
     
  9. boris yeltsin

    boris yeltsin New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2004
    Messages:
    32,056
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada

    Again? :mamoru:
     
  10. GND

    GND BBP! OT Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2002
    Messages:
    75,464
    Likes Received:
    51
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    stop
     
  11. Chevere

    Chevere Guest

    Honestly how can you people like this movie? All it does is reinforce negative stereotypes that all gays are out to turn every straight man, and every man (or missionary) is secretly gay.

    Oh and sorry it took me so long to find this thread again all of my posts got purged by some Smod
     
  12. cedric

    cedric I don't have a contract

    Joined:
    May 9, 2004
    Messages:
    88,516
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    San Francisc:noes:
    Why do you even bother posting in here? You have yet to contribute anything positive to this forum. Even if you have something negative to say, the least you could do is present it in a manner that doesn't make you sound like a complete idiot.

    We're pretty open to people's opinions in here, and all we ask is that you're respectful in return. If you can't even comply with that simple request, then GTFO. Your immature bullshit may fly and even get you some laughs in the OT forum, but it won't in here.
     
  13. Chevere

    Chevere Guest

    If you're too fucking stupid to formulate a response, don't even bother. I presented a question you are unable to answer.
     
  14. cedric

    cedric I don't have a contract

    Joined:
    May 9, 2004
    Messages:
    88,516
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    San Francisc:noes:
    Your response just proved my point.

    And as for "a question I'm unable to answer." I'm assuming that you're referring to your comment about the movie. You're making a blanket assumption based on the single case portrayed in the movie. Nowhere does it suggest that such behavior is wide-spread within the gay community. The character Christian does represent a stereotype about the promiscuity of some gay men, but that has nothing to do with gays trying to convert straight men, nor does it suggest anything about missionaries. I didn't think that anybody's analysis of the film would be so shallow as to come to that conclusion. Either that or you just posted that to start something. And there's a reason your posts got purged.
     
  15. bri1042

    bri1042 New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2004
    Messages:
    43
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    And to add to all of that, the walking marshmallow peep (Christian) did a great job of growing up during the course of the film and was obviously quite happy with his adorable gay mormon at the end.
     
  16. cedric

    cedric I don't have a contract

    Joined:
    May 9, 2004
    Messages:
    88,516
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    San Francisc:noes:
    :bigthumb: The end scene made the movie for me.

    Oh, btw, I finished Half-Life for the second or third time and I emailed Aaron Krach, the author. I actually got a response. He's a very cool guy. I thought I'd share a quote from his email with the rest of you. I just thought it was :cool:

    "We still make a lot of mistakes and do dumb things, say the wrong thing, and are ugly and stupid and whatever. But we are mostly, a breed of creative, emotional people that love as deeply as is humanly possible."
     
  17. mamoru

    mamoru New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2002
    Messages:
    15,408
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    New York Shitty
    :eek3: I thought I was the only one lame enough to email authors after reading their books :mamoru:

    With that said, I ought to pick up a few of these suggested novels, as for me, I just finished Saving Valencia, by Steven Cooper. I enjoyed it a lot. It has nothing to do with Paris Hilton, I swear, but it involves the lives of the heirs to the world's most prestigious hotels...

    I'm reading The Alchemist right now, and I highly suggest EVERYONE to read this book...millions of copies sold, you get hooked instantly, and it's all for personal growth :)
     
  18. cedric

    cedric I don't have a contract

    Joined:
    May 9, 2004
    Messages:
    88,516
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    San Francisc:noes:
    Yeah, this was the first time I actually bothered to email the author after reading his book. I dunno what compelled me to do it. I didn't find it as touching as some of the others I've read, but something about it appealed to me. I was actually pretty surprised to get a response from the author. As I mentioned before, Aaron Krach is a really cool guy.

    I've been reading a lot of David Sedaris lately. I finished 3 of his books a few weeks ago. Light-hearted and humorous. They're not necessarily overtly gay, although Sedaris is a homosexual. I'd describe them as collections of stories which color the author's life.

    I've heard good things about the Alchemist from a friend as well. I might have to pick that one up.
     
  19. cedric

    cedric I don't have a contract

    Joined:
    May 9, 2004
    Messages:
    88,516
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    San Francisc:noes:
    Sorry to revive a month-old thread, but I just read this book. I've been on a reading binge the past few days. I agree, it's awesome. I've been meaning to read it for a while now, and my friend happened to have a copy, so he lent it to me. It's one of those books that's relatable to pretty much anyone's life.:bigthumb:
     
  20. cedric

    cedric I don't have a contract

    Joined:
    May 9, 2004
    Messages:
    88,516
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    San Francisc:noes:
    Clay's Way by Blair Mastbaum
    First off, the author obviously did his homework when researching the the culture of the islands, and that becomes apparent in the authenticity of his portrayals. I was born and raised in Hawaii and I'm actually back home for xmas.

    Reading this book while being here was a pretty strange experience, especially since I'm personally familiar with nearly every location in the book. The prejudices the characters in the book face are the same ones that kept me in the closet while I was growing up, and are part of the reason why I'm conflicted as to whether I'll ever be comfortable living here as an openly-gay adult. On some levels, I suppose Hawaii is welcoming to gays, but on just as many, it can be brutally cruel and unforgiving.

    This is a good book for anyone who wants to see the coming-of-age gay experience unfold in a unique location, that plays as much a role in the events taking place as the characters themselves.

    Set against the dazzling backdrop of Hawaii's Oahu and Kauai islands, Clay's Way seethes with energy and hormonally charged nihilism. For 15-year-old Sam, a wanna-be punk rocker who writes bad haiku poetry, his middle-class suburban life feels like a prison. Mistaking lust for fate, Sam becomes obsessed with Clay, a 17-year-old surfer, outwardly cool but equally adrift. The violence and tumult of Clay's search for identity propels him, with desperately confused Sam in his wake, through the hardest decisions and obstacles of their young lives.
     

Share This Page