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I like to read good books!
Here are some I really liked.
It's been some time since I've written anything for staff picks which is a disgrace as I read an enormous number of books and am forever recommending titles to customers. Rather than choosing one title, I've decided to pick a number of different books that I've enjoyed and particularly recommend. A gay couple unexpectedly becomes guardians of an 11-year-old boy in Breakfast with Scot by Michael Downing (£9.99). This is a very funny novel and captures beautifully the joys and tribulations of parenting and relationships. Quite different is The Carnivorous Lamb by Augustin Gomez-Arcos (£5.95) which was published by GMP in 1986 and won the Prix Hermes. Set in a shuttered house in post-Civil War Spain where ghosts of past rebellion and present defeat taint the air, Ignacio is born. His father stays locked in his study, his mother refuses to acknowledge his existence. Only his brother Antonio is there for him -as a teacher, protector and eventual lover. This is a gutsy tender novel crying out to be filmed by Almodovar. Bitter Eden by Tatamkhulu Afrika (£11.99) is an autobiographical novel set in a prisoner-of-war camp during WWII. This frank and beautifully written novel deals with three men who see themselves as straight but who must negotiate the emotions that are brought to the surface by the physical closeness of survival in the male-only camps. The complex rituals of camp life and the strange loyalties and deep bonds between the men are compellingly depicted. One of the most passionate books that I've read in some time.
A customer recommended The Boy in the Lake by Eric Swanson (£9.99) to me. Going home to Ohio to bury his grandmother, a man remembers back to his childhood and to the arrival of a youth that changed his life forever. Growing up, coming of age, first love and betrayal are all explored in precise understated prose. Brian Molloy's first novel The Year of Ice (£8.99) garnered rave reviews in the States and with good reason. Set in Minneapolis in 1978, the narrator is the happy go lucky school jock surrounded by admiring friends, who is hiding a guilty secret as he slowly begins to come to terms with his sexuality. Laugh out loud funny, it deftly captures a whole process that all lesbians and gay men have to deal with. Comfort and Joy by Jim Grimsley (£8.99) is a poetic and finely wrought novel that explores the difficult journey two men make toward love. Ford McKinney is a handsome, successful doctor raised in a well-to-do Savannah family. His longtime boyfriend, Dan Krell, is a shy hospital administrator with a painful childhood past. When the holidays arrive, they decide it's time to go home together. But the depth of their commitment is tested when Ford's parents cannot reconcile themselves to their son's choices and long-kept family secrets are revealed by a visit to Dan's mother. Grimsley is one of my favourite authors. ________________________________
Uli's Reading List
Uli's Choices: Hey there! One of the best parts of my job is putting people in contact with books that they love...that take them on a journey. Whether that journey is purely an indulgent distraction from life, or takes them to closer understanding of it, it doesn't matter. I listen to people and suggest authors that they may find a resonance with. When they come back a week later with a light in their eyes and a massive smile on their face because I got it right, it's brilliant. My role is a real privilege. The list of titles that follow are some of the gay books that I've connected with: that I like. Your list will probably be totally different. As you will see I have a weakness for books that pack a punch, and literature that makes me think aswell as makes me smile. Here's my shortlist:
William's Doll. Charlotte Zolotow.
Heart-meltingly sweet kids book.
Skin Lne. Neil Bartlett.
A sinister and seductive novel.
Confessions of a Mask. Yukio Mishima.
Narcissism and hara-kiri. What's not to love?
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter. Carson McCullers.
Dislocated lives and deaf-mutes in the Deep South.
Wings. Mikhail Kuzmin.
Published in 1906, this was the first Russian novel to focus on homosexuality.
The Left Hand of Darkness. Ursula LeGuin.
Third-gender science-fiction espionage on a planet call Winter. Wow!
Naked Lunch. William Burroughs.
A roach-infested rollercoaster ride through hell.
And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks. William Burroughs and Jack Kerouac.
A vivid portrait of early Beat culture, 40s New York and what can lead to murder.
I Must Confess. Rupert Smith.
A fabulously entertaining comic satire.
Our Lady of the Flowers. Jean Genet.
Fair Play. Tove Jansson.
A gem of a novella about nothing and everything. Wonderful!
The Lazy Crossdresser. Charles Anders.
A great book with an inspired title.
Hard Boys. Harry Bush.
Amazing retro-erotic-graphic-art, and that's not all that's a mouthful in these brilliant pictures - just as good as Tom!