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Lucky
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The two novels I have recently read have nothing to do with gay stuff, but those who loved New Orleans might like The Tin Roof Blowdown, a mystery set in post-Katrina New Orleans. Author James Lee Burke creates a vivid drama that helped me learn a lot more about the devastation of the hurricane and what life was like in its immediate aftermath.

 

And New Yorkers should like Pete Hamill's new book North River. It's about a doctor in the West Village who, having lost love, heals his heart, or tries to, by taking care of the sick. Set in 1934 and alive with gangs and Tammany Hall, the book is a very nostalgic look at old New York...one that we can only read about.

 

The third book does talk about gays, but in the context of the Supreme Court overruling Bowers v. Hardwick, the last case where the court used the Bible to uphold its views. The book, of course, is The Nine, by Jeffrey Toobin, and it details the recent history of the Court and its justices...or are they injustices?

 

Any ideas on what to read next? On my table is Hotel De Dream, Edmund White's new novel set in 1890s New York and telling a gay tale about Stephen Crane.

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Guest zipperzone

>The third book does talk about gays, but in the context of the

>Supreme Court overruling Bowers v. Hardwick, the last case

>where the court used the Bible to uphold its views. The book,

>of course, is The Nine, by Jeffrey Toobin, and it details the

>recent history of the Court and its justices...or are they

>injustices?

 

I too have just finished "The Nine". One could almost hear Toobin's voice saying what he wrote. I think we havn't even just begun to see the horrific decisions that will be coming down the pipe from this collection of religious rightwingers. Bush has truly managed to screw gays and a whole collection of others whose religious beliefs don't live up to his expectations - just wait and see!

 

And our own PM will probably try the same thing.

 

There is something horribly wrong with our systems that allow heads of state to appoint supreme court judges for life. There should be a maximum term they can serve for.

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I agree. "Tin Roof Blowdown" is beautifully written --the descriptions of the bayou country are rich. The "thriller" aspect of the plot is compelling, but the book really showed what happened during and after Katrina. That and Spike Lee's documentary, "When the Levees Broke" were devesating. (I visited the Ninth Ward in NOLA recently and there's scant improvement. Our country needs a Roosevelt.)

 

Also highly recommended is Thomas Mallon's "Fellow Travelers," a novel about two gay men (one closeted, married) in McCarthy-era Washington. The prose here is also rich and the ending is just heartbreaking. I don't know how many times I cried at the end of a book (very few, I'm sure), but I did when this ended.

 

Two excellent mysteries: Laura Lippmann's "What the Dead Know" and Nancy Pickard's "The Virgin of Small Plains." Both kept me up well into the night.

 

 

Lankypeters

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Guest Jocoluver

I "accidentally" read "The Nine" -- more interesting than I expected.

 

The most devastating part was the discussion of Bush v. Gore -- devastation!

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Well, Mr. Kow, I avoided The Road as it seemed really dreary, although I liked his last book, No Country For Old Men.

 

But Fellow Travellers sounds interesting, so I'll put that on my list. Thanks, lankypeters.

 

I kind of regret mentioning The Nine as I didn't want the thread to turn political, but I guess that I have long since learned that threads take on lives of their own. Kind of like wayward children.

 

I did read Hotel De Dream and really enjoyed it. Edmund White imagines the dying author Stephen Crane dictating one final tale, about a New York banker who falls in love with a street boy in the 1890's. It's a great story, albeit one we are all probably familiar with. White's realistic depiction of the disintegrating Crane shows that he knows death and dying well. Lessons learned, no doubt.

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I'm on an indulgent escapist binge right now.

 

I'm re-reading the five books in the "Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy" trilogy.

 

I'm also reading a fantastic biography of Benjamin Franklin, as well as the autobiography of Sir Georg Solti.

 

At this time it's kinda fun to just "go away" for a few moments each day.

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Deej,

 

Are you reading the BF bio by Walter Isaacson? He also wrote Einstein, His Life and Universe which I am reading now. The math explanations might be a little off putting for some but the story line is interesting.

 

Best regards,

KMEM

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I am finishing Raymond Khoury's "Sanctuary" this afternoon. He wrote the bestseller "The Last Templar" last year.

 

Up next is Joseph Finder's "Power Play," and yesterday I purchased the new Ken Follett historical tome (1000 Pages! Yikes) "World Without End."

 

Has anyone read the new John Grisham book, "Playing For Pizza," which entered the NY Times bestseller list at Number 1 this week? It sounds like a real snooze and departure from his usual formula. "An American third-string quaterback joins the Italian Football League's Parma Panthers." is the description given. Has John run out of steam or just ideas?

 

ED

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>I'm on an indulgent escapist binge right now.

>

>I'm re-reading the five books in the "Hitchhikers Guide to the

>Galaxy" trilogy.

>

>I'm also reading a fantastic biography of Benjamin Franklin,

>as well as the autobiography of Sir Georg Solti.

>

>At this time it's kinda fun to just "go away" for a few

>moments each day.

 

If you like Hitchhiker's, Restaurant at the End of the Universe and

Goodbye and Thanks for All the Fish; you should definitely read some of his other works. My favorite is Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency about how the search for a missing cat can save the universe. (Would like to see the porn movie version (Dirk Diggler's Hole-istic Detective agency). The Long Dark Teatime of the Soul is also a nice distraction. Each can be read on a cross country plane flight.

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Guest zipperzone

>Has anyone read the new John Grisham book, "Playing For

>Pizza," which entered the NY Times bestseller list at Number 1

>this week?

 

No - and I probably won't. I was a great Grisham fan when he first started his marathon - thought "The Firm" was a real gripper. But when he started to churn them out, on what almost seemed like a weekly basis, he lost me forever.

 

>It sounds like a real snooze and departure from

>his usual formula. "An American third-string quaterback joins

>the Italian Football League's Parma Panthers." is the

>description given. Has John run out of steam or just ideas?

 

Probably both.

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I have long been a John Grisham fan. Have read every book that he

has written. Most all of them have been a nice easy read,

interesting subjects and plots. My special favorites have been

"The Client", "The Testament', "The Brethren" and his first book

"A Time to Kill". BUT..............."Playing for Pizza" is just

a waste of time, very predictable story, not very interesting

unless you are a die-heart football fan. I almost find it hard

to believe that John Grisham even let it be published !!!

I heard that he will have another novel coming out next spring.

Sure hope he gets back to an interesting story and plot. Maybe

he is just burned out. He certainly does not need the money

any longer.

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Well, deej, I guess our record of agreeing with each other comes to an end! What, were we in accord two consecutive times?

I don't think those books would interest me. I have not enough interest in Franklin to read a biography of him.

:-)

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KMEM, yes it's the Walter Isaacson bio. I'd already read (and enjoyed) his tome on Einstein.

 

Purple, I've read all of Douglas Adams. This is just an escapist revisit. The movie left a bit of a bad taste in my mouth, so I want the good memories back. ;-)

 

The HHGTTG volume I'm reading from includes a lengthy introduction by Adams that tells the tale of how the tale came about over the years. Errrmmmm, sorta. It, itself, is a worthy read. Man, I wish I could use the language the way he does!

 

Lucky, what can I say? Colonial America has always held a fascination for me. There's something intriguing about reading what the founding fathers really thought.

 

It's almost chilling reading Franklin's views (even as a teenager, and a loyal subject of the King) on keeping religion OUT of government. Some of his early writing is almost spooky in today's light. Prescient, you might almost say.

 

And, hey, what's not to like about a guy who once wrote "Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." ;-)

 

It's actually a bit unusual for me to be reading a book that doesn't have a CD in the back flap to begin with. I'm sorta enjoying having 3 going at once!

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RE: Susannah and The Elders

 

I guess I am having an Edmund White weekend since I am now reading his book of short stories about aging men called Chaos. His third story, Give It Up For Billy, is about an older man's infatuation with a go-go boy in Key West. Reading the story I felt that White is either a poster here, or he should be! Give yourself up, Edmund!

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Guest TorontoJared

Here are a few books that I would highly recommend:

 

1. + 2. "As The Crow Flies" and "Fall On Your Knees" by Ann-Marie MacDonald. These are her first two novels and are both excellent. I thought that "Fall On Your Knees" was especially good for the twists and turns that it had in it. They're set in Canada and are very unpredictable. I truly hope that she writes more in the future as her descriptions, character development, and incredilbe storylines are amazing. Look it up on http://www.amazon.com to see a few reviews.

 

3. "Blue Heaven" by Joe Keenan was hilarious! I couldn't stop myself from laughing out loud during quite a few parts. His choices of words, quick wit and unforgetable characters are what make this gay comedy great! I'd recommend this to anyone!

 

4. "Les Miserables" by Victor Hugo will always be one of my favorite books of all time. It is the very definition of a timeless classic.

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This is a great topic; I've been looking for a new book to read lately. Here's what I have read recently and recommend highly.

 

"Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling" by Ross King.

This book recounts the four years Buonarroti spent fighting with Julius II painting the Sistine Chapel. The book is well researched and reads like a novel. King has done an excellent job in describing the process of fresco painting and the rivalries between Buonarroti and his contemporaries. If you are thinking of the movie The Agony and the Ecstasy with Charlton Heston and Rex Harrison this book will clear up your misconceptions. Also, King concludes that Michelangelo was asexual rather than gay or straight.

 

Also this book leads me to "Basilica" by R.A. Scotti.

A history of the building of the New St. Peter's Basilica covering the full two hundred year process. Starting with Julius II's razing of the 1000+ year old original built by Constantine this book is great reading. Again, papal rivalries, artistic egos, and political intrigue worthy of a novel but really a history story very well told. Bramante's design tweaked through the centuries and ultimately it was Michelangelo who saved the project from literal collapse so it could be finished. I'd call this a must read for anyone visiting Rome and seeing the Vatican.

 

And staying on a somewhat Roman theme, a work of fiction by gay author Steven Saylor called "Roma: The Novel of Ancient Rome" is a good read if you like historical novels. But knowing a bit about Roman history helps but it's not necssary to enjoy the work. Saylor tells the story of the city from it's founding as a trading post through the age of Caesar. Tracing the history of a talisman handed down from generation to generation fictional characters are interspersed amongst the historical events over the first 800 years.

 

Now for the light stuff, consider "Little Me" by Patrick Dennis.

Yes, that Patrick Dennis the author of Auntie Mame. This book is a wild parody of the celebrity biography that's well before it's time in absurdity. You'd think it was written just a few years ago instead of almost 50 years. The story of a really bad actress Belle Poitrine and her misadventures. What makes the book even funnier are the staged photographs from the "life of Belle Poitrine" which include some very well known character actors. It's a quick read and a lot of fun.

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Little Me was also made into a very fun musical. I heartily recommend listening to the original, Sid Caeser, version if you haven't already.

 

I recently finished the first three novels of a wonderful series, Temeraire. Some might think of it as escaptist, but it's really not. I mean, you can escape into it, but it also has some very valid points to make. It won some awards last year, and IMHO really derserved them. It is about a talking dragon and his flight crew, especially the captain of them, fighting on England's side in the Napoleonic Wars. Of coure, England is not the only country with dragons, and it is pointed out in the second or third book, that the Chinese actually treat their dragons better - less afraid of them and grand them more freedom and liberty, as befits sentient beings. The obvious parallel is drawn by having the captain's father be rather an activist for the abolition of the slave trade. No gay or bi characters who are out of the closet, yet, but the parallel can certainly be applied to us, too.

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Guest zipperzone

>Now for the light stuff, consider "Little Me" by Patrick

>Dennis.

 

>The story of a really

>bad actress Belle Poitrine and her misadventures. What makes

>the book even funnier are the staged photographs from the

>"life of Belle Poitrine" which include some very well known

>character actors. It's a quick read and a lot of fun.

 

Isn't this the book where she has her priceless Chippendale dining room furniture painted white and takes it as a compliment when everyone is speechless?

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Guest zipperzone

I found "The City of Falling Angels" by John Berendt (also the author of "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil") to be a great read. It is about the destruction by fire (arson?) of the historic Fenice Opera House in Venice. It paints a picture of modern day Venice and it's society and politics that is facinating. Strongly recommended.

 

An on the lighter side, if you want a good gay gossip, try Rupert Everett's autobiographical "Red Carpets and other Banana Skins".

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