Tuesday, June 17, 2008

For Gay Pride Month: A Handful of Novels Every Gay Man Should Read (IMHO)

* The Front Runner - Patricia Nell Warren: That a woman wrote one of the most sexually enticing (as well as heart breaking) stories of the love between a college track coach and his star male student is cause enough to make this book a must-read for all. That it was published decades before such tales were the norm makes it a cause for celebration.

* Valley of the Dolls - Jacqueline Susann: Yes, it's trashy, tawdry and over-the-top, and that's what makes Susann's cautionary tale of showbiz so wonderful. Read it now and you'll understand just how well Susann understood the grist mill of Hollywood ... you'll be thinking of Lindsay and Brit and all of the other gals who are now wilted and faded somewhere in Hollywood - and of course, it's loaded with high camp histrionics and politically incorrect language. What's not to love?

*28 Barbary Lane (Tales of the City Omnibus), - Armistead Maupin: The first three books of Maupin's San Francisco Chronicles reads like a convoluted soap opera with a somewhat magical undertone. Follow our heroine, Mary Ann Singleton as she discovers life in swinging 70's San Francisco and meets a wacky, loving bunch of men and women, some who are gay, others who are transgendered, and others with deep dark secrets. It's like a big box of decadent chocolates that leaves the reader wanting more. And when your done with this, seek out the final three books which take a darker turn as the Go Go 70's morph into the AIDS riddled 80's.

* City of Night - John Rechy: A daring novel about a male hustler in the early 60's; this book knocked me on my ass the first time I read it at the tender age of 17. No holds are barred in this one. Interestingly enough, City of Night was said to have been one of Jim Morrison's favorite novels, and he references the book's title in his song, LA Woman.

* The Father of Frankenstein - Christopher Bram: A fictionalized version of the last days of gay movie director, James Whale (the director of the film, Frankenstein), this book gives the reader a somewhat sensationalized accounting of Whale's life and his constant struggle with his own sexuality. You may have seen the movie based on this book, Gods and Monsters.

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