Future Selections for the Group:
(Please note: Schedule is subject to change depending on availability of selections or at the discretion of Group members)

Big Gay Book Group Home Page

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These Things Happen cover image Selection for December 2014

These Things Happen
by Richard Kramer

Set among Manhattan’s high-powered liberal elite and told through an ensemble of endearing voices, These Things Happen is a not-quite-coming-of-age story about a modern family.  Fifteen year old Wesley, a tenth grader, has moved from his mother and stepfather’s home to live with his father and his father’s male partner for a school term so that father and son might have a chance to bond again.  But when Wesley finds himself unexpectedly at the center of an act of violence, everyone around him must reexamine themselves, their assumptions and attitudes.
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How To Be Gay cover image
Selection for January 2015

How to Be Gay
by David M. Halperin

No one raises an eyebrow if you suggest that a guy who arranges his furniture just so, rolls his eyes in exaggerated disbelief, likes techno music or show tunes, and knows all of Bette Davis’s best lines by heart might, just possibly, be gay.  But if you assert that male homosexuality is a cultural practice, expressive of a unique subjectivity and a distinctive relation to mainstream society, people will immediately protest.  Such an idea, they will say, is just a stereotype ridiculously simplistic, politically irresponsible, and morally suspect.  The world acknowledges gay male culture as a fact but denies it as a truth.

David Halperin, a pioneer of LGBTQ studies, dares to suggest that gayness is a specific way of being that gay men must learn from one another in order to become who they are.   Inspired by the notorious undergraduate course of the same title that Halperin taught at the University of Michigan, provoking cries of outrage from both the right-wing media and the gay press, How to be  Gay traces gay men’s cultural difference to the social meaning of style.

Far from being deterred by stereotypes, Halperin concludes that the genius of gay culture resides in some of its most despised features: its aestheticism, snobbery, melodrama, adoration of glamour, caricatures of women, and obsession with mothers.  The insights, impertinence, and unfazed critical intelligence displayed by gay culture, Halperin argues, have much to offer the heterosexual mainstream.
   
Firefly cover image Selection for February 2015

Firefly
by Janette Jenkins

NoŽl Coward: dramatist, composer, actor, director, lyricist, and at one time the highest-earning author in the western world.  He virtually invented the concept of the sophisticated Englishman for the 20th Century.  Queen Elizabeth knighted him in 1969, and since his death in 1973, there has not been a time when his plays are not staged (Private Lives), films shown (Brief Encounter) and songs sung (Mad Dogs and Englishmen).  An astounding talent, not even his very public homosexuality and his flamboyant lifestyle could diminish his popularity and acclaim.

Firefly is Coward’s beloved retreat on a secluded hillside in Jamaica.  There, between brandies and cigarettes, the entertainer wiles away his days – a dispiriting pattern of unwanted meals, reluctant walks, graceless swims in the pool – in the company of his man servant, Patrice, and reluctant former lover, Graham Payn.  They talk of a London long gone or imagined: Noel’s is peopled with glamorous friends – Redgrave, Taylor, Olivier, O’Toole – Patrice’s a naive vision of elegance and opportunity.

Set over a few weeks in the early seventies, Firefly sorts through Coward’s dreams and memories, his successes and regrets against a sultry Caribbean backdrop of blue mountains and endless vistas.  By turns revealing, wicked, witty, and unsparing, this sparkling novel is a moving portrait of age and friendship, and a poignant recollection of a life fully lived.
   
There Goes The Gayborhood? cover image
Selection for March 2015

There Goes the Gayborhood?
by Amin Ghaziani

Gay neighborhoods, like the legendary Castro District in San Francisco and New York’s Greenwich Village, have long provided sexual minorities with safe havens in an often unsafe world.  But as our society increasingly accepts gays and lesbians into the mainstream, are “gayborhoods” destined to disappear?  Amin Ghaziani provides an incisive look at the origins of these unique cultural enclaves, the reasons why they are changing today, and their prospects for the future.

Drawing on a wealth of evidence – including census data, opinion polls, hundreds of newspaper reports from across the United States, and more than one hundred original interviews with residents in Chicago, one of the most paradigmatic cities in America – There Goes the Gayborhood? argues that political gains and societal acceptance are allowing gays and lesbians to imagine expansive possibilities for a life beyond the gayborhood.  The dawn of a new post-gay era is altering the character and composition of existing enclaves across the country, but the spirit of integration can coexist alongside the celebration of differences in subtle and sometimes surprising ways.

Exploring the intimate relationship between sexuality and the city, this cutting-edge book reveals how gayborhoods, like the cities that surround them, are organic and continually evolving places.  Gayborhoods have nurtured sexual minorities throughout the twentieth century and, despite the unstoppable forces of flux, will remain resonant and revelatory features of urban life.
   
Arctic Summer cover image Selection forApril 2015

Arctic Summer
by Damon Galmut

Damon Galgut’s third novel, a fictionalized biography of English author E.M. Forster, focuses on Forster’s many years in India and the process of writing his masterpiece, A Passage to India.  This compact, finely wrought novel also addresses Forster’s unforgiving childhood in England and the homosexuality he feared and repressed throughout his life.  Psychologically acute without being sentimental, Forster’s relationships are described with compassion and great care. Galgut is a master at constructing strange, compelling landscapes, and Arctic Summer shifts seamlessly between staid, restricting England and Cairo and vibrant, pleasantly absurd India.  Moments of gentle humor shine through the sparse prose, lending Forster a humanity that makes his story all the more heartbreaking.
   
Summerville cover image Selection for May 2015

Summerville
A Thriller
by H. L. Sudler

It’s summertime in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, and everything is beautiful.  The town, the weather, the ocean, the people.  For four months this seaside community becomes a playground for vacationers seeking to soak up all the fun the town has to offer.  But this summer will be different, when devastating secrets threaten to destroy a family and nearly everyone they will come to know.  A fugitive murderer, a wayward socialite, a deceptive med student, and a destructive sociopath all set the stage for a combustive summer.  One filled with sex, lies, secrets, betrayals, vendettas, and a revenge that will scandalize this town beyond anyone's imagination.   From Miami Beach to Rehoboth Beach and from Cinco de Mayo to Labor Day, a trail of blood and destruction will snake its way through the lives of a select group of individuals who will become forever connected by the depth of hatred and the stain of murder.


 

To make recommendations for future selections of Big Gay Book Group,
please send your suggestions and recommendations by email to
biggaybookgroup@hotmail.com
Any recommendations will be presented to and voted on by
members of the Group during our Group Gatherings.

 
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