What's Robert Been Reading

Here's some things that I have recently read that I thought you might find interesting.

Robert, your Group Administrator

Big Gay Book Group Home Page

Got some books, you want to recommend to others?
Send an email to biggaybookgroup@hotmail.com
with a short write-up of the book,
and we'll post it to the website.
This is only available to active members
of the Book Group.

Answered Prayers cover image

Answered Prayers

by Truman Capote

Party of the Century cover image

The Party of The Century:
The Fabulous Story
of Truman Capote
and His Black and White Ball

by Deborah Davis

C Z Guest American Style Icon cover image

C.Z. Guest:
American Style Icon

by Susanna Salk

Okay, so after reading the highly entertaining The Swans of Fifth Avenue by Melanie Benjamin for Book Group this month, my Truman Capote buttons and obsession went into high gear, so I had to go ahead and read Truman Capote's Answered Prayers and also The Party of The Century: The Fabulous Story of Truman Capote and His Black and White Ball by Deborah Davis.

The Capote unfinished novel, Answered Prayers, that had been promised seemingly forever by Capote, reads like Capote and his the truly scandulous reveal of all time.  No wonder he became reviled by his Swans and many, many others.  While no means even close to be Proust, it certainly does cover a great deal of Capote's adventures in the U.S. and abroad in the only three chapters extant.  Did he even have more to reveal?  Who knows?  But it is amusing to pick out the celebs as his narrator reimagines them in this twisted tales.

Davis' book, The Party of The Century, provides a snappy biography of Capote and more deeply explores his psyche and relationships, particulary the times and events surrounding the publication of In Cold Blood and his Black and White Ball as the end stunt of publicity whirlwind for the book -- wait no it really was a party to honor, Kay Graham, really. Davis generates excite with the events leading up to the day of the ball with descriptions of the gowns, the hair, the masks, and the planning of the guest list -- who's invited/who's not -- and makes this an engaging and rapid fire read about the late 1960s and this High Society event.

I also took a quick glance through C.Z. Guest: American Style Icon by Susanna Salk, an huge photography book with contributions from all kinds of people (Joan Rivers, Peter Duchin, and Liz Smith, to name a few) who knew her with an incredible photographic exploration of this woman's homes, gardens, and life.  Quiet splendid book.  I may have to break down and get myself a copy.  It really captures a glimpse into the very high society lady and of a time goneby.

A Little Life cover image

A Little Life

Hanya Yanagihara

 Finally finished re-reading the mammothly great book by Hanna Yanagihara, A Little Life.  It was as good a read the second time around.  It is definitely one I will revisit again in a few years. This is one of my favorite books from 2015.  This is an incredibly well-crafted and well-written novel that looks at the relationship that develops between to two college friends, Jude and Willem, their very non-traditional modern romance, and their other college friends, colleagues and families; the ones they are born into and the ones they make for themselves or that are created around them.  It is also a New York novel -- I am always drawn to books set in New York.

As the book unfolds, we learn of the tragic events of Jude's young life and the current state of his psychological makeup.  This is a rare and heartrending look into abuse and its lasting effects, mental illness and how it shapes Jude's life and those around him.  This is truly a powerhouse of a book, a very brave book and a generous liteary read.  I am very eager for more from this extraordinary writer.

City on Fire cover image

City on Fire

by Garth Risk Hallberg

One of my other favorite books from 2015 is Garth Risk Hallberg's debut novel, City on Fire, which is also another large book and a great read, as well.  One of the most entertaining elements of this novel is how the author takes this small cast of characters and weaves them in and out of each others lives like an incredible rollercoaster ride.  Also set in New York City and surrounds, the settings play as key a part of the story as do the characters, and with the historical event of the 1977 Blackout, the city and these characters breathe relentlessly as the mysteries continue to unfold.  This is also another book I am very eager to go back and read a second time again this year.  Hopefully I can get to do that.

Here is the publisher's description of the book:

New York City, 1976. Meet Regan and William Hamilton-Sweeney, estranged heirs to one of the city’s great fortunes; Keith and Mercer, the men who, for better or worse, love them; Charlie and Samantha, two suburban teenagers seduced by downtown’s punk scene; an obsessive magazine reporter and his idealistic neighbor—and the detective trying to figure out what any of them have to do with a shooting in Central Park on New Year’s Eve. 
The mystery, as it reverberates through families, friendships, and the corridors of power, will open up even the loneliest-seeming corners of the crowded city. And when the blackout of July 13, 1977, plunges this world into darkness, each of these lives will be changed forever. 
City on Fire is an unforgettable novel about love and betrayal and forgiveness, about art and truth and rock ’n’ roll: about what people need from each other in order to live . . . and about what makes the living worth doing in the first place.


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

Big Gay Book Group
Copyright 2005-2009, 2010
email: biggaybookgroup@hotmail.com