Bornstein's perspective is totally unique and fascinating at the same time. The questions she asks about gender are poignant and thought provoking, an...moreBornstein's perspective is totally unique and fascinating at the same time. The questions she asks about gender are poignant and thought provoking, and her view of where the world needs to go is wholly original and desirable. What do you actually know about gender? What makes you the gender you've always thought yourself to be? Bornstein does not claim to have the answers to the tough questions, but she's at least willing to ask them when no one else seems able to. This book could spark an abundance of necessary conversations, I only wish more people would read it in order to have those conversations!(less)
In a murderous time the heart breaks and breaks and lives by breaking. -Stanley Kunitz "The Testing-Tree"
I can think of no better epitaph for Giovanni's...moreIn a murderous time the heart breaks and breaks and lives by breaking. -Stanley Kunitz "The Testing-Tree"
I can think of no better epitaph for Giovanni's Room than this. I also can't think of any better way to describe how I felt reading it. It will break your heart again and again and give you the strength to go on by so doing. The book is a lot like falling in and out of love in that fashion. Everything about it ripped my heart out and tore my soul to pieces but I couldn't stop going back to it and I seriously hope that I will be able to experience the cavalcade of emotions again at some point. Reading it reminds you that you're alive. There's no way around it, Giovanni's Room is the best book I've read in I don't know how long. It's certainly the best of the 49 books I've read so far this year.
Giovanni's Room is about a young American man who falls in love with a young Italian man while living in Paris. But it's about so very much more than that too. It's about the manner in which the world leaves us (Americans specifically and American Men in the 50's even more specifically) so woefully incapable of speaking our minds and being honest with ourselves. It's about the difficulties of being gay in a world that doesn't want you, that criminalizes your love, and the price of trying to make a go of it anyway. It's about the fallacy behind certain human and American ideals as the pursuit of happiness. In short, it's the single most human story you're likely to ever find. I defy anyone to not find his or herself mirrored in these pages and in these character's struggles, successes, and failures.
I spent a large portion of the day reading it and during that time I experienced every emotion known to man. I loved, I hated, I pitied, I was angry, happy, and sad, and through it all I felt this painful longing that never ceased. It's difficult to watch the choices David makes from a 2013 perspective and not feel angry; it's difficult to put yourself in the 1950's mindset and contemplate how you *would* have handled the situation or how he *should* have handled it, but difficult is not synonymous with impossible and the overall effect of the story is not loss because of those difficulties.
I think as a society of readers we've become very fond of praising a book by saying we couldn't put it down, but this is the first book I've read in years for which that is literally true. Every time I had to put the book down to answer the phone, to check an e-mail or message from facebook, or just to go to the bathroom I was left with an ache and an extreme desire to pick it back up as soon as possible. Thank God the book isn't as long as the Game of Thrones books or else I don't think I'd be getting any sleep or eating much over the next few days until I finished it. Giovanni's Room is simply the most remarkable, powerful, moving, and astonishing book I've read in a very very long time; I only hope that there will come a day when I find myself with the mental and emotional fortitude to read it again. (less)
Love and acceptance of oneself and of others is a theme at the heart of this amazing British play that revolutionized English theater. As the censorsh...moreLove and acceptance of oneself and of others is a theme at the heart of this amazing British play that revolutionized English theater. As the censorship of the theater was stripped away, Churchill took the opportunity to present a play that was overtly frank in its depiction and discussion of sex, sexuality, and gender roles in the 1970's. Homosexuality, gender bending, adultery, violence, racism, and graphic language all take center stage in a play that will leave you both hysterical with laughter and contemplative about the importance of love, acceptance, and family in the face of social norms and expectations. Far too adult to be taught in grade school, Cloud 9 is, nevertheless, a play that should be read by everyone.(less)
The funny thing about reading Shel Silverstein again when you get older is that 1) it's wonderfully nostalgic, and 2) it's surprising that I read this...moreThe funny thing about reading Shel Silverstein again when you get older is that 1) it's wonderfully nostalgic, and 2) it's surprising that I read this as a kid since I clearly didn't understand a lot of what Silverstein was getting at. In the end, I feel the same way about these books that I do about Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, it's totally a childhood rite of passage that all must go through even if it's likely to scare the shit out of them or even go right over their heads at first. These poems stick with you in to adulthood and then blow our mind upon reread with the general "Oh that's what that was about" realization. (less)
What McCarthy does here is something that could not have been done better by anyone else. The Road is a story of love, loss, heroism, fortitude, and h...moreWhat McCarthy does here is something that could not have been done better by anyone else. The Road is a story of love, loss, heroism, fortitude, and hope in the face of hopeless circumstances. McCarthy's sparse use of language and the utilitarian methods of the character's speech is nothing short of genius in showing the uselessness of pomp and decorum. In a world where everything has been stripped down to its most bare essentials, what purpose is served by long winded soliloquy? However, McCarthy never dumbs down or lessens the beauty of his prose no matter how desperate the situation may be. Using short but poignant, fast-paced, and moving dialogue, McCarthy pens a novel that equal parts genius and entertainment. This book should be read by everyone. (less)