An eloquent and provocative personal account of gay life in New York City from the 50s through the 70s and the onset of AIDS in the 80s. Exuberant, tr...moreAn eloquent and provocative personal account of gay life in New York City from the 50s through the 70s and the onset of AIDS in the 80s. Exuberant, trenchant, gossipy, confessional, and generally awesome. The two main themes are White's life as a writer and cultural social climber and his life as a gay nymphomaniac. There are stints in Italy and Paris and a lot of name dropping. It's really entertaining but a little overwhelming, kind of like a speeding train of details and moments. It took me a while to like him, actually, but he won me over by the end. He's a beautiful writer and there were some awesome paragraphs I'll have to go back and find to add here.(less)
I was thinking "Ridiculous title -- and not *another* personality system!" -- but it turned out to be interesting and valuable. Plus I discovered that...moreI was thinking "Ridiculous title -- and not *another* personality system!" -- but it turned out to be interesting and valuable. Plus I discovered that lots of my friends had heard of Helen Fisher, from a Ted talk she did, so I had some fun conversations about it. And, I guess I'll admit that I took away a lot of good tips about relationships, not just romantic but with anyone. I'm always fascinated to think about how people may be wired differently and how to work with them most smoothly -- I don't think I've ever encountered a personality system I didn't feel compelled to master (Fisher would say that's my "Negotiator" personality type at work!).
The brain science behind the author's work in studies about relationships and as a designing consultant for Match.com and Chemistry.com is interesting -- each of her personality types is associated with a different brain chemical, and studies have correlated the different chemicals with different human behaviors.
If you're reading this and we're friends, I probably have opinions on what your primary and secondary types are, according to this, so feel free to ask :)(less)
Great, as usual for Billy Collins! Was it just me, though, or did so many of the endings seem a little glum? Anyway, I read the whole book in one sitt...moreGreat, as usual for Billy Collins! Was it just me, though, or did so many of the endings seem a little glum? Anyway, I read the whole book in one sitting. The poems are like candy.(less)
I hate giving books two stars, especially because I think this is a helpful book due to its solid advice, but "it was okay" definitely describes it.
W...moreI hate giving books two stars, especially because I think this is a helpful book due to its solid advice, but "it was okay" definitely describes it.
What was great: Reading the first part, about the internalization of shame and the shame-avoidant behavior that develops for gay men, was profoundly validating and valuable. I can certainly relate to it, and it's eye-opening to think of my own version of "outrageousness" being related to that. And the follow-up advice about coming to terms with shame and seeking authenticity and joy, was wonderful. It's interesting that he defines both "love" and "passion" (as in "true love," "following your passion," and "work with passion") in terms of joy. Passion for something or love for someone come from recognizing them as consistently bringing experiences of joy. And identifying that means recognizing joy in the first place, which isn't always easy to do. It also has some good relationship advice about integrity, conflict, and so on.
So again, I feel odd giving a book two stars when I definitely want to put its advice into practice. It just felt skimming-over-the-surface-y and repetitive (though of course that has the effect of reinforcing my memory of its advice, which is good). It certainly felt simplistic (though again, perhaps this is effective, so readers focus on the core ideas). I didn't really identify with the examples that much, not being involved in urban gay life or part of any upper-class occupation or lifestyle (again, I can see this being helpful for impressing a certain type of reader, who it sounds like the author has most experience with helping).
But it ended abruptly, on a lesson and example, with no conclusion to the entire book. Also, there were a crazy number of typos — at least one every three pages. Pretty slapdash. But I'm glad I read it.(less)