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Everyday History

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If you woo, win, and walk away, a second chance is going to cost you.

Headstrong Ruben Harper has yet to meet an obstacle he can’t convert to a speed bump. He’s used to getting what he wants from girls, but when he develops a fascination for a man, his wooing skills require an upgrade. After months of persuasion, he scores a dinner date with Henry Normand that morphs into an intense weekend. The unexpected depth of their connection scares Ruben into fleeing.

Shy, cautious Henry, Ruben’s former high school history teacher, suspects he needs a wake-up call, and Ruben appears to be his siren. But when Ruben bolts, Henry is left struggling to find closure. Inspired by his conversations with Ruben, Henry begins to write articles about the memories stored in everyday objects. The articles seduce Ruben, even as Henry’s snowballing fame takes him out of town and farther out of reach.

Everyday History, a romance told with Alice Archer’s unique style and lush prose, was named a Top Book of 2016 in the HEA USA Today column Rainbow Trends.

Standalone romance. HEA.

290 pages, ebook

First published June 29, 2016

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About the author

Alice Archer

5 books73 followers
Alice Archer has lots of questions. Scheming to put fictional characters through the muck so they can get to a better place helps her find answers.

She shares her stories with the hope that others might find some healing too. Alice has messed about with words professionally for many years as an editor and writing coach.

She also travels a bunch. Her home base is Eugene, Oregon.

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5 stars
330 (54%)
4 stars
188 (30%)
3 stars
55 (9%)
2 stars
24 (3%)
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13 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 241 reviews
Profile Image for Nick Pageant.
Author 6 books869 followers
Read
August 7, 2016
No rating.

This was incredibly well written... I think. I'm not quite sure because while the language was stunning and poetic, I didn't feel there was a gift inside the exquisitely wrapped package. I was bowled over by the beauty of the author's phrasing many times while reading, but ultimately I don't feel I ever understood either MC. This is just one opinion and I do recommend that people give this book a go. I will read more from this author.

I should also mention that the age gap here gave me the creeps, but I admit that I'm a big hypocrite and that nearly all men and women of eighteen years are incredibly hot. I was hot at eighteen and I'm guessing you were too.

Wanna hear a story? Yes? Okay, here goes...

I am terrible at picking up guys - the WORST. This is because I'm never able to tell if a guy is interested in me. How can I flirt if I don't know when I'm being flirted with? The whole eye contact business is lost on me. I can do small talk, but I don't know when to do it. So I'm only 100% positive that a like-minded gentleman wants to get to know me better if he produces his penis and points it directly at me.

Now, here's the funny bit. When I was a youngish lad of 24, I rode the bus to work every day. I would hop on at 6th and Burnside and then, at 6th and Stark, a stunning guy would climb on and sit a few rows ahead of me. As the weeks went on, the rows between us disappeared, we did the eye contact thing, the polite nods, and finally smiles, shy hellos, and awkward small talk. I realized, after some serious soul-searching and hopeful masturbation, that I was being flirted with and that my new acquaintance was interested in getting to know me much better. The trouble was... he would NOT ask me out.

I worked up my nerve over the course of a few days and, on a Friday, decided it was time to pop the question. I was pretty much tongue-tied and so my stop came and went. I was going to be late for work, but reasoned that the potential for ass was more important than clocking in on time. I swallowed the lump in my throat several times and blurted out something like, "I'd love to take you to dinner." I can't remember what I said or what he said exactly, but I do remember that his face lit up and it was like the cliched sun parting the tired clouds. The guy's smile was like a rainbow with a pot of lube at the end. I was beyond excited. I was rigidly happy.

We grinned at each other for a while and then my new friend squeezed my thigh, wrote his number on my hand, and told me his stop was coming up. I told him I'd see him soon, then I watched as he shouldered his bag and stepped off the bus... in front of Lincoln High... where he was a Senior.

It's times like those that you wonder if you should just go ahead and turn yourself in to the police. Wouldn't it be easier than walking around wondering when they are coming to arrest you for chasing after high school students? Anyway, I went to work, scrubbed the incriminating ink off my hand and wished, not for the last time, to be younger.
Profile Image for Renée.
1,023 reviews312 followers
May 2, 2021
Reread

I finished this book two hours ago and then attempted to go to sleep. By way of this review, I'm still awake. Still thinking about this book.

Quietly brilliant.

There is no flash or bang to this book. It is simply a story. A beautiful, eloquent story that wrapped itself around my heart.

Consciously, we teach what we know;
unconsciously, we teach who we are.

Henry meets an eighteen year old Ruben when he's a high school senior and Henry is a museum curator and educator. There is no romance at that time, though. Henry would never go there with a student.

Once Ruben has graduated, he pursues Henry aggressively. They spend one long, amazing weekend together before Ruben leaves for college. But both know nothing will come of it.

Ruben's thoughts are selfish and naïve, but very real to an eighteen year old who has just realized his true sexuality:

I'm not ready to fall in love. It's too early. I'm too young. There are too many men I haven't yet met.

Sex, please, hold the love.

Henry, however, is ready to settle down. After a literal lifetime of loneliness and heartache, he wants a family of his own. He wants marriage. He wants kids. And he very much knows that eighteen year old Ruben can't/won't be that for him, no matter how much he winds up adoring him.

"I could love you, Ruben. I could get lost in love with you."
Ruben swallows and makes himself ask, "But?"
"But I'm done being lost and alone."

Neither man walks away from that fateful weekend unscathed. We have a significant separation where both men are with other people. But it was organic to the story. It had to happen that way. Both had to come to realize that one weekend was all it took.

The absolute heartbreak and pining took my breath. Even during the separation, the gut-wrenching methods of communication these two attempted......sniff.

Everyday history. The mark of taking a simple, everyday token and turning it into so much more. Because of life. Because of experiences. A scarf is not just a scarf once you explore that person's history, the story of their attachment to that item.

To Henry and Ruben, a scarf has its own story to tell. About them.

As does a pen.

And apple pie.

And a family photo.

The pacing in this book won't be for everyone. It's a very slow-paced story, especially the first few chapters. But it was like peeling one layer away at a time and unveiling Henry and Ruben. I read it in one sitting. It was un-put-downable.

This is more of a love story than a romance, with a splash of coming-of-age. But there is a fantastic, hard-won HEA. Including an epilogue.

I'm sorry I waited so long to read this. It'll be a reread in the future for me. It'll stay with me for a long time.
Profile Image for JANe.
1,094 reviews733 followers
February 7, 2018


If you have read this book you will get the meaning of my first pic.



I have pinned this quote for awhile now. I thought it was witty and funny.
Not anymore. My perspective of that quote changed completely after reading this story.
It's quite sad.

Everyday History is an exquisite experience.
We feel, we smell and taste this tale.

We hear talks around an oven in a room smelling apple pies,




we watch the stars in the silence of night,



we hear whispered secrets,



we learn the everyday history of ordinary people



the everyday story of Ruben and Henry.



and we live, for a few precious moments, together with the MCs, a life before mobile phones and computers come to exist. Good times...

A beauty in its simplicity.
Loved it!
Thank you, Katerina <3
Profile Image for LenaRibka.
1,411 reviews414 followers
July 8, 2016

4,5 stars

A perfect book doesn’t exist. A perfect book that readers of various ages, backgrounds, genders, social status, with different tastes in books and genres will find equally well.
I become aware of this fact especially when I come across a book that touched me in a special way, that hit the right buttons and pulled the right strings in my perception of a good read, but I kinda not sure whom I can recommend it to.

Everyday History is one of those books.

Some of you might find it odd and frustrating:

Keyword: PRESENT TENSE.
Keyword: Age DIFFERENCES.
Keyword: Student-teacher-relationship.
Keyword: Changing POVs.


Some of you will love it to pieces:

Keyword: THE PRESENT TENSE.
Keyword: THE WRITING.
Keyword: Everyday History's ARTICLES.



I can pretty well understand the both lagers. What I won't be able to understand EVER: if this book leaves you indifferent.

It is a love story, a very intense and sensual love story. And it is brilliantly written love story, and it is an unusually told love story. In spite of the fact that the whole story-line is focused on Ruben and Henry, they are apart for the most part of it. But even if they don’t spend a lot of time together physically and even if there are no detailed sex on the pages, it is one of the most erotic books I’ve ever read.



Reading it was like going through a thick heavy fog of sexual tension...

Reading it was like listening a melancholic beautiful music...

Reading it was like watching in slow motions how a magnificent flower bursts into blooming...

Reading it was like falling in love deeply desperately, madly.

Reading it was like experiencing all these emotions by my own...





Everyday History is the most perfect imperfect book for me.


***Copy provided to Gay Book Reviews by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.***
Profile Image for Suanne Laqueur.
Author 22 books1,486 followers
November 3, 2019
I read this on Katerina’s recommendation. I now review it with Katerina’s words: “I thought I’d read all the beautiful stories. I was wrong.”

Mind-blowing. Perception-altering. Life-changing. One of the best fucking books I’ve read in my life.
Profile Image for Hulya Kara Yuksel.
870 reviews1,049 followers
May 25, 2019
Oh my gosh. This book was absolutely epic! I'll never forget Henry & Ruben! ❤❤❤

Ms.Archer, you're bloody amazing. 🤗🤗🤗
Profile Image for Ele.
1,265 reviews41 followers
December 12, 2017
"Who has fully realized that history is not contained in thick books but lives in our very blood?"
- Carl Jung-


I loved it all. The history porn, the heartfelt romance, the staccato, poetic writing. Alice Archer, you 're on my radar now.



Profile Image for Line.
1,082 reviews173 followers
October 22, 2018
Just as amazing the second time around. What a fabulous story!

------------------------------------------------
English is not my native language, but reading a book like this where the language was eloquent (poignant at times) and so dogdamned gripping that I could not put it down, was an almost spiritual experience for me.
I cried SO. MANY. TEARS. reading this one, both happy and sad tears. And it was a true masterpiece in evocative writing -IMO.

The ending might have been a wee bit OTT, but grand gestures ALMOST always make me smile since they bring me great joy (it's the sappy romantic in me!)

I really wasn't too sure when I started this, but then... *phew*...
Just, if you haven't read this one, and if you're a fan of (mostly) authentic romances as well as 'finding-yourself'-stories, dive right in!
I cannot recommend this one enough and an extra hardcore shout-out to Henry, for being steadfast in his beliefs that he deserved more! I LOVED that!
description
Profile Image for Elsa Bravante.
1,101 reviews172 followers
September 3, 2017
No sé cómo hacer llegar lo mucho que me ha gustado este libro, la cantidad de sentimientos que me ha despertado, y lo maravillosa que me ha parecido la forma de relatar de la autora. Harry y Ruben se conocen como profesor-alumno en un seminario, 32 años y 18 respectivamente, una vez que dicho seminario termina pasarán juntos unos horas que cambiarán su vida, Harry busca una relación, Ruben quiere experimentar todo lo que pueda en la Universidad, por lo que un futuro juntos es complicado. A partir de aquí comienza un relato bañado de esperanza, pero también de realidad.
Es un libro de personajes corrientes, pero que al mismo tiempo no lo son, donde el protagonismo corre a cargo de los sentimientos, sentimientos muy reales con los que muchas veces podemos identificarnos. El final es un poco OTT, pero se lo perdonamos.
Un libro muy muy por encima de lo que suelo leer en MM, tanto en la forma en la que está escrito, como en el análisis de los personajes, y la profundidad con que algunos sentimientos se tratan. Es una pena, porque sé que una historia tan íntima y llena de sensibilidad nunca será un hit en un entorno donde lo que triunfa son historias sin ningún tipo de profundidad donde parece que lo más importante es que haya cien mil escenas de sexo narradas con el más mínimo detalle. Meh.
Profile Image for Nazanin.
1,037 reviews587 followers
April 9, 2020
2 Sars

DNF @ 70%

If it wasn’t for the writing, I’d have quit it so sooner. The writing was really good; it was beautifully written and at some point even magical but the thing is the MCs were separate from each other for nearly half the book! I quit at 70% and they still were separate (and I think the separation part had been begun around 30%). It was too much for me but considering all the good reviews I'm in the minority here so don’t listen to me and read it, hope you like it!
Profile Image for TheCrazyWorldOfABookLover.
362 reviews863 followers
December 30, 2017
"This is the kiss I’ve been searching for."


I'm not even going to attempt to properly review this, not with the tears obstructing my vision or the fact that this was SO FUCKING BEAUTIFUL there is no way anything I say will do this justice.

Beautiful.
Unique.
Touching.
Beautiful.
Gut wrenching.
Did I say beautiful?

The writing in this is superb. The prose is perfection. The last twenty percent had my heart in my throat, tears in my eyes, and a smile so fucking big it may never leave my face.

Loved it and highly recommend it | http://amzn.to/2BLOmAn

*I realize this review is ridiculously short and offers no useful info. But if you like m/m romance, age gaps, and the prose of Suanne Laqueur and the slow burn love Mariana Zapata writes, this may just be for you ;) 

"Yes, it was love, I finally admit as I walk away, my body heavy with sadness and the relief of truth. It was love that wrecked me even as it saved me.




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Profile Image for Kaje Harper.
Author 72 books2,483 followers
July 30, 2018
This story has a different feel from many M/M. It is deliberately slow, detailed, and poetic in its phrasing and approach. The present-tense narrative unfolds along with the progress of the main characters toward an understanding of who they are, and who the other man is as well.

Henry is a history professor, a quiet but intense guy who loves to teach and who has a knack for bringing history to life. Among the senior high-school students he teaches at a museum class is Ruben. Ruben is the golden boy, the young man on the cusp of adulthood who is the magnet for most of his peers. He's intelligent, poised, casual, gorgeous, and destined to get almost anything he wants out of life. Henry, who is gay, has no illusions about how attractive he finds Ruben, but he also has integrity and an iron control and he is not going to make so much as eye contact in a way that reveals anything beyond a teacher's interest in a promising student.

For Ruben, attraction is a slow and insidious thing, seeing Henry first as a brilliant mind, and only very gradually noting the man behind the words. Slowly, Ruben begins flirting, subtly and then more openly, trying out the power of his youth and attractiveness against the indifferent rock that is Henry. And then, once Ruben is of age, graduated, and the class is over, ending their student-teacher position, Henry lets himself be caught.

They have one weekend, incandescent, imperfect but still something more than either of them has had before. And then Henry ushers Ruben out the door, and out of his life, and Ruben, shaken by his experience, dedicates himself to a normal gay college student's life. Fun. Classes. Men. Beer. It should be the best time of his life, except he keeps measuring everything against one quiet, surprising, intense history teacher, and one unforgettable weekend.

Henry is also determined to move on with an adult life, and to let Ruben spread his wings and fly. But random moments week after week echo back to that surprising weekend, and something that went deeper than he ever imagined.

This book is a long, slow, awakening. For me, it was one I could not put down, despite what in other hands might have been purple prose and cliche. It worked for me, as something unusual and beautiful, and well worth the time.
Profile Image for Jewel.
1,778 reviews242 followers
December 18, 2017
All. The. Stars!!!!!

​History.​ It's a subject I often dreaded in school, but learned to appreciate later.​ ​When I was in school, history usually ​meant facts and dates about important events from long ago. Things that if taught properly, take on a life of their own in the mind of the teacher and the student. And if not, they're flat and boring things with no real context. Forgotten as soon as they're no longer needed.

But, really, everything around us has a ​story to tell. A history. ​Everyday history of everyday objects tells us the story of us. And ​​Everyday History is gorgeous and poignant and brilliantly written and the ​story of Henry and Reuben comes alive in ways that stories don't often accomplish.

Henry​ Normand​ is​ more than​ a teacher of history. ​He's private, complex and when he feels, he feels with his entire being. ​As he teaches each new batch of interns at the museum where he curates, he instills both an admiration and a passion for not just the facts of the past, but the context in which they happened. He's exactly the kind o​f​ teacher I always wanted and seldom got. He brings his subject matter alive for his students.

Henry's own history is something he keeps to himself. Fear of rejection and shame for things that were not his doing has kept Henry from giving himself completely to anyone. Trust does not come easily to Henry, but if anyone deserves to be loved wholly, it is Henry.

Reuben​ Harper​ is one of Henry's students. Young, passionate, charismatic​, popular. Through Henry's teaching, Reuben discovers he has developed not just a love of history, but a major crush as well -- Reuben's first crush on a man. That Reuben wanted Henry was never in doubt, but he's so young and just discovering himself. I found Reuben to be honest, insightful, and thoughtful, but he was also so new to discovering his attraction to men and so was not ready to commit.

​When my friends recommended ​Everyday History to me, I had no idea it would grab onto my soul quite as firmly as it did. No idea that it would become one of my favorite books. No idea what it would mean to me. But it did all of those things and I want everyone to read it!

-------------------
Elf in Black Lace works FAST! I barely put this book on my to-read list and she's gifting it to me! Thank you -- you spoil me!!! 😘❤️
Profile Image for Kade Boehme.
Author 33 books1,054 followers
Read
July 4, 2016
I dont often review with more than a few quick words and star rating bc I try not to be on GR, but I had so many feels I had to come here and do this.

I'm not gonna star rate this book because I tend to come at these from my pretty solely Genre-M/M Romance reader point of view, which I feel like taints the general good fiction of some books as fabulous fiction with a gay love story running the characters to their ultimate ending. Also I'm not giving this a star rating because I'm gonna split this review to be fair to this book and splitting the difference would unjustly affect my overall star rating and I can't bring myself to do that to this author or this work because I'm... Conflicted. But in so many happy ways I didn't want to not THOROUGHLY sing the praises of the good, while making sure my friends here who have the issues I do with this as an M/M won't be forearmed.

I'll kinda work my way through here.

First and very much foremost... JFC the writing. It was like music at times and gave me so many feelings and TRULY made me love each of the characters in their own rights. That's a feat. Especially as I DESPISE present tense books. With a passion. They bore me, I skim. And yes, I did once or twice here, that's mostly my present tense issue and not the writing itself. It was just gorgeous and I'm jealous because I could tell each moment and each word were picked carefully. The overall execution of memories and each article and each scene was just... breathtaking.

And as a fiction, the stories of these two mens' lives and how they ultimately affected change in the other and how they evolved... It was a pleasure to see each step. Really, their growth was charming and so fucking touching. And REAL. Like, I felt each bit of it, sexually, emotionally, as people this was so organic and rang true.

As I said, as a gay fiction about these two men and how they changed each other -- yes with love in the end -- was fabulous.

But this is where my M/M niggles come blowing through. One of my absolute biggest pet peeves in a romance is when the characters dont have much page time. And while their page time was magical, in the scheme of the book it was only about 25-30% of it all which made me grumble. And in the grand scheme of the story, until the epilogue, only literal hours to a couple of days of them actually on page as two people in a romantic / sexual relationship. This is by definition TELLING us how much they care and skipping all but one or two chances to actually show us them together loving. Not to mention, the sex was very little and fade to black more than not, so this could be off-putting, to some. And...

That comes down to my bigger thing, which wasn't so much the age difference, as I love older/younger stories, but this bicurious-to-eventually-out 18 yr old (who aged to almost 21 before the epilogue, but 18 during The Weekend) and an openly gay man over 30 who pine for each other for so long. I tweeted a friend "When the 30 yr old is too old to not kno the sexually confused 18 yr old is a bad bet." While it was romantic, it DID require more suspense of disbelief than the actual storyline and premise made me okay with. Especially bc I kept thinking Mr. Over-30 was only-in-a-romance so hung up on this child. And yeah, as a millennial, it's hard not to think of 18 as "child", no matter how (awkwardly, at times) mature his vocabulary was. And it was never convincing, not on our 32 yr old's part. It honestly could have worked as seamlessly minus the entire Happy Ever After. ALSO, as someone who was an educator, who taught 16-18 yr olds (and I'm still in my 20s) though he wasn't an actual teacher, I think I did have more problems with his sleeping with a student-intern who was SO MUCH younger than him, even though I know it's fiction. I try not to mention things like that, but again, my M/M notes are to forewarn/forearm.

But that's, again, where the romance came in and some of the M/M elements were magic with first-time things/virgin territories, the overall feeling of family, a beautiful sex scene, and an Epilogue that just made me swoon. As the tie-up, it worked well. But for the M/M reader in me, the stuff I said in the previous 2 paragraphs did make it a little hard to chew.

I don't go through this trouble for reviews often, if ever. It'd be a disservice to the book and the author not to gush on the good -- hell, the FABULOUS -- that was here. But it'd also be a disservice not to say, as a long-time M/M reader, that THAT, the M/M Romance part of the story, didn't disappoint me more than a little.

But goddamn will I ever give this author another read, because this was a helluva story with some great characters. I recommend it for the STORYTELLING that really was just great. But I do have to forewarn anyone who, like me, isn't a fan of the entire relationship developing off page, because this was more a story of their personal growth, separately, than about their relationship. <- THAT. That sentence in all its craziness sums up the whole thing I just babbled about for an hour haha. Lowercase romance readers will love it, but uppercase Romance, genre fic readers may be put off.

Either way. Kudos to Alice Archer, tho. That was some beast writing. And you made me FEEL! There's no bigger win than that.
Profile Image for .Lili. .
1,154 reviews260 followers
Read
July 3, 2016


DNF

So, I know everyone's been loving this book, but I just don't see it. There were two reasons for this:

1. I hate present tense. Sometimes I can look past it, but in this case my brain was often bored.

2. I thought the writing was choppy. The way the POVs alternated were all over the place. It felt all disjointed.

Those two things combined made it impossible for me to get into the story. Sorry.

No rating.

Profile Image for Ⓐlleskelle - That ranting lady ッ.
982 reviews765 followers
December 31, 2017


GUYS. You guys. THIS BOOK. The writing. The characters. The romance!!! I'm in love with it all!
The prose is mesmerizing, gorgeous and I just can't believe I found my 2017 gem right there, right now. I found exactly what I was looking for. Precious!
The intense push and pull the author tied around her characters equals the impression of a taut leash on my feelings. My heart! BUt it's so good! Simply AMAZING.
Full review to come.

More reviews and book talk at :

You can find me here too ☞
Profile Image for True Loveislovereview.
2,115 reviews1 follower
January 30, 2020
5+++
An impressive poetic beautiful read. Extremely good. I'm gonna babble in this review because I feel internally heated by the beauty of this story and the way how this is written and my lack of English words. My goodness, It touched and moved me so deeply I was overwhelmed lost. Yes....thát good. It hit all my buttons.

Henry and Ruben the mentor and the student

"Despite, during, and beyond the learning curve, he’s fearless. Instinctive. Majestic."
Those sentences just wow

"I’ve been waiting in desire’s wordless, reckless, thoughtless swirl since the first time his expressive mouth smirked"

When Ruben speaks “I’m away for the summer. After that, I’m not waiting any longer.” Henry only can nod. Three months later they found their way to each other.
It was like they gracious danced around each other telling stories, making love, eating, drinking.
A lot of passionate sensual passages but minimal sexual interactions to read, mostly by imagination or by memorizing. The sexual tension was outstanding. The tension was so so sensual and beautiful.
But then follows what they both knew would happen they separate.
My heart broke when they said goodbye.

The distance between them is large but the yearning is larger.
Henry starts writing and publishing his 'everyday history' and Ruben reads them, shocked and feels them in his soul. He memorized his days with Henry.
That's what a great part of this book is about...the meaning of Henry's 'everyday history' how they were born in his life, memorizing each other with longing and deep yearning reflections on how they were together so perfect but both with other ultimate goals.
Henry wants a forever and knows Ruben is too young to give him that and Ruben wants a forever but not now....he just starts to live.

We can read his 'everyday history' beautiful in this story but I want them together and time flies. I can't wait the moment they will reconnect I'm impatient

Ruben's life is spinning because everywhere he experience Henry and he is all he can think of.
And the only thing he has is memories.
Henry is living his life meeting people making progress and Ruben is shrinking and squirming through life. He is obsessed and learning about Henry who tells through his articles.
And o my God is there a story to tell.

Ruben has to redeem himself and he is afraid he is running out of time.
That's where the searching for Henry starts and believe me that was a hell of a job.
Ruben tries everything and had help from his friends but it's a slow process.
Sometimes I really wanted to scroll through the pages to go where they will finally meet, but I couldn't it was too captivating, I was under the spell off...
It was horrible to keep them so long separated pure horror.

Finally, finally, with an epic, last part Henry and Ruben can hold each other.

"My heart needs a home."

There are some passionate breathtaking and heartbreaking parts that will hunt me for a long time. No lie I even dreamed about it at night touching parts that made me cry.

It switches from Henry's point of view to overview and that really works great.

Outstanding book with the most beautiful defined sentences you only can read sporadically.
A deeply touching story that has to be read!

I loved and hated the apple pie in this story
Profile Image for Ariana  (mostly offline).
1,320 reviews34 followers
March 15, 2020
*4,5 stars*

An absolutely gorgeous and different book.
The concept of 'everyday history' really changed my way of looking at things. It is brilliant and very touching, and so true. I have looked at stuff in my house with a completely changed mind-set since.

I loved the love story, the intensity of feelings, the beauty of a real connection between two such different men. The age gap, the situation - it all felt real and totally relatable. The age gap is so beautifully done here, I just swooned all the way. And I understood where both men are coming from, and why they do what they do.

However, what I couldn't quite buy is that Ruben has such trouble reaching Henry. Yes, he is a technophobe, but I think there would have been ways and means ....

Still, this takes nothing away from the beauty from the book and the brilliant love story it tells.
Profile Image for * A Reader Obsessed *.
2,079 reviews424 followers
December 27, 2019
4.5 Affecting Stars!


"Sex please, hold the love"

That is the mantra of Ruben. Charismatic, confident, everyone’s best friend. People flock to him to bask in his light, but Ruben’s barely a man, and when he surprisingly develops a crush on his high school teacher, he finds himself changed, intrigued, and determined to discover exactly what it is about Henry that makes him so enticing.

Henry and Ruben are vastly different in all the ways that could possibly count - looks, personality, age, and especially where they are in their lives. However, once Ruben graduates, they act on their attraction, and it’s explosive and intimate. In such a short time, they reveal and learn about the other with an intensity that far surpasses every prior experience… but just because they’re perfectly perfect for one another, they both know that Ruben is just not ready for such a commitment. They kindly use the other to take the next step towards a new chapter in their lives and part ways.

Not surprisingly, things don’t go as planned. Ruben is forever, irrevocably changed and compares everyone he meets to Henry, unable to let go but stubbornly staying away. It doesn’t help matters at all when Henry starts his successful column commenting on the significance of what many would deem benign or ordinary possessions. He claims that so many of the items we own, all carry important meaning and value - whether it triggers a feeling, represents a life event, or brings up memories about a special person, and in Henry’s case, that person is often Ruben. When Ruben discovers this, it gets harder and harder to not be affected, and he gradually realizes what needs to be done. Thus, a journey begins for both men - one chasing, the other trying to move on.

What can I say except that this was really beautifully written. It’s descriptive, evocative, sensual. You too, will be touched and moved by Henry’s musings, just like Ruben. You'll also feel Ruben’s own regret and desperation as he starts to form a plan and hopes he’s not too late to rectify past mistakes. The narration overall was very good. As a warning though, Daan Stone hardly varies his voice between exposition and the characters, making it difficult to discern who’s talking at times. I admit, this had me pushing the rewind button often. That pales in comparison though to the prose. This book was detailed in all the ways that were important, wrenching out those emotions and showing what love is - pain, pleasure, regret, how much it can torture, haunt, strengthen, and even grant acceptance and freedom. It showed just how deep that love can go, and where it can humbly start with something so simple as a pen, a photo, or an article of clothing, while at times those things leaving barely an impression, or perhaps the most important and profound part of the entire rest of your life.

Thanks to the author/publisher for the audio in exchange for a honest review

Profile Image for Alisa.
1,758 reviews177 followers
April 27, 2017
The writing in this was absolutely gorgeous. Such a uniquely done story. Henry Norman is a socially isolated man. He teaches at a local museum and has no family and few friends. His passion lies in his love of the history of things. He believes that everyday items; stoves, lamps, pictures, etc tell us the story of our lives. One year, he has a magnetic student named Ruben Harper in his class. He can't help but be drawn to Ruben's personality and wit. At first it's just a curiousity but as the school year goes on he finds himself attracted to the younger man. Ruben is quite cheeky and openly flirts but Henry ignores the advances due to Ruben's age and the student/teacher dynamic. After Ruben graduates the two men meet again and their relationship takes on an entirely different focus.

Sometimes you read a book in which the writing just wows you. That was the case for me here. The overall plotline was something I'd read before in other books but this author's execution and writing style were so different and so beautiful that I could not put this book down. It was almost lyrical in the way it was written.

The dynamic between the two men was different. The way the look at life and their relationship was so interesting to me. Some of the conversations they have were things I have never read in a romance story before. I especially loved a dinner they have early on where Ruben breaks down what attracted him to Henry month by month. Each month he discovered a new body part or new personality trait that fascinated him and he explains how those things effected him. It was a bit awkward and a bit beautiful (as I imagine most love related things are when explained by 19 year olds).

I was a bit apprehensive at first of the age gap. It's not the number of years that bothered me but how young Ruben was when they first meet. For me there is a giant difference between a 30 & 44 year old dating and a 18/19 & 31/32 year old dating. The first parts were uncomfortable for me and I wasn't sure I'd be able to keep reading. The beauty of the prose is the only thing that kept me reading and then thankfully Ruben goes off to grow up. They don't actually end up together until Ruben's older and the way everything came together seemed believable to me. By the time they get back together I was 100% rooting for them.

The author's style is so distinct that I think people will love it or hate it. I'm firmly on team love.
I don't know if she always writes like this or if it was just this book. This was the first time I had read anything by this author but it won't be the last. I read a lot of books each year and it's rare that I find something that is so unique and different. Most of the books I read blend together by the end of the year but this is one I think that will always stand out.
Profile Image for Sandra .
1,674 reviews308 followers
August 8, 2016
I read this book at the request of the author who provided me with a free copy for review.

I had no idea what to expect, really, other than a romance developing between a history teacher (Henry) and his student (Ruben). The age-gap was initially a bit of concern, but as I got past the first chapter or so, I didn't think much about it any more. Though Henry does, of course.

It was fascinating to watch these two very different men, one young and impetuous, the other older and much more cautious, and how they acted with one another. Initially, it seems that Ruben views Henry as another conquest, but that's not really the case. And Henry, struck by Ruben just the same, is always very aware of how inappropriate his reactions are, and doesn't act on them until after Ruben is no longer a student of his. So, nothing untoward here.

The writing style is very different from my usual romance fare, and switching between Ruben's and Henry's POV, but in such a manner that was not jarring, but fascinating. Some of you may not like the POV switches, or the fact that this book is written in the present tense, which can make a story feel breathless - and which is not the case here. In fact, I think if it were written in the past tense, it would not have had the impact on my emotions that it did. Watching Ruben panic and flee after the intense weekend he spends with Henry, and watching him slowly come into himself and figure out what he wants and needs - magical to watch unfold.

The supporting cast in this book, including Henry's jerk of a literary agent, was also well done, and sufficiently fleshed out to not become cardboard characters. They fit seamlessly within the plot, and provided on occasion the catalyst for character growth, especially as far as Ruben is concerned.

The title of this book plays on the articles Henry writes, first for a newspaper column, then in book format, and I thought them to be rather interesting. To look at everyday objects and create stories around them, stories that put meaning into these objects - that was rather unique content, one that I really appreciated.

There is little steam here, though it'd be silly to ignore this book for that reason. What matters most to me in any romance is the emotional connection between the main characters, that their romance is believable, and that they touch me in some way, that they bring out my own emotions as well. Sexy times, while certainly appreciated, are not required for my enjoyment level. And emotions - this book has them in droves. They fly right off the pages, and I fell for Ruben just as quickly as I fell for Henry. And while the characters spend little time together on page, you can see the connection they have, the strength of it, even while they're apart.

Their relationship, even though derailed for a while, due to Ruben needing to grow up a bit and figure things out, and due to Henry being patient and understanding that all he might get is just that one weekend with Ruben, still grows and grows. Even if neither has any idea whether the other feels the same way, even if they don't reunite until almost the end. They both understand however that what they have is worth fighting for, and fight for it, they do, with Ruben going after what he wants, and Henry realizing that he can have Ruben for good if only he is brave enough to reach for him.

Beautifully written, highly engaging, and definitely recommended. Get yourself a copy of this and savor every single word inside. The many unique aspects of this book are well worth your time.


** I received a free copy of this book from its author. A positive review was not promised in return. **



Profile Image for Sofia.
1,124 reviews189 followers
July 29, 2016

4.5 stars

Archer based her book on three rocks which made it a great read for me:

Her writing which rocks. The tense used made me present with what was happening, giving a kind of immediacy as the story unfolded.

The love story between Henry and Ruben with it’s own heartbreak and breakthrough. When is the right time to fall in love? Is there ever a right time?

And the most important rock of all for me, the everyday history, the stories within stories interwoven in this story and if we look for them and are willing to listen the little stories that make up our lives too. Memories linked to objects around us which then become part of us as they link us to our past, to feelings, emotions, people. So even thinking of throwing away your mother’s things brings on a storm of emotion.

If I had any kind of choice I would have chosen to end the book without the epilogue or with a different one. The epilogue was maybe too sweet and chockful for me. I wanted something more in keeping with the rest of the book which I loved.

A little note about the cover. I rarely notice the covers but this one make me smile because Archer chose it well and she linked it with the story and that’s what covers should be about.

A great read with Irina which kept our attention even though life was very demanding.
Profile Image for MaDoReader.
1,365 reviews147 followers
October 4, 2017
Es raro que yo últimamente encuentre un libro cuya voz narrativa me secuestre, me enamore, un libro que tenga que parar cada 3 x 2 para decir "ay mis feelings". Pues el domingo apareció, el 70% de este libro me parece la cosa más sublime que he leído hace tiempo, sin duda.

La historia de Ruben y Henry comienza de una manera maravillosa, poética y real. Es un canto a los sentimientos, a conocerte a ti mismo y a ser honesto con quién eres, o quieres ser. Cada conversación entre ellos oscila entre un puñetazo en el estómago y un baño de emociones, desde el principio son tan brutalmente sinceros el uno con el otro, y ves que se van a amar tanto, que estás mordiéndote las uñas hasta que ves luz al final del túnel.

La forma que ha elegido Alice Archer de contarnos su relación es perfecta, alterna la primera y tercera persona con maestría, y no, no cansa (al menos a mí). Me ha parecido uno de los grandes puntos a favor del libro y ojalá pueda leer más de la autora.

Peeeeero, una vez hecha mi declaración de amor a Everyday History, también os diré que a partir del 70% el tono cambió y ya no me gustó tanto, no sé cómo se le pudo ir la mano a Archer, los telefilms no son lo mío, y se me hizo peliculero por momentos, romántico sí, pero ya no era lo mismo, prefería el estilo anterior. Ni el epílogo me gustó 100%, en fin, al menos tuve una buena dosis de "it was amazing", no me quejo.

Otro recomendable, a pesar de los pesares ;)
Profile Image for Laura.
1,351 reviews199 followers
January 26, 2018

”How much more history can I store?”

Alice Archer’s Everyday History is a beautiful, beautiful read. A story of connection, personal growth, love, and history. The history of everyday objects, the memories they keep, and what they mean to the people that use them play a pivotal and powerful part of this book. Do you have an item from your childhood still close by? How about something that reminds you of the happiest time in your life? A book, shell, dish, or t-shirt that means something special to you? I think we often keep things just to remember the past or to hold the people we love or lost close. The objects we use every day and keep close to us tell so much about our lives. They can tell our stories.

“What did the people who actually used this say to each other about it? What was going on around them as they used it? What did it mean to them in their everyday lives? All of that.”

Henry Normand, a quiet, reserved man and teacher, teaches history to high school teenagers. One young man catches his eye—Ruben Harper. Ruben is “all exuberance and smiles and charm”, a ball of energy that revitalizes Henry. Wakes him up! Every look, smirk, and smile Ruben throws his way in class fills Henry with new life. After graduation and a yearlong battle of restraint and flirting, Henry and Ruben succumb to their desires.

“After what feels like decades of denial and waiting, Ruben is finally allowed to touch. His shaking fingers light up like matches against the soft, dark stubble along Henry’s jawline.”

Their intense weekend of connection leaves Ruben and Henry’s hearts and lives forever intertwined. But can or will they allow themselves to fall in love? Or will they only have this one weekend together?

This gorgeous journey of love and self-discovery is told in the most exquisite style. Our main characters are apart most of the story. Each going through his own time of growth and change. I know, I know. You’re probably saying, “Yeah—but they’re not together, Laura!” But here’s the thing…they felt together to me in a way. They were so present in each other’s lives the whole time. They think and remember and relive their connection and time together over and over. They killed me! The way they kept denying their feelings and future together. GAH! But then history steps in. Henry turns to writing to help heal and understand his feelings. And maybe, just maybe history can help Henry and Ruben find their way back to each other. The way Henry wields his words and stories to seduce and woo is dazzling! His articles re-tell bits and pieces of Ruben and Henry’s time together little by little. Readers begin to really see the affect these two had on each other. We read the articles, hear how Henry is trying to open up and teach, and see Ruben grow and realize what he needs and wants in this world. The writing is elegant and sensitive. It all creates such an air of longing and love. I adore the feel of this book. It’s deliciously palpable! A bag of apples, pair of pajamas, the love of history, and more all come together somehow to paint a picture of love. Who knew apples could make me swoon? :)

You need to experience this journey for yourself. Ms. Archer will sweep you up and in with her intelligent characters, warm charm, refined mood, and language. The small, rich details and lines that filled this story were some of my favorite moments though. The lines like—“flinging signs of life into the air around us” or “hums a yum to himself as he chews”---all added up to magic for me. The writing pulled me in and held me close from the first word to the last.

Now If I had to find an issue to grumble about here, it would be that there were one too many mentions of people hitting on Ruben or people swooning over him or him saying “why isn’t anyone hitting on me”. But really….*hand over heart* it wasn’t much to complain about. This elegant romance has a flavor all its own. A romance that will win your heart.

Alice Archer stole my heart in one shot! I’ll be on the lookout for more from her for sure.

Highly recommended.


My inner battle with this story: (This note is really for me for later, so feel free to ignore it.)



Profile Image for Melissa.
1,208 reviews73 followers
October 8, 2018
This didn't work for me. 😕 I didn't like Ruben; he is 17/18 and he comes across as way more mature than he should be. But then at the same time he definitely acts his age when it comes to his feelings for Henry.

The style of story telling is what really turned me off the story. The drama around the characters lives and decisions was just so painstakingly too over the top. Yes Ruben is 18 and yes he is just now finding himself attracted to men. But he doesn't want to be in love? Simply because he is young and just starting his life. I didn't like that reason and it really turned me off Ruben. People search their whole lives for love, and Ruben threw it away?!

This is more like 2.5 stars for me. The ending was cute, but almost too perfect.
Profile Image for Loulou .
771 reviews
November 27, 2022
Good lord.

What an outstanding epic book this was.
Bmit is just so poignant, so eye opening, so beautiful. How have this book not been on my radar before?

Suanne... thank you for this rec.
I loved it.

Even though the spend over half the book apart, it was necessary. Ruben has to grow up and be enough for Henry. Henry needs to shine and make more everyday histories.

Henry is looking for himself, and over the course of the book, Ruben is looking for Henry.

Their reunion was well worth the wait.
What a spectacular book.
Profile Image for Karen.
1,859 reviews84 followers
April 27, 2017
Compelling...

That's my one word for this story. Ok, now let me explain where I'm coming from with this. Many years ago I had a very dear friend, whom I loved like a sister. We played this game where we'd point something or someone out to each other and then we'd each have to describe or explain whatever had been selected with one word. My friend has since passed away but this game, this test of the mind if you will is part of my 'Everyday History' with her so it seemed really fitting to me that I start my review with a bit of my own everyday history by finding that one word that explained this story for me.

I could have gone with fantastic, amazing, riveting, lovely...there were so many words that came to mind for me. But I finally settled on 'compelling' and if you chose to continue reading I'm going to try and explain why...hopefully without spoilers or boring you to tears.

I actually bought this in e-book format when it was first released last year but as sometimes happens I squirreled off to other things and while I kept intending to go back and read it...well, it just never quite seemed to happen. So I made grabby hands when asked if I wanted to review the audio book. Hell yeah, here we go another on off of Mt. TBR. I was all over this and then I started listening to the story and I couldn't stop. It was all I wanted to do...just sit and listen to Daan Stone tell me this beautiful, amazing story about 'Everyday History', about Ruben and Henry, about finding love at the wrong time in your life and realizing to late what you'd walked away from and could never forget, about fighting to get it back and make yourself complete. But more than this as I listened to this amazing story told by what I believe for this book was the perfect narrator, I found myself looking around my room, my little haven where I often spend days surrounded by my own collection of 'Everyday History' with a whole new appreciation for the little things in my life and the meaning that they have for me.

I have to admit going into this my one real concern was the age gap. I've done bigger age gaps than this one and been ok with them, but for me this one was touchy because of Ruben's age at the beginning he was all of 18...well...almost, while Henry was in his thirties. Thankfully the author's handling of this particular challenge and the fact that the age gap was in fact only 14 years helped to ease my concern in this regard and if you've read any of my other reviews for books where there's an age gap than you probably need to give your jaw a push up right about now because me saying the words 'only 14 years' in regards to this issue is probably a bit of a surprise. However I have in fact stated on previous occasions that my age gap comfort zone is 10 years and can stretch to 15 if things work for me and in this case things worked for me.

At the end of this wonderful journey that was created by a new to me author, Alice Archer and narrator, Daan Stone, I can truthfully say that my word for this is still 'compelling'. It was a beautifully combined effort that enchanted me from the very beginning and made me want to do nothing more than close my eyes and allow myself to be surrounded by the words that created this story.

I may read this in book format one day but truthfully I'll probably just go for the audiobook again and let the smooth richness of Daan Stone's voice take me on Ruben and Henry's journey again...after all if it's not broke...why fix it?

'Everyday History' may be Henry and Ruben's story but it's one that we all can tell.

********************
An audiobook of 'Everyday History' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Mare SLiTsReaD Reviews.
1,132 reviews69 followers
July 31, 2018
07/18
Even better the 2nd time around. I remember reading a pre-release of this while my dad was really sick and crying buckets over the book and my RL situation.
2 years of my dads passing just passed and my dumbass decided to re read this around the same time.

“Tears release the pain that is embedded in your heart and soul. Don't ever be afraid to cry.”
― Maria Koszler


Worth every tear for this book and its HEA.

Sigh
Mare~Slitsread

This book gave me all the feels!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Its my favorite trope. The separated love. The love through the distance.
Just the fucking love that you can feel on every single page.

I havent read a book like this in a long time.

Kudos to this author for showing me all the feels and not telling me. '

All the stars!

Mare~Slitsread
Profile Image for Amber’s reading.
538 reviews97 followers
June 15, 2019
Everyday History is a beautiful and uniquely written story that will bring you hope and restore your faith in the power of love. A story I needed to get over the heartbreak that my previous book brought me.

Thanks to a Hulya and Katerina for the recommendation.
Profile Image for Jennifer☠Pher☠.
2,692 reviews222 followers
January 22, 2020
This kind of took my breath away. While I don’t think I could read books like this always, when they find their way to me, breathless. This book had such a way of weaving a love story, I really couldn’t put it down.

This book opened my eyes, my heart and my soul to love. To people, to things.

I wish I had a better memory. I wish I remembered more things, more experiences from my life. I’ve never thought of history this way and yeah, now I wish I had kept better track or just could recall things that I know mattered. I wish I could go back and ask questions to people who are no longer in my life. I wish I paid more attention to, well, all of it. Maybe I’ll try to be better about this now.

Really, this book just made me feel so much, the good and the bad. Because this book wasn’t as perfect as I thought it was going to be. Somewhere along the way something changed for me and I wasn’t as enamored as I had been in the beginning. I went from that amazing overwhelmed feeling to the more frustrated overwhelmed that just made me feel, I don’t know, anxious. Uncomfortable. It started to change what I felt the outcome should be. Something strange happened while I was reading and I started to actually fall a little bit out of love, especially with Ruben. I stopped seeing the reason and only saw unnecessary obstacles. Unnecessary pain and more than anything, unnecessary partners.

But then it kind of came back to itself, but not in the same way. I still really enjoyed it. I found it a story that I would probably read again and know for sure I’d gain more from it each time.

Maybe I just started taking it too seriously? I almost feel like for me to really "get it" I might need to read it again. This really made my mind spin. There was so much I loved and so much I just didn't agree with and didn't understand. I do know for sure, days later, it is still with me, almost hauntingly so.

**ARC provided by the author via A Novel Take Promotions in exchange for an honest review.**
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