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I'm Open to Anything

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  86 ratings  ·  21 reviews
A perverse and explicit new take on the coming of age novel, William E. Jones's I'm Open to Anything explores bohemian Southern California of the late 1980s and early 90s, before gentrification ruined everything. The book's narrator flees a crumbling industrial wasteland in the Midwest and finds himself in sunny Los Angeles without a car, working in a neighborhood video st ...more
Paperback, 169 pages
Published April 15th 2019 by We Heard You Like Books
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Average rating 3.97  · 
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 ·  86 ratings  ·  21 reviews

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May 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019, recs
Compelling and perverse, William E. Jones‘ debut novel I’m Open to Anything queers the conventions of the Midwestern bildungsroman. Set in the eighties, the novel follows an unnamed narrator as he moves from his Midwestern hometown to Los Angeles upon his college graduation. Instead of finding friendship, romance, and deep connection, the reticent graduate spends his days alternating between working at a pornographic video store, fisting sex partners, and reflecting on erotic art and film. Laced ...more
Aug 04, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: lgbt
William Jones' "I'm Open to Anything" is not for feint hearts or weak stomachs.

Guillermo grew up in a conservative little town in the Midwest and escaped to LA at the earliest possible moment in the late 1980s. Coming into his own sexual identity at the peak of the AIDS epidemic, he finds himself - and pleasure - in discovering alternative, perverse forms of sexuality, forms he learns about through the porn he rents and the people he meets. As he comes to terms with the power of self-censorship,
An alternate title could have been "Sex and Sensibility:" while the former is the hook, it's really the latter that carries the whole thing off. For better or worse, this is very much what I imagine the results would be like if I ever try my hand at fiction. Well, without the fisting, but very much all the long digressions on topics like Fassbinder, Caravaggio, and LA Plays Itself, as well as a melancholy investment in documenting the fleeting pleasures of now-disappeared places and esoteric tec ...more
Bill Arning
Apr 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A brilliant Story that gets so much right about queer self discovery and the way in which smart arty gays discover their kinky desires and affections. It’s a quick read but so many memorable vignettes are haunting me still . The real
Life figures like the late Fred Halsted give the story a documentary feel
Jan 16, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-bought

I spent the morning reading the last pages of a novel by William E. Jones called "I'm Open To Anything" in the bathtub. I do a lot of reading in the tub because it's a private zone where no one can reach you. Bathrooms are a unique location for such excellent isolation. I have made some of the most serious decisions while sitting on the toilet or in the bathtub. Many work decisions came from the tub and reading the finest literature, such as Bill's book.

Without a doubt, this novel has the most
May 31, 2021 rated it really liked it
This book started innocently enough before it turned into 100 pages about fisting! Even though the material was quite racy, I still quite enjoyed the story. Even the more philosophical passages were readable and not overly academic. This novel was a quick read and a fun learning experience.
May 05, 2019 added it
I’m Open to Anything works urgently yet patiently to open up American interiors. Jones’ novel is astonishing both in its declarative clarity and its contemporary pertinence. It’s without question a sexy read, but to my mind its focus is genuity: a complex genuity gaping with much to impart about education, art, American economy, American politics and international involvement, convention, resistance, corporeal intimacy, and the unreasonableness we race to suppress. It’s a lonely, haunting, and h ...more
Dec 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: gay-lit, new, best-of-2019
Bill Hsu
Jun 15, 2019 rated it liked it
I know it's a trap to read a novel like it's the author's memoirs. But there certainly are connections here with the author's life; see for example Halsted Plays Himself (Semiotext(e)). The whole encounter with Fred Halsted probably didn't happen, but if you read the author's Halsted book, you'd wish it did. Overall I'm not sure what I think of the novel, though (like most California queers of my generation) I did enjoy all the references to pre-gentrification LA (Silverlake! Circus of Books! Cl ...more
George Neville-Neil
Aug 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Fast moving and clever writing the book is packed with intelligent observations of a world that is both past and present.
Sep 19, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2019
Seriously filthy book with high literary and political aspirations for itself that ultimately get in the way. Too many scenes of one character giving a lecture, historical or otherwise. Too little sense of connecting with the characters as real, whole people. That can be done in a book this dirty, but it doesn’t happen much here. And even if you’re just going to sell it on the merits of how truly smutty it is, at least throw in a bit more plot and conflict, fewer self-conscious cultural referenc ...more
Jun 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Is this serious fiction? Is it genre fiction? Is it erotica? I secretly think it’s probably a thinly veiled memoir that does an excellent job of encapsulating the complexities of identity, intellect and sexuality. A very solid read.
May 26, 2020 rated it liked it
I am seriously ambivalent about this book. I cannot ascertain exactly what it was the author desired to impart, and the hook of fisting seems to me to be altogether missing of any psychological refrain from which the reader can have a discernment above and beyond the subjectivity of this act, which in the author's purview reads as a distant and detached drive-by, disengaged from the intimate interaction of which he describes in beige overtones. He offers deeply psychological responses from one o ...more
Andrew Marshall
Jul 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
A gay coming of age story from the late eighties and early nineties, 'I'm open to everything' is supposedly a novel but I would guess that it is heavily autobiographical. The narrator comes from the crumbling industrial wasteland of the Midwest and draws a circle of 500 miles around his hometown and blacks in everything in the circle so he is not tempted to not move far enough away from home. The story is about how he leaves his family - not just physically, emotionally and intellectually - whic ...more
Mar 26, 2021 rated it did not like it
I was excited to read this book as I had read Jones' books on Fred Halsted/Joe Yale, and the guy that published STH.

But the biographical novel was poorly written porn, completely narcissistic with name dropping/fake stories, completely ignores and erases Rainer Werner Fassbinder's bisexuality, tries way too hard to be artistic and preachy about politics/atheism, and this all comes across as being super hypocritical, and this is mixed in with pointless rants/essays and wrong information such as f
Tyler Tousley
Jan 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Overall pretty good. Easy read and easy for gay men to relate to. The 2 things I didn't love were that the main character seemed very pompous - for example, he thought being a gay man and growing up in a small midwestern town and not liking sports made him incredibly unique and somehow better than those in his town who enjoyed sports. That kind of mood is held throughout. It is also primarily about fisting. So really "I'm open to fisting" would have been a more accurate title.
Despite all this I
Jan 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
There’s a lot of focus on the explicit content in this book, to the detriment of the rest of its themes. I’m Open to Anything is a wonderful exploration of someone who is curious about the entire world around him. Each kinky scene is balanced out by a dive into complex themes such as religion, geo politics, aesthetics, family ties and racism. Think Bret Easton-Ellis and Dennis Cooper in a dark doom, with Donna Tartt watching on apathetically.
Apr 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Gives the term “coming of age” a whole new meaning.
catlord airgirl
Apr 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Eye-opening. Jaw-dropping. Beautiful. Wish it were twice as long.

And no, I'm not talking about the cover.
Justin Murray
Mar 16, 2021 rated it really liked it
This was quite the good story, of fisting and the intimacy of being inside someone’s intestines.
Jon Gluckner
May 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a very entertaining and very graphic novel. I enjoyed it immensely and I learned a lot let’s just say that. If you can’t handle the graphic nature of gay sex and fetish then don’t read it
Heather Trawick
rated it it was amazing
Jun 29, 2019
rated it liked it
Jan 22, 2021
Scott Resnick
rated it liked it
Jul 06, 2020
Jarrod Campbell
rated it really liked it
Mar 10, 2021
Nick Melloan-ruiz
rated it really liked it
Apr 03, 2021
Scott Fitzpatrick
rated it it was amazing
Feb 11, 2020
Ken Allread
rated it it was ok
Jun 28, 2021
Joshua Tranen
rated it really liked it
Jun 02, 2019
Emily (ThisBisBookshelf)
rated it really liked it
Nov 24, 2019
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William E. Jones is an artist, filmmaker, and writer. He has published the following books: Is It Really So Strange? (2006), Tearoom (2008), Heliogabalus (2009), Selections from The Anatomy of Melancholy by Robert Burton (2009), Killed: Rejected Images of the Farm Security Administration (2010), Halsted Plays Himself (2011), Between Artists: Thom Andersen and William E. Jones (2013), and Imitation ...more

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