Gay fiction/non-fiction discussion

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Book Topics > What do you look for in GLBT literature?

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

Robin;

Personally, I am looking for literature that resonates with my own experiences. I'm fortunate, but I've found that I've encountered very little of the traditional homophobia, except within myself. Like so many others, I struggled with my own identity based on perceptions of how others felt. In my case, none of the anxieties or worries really materialized after I came out. I would really enjoy a book that touched on this theme.

I try to avoid literature that harps on the discrimination, taunting and intolerance, unless it has an overarching theme of redemption. These stories have a tendency to bring me down and I just think society is beginning to slowly move away from acceptance of these forms of intolerance.

Both of your books look really good. I am going to add them to my group's reading list.

Robert


message 2: by Robin (new)

Robin (therobinreardon) | 47 comments Robert -- Thanks so much for starting this thread!

My objective in writing is to demonstrate that the only thing wrong with being gay is how some people treat you when they find out. Your description of your own experience is a very valuable one -- especially since it's not only gay people who struggle with their "own identity based on perceptions of how others felt." Being gay is more of a challenge than some aspects of identity, but the struggle shows that we're all people; and though our struggles are our own, they're also universal on some level.

I will keep your thoughts in mind for upcoming work. Have you thought of doing some writing yourself?

Thanks for including my books in your group!
-Robin


message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

Robin-

You make a very good observation. I suppose the struggle to balance a gay identity against my perceptions of society's expectations seems somewhat "larger than life", because the struggle went on for so long. For me, it was a seven year process.

I have thought about doing some writing. I keep a journal and occassionally write a poem to capture my feelings or emotions at that point. At some point, I would like to write a novel.

Thanks for joining the group and sharing with us. I'm very excited to read your books and hopefully to discuss the content with you.

Robert


message 4: by [deleted user] (new)

Robin-

I just finished Thinking Straight. Wow! I couldn't put it down. My undergraduate degree is in Judaic and Religious Studies, so I appreciated how you interwove scripture and religious ideology with Taylor's struggle. I'm looking forward to discussing this text and reading A Secret Edge.

I have left a review of the book on this page and added it to a few other groups. I'm also going to leave a review on Amazon for you.

Robert


message 5: by Robin (new)

Robin (therobinreardon) | 47 comments Robert -- Thank you so much! I love encouragement -- especially from someone with as impressive a background as yours. Thanks for the reviews; I appreciate the PR!

You might also be interested in my fictional open letter to humanity, called "The Case for Acceptance." In it I use logic and science to prove that the only thing wrong with being gay is how some people treat you when they find out. There will be ten installments in all, and two are on Goodreads now in the "my writing" section for me; others will come one each month. In the last few, I tackle the religious position. Check it out if you're intrigued:
http://www.goodreads.com/story/show/1...



message 6: by Jeremy (new)

Jeremy (dontyouaskme) | 27 comments I look for literature that doesn't dwell on being gay - plain and simple. That stuff was good when I was going through my own issues, but nowadays, I want to support the community while at the same time broadening my literary horizons.

I like that.


message 7: by Ted (new)

Ted (efcorson) | 414 comments Mod
Jeremy, do you mean that that novels that "dwell on being gay" can't broaden your literary horizons (i.e. aren't good literature)? If so, where would you draw the line between self-serving gay pulp and great literature?


message 8: by David (new)

David I have to agree with Jeremy on this one. When I read a GLBT "themed" book I feel as if being gay were never just one aspect of the story, but is the story. "How is Johnny going to survive Kentucky when he's gay?" or "How is Bob going to live on the streets after his parents threw him out of the house for being gay?". I look for books that have gay characters, but the book itself isn't a book about gay issues. As a younger person of gayness, I read the comming out stories, the tragic HIV stories, and the first gay love stories. I've been there, along with some of those characters, but no longer. I've moved past it, and my tastes for literature have also.
There is a movie called "Socket" in which the main two characters are gay. The director made them gay, because, well, some people are gay. There was no moments of introspection, no horrible first man-love experiences, but just had two lead characters whom where gay. They where never even identified as gay. In an interview, the director said that the characters were gay, and its no big deal because there are gay people, not everyone needs to announce it out loud, it doesn't matter. That's what I look for in my GLBT literature. I just want there to be someone like me in a story. If he's the lead, great, if not, I'll still read it. I happily live with my partner, I work at a job I love, I have a dog. I may be a boring subject, but that is what I'd like to read about. A well adjusted person of gayness that doesn't have any real issues with his sexuality. Tell me a story about his life, about his job, about his vacation to Rome. I've lived his issues and really don't want to read about them.


message 9: by Ted (new)

Ted (efcorson) | 414 comments Mod
Hey, David. Well I didn't say that I disagree with Jeremy. I was hoping to play the Devil's advocate and provoke him into a discussion. Instead you wrote your really on-target reply.

I think that whether somebody enjoys a story (or documentarty) that's self-consciously about gayness depends of your age, your education, and how comfortable you are being gay. Sure, you and I have been-there-done-that with the coming out stories, the teen angst, the "how can I be happy being gay?" BUT, a lot of younger gay people haven't been there. They can beneifit, I think from books like the Alex Sanchez "Rainbow" trilogy in which kids are coming to grips with themselves. So, there's a place for self-serving gay novels as well as a place for more mature treatments, where we older guys prefer a story where gay characters are more integrated in and integral to larger themes.

That make any sense? lol


message 10: by Jeremy (new)

Jeremy (dontyouaskme) | 27 comments Looks like David got provoked before I had a chance! He hit pretty much head-on what I meant - those books have a time and a place, and personally, I'm past it. Geez, I kinda miss the days when my worries were all about my first love, or coming out, or dealing with all the stuff in my head. Nowadays, I have to get up at 5am every day for work, I try to save money here and there, and I can hardly cook. AND I'm going to school.

Those crazy high school days seem so easy now!


message 11: by David (new)

David Hey Ted, Jeremy, good discussion on this, GASP, discussion board! I wasn't provoked in the least, just providing my 2 cents. The thread for this board was what I looked for and you got it. I do think that books like the "Rainbow" trilogy serve a very important place in introducing younger curious and confused people to other youth like them, even if it is fiction. Who knows where I'd be without being able to at least read about people like me, discovering things about myself and realizing it was okay. I may not read these books anymore, like you both, yet I'm sure we all still look back at them with fondness. We three are basically saying the same things, with a bit of devils advocate thrown in for excitment.

Have a great day guys!


message 12: by Ted (new)

Ted (efcorson) | 414 comments Mod
Thanks David and Jeremy. As much as I enjoy reading fiction with a more "mature" focus, I'm a hopeless masochist. For when I was 16 or 22 or even 32, there were no "Rainbow High" books, no dating sites, no xtube, no Goodreads, or for that matter, no Internet! I'm both proud and jealous that young gay people today have so many resources, so much support. For me, then, gay teen lit is a kind of vicarious kick in the balls, as if to say "Look how far we've come" but also "I wish I were there now!"


message 13: by James (new)

James | 3 comments For too long, when we've shown up in literature, we've served as negative examples in moral lessons or comic relief. We're much more interesting and ordinary than that.

Being gay is an incredibly important piece of my identity, yet it's also only one reason I'm extraordinary sometimes and ordinary other times. I want LGBT literature that deals with the complexities of our experiences. Sometimes I want to read something that puts a queer character at the center of the action; sometimes I want to find us on the periphery. And it's great when we appear on the title page, telling our own stories.

Long story short: I want it all.


message 14: by Paul (new)

Paul Paré | 1 comments Ok. I'm new to all this. I just joined Goodreads and I find it a fascinating and stimulating public space; I just came out (relatively speaking, since I was fifty when I came out and I'm 64 now) and I find it a fascinating and stimulating public space. It can't be private anymore.
Good literature simply requires a good story well told. It it talks to the 'gayness' of a situation or a character, that's even better, as far as I am concerned at this point in my life.


message 15: by Ted (new)

Ted (efcorson) | 414 comments Mod
Yes, Paul. Welcome to the monkey house!


message 16: by Scott (last edited Dec 08, 2008 11:26PM) (new)

Scott (scottmillerdc) I have a comment regarding the whole idea concerning growing up young and gay in today's gay-friendly, gay-infused pop culture. My comment is - there is now a lot more CRAP out there. The pendulum has unfortunately swung hard the other way concerning gay culture. It has become so stereotypical that a new gay "counter-culture" movement has begun (ex. http://www.thenewgay.net ) for those who don't identify with the typical stereotype for the a gay person and their progression to becoming a mature adult.

I find Sanchez's novels (I am basing this on Rainbow Boys & High) painful and ridiculous. I remember taking notes about how to NOT write dialogue and how to avoid staid characters. Young gay youths have a new awareness - this kind of novel is not really a sounding point for growth. At best, it is a cute read of fantasy.

All of this dribble (I am being unkind to make a point) overwhelms the body of literature that has stood the test of time and is considered "classic". I mean if you want an honest coming-of-age novel, read A Boy's Own Story because that is an amazing novel to stand the test of time.

In short, it was hard twenty years ago, but anything that made it was truly worth it and wasn't surrounded by dribble.


message 17: by [deleted user] (new)

Oh, there always has been dreck ever since humans took the first stick to mud and started the basics of written language.

As for gay literature, yes, I believe that the rules of what makes good literature also applies. And there's room for Alex Sanchez, even though I think he's not as good as Jackie Collins, and that is saying a lot!

There's enough room for all sorts of literay genres and there's something for everyone to read.


message 18: by Ted (new)

Ted (efcorson) | 414 comments Mod
Scott wrote: "I have a comment regarding the whole idea concerning growing up young and gay in today's gay-friendly, gay-infused pop culture. My comment is - there is now a lot more CRAP out there. The pendulu..."

Ted wrote: "Yes, Paul. Welcome to the monkey house!"

Scott, sonds to me as if you're jealous of gay young people. of


message 19: by Ted (new)

Ted (efcorson) | 414 comments Mod
Rambling Reader wrote: "Oh, there always has been dreck ever since humans took the first stick to mud and started the basics of written language.

As for gay literature, yes, I believe that the rules of what makes good ..."


Rambling Reader wrote: "Oh, there always has been dreck ever since humans took the first stick to mud and started the basics of written language.

As for gay literature, yes, I believe that the rules of what makes good ..."


Exactly.


message 20: by [deleted user] (new)

http://www.hachettebookgroup.com/3488...

Please read this interview with Brad Gooch. Easy on the eyes, unintentionally hilarious.

Discuss amongst yourself while I recover from the giggles. LOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL


message 21: by [deleted user] (new)

Allright, I'll bite. What short stories by O'Connor should I read?

Alice Walker has cited O'Connor as one of her influences.


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