January 09, 2013

Dead Books

There's a big gap in my reading list at the end of 2012.  It bothers me that I didn't complete a single book in October or November.  It wasn't for lack of trying!  It's just that the books I attempted during those months failed to hold my interest, no matter how many times I returned to try to read them.  So there are a few unfinished books in the gap.

These include:

The Casual Vacancy by J. K. Rowling.  A novel that just never seemed to open up.  Does it get better?  I never struggled for a second with any of the Harry Potter books -- they read like wildfire.  Well, except for the trudge in the middle of The Half-Blood Prince.

Rats: Observations on the History and Habitat of the City's Most Unwanted Inhabitants by Robert Sullivan.  This long non-fiction book about the rat population in NYC is interesting and very well-written and researched, but it started giving me the heebie-jeebies and I needed to leave it alone for awhile.

Through the Valley of the Nest of Spiders by Samuel R. Delany. I managed to get a few hundred pages into this gay sex fantasy opus before the rough, scatological, smegma-tastic, snot-errific, and smelly sex scenes really started to revolt me.  It's gross.  I've heard the novel rewards the nasty sex wallow with some kind of science fiction transcendence by the end, so I may return to it, but it was making me really queasy and I had to stop.

The Velvet Rage: Overcoming the Pain of Growing Up Gay in a Straight Man's World by Alan Downs.  This non-fiction book about the intrinsic shame we gay men experience became too self-helpy for me and I got bored.

Pulphead: Essays by John Jeremiah Sullivan. This non-fiction book of musings held my interest for awhile, but then I got bogged down about halfway through when he turned his focus to subjects I didn't care about.

Benedetto Casanova - The Memoirs by Marten Weber. As a fictional autobiography about Casanova's gay younger brother, I was hoping to find this novel to be a sexy romp or at least include some campy humor.  It's way too sincere for the concept and got silly.  It's also surprisingly non-titillating.

My takeaway from this list of dead books is that I should avoid attempting to read more non-fiction in the future.  And that I'm still waiting for a good, sexy gay novel.

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