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Topic: Please tell me I'm wrong

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Subject: Please tell me I'm wrong
Date Posted: 11/15/2007 5:01 PM ET
Member Since: 12/19/2005
Posts: 5,091
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I was looking over the ay and lesbian fiction section and found a very rich selection of books about women, in all different roles and age groups and social situations.

But when I look for books about gay men, they almost all seem to fall into one of three categories:

1. Coming out stories about young men coming to terms with their homosexuality in a repressive social milieu.  Mostly the 50s.  Apparently no one ever came out during the turbulent period in the 90s when Clinton was first elected and the subject of allowing openly homosexual individuals serve in the military became a matter of national debate.

2. Light as fluff books about extremely attractive 21 to 35 year old men who live in a large city, typically New York, competing for the romantic and sexual attention of other extremely attractive 21 to 35 year old men. 

3. Coming to terms with grief and loss in the shadow of the AIDS epidemic.  Don't get me wrong, I know this is an important topic.  But 25 years into it, can't we talk about something else once in a while?

I fouond myself fantasizing about them deciding to just consolidate them all into a single novel about a sensitive young man (they are always 'sensitive' in those descriptions.  Total clouts never deal with the issue of coming out, I suppose) who bravely comes to terms with his homosexuality in spite of growing up in an environment where the word is never mentioned.  He moves to New York where he spends all his time competing with other young men for the attentions of other men.  He then learns to deal with loss when some of those young men, and possibly he himself, contract AIDS. 

There.  It's done.  Those stories have all been told.  We can now all move on to something different.

Please tell me that it's the selection that was available at that particular store that's the problem.  That there are books out there that reflect the real diversity and richness of the lives of real gay men, the kind that I know and love.  There is so much more to their lives than I saw in those books.

Date Posted: 11/16/2007 12:20 AM ET
Member Since: 11/10/2006
Posts: 2,947
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You have about summed it up. I mentioned ages ago that the selection of gay men's fiction was so limited in plot(s) that I was getting tired of even trying to read them.   There are some good ones in gay mystery  that will expand their storyline. Michael  Craft and  John  Morgan  Wilson are two authors I can still enjoy. 

Date Posted: 11/16/2007 3:46 AM ET
Member Since: 12/19/2005
Posts: 5,091
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Now that you mention it, I do remember that thread.  Sorry to have repeated the complaint.  But it would still be nice to see more variety.

Date Posted: 11/16/2007 10:24 AM ET
Member Since: 1/11/2006
Posts: 7,581
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I feel like I end up seeing a ton of erotica when it comes to books about gay men

Date Posted: 11/16/2007 11:44 AM ET
Member Since: 11/10/2006
Posts: 2,947
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Kari... I m glad you raised the issue again. I am always hopeful that someone will have some recommendations for books that don't follow the same-old, same-old pattern in gay men's fiction and this is one way to get them out there.

Jessie,,,that's another issue. Plots are either repetitious or they skip plot and go for mostly erotic to pornographic content. I don't mind sex scenes, but I don't want 100 pages of them and 40 pages of "filler"....well, not all the time...lol. And considering that the cost of most GLBT novels fall into the $13-$15 range I would like something more substantial if I am going to buy new books.

Honestly, some of the lesbian ficton is much better in terms of story.

 

Date Posted: 11/16/2007 12:38 PM ET
Member Since: 2/11/2007
Posts: 808
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Stephen McCauley's books ("Object of My Affection" etc.) have actual "plots" to them.



Last Edited on: 11/16/07 12:38 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/23/2007 3:32 PM ET
Member Since: 1/27/2007
Posts: 426
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I don't know, I rarely read LGBT fiction and when I do it seems to be Robert Rodi because I think he is a crazy author. 

I've never had a problem finding relevant books about gay men that I would want to read for one reason or another, though I tend to be avoiding fiction for the most part because I don't like fiction in general.  I do enjoy m/m erotica when I can get it though. 

I would be more likely to say that it is less the bookstore stock and more who is using PBS as opposed to a site like bookmooch.  Here there are so many fluff books and stories about things like AIDS and other diseases.  I think that is why I don't browse for books on here anymore.

Date Posted: 11/24/2007 4:00 AM ET
Member Since: 12/19/2005
Posts: 5,091
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I would be more likely to say that it is less the bookstore stock and more who is using PBS as opposed to a site like bookmooch.  Here there are so many fluff books and stories about things like AIDS and other diseases.  I think that is why I don't browse for books on here anymore.

I don't really know what differences there may be between bookmooch and PBS, but since I was in a store they don't really matter.  The problem wasn't with what was posted here at PBS, but what was available there.

Date Posted: 11/24/2007 10:25 AM ET
Member Since: 11/10/2006
Posts: 2,947
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The is a book club designed for GLBT, insightout -   http://www.insightoutbooks.com - and reading the descriptions of most of the books you see that they hold to the comments made about plots, characters, etc.   So, I still tend to think that gay men's fiction is, for th most part, limited.

 

Date Posted: 11/24/2007 5:14 PM ET
Member Since: 1/27/2007
Posts: 426
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Bookmooch seems to have a wider variety, less fluff, less cosies, less depressing things, less christian fiction, etc.  I can't tell you how many of my LGBT treasures came from there as opposed to from here.  I live in a pretty conservative area, rural Georgia, and the bookstores seem to reflect bookmooch's variety (although BM has more).   Not that much talk about AIDS, not much fluffy stuff, etc.  Not like I would buy it if it was there.

I would like to see more erotica though or more books with ftm characters.

Date Posted: 11/24/2007 9:56 PM ET
Member Since: 12/19/2005
Posts: 5,091
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I'm glad you like bookmooch.  I looked at it, but I just didn't care for the way it worked.  Also, I've found a lot of 'serious' books from PBS, so maybe it's just luck or what your looking for at any particular time.  I dunno.  But again, I'm glad you found something that works for you.

I've looked around a little more seriously and I'm agreeing with Charlie that it isn't just the store and it isn't PBS.  I've looked through Amazon's listings, and a couple of other used book sites and my eyes pretty much glazed over from the similarity of the descriptions. 

Date Posted: 12/3/2007 10:56 AM ET
Member Since: 9/17/2007
Posts: 367
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Maybe it's that lesbian-themed fiction has had more time to mature, if its published (if lurid) beginnings were half a century ago, per the documentary Forbidden Love? Possibly the "tradition" goes even longer, if lesbian writers "encoded" things in mainstream fiction in years past that hadn't an analog in gay culture. Publishers are of course the gatekeepers of what gets printed; perhaps their perceptions, and the time at which they began their imprints, have affected their subject matter. The situation of gay fiction could also find a parallel in African-American writing, in terms of what was being written, what was being published, and what readers wanted.

Date Posted: 12/14/2007 11:51 AM ET
Member Since: 7/25/2005
Posts: 24,356
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This may not be considered a true gay book but  is anyone reading The Troubleshooter series by Suzanne Brockmann?  Yes, they're considered romantic suspense but in 9 out of 11 of them Jules Cassidy is involved.

Jules is an openly gay, funny, smart, loyal FBI agent.  He played smallish roles at first that started getting bigger and bigger.  In Hot Topic, he meets the love of his life, actor Robin Chadwick who is so firmly in closet he's willing to sacrifice his love for Jules.  It was heartbreaking.

The interesting thing is Suz kept getting letters: When will Jules get his happily ever after?  What's going on with Jules and Robin?  Their love story was the secondary romance in Hot Target but it's the one everyone wanted to know more about.  No sex in that one (between them).  Some very sexy scenes though.

Then in Force of Nature, they meet again.  And, while Robin is still scared to come out and is battling other demons, they make it.  It ends with their being together and Jules willing to keep their life secret for a few more years.  Robin isn't having any of that, though.  More implied sex but still a very sexy read.

Just released is All Through the Night and it's starts out with Jules and Robin becoming engaged and planning their marriage in Massachusetts.  I got the book last night and stayed up way later than I should have to read it.  I'm not finished but it's so touching and feels so real, that I'm just moved.

Suz's son is gay.  She's quite open and proud about it.  The funny thing is she created Jules Cassidy before her son came out.  She is a member of PFLAG and she's very vocal in her support of gay marriage.  All proceeds of this book, including signing bonuses, royalties, etc, are being donated to MassEquality.

ETA: spelling corrections



Last Edited on: 12/14/07 1:28 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/9/2008 2:30 AM ET
Member Since: 8/22/2007
Posts: 519
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I love Suzanne Brockmann's books and Jules in my favorite character. I was so glad that she wrote the Christmas book. It was so great to read about Jules and Robin finally being together.