Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

For months I’ve been seeing this beautiful blue starry cover across Tumblr, and a gazillion Booklrs raving about (what I thought) was a pair of philosophers falling in love. I rarely read Goodreads reviews before adding a book to my TBR–I tend to just jump in to the story, preferring to discover along the way. My library never had it available, but they finally released the audiobook to me, and I am so glad they did. I think it was almost better in that format probably!

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I quickly learned that this wasn’t about the two ancient philosophers at all, but two teenage Mexican boys living in the desert city of El Paso. I generally can only read audiobooks while doing something–chores or walking–so falling in love with this story motivated me to walk more often! Except guys, it damned near broke my heart! Do you know how hard it is to keep pace while crying? I’m sure I got some weird looks on the trail.

Ari and Dante’s friendship is completely beautiful. For those of you who haven’t heard of this book before–it isn’t just a coming of age story, it’s also a coming out story. It’s powerful, sad, happy, scary. About every emotion you can have, you will have it while reading this book. A must read this year, absolutely.

And if you like audiobooks, definitely listen to this one. The narration is extremely well done!

 

Oscar Wilde

June is Pride Month, and so to celebrate, I added some specific books to my TBR. The Empty Family had several gay narrators. I’m listening to Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe on audiobook on my walks, so I’ll review that one when I am finished. And Under the Lights was a bit of a surprise that I’m not revealing, but that one turned out perfect for the theme too!

I wish there were more books out there with LGBT characters, and my library has been posting a lot of recommendations, many of which I have added to my TBR. If you have some good ones, shoot them my way!

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The book I was most excited to read for Pride was about one of my favorite authors, Oscar Wilde. Written as part of a series called Lives of Notable Gay Men and Lesbians, Jeff Nunokawa gives us a short but informative piece on Wilde’s struggle to be a prominent gentleman in 19th century England, while living his life the way he needed to.

I’ll admit, I was a little disappointed. Obviously, you can’t fit that much life into 100 pages. The information was there, it just wasn’t that grandeur you expect when reading about Oscar Wilde. It was very “This happened on this date.”

And ok, I can live with that. What really got to me though was that here we have a book about a gay man in the 19th century, at the height of Victorian censorship. His very name stood for persecution.

And then in the book written ABOUT this man…this happens:

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Now, I am sure it was a publishing error, but still. There was about 10 pages missing, randomly in the middle of the book. And in a 100 page book, that’s a lot of information.

Just kind of makes you wonder, huh? It IS a library copy.

Anyway. It left a bad taste in my mouth. I skipped to the end, past the snow white pages, and read about the trial and sad end to this brilliant man’s career.

Time to read something a little less sad.

What are you reading for Pride? I hope all my LGBT friends are having a fantastic month!

 

Under the Lights

As promised, I HAD to continue the Daylight Falls saga. There was just no way I could continue with anything else knowing I had that book sitting on my Kindle waiting to be read.

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8 hours later, done. Like I told you yesterday, these are quick, fun reads. For me, I consider them brain candy. However, this second book had a fantastic twist that I definitely didn’t see coming–and I wish more books had.

In Behind the Scenes, there are basically four main characters:  Ally, her best friend Vanessa, Vanessa’s co-star Liam, and his best friend Josh. Ally and Liam hook up in that book, so it would make logical sense that the second book would be the other two getting together right? And, at first, it totally seems like that. To be honest, I was rolling my eyes a bit, and settling in for a boring book. I really didn’t like them together–I though they were pretty shallow characters in the first one.

But, oh nay nay!

I won’t go into a whole lot of detail here about the plot, because I want you to go pick this series up (Under the Lights is due out June 30, so you have a month to read Behind the Scenes!). However, I will tell you that this one includes not only POC characters, but also Gay and Bi characters as well. It talks a lot about how important representation is in the media and on screen, and how hard it is to come out to friends and family.

I was expecting just another New Adult romance novel, but I got so much more than that. I hope Dahlia Adler continues to write these kinds of characters and stories, because they are so important! Go get your hands on book #1, so you can read #2 at the end of the month!

 

NetGalley provided this ARC for an unbiased review.

Open For Service

So there is some pretty crappy stuff happening in my home state of Indiana today. Governor Mike Pence just signed a new bill into law that allows business to discriminate against people based on their “religious freedom.” That’s as bad as it sounds–they can segregate gays, lesbians, transgender…basically whoever they feel jeopardizes their religious freedom.

As you’d expect, shit has hit the fan this week. When the House passed it, everyone took to social media–regular citizens, companies, news organizations, EVEN CHURCHES–to try and get this thing stopped. They wrote to Pence, did everything they could to try and get him to understand that WE DO NOT WANT THIS BILL. But, today he signed it. And now, this discrimination and segregation is LEGAL. And we are horrified, ashamed, and angry.

I know this article is making the rounds, along with many others. And people across the nation are seeing it and probably thinking HOLY SHIT INDIANA, WHAT IS YOUR DEAL?

Know this, please:  Sure, there are some people in the state that are probably thrilled this is happening. We do have a lot of conservatives living in Indiana. But for most of us, we are not OK with this bill. We are devastated that Pence is taking such a huge step backwards. We were ecstatic when the marriage ban was lifted this year–for ourselves, for our friends, for our families. It’s good for our people, it’s good for business, it’s just good for the state.

This new RFRA bill is the exact opposite of that. GenCon is threatening to leave, which will mean millions in lost revenue. Salesforce, who has an entire branch company here, has cancelled all programs and travel to Indiana. The NCAA has it’s Final Four coming up in Indy soon and they have come out negatively against the bill. I’ve even seen a few religious groups and churches cancelling their conventions! They aren’t happy about the representation this is giving either.

In addition to the big guys, local businesses and restaurants are putting up stickers showing their support for their community.

 

If you live in Indiana, have a business, and plan to be OPEN FOR SERVICE, click on that sticker above. I’ve linked it to the site that has all the information on how to get involved.

 

On a personal note, I may not live in Indiana anymore, but this is an issue that lives very near and dear to my heart, for a lot of reasons. People should not be discriminated against for any reason, but love? Why should love cause so much hate? I have never understood it.

This blog is not technically a business. I don’t make money from it, it is just a hobby. And even if I did…I live in Texas now, where RFRA has been around since 1993 (Again…why are we going backwards? This should not be happening in 2015. GIANT step backwards. We should be removing these laws, not establishing them.)

But guys, this blog is definitely OPEN FOR SERVICE!

 

Flesh and Blood

Michael Cunningham has been a favorite of mine since I first read The Hours. His books are some of the deepest and darkest I’ve ever read, but they are so incredibly beautiful. Flesh and Blood is no exception to that.

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Flesh and Blood tells the story of a family living in the New York area (Long Island, NYC, Connecticut). It spans three generations, from 1935-1995. The thing I love so much about Cunningham is that he wraps the entire human experience into his stories, and no subject is barred, nor any character. LGBT characters are often the primary people in his stories, and this book is no exception to the rule. Because of the timeline, you will see all of the prejudices, struggles, stereotypes, etc thrown at the people in this book over and over and over again, and if it doesn’t infuriate you or make you want to sob…well…I don’t have much to say to you. AIDS and drug addiction also run rampant in the pages, along with suburban infidelity and general family dysfunction.

There is real emotion, love, desire, really every kind of feeling you could have, written into this book. Make sure you have ample Kleenex. This isn’t a friendly read. This is a heartbreaker, a battle, but well worth it. I would compare it to Middlesex, maybe.

Ok, I need some brain candy. Time for something easy.