lunes, 23 de febrero de 2015

The City and the Pillar - Gore Vidal

In my quest of reading more LGBT literature I decided to get my hands on the classics. If they were classics, they would be good, right?


Or at least, The City and the Pillar wasn't. The book is advertised as a gay coming-of-age novel, the first openly gay coming-of-age novel. And it was, and it was quite shocking to say homosexuals were everywhere, or to portray gay men as masculine, or gay love as natural. But that was back in 1948. It's 2015, and gay marriage is starting to be a thing, so I want to think this novel is not necessary anymore. I admired this story for what it did, but did not enjoy it. I suppose I also admire the skill which went into writing it, since Gore Vidal strived for a plain style to avoid distracting readers with florid prose, but unfortunately it was my first Vidal.

The best thing about this novel is the title, which references a Biblical episode. God decided to destroy Sodom to punish Sodomites for their sexual perversions. Some angels rescued Lot and his family from burning Sodom, and they urged them not to look back. Despite the warning, Lot's wife looked back and was instantly turned into a pillar of salt. With time, the term sodomite came to mean homosexual, so the title contains the whole novel: Jim Willard is fixated on the past, and particularly on homosexuality.

My edition also included A Thirsty Evil, which is a collection of seven short stories written by a young Vidal. I was almost tempted to close the book for good after the slog that was The City and the Pillar, but I'm a sucker for short stories. And I'm glad I read them, although the collection was definitely a mixed bag. The style of "Three Stratagems" and "Pages from an Abandoned Journal" was very similar to that of The City and the Pillar. Not in vain are they the two stories in which the theme of homosexuality is more overt. Unsurprisingly, I preferred the other five stories, which reminded me of Carson McCullers, Flannery O'Connor, and Gabriel García Márquez. They are refined, with a Southern flavor, and harbor a sucker punch. A couple of them also have a touch of the supernatural, and these two, which are titled "A Moment of Green Laurel" and "The Ladies in the Library", ended up being my favorites.

Have you read this book? Please, leave a link to your review in the comments and I will link you here!

martes, 3 de febrero de 2015

January in Review

January has been a good month, albeit slow:
  • The first few days of the month were also the last days of my Christmas holidays, since here in Spain we celebrate the Magi on Epiphany. That's the 6th, for those of you who don't know about Christian dates.
  • I didn't make any New Year's Resolutions, but I wanted to try to limit work to a reasonable schedule and save time for reading and cooking, which is something that I need to do or eating falls to the wayside. I just forget to properly eat, and I get more and more tired until I burn out.
  • It has been difficult, but I am seeing some progress! I managed to read 780 pages in January! It doesn't seem that much, but I'm really proud.

What did I read?

A Long Spoon · The Map of Chaos

Reading Challenge Progress
I'm behind on Stacey's 2015 Classics Challenge (#shameonme), but I read my first book towards conquering Pike's Peak for 2015 Mount TBR: the last book in Félix J. Palma's Victorian Trilogy. It will come out June 30, and you can preorder it now! I loved it.

On the blog...

Goals for February...

  1. Bring love to a spotlight - read about different kinds of love and explore romance for the first time! I've started with Gore Vidal's The City and the Pillar, a classic about a gay romance, which counts towards the 2015 Classics Challenge
  2. Get up-to-date with the blogs I follow and comment
  3. Install disqus, which I think will facilitate interaction (?)