Browsing: Winter Reading

November – December, 2008

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FOR SOME TIME NOW, familiarity with the works of Klaus Mann (1906-1949) in the English-speaking world has been limited to a small but devoted cadre of readers. Understandably, Klaus Mann, a noteworthy literary figure on both sides of the Atlantic from the 1920’s to the 1940’s, will forever be obscured by his much more famous father, Thomas Mann. Nevertheless, …

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DANCE HALL ROAD opens with a teenager, Jimmy Drake, handing Adrian Drury a picture of an electric chair. What young Adrian has done isn’t clear, but one girl is dead and another is injured.

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THE RECENT DEATH of Heath Ledger, who made his way into gay cultural history by playing a cowboy with homosexual tendencies in Brokeback Mountain, brings to mind the odd but ongoing presence of the cowboy in gay imagery for more than half a century. The image of the cowboy is a powerful one in American history. Since the emergence of gay magazines in the 1950’s, there has been a brisk use of cowboy imagery in the marketing of their allure.

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AIDEN SHAW’S 1996 novel Brutal was, with apologies to Thomas Hobbes, a nasty, brutish, and short book about Paul, an HIV-positive male prostitute. It was a memorable effort by a writer who made his name in gay porn.

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