This month I participated in Reading Ireland Month 2019 and read an eclectic bunch of LGBT novels, contemporary and classic.
I really enjoyed following everyone’s Irish lit-related updates, and I came across several authors whose work I’ll definitely be checking out in the future; participating also motivated me to return to blogging, which was a great incidental benefit.
On this blog I reviewed The Heart’s Invisible Furies, The Love Object, and Conversations with Friends. I also read Elizabeth Bowen’s The Death of the Heart and Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, but I sadly couldn’t find the time to fully review either, as the middle of the month was a messy time for me.
Most of the print books I finished were for the readathon, as my new temp job as a chain bookseller has a 90min commute each way and eats up most of my free time. Were I not a fan of audiobooks, and also not desperate for work after rage quitting the position I’d arranged prior to moving to Chicago, I’d look for another job. But I am, and this role’s definitely the easiest I’ve ever worked.
Audio highlights from this month included Freshwater, Oranges are Not the Only Fruit, Go Tell It on the Mountain, and If Beale Street Could Talk. The first three were incisive coming-of-age narratives, the last a bleak prison drama that served as the inspiration for Barry Jenkin’s popular film. I’d highly recommend all of the titles, hope to fully review each in the upcoming month, and would love to discuss any in the comments.
I also read a series of transgressive novels that’d been recommended to me in college: John Rechy’s The Sexual Outlaw, Kathy Acker’s Blood and Guts in High School and The Empire of the Senseless (DNF), and Sapphire’s Push and Americans Dreams.
Rechy’s book was brilliant, feeling years ahead of its time in its intersectional critique of oppressive power systems. Acker’s work was dull and dated; however shocking the novels might have once been, they come across as meandering and reactionary today. Push bordered on poverty porn, though I found American Dreams moving at times.
For the month of April, I plan to selectively read more of the Women’s Prize for Fiction longlist and continue reading LGBT fiction, with more of a focus on contemporary work.