april tbr

In April I’ll continue to focus on reading LGBT fiction, while also starting to selectively make my way through the longlist of the Women’s Prize for Fiction.

Having already read Milkman and Freshwater this year, as well as Circe in 2018, I’m planning on reading one title from the longlist each week for the month of April. My choices are based on what I think I’d most enjoy from the reviews I’ve read: Ghost Wall, The Pisces, Normal PeopleNumber One Chinese Restaurant.

The Pisces seems like a smart subversion of the romance genre, Ghost Wall an atmospheric quick read with feminist themes, Number One Chinese Restaurant a sharp debut. I read Conversations with Friends last month, and I already know that I enjoy Rooney’s style of writingso I’m especially excited to check out Normal People.

I plan to pair these with a few contemporary LGBT novels: Her Body and Other Parties, The House of Invisible Beauties, Less, Call Me By Your Name.

The House of Impossible Beauties and Her Body and Other Parties have received rave reviews, and both seem to thoughtfully explore important subjects (gendered violence, trans history). Call Me by Your Name has a promising premise, and I’m curious to see how the author handles it; I’m one of the few who disliked the movie, as I’m not a fan of Chalamet’s acting and the storyline’s execution felt corny to me. Less has bored me each time I’ve picked it up, but I’m giving it a final try.

And, if I have the time, I’d also like to try several classic LGBT novels: James Baldwin’s Another Country, Yukio Mishima’s Spring Snow, Patricia Highsmith’s The Price of Salt, Gore Vidal’s The City and the Pillar, and John Rechy’s City of Night.

Rechy, Baldwin, and Mishima are all authors I already enjoy, and I’m happy to have the chance to read more of their novels. Patricia Highsmith and Gore Vidal are new to me, but both had such a large impact on gay/lesbian lit that it feels like a big oversight not to have yet read any of their work.

Next month I’ll shift to reading works of social and cultural history authored by women, from the works of Naomi Klein to Olivia Laing’s The Lonely City.

If you’ve read any of these authors or books, I’d love to discuss their work in the comments!

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11 thoughts on “april tbr

  1. I really do love The House of Impossible Beauties (which feels analogous to A Little Life but non-exploitative), and Ghost Wall (which I am firmly convinced is a work of mature genius) – I hope you do too. Am quite keen to read Baldwin myself, so would love to see how you get on with himz

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    1. Thanks! I finished Ghost Wall today and really enjoyed it. The prose and storytelling were hypnotic, though I wish I’d read a print copy since the audio felt a bit dry to me, especially during pivotal scenes. I think you’d enjoy Baldwin, especially his early fiction! They’re introspective, psychological novels with sharp social commentary.

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  2. Excited to hear your thoughts on The Pisces which I ADORE and The House of Impossible Beauties which I’ve heard good things about! I hated the CMBYN film too, I think Armie Hammer’s acting is just atrocious among many other issues, and while I didn’t… absolutely love the book, it is much, MUCH better (as books tend to be, lol). I love The Price of Salt too! Spring Snow is also on my TBR but I wasn’t aware that it was an LGBT book, that intrigues me…

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    1. I started The Pisces last night, and I’m liking it so far! The writing’s really sharp, and the commentary on life in academia feels so accurate. Hammer was terrible as the lead love interest, just unbearably bland and clumsy, and after such a low-stakes plot the tear-jerking ending felt unearned? I’ve read a lot of glowing reviews of The Price of Salt, looking forward to starting it soon!

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  3. I didn’t read The Price of Salt, but I did see the movie based on it, Carol, and I enjoyed the film. I know Highsmith used a pseudonym for The Price of Salt because publishers thought it was “vulgar” at the time. However, if you read Strangers on a Train, Highsmith’s first novel, it’s easy to see how homoerotic much of the story is. Bruno and Guy may seem like mirrors of each other, but there is so much language that suggests they want to be together, love each other, are made for each other.

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  4. I cannot wait for your thoughts on The Pisces which seems to be the most controversial of the longlisted books and the one I most want to win. I have not been able to think about the books since finishing an early copy last year. I really hope it makes the short list!
    I am also looking forward to your thoughts on Number One Chinese Restaurant because the reviews I have seen are mostly middling and it does not sound like my type of book but one I will read nonetheless. As we seems to have really similar tastes, I hope you’ll enjoy it!

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    1. I finished The Pisces last Friday, and I’m hoping to write a review soon. I loved it, and along with Milkman it’s been my favorite out of what I’ve read so far. The writing about romance, sex, and dating was just brilliant, and that ending was unforgettable. I’d be really disappointed and surprised if it didn’t get shortlisted. After reading Rachel’s review I might skip out on Number One Chinese Restaurant, but I’m really looking forward to your thoughts on the novel as well!

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      1. Oooooh I am so glad to hear that! the best thing about this year’s longlist is that more people are reading and enjoying The Pisces. It is SUCH a brilliant book and I cannot wait to see what Broder does next.

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  5. Isn’t it frustrating/exciting when your reading plans necessarily spill over into the next month or two, cuz there are just so many good books that have moved into the “soon” rather than “later” pile. I’m so late getting to your post, that I can see you’ve already finished and posted about some of these, so I’m curious to read on, to see whether your reservations (about a couple of them, anyway) remain intact or were challenged by your reading. May sounds like a great reading month for you too, BTW.

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    1. I’m excited for a lot of the books I’ll be reading next month! They’ve been on my TBR forever, and I find I read nonfiction most efficiently when I’m reading several books (on a similar topic) at once. My reservations mostly remained intact, especially in the case of CMBYN, which was truly awful and derivative. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

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