October’s Classic: Angels in America #CBAM2017

cbam2017

Welcome to October! Last month, we read Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather, which I found to be quite beautiful (no surprise – I’m a big Cather fan!). A new month is here, which means a new book! This time, I chose one to correspond with national and international LGBT History/Pride month. Drum-roll, please!  . . . Angels in America by Tony Kushner! 

We will be reading both Part One and Part Two, so if you can find an edition that has both, all the better! I’ve read this play a few times already, but it’s really quite an experience, which is why I added it to the 2017 list of Classics for our club this year. I cannot wait to get started on it again!

Don’t forget: We have a Goodreads group! And we’re using #CBAM2017 to chat on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

About the Book:

In two full-length plays, “Millennium Approaches” and “Perestroika,” Kushner tells the story of a handful of people trying to make sense of the world. Prior is a man living with AIDS whose lover Louis has left him and become involved with Joe, an ex-Mormon and political conservative whose wife, Harper, is slowly having a nervous breakdown. These stories are contrasted with that of Roy Cohn (a fictional re-creation of the infamous American conservative ideologue who died of AIDS in 1986 and who, it should be noted, was a mentor to our current POTUS) and his attempts to remain in the closet while trying to find some sort of personal salvation in his beliefs.

One of the most honored American plays in history, Angels in America was awarded two Tony Awards for Best Play and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. It was made into an Emmy Award-winning HBO film directed by Mike Nichols. This two-part epic, subtitled “A Gay Fantasia on National Themes,” has received hundreds of performances worldwide in more than twenty-six languages.

Schedule:

  • October 1st: Begin reading
  • September 15th: Mid-point Check-In
  • October 31st: Final Thoughts

Feel free to read at your own pace, post at your own pace (or not at all), and drop by to comment/chat about the book at any point. The schedule above is just the one I plan to use in order to keep myself organized and to provide some standard points and places for anyone who is reading along to get together and chat.

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The Beats of Summer: A Reading Event! (Sign-Up Post)

Welcome to the sign-up post for:

BeatsOfSummer-ButtonThe Beats of Summer: A Reading Event!

Summertime is coming, and what better time than Summer to immerse ourselves in the works of the most rebellious, daring, and “hot” generation of American writers??

For this event, the goal is to read as many pieces of “Beat Generation” literature as you want to, from June 1st through July 14th. Audiobooks, fiction, poetry, and non-fiction all count, as long as the writer is considered to be a part of the Beat Generation.  Memoirs, biographies, essays, theory/criticism or other works of non-fiction written about The Beats are also acceptable!

Update: We are looking for volunteers to provide Guest Posts and/or offer Giveaways throughout the event. If you would be interesting in participating in this capacity, please fill out This Form. And Thanks!

What is the Beat Generation?

“In American in the 1950s, a new cultural and literary movement staked its claim on the nation’s consciousness. The Beat Generation was never a large movement in terms of sheer numbers, but in influence and cultural status they were more visible than any other competing aesthetic. The Beat Generation saw runaway capitalism as destructive to the human spirit and antithetical to social equality. In addition to their dissatisfaction with consumer culture, the Beats railed against the stifling prudery of their parents’ generation. The taboos against frank discussions of sexuality were seen as unhealthy and possibly damaging to the psyche. In the world of literature and art, the Beats stood in opposition to the clean, almost antiseptic formalism of the early twentieth century Modernists. They fashioned a literature that was more bold, straightforward, and expressive than anything that had come before.”  –The Literature Network

I will post throughout the event to  discuss different subjects related to The Beat Generation, its writers, and its influences on later movements in literature, film, and music, as well as my own reviews of the Beat Generation books that I finish.  I will also be offering giveaways, and I am hopeful that some participants will be interested in writing guest posts or hosting giveaways of their own, to make this more interactive!

Below is a  list of writers and works of The Beat Generation.  This list is by no means comprehensive, it is simply a starting point.

Major Writers:
Richard Brautigan
William S. Burroughs
Neal Cassady
Gregory Corso
Diane DiPrima
Lawrence Ferlinghetti
Allen Ginsberg
John Clellon Holmes
Joyce Johnson
Hettie Jones
Jack Kerouac
Joanne Kyger
Gary Snyder
Carl Solomon

Important Works:
Dharma Bums
Gasoline (poetry)
Howl (poetry)
Minor Characters (memoir)
Naked Lunch
On the Road
Queer
The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test (memoir)

Affiliated Writers/Biographers:
James Campbell (This is the Beat Generation)
Carolyn Cassady (Off the Road)
Ken Kesey (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest)
Brenda Knight (Women of the Beat Generation)
Matt Theado (The Beats: A Literary Reference)
Tom Wolfe (The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test)

In the meantime, if you would like to host a giveaway or provide a guest post, please: CLICK HERE.

And if you want to sign-up to participate in The Beats of Summer (yay!), just leave a comment on this post saying YOU’RE IN! Maybe include some of the books you hope to read.  I plan to read Sometimes a Great Notion by Ken Kesey, Howl by Allen Ginsberg, and Desolation Angels by Jack Kerouac.

Please also post the button somewhere on your blog (in an announcement post or in your blog’s side-bar) so that we can spread the word, gather excitement, and encourage participation.  It goes without saying that this is meant to be a positive, fun, and educational event – it’s an at-will project, so negativity is a no-go!

Sign-ups are open from now through June 15th.  If you sign-up after June 15th, you can still absolutely participate, but you may not be eligible for some of the early giveaway prizes.

To Share/Discuss on Twitter, Use Hashatag #BeatsOfSummer

The Literary Others: An LGBT Reading Event (Sign-Ups)

 Welcome to the sign-up post for:

The Literary Others: An LGBT Reading Event!

October is LGBT History Month, so I thought it would be a great opportunity to host my second full-blown reading event, following the success of Austen in August.

I know my blog readers are an eclectic bunch.  We have lovers of literature and the classics and lovers of Young Adult fiction.  We have lovers of fantasy, science-fiction, poetry, and drama.  We have non-fiction readers, audiobook listeners, and those wacky dystopian fans!

Well, did you know that, across all these genres and media types, there exists a wide-range of very powerful, very entertaining LGBT material?  For many, this event could be an opportunity to read your very first gay classic; for others, it might be a time to re-read or re-visit favorite authors and share why you love them and their works so much. 

So, for this event, the goal is to read as many pieces of gay literature as you want/are able to, during the month of October.  Biographies, audiobooks, and re-reads count.

What is LGBT?  LGBT stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender.  For the purposes of this event, “LGBT” works will refer to those which are written by a gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender author, or to those works whose major themes/characters are LGBT-centric (Books with a gay protagonist, books dealing with homophobia, poetry by a lesbian, stories where a character is dealing with gender identity issues or changes, etc.). 

I will post throughout the month on different subjects related to the study of LGBT literature and theory, as well as my own reviews of the LGBT books I finish.  I will also be offering giveaways, and I am hopeful that some participants will be interested in writing guest posts or hosting giveaways of their own, to make this more interactive.

If you are going to participate, then simply plan to read books by gay writers, or books whose primary themes/characters are gay/lesbian, etc.  Below are a few representations of LGBT works within the many possible genres.  This list is by no means comprehensive, it is simply a starting point.

Literature & Classics

  • Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin
  • Nightwood by Djuna Barnes
  • The Garden of Eden by Ernest Hemingway
  • The Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe Hall
  • Maurice by E.M. Forster
  • Orlando by Virginia Woolf
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
  • A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood
  • At Swim, Two Boys by Jamie O’Neill

Contemporary Fiction

  • Oranges are not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson
  • Annabel by Kathleen Winter
  • In One Person by John Irving
  • Running With Scissors by Augusten Burroughs
  • Rain God by Arturo Islas
  • Memory Mambo by Achy Obejas
  • Under the Poppy by Kathe Koja
  • A Son Called Gabriel by Damian McNicholl
  • The Swimming Pool Library by Alan Hollinghurst

Young Adult

Science-Fiction/Fantasy

  • Vintage: A Ghost Story by Steve Berman
  • Jumping off the Planet by David Gerrold
  • Shadow Man by Melissa Scott
  • Santa Olivia by Jacqueline Carey
  • Huntress by Malinda Lo
  • The Last Herald Mage series by Mercedes Lackey
  • Counterpoint (Songs of the Fallen series) by Rachel Haimowitz

Poetry & Drama

  • Tender Buttons by Gertrude Stein
  • Angels in America by Tony Kushner
  • Howl by Allen Ginsberg
  • The Complete Poems by Sappho
  • The Complete Poems by Emily Dickinson
  • Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
  • The Satyricon by Petronius

Non-Fiction/Memoir

  • Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel (graphic novel)
  • Zami: A New Spelling of My Name by Audre Lorde
  • A Boy’s Own Story by Edmund White (semi-autobiographical)
  • Running With Scissors by Augusten Burroughs
  • The History of Sexuality by Michel Foucault
  • Borderlands/La Frontera by Gloria E. Anzaldua
  • Mississippi Sissy by Kevin Sessums
  • The Persian Boy by Mary Renault (historical fiction)

Explicit/Erotica (Literary)

In the meantime, if you would like to host a giveaway or provide a guest post, please: CLICK HERE

And if you want to sign-up to participate in The Literary Others Reading Event, simply leave a comment on this post saying YOU’RE IN! Maybe include some of the books you hope to read, too.  I plan to read Shine by Lauren Myracle, Howl by Allen Ginsberg, and Vintage: A Ghost Story by Steve Berman.   

Please also post the button somewhere on your blog (in an announcement post or in your blog’s side-bar) so that we can spread the word, gather excitement, and encourage participation.  It goes without saying that this is meant to be a positive, fun, and educational event, so bigotry of any kind will not be tolerated.

Sign-ups are open from now through October 10th.  If you sign-up after October 10th, you can still absolutely participate, but you may not be eligible for some of the early giveaway prizes. 

To Share/Discuss on Twitter, Use Hashatag #OthersLitLGBT