British Author Challenge February 2021: LGBT+ History Month

Discussão75 Books Challenge for 2021

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British Author Challenge February 2021: LGBT+ History Month

Editado: Jan 25, 11:45pm

LGBT+ History Month is celebrated in the UK in February. For this theme, read books by or about LGBT+ Britons or works about LGBT+ history in the UK.

Jan 26, 7:39am

I'm going to read Sophie Ward's debut novel Love and Other Thought Experiments.

Jan 26, 11:44am

While searching for Oscar Wilde, I read A SINGLE MAN by Christopher Isherwood.
My daughter commented that the movie was really depressing, as I would agree is the book.

Quite well written examination of a man's depressive state following death of his partner!

Jan 26, 12:30pm

>3 Caroline_McElwee: I didn't know she had written a book, and a Booker nominated one at that!

Jan 26, 12:31pm

>4 m.belljackson: As much as I admire the book, A Single Man is one of the few cases where I like the movie more.

Jan 26, 6:28pm

>6 amanda4242:

A Single Man's imagined tortures were a tough read.

Editado: Jan 26, 8:13pm

>7 m.belljackson: I don't remember any torture, just an overwhelming despair. Of course I have an insanely high threshold for such things, so anything short of American Psycho-levels of violence isn't likely to stick with me.

Jan 27, 12:04pm

>8 amanda4242:

Okay - definite different strokes here!

On page 36 (University of Minnesota edition),
George in his public persona is headed near the beach.

I anticipated that he would either bail completely on work for the day
or stop briefly for renewal or a good memory of his lover, Jim.

Instead, we get the horrific corpses, etc., on page 37 through 39.

Editado: Mar 18, 3:23pm

>9 m.belljackson: Ouch, definitely an unexpected turn of thought there! I just looked it up and see George's thoughts were inspired by a newspaper's rantings about laws being too lenient on "sex deviants", so I can't say I blame him for his rage.

Jan 30, 5:02pm

I think I've settled on Ermyntrude and Esmeralda by Lytton Strachey for my first February read.

Editado: Jan 30, 7:20pm

I have at least 5 of the authors in >2 amanda4242: on my TBR--will probably go with either E. M. Forster (Where Angels Fear to Tread) or Vita Sackville-West (All Passion Spent). May get in a few Auden poems, too.

Jan 31, 5:31pm

>12 kac522: Where Angels Fear to Tread is a bit less polished than Forster's later works, but it's pretty damned good for a first novel.

Jan 31, 8:03pm

I hope to get Ali Smith's Spring from the library. I've read and liked the first two books in her seasonal quartet so I'm glad for the excuse to continue it.

Fev 1, 1:50pm

>14 cbl_tn: I've heard good things about the Seasonal Quartet; my library just added the e-books so I may give them a try soon.

Fev 1, 7:21pm

Ermyntrude and Esmeralda by Lytton Strachey

In this delectably witty novella, two seventeen-year-old girls exchange letters relating their discovers about love and sex. Not for the prudish, but perfect for those who don't mind a risqué amusement.

Fev 1, 7:25pm

>15 amanda4242: I loved Autumn but found Winter lukewarm. Can't wait to see what I think about Spring!

Fev 2, 1:32pm

>17 cbl_tn: A lukewarm Winter? Perhaps it was struck by climate change. (I know, not a very good joke, but I couldn't resist.)

Fev 3, 9:33pm

Maybe this is the month I finally read The Well of Loneliness. We'll see how much month is left after I get through my other two February reading commitments.

Fev 3, 10:03pm

>18 amanda4242: Ha! I'm about 50 pages in and so far Spring is more like Autumn than Winter. :-)

Fev 6, 9:56pm

Orlando by Virginia Woolf

It's the best Virginia Woolf book I've read, but that really just means I thought it had a few redeemable parts.

Fev 8, 5:12pm

Love and Other Thought Experiments (Sophie Ward) (08/02/21) ****

A bravura debut novel of linked stories, using the philosophical thought experiments. I can't claim to have worked out all the links, but I enjoyed the journey, and will revisit.

Fev 8, 5:45pm

I read Spring, the 3rd book in Ali Smith's Seasonal Quartet. I thought it was better than Winter but not as good as Autumn.

Fev 10, 3:18pm

>19 laytonwoman3rd: Sorry I missed your post! How's the reading going?

Fev 10, 3:22pm

>22 Caroline_McElwee: I may have to look that one up; I do enjoy books that ask the reader to think about what they're reading.

Fev 10, 3:23pm

>23 cbl_tn: Here's hoping Summer is brighter!

Editado: Fev 10, 3:41pm

>24 amanda4242: No problem, Amanda! I abandoned one and am about 1/3 into the second of my February commitments, so I might make it to Radclyffe Hall...

Fev 10, 5:01pm

>26 amanda4242: I believe Summer is going to tie all the books together. I noticed at the end of Spring that one of the characters is connected to a character in Autumn. I love what Smith is doing here!

Fev 10, 5:14pm

I'm going to be reading Autumn for this challenge but it's possible I won't actually get to it until March. I'm generally a Smith fan but have not read any of this quartet yet.

Fev 12, 9:22pm

>29 AnneDC: Do let us know what you think of it whenever you get a chance to read it.

Fev 12, 9:33pm

The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst

This is a genuinely well-written book I'm glad to have read, but my enjoyment was impaired by two things:

1) The 1980s setting. I'm too young to have experienced most of the decade, and it was too recent when I was going to school for us to have studied it as history, so I was a little lost at times.

2) I was reading Edith Wharton's The House of Mirth at the same time. Hollinghurst has a good style, but he pales in comparison to Wharton's elegant rage.

Still, glad I read it and I will pick up another of Hollinghurst's books at a later date.

Fev 16, 12:24pm

>31 amanda4242: Now that is something I can't do, read two novels at the same time. I always have fiction/NF/poetry going at the same time, but not more than one novel.

Fev 16, 3:16pm

>32 Caroline_McElwee: I generally don't have any trouble having multiple novels going at the same time; to me, it's no more difficult than keeping track of the plots of a couple different TV shows.

Fev 17, 1:09pm

Brian Broome has just released a book related to this month's theme: PUNCH ME UP TO THE GODS.

Editado: Fev 17, 3:53pm

I finished Where Angels Fear to Tread by E. M. Forster (1905). I'm not sure how I feel about this novel. It starts out very much as a tale of manners, specifically British manners vs. Italian, and the characters felt very distant, very stylized. We watch the characters as "fools" rushing in. ("Fools rush in, where angels fear to tread."--Alexander Pope.) But then late in the book Forster hits us hard with a tragic event, and suddenly the characters seem so real (rather like the fate of poor Leonard Bast in Howards End). Lots of quotable lines; here are two:
--about the English in Sawston, their home town: 'I hated the idleness, the stupidity, the respectability, the petty unselfishness....every one here spent their lives in making little sacrifices for objects they didn't care for, to please people they didn't love; that they never learnt to be sincere--and what's as bad, never learnt how to enjoy themselves.' --Caroline Abbott
--on parenting: For a wonderful physical tie binds the parents to the children; and--by some sad, strange irony--it does not bind us children to our parents. For if it did, if we could answer their love not with gratitude but with equal love, life would lose much of its pathos and much of its squalor, and we might be wonderfully happy.

Editado: Fev 17, 4:27pm

>34 m.belljackson: Thanks for the rec! It looks like Broome is American, correct?

Fev 17, 4:23pm

>35 kac522: I've always admired Forster's ability to make his characters beautifully, painfully human.

Fev 17, 4:33pm

>36 amanda4242: I will double check on Broome's nationality - the title just came up on Bookish First.

Fev 17, 4:39pm

>36 amanda4242:

Yep - Brian Broome covers a lot of ground! = a poet, gay, Black and from Ohio...

I haven't seen the book and am only recommending from title and brief background on the Bookish site.

Fev 21, 2:19pm

A Room with a View by E. M. Forster

Do you suppose there’s any difference between Spring in nature and Spring in man? But there we go, praising the one and condemning the other as improper, ashamed that the same laws work eternally through both.

Every time I read this I gain some new insight, catch another glimpse of something beautiful.

Fev 23, 5:07pm

Sexing the Cherry by Jeanette Winterson

There are parts that are enjoyable--the Twelve Dancing Princesses section is wonderfully reminiscent of Angela Carter--but on the whole I found this one disjointed and gimmicky.

Editado: Fev 25, 8:32pm

Maurice by E. M. Forster

This review I wrote several years ago still holds true:

There are some books that overwhelm the reader with excitement and plot twists and all sorts of other things, but have absolutely no substance to them and leave the reader with only the memory of having read the book. Then there are books that are seemingly insubstantial, yet are so profound that the reader will carry them with them for the rest of their life. Such a work is E. M. Forster’s Maurice.

The story is quite simple: it concerns the two times Maurice Hall fell in love. It is by no means a perfect novel. The characters can be a bit flat and the plot occasionally becomes a bit too idealistic, but the power of Maurice doesn't come from its plot: it comes from the profound humanity with which Forster writes. It is a book not for the mind, but for the heart.

Fev 25, 10:30pm

>42 amanda4242: I read and reviewed Maurice several years ago as well. I guess you need to be a lot more romantic than I am to love it...I just couldn't buy the happy ending. My daughter does love it, but even she acknowledges the ending is unlikely, by quoting Jake Barnes's..."isn't it pretty to think so" line.

Fev 26, 3:06pm

>43 laytonwoman3rd: You do raise some very valid points in your review. I think the ending might have worked better if we had seen Maurice and Alec interact with each other more and seen the relationship between them develop rather than just appear. As it stands, I read the end as more hopeful than happy: no one is dead or in jail, and the lovers are aware of the difficulties they'll face even if they are choosing to ignore them.

Fev 27, 1:17pm

The March thread is up, but feel free to continue posting to previous months' threads.


Jun 16, 5:35pm

Review copies of Stephen Fry's Troy are available on NetGalley until 6/21.