Sometimes my reading habits get the best of me and other times they work like clockwork. I read different books at different times during the day. I use my Kindle and iPhone during my commutes to and from work and at lunch time, and read print books at home during the evening and weekends. That means that I'm usually reading multiple books at the same time. It gets crazy sometimes! For example, at the same time I went nuts reading gay cowboy romances and an entire mystery series, in print and in my Kindle I was reading contemporary fiction, literary fiction and other books that I don't often review here.
In a previous post, I mentioned that I am reading Dear Life, the last collection of short stories by Alice Munro. In this book, Munro captures what seem like ordinary moments that change people's (mostly women's) lives. Sometimes the decisions that lead to those changes seem... mundane, but turn out to be life altering. Not all the stories are working for me on the same level, but one thing I can say about Munro, with few words she can pack a lifetime of information in a short story.
Blood & Guts:
I am also in the process of reading Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy, one of the most gruesomely violent books I've ever read. The writing is fantastic -- sparse, tight, yet so freaking descriptive. It's like he punches you with words one minute and just lulls you with beauty the next. The worse part of it, and the most effective, is when the beauty of his words calmly and nonchalantly describe the horror and violence that humans achieve without even trying. Mr. McCarthy's perspective of the human condition and the lack of humanity in his portrayal of the historical American West is turning out to be rather daunting.
Blood & Guts - A Legal Battle:
I also just began reading Gilbert King's Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America, the 2013 Pulitzer Prize winner for general nonfiction. I am not too far into this book yet, but I can relate a little bit of information on it. So far I'm struck by Gilbert King's excellent creative nonfiction style of writing -- this book reads more like a novel, and it is not a dry accounting of events. The book begins with a brief accounting of landmark cases that Thurgood Marshall argued in Southern Courts and before the U.S. Supreme Court beginning and after the mid-1940's when he served as counsel for the NAACP during the Jim Crow South era. He is best known for his 1951 win Brown v. Board of Education, which brought about the desegregation of public schools, and for serving as Justice of the Supreme Court, the first black man to do so. However, this book specifically focuses on one of Marshall's less known cases, the 1949 Florida case known as the Groveland Boys.
Anyway, before the flu got me, I was reading like a machine. For example, this month I finished a crazy reading spree of contemporary western M/M romances. Don't ask me why, except that I love westerns and while reading one book something began to bug me, so I decided to do some comparison reading and went on an unexpected marathon.
In Heart of a Cowboy by Z.A. Maxfield, I enjoyed the writing and the fact that the main character is honest with himself, his lover, and those around him. In Long Tall Drink by L.C. Chase, story trumps sex and both main characters are given backgrounds that are explored and used to develop the overall story and romantic conflict. In Pickup Men by L.C. Chase, a frustrating read, the fact that the story begins with the couple breaking up is rather unique. But the most interesting aspect of this piece is that Chase incorporates two different perspectives dealing with the consequences that arise from sending young gay men to "rehabilitation camps." And, in No Going Home and Duncan's World, T.A. Chase focuses his novels on fathers who physically abuse their sons, and psychologically lost young men who need and look for "daddies" in their lovers and require their support in order to come out of the closet.
Nick Nowack Mystery series, Boystown: Three Nick Nowack Mysteries. This is a series that my friend Indigene highly recommended to me because she knows how much I love good LGBT mysteries. I fell in love with the gritty central character Nick, the 1980's Chicago setting, Mr. Thornton's pared down writing, and the book format. The book is separated into three sections with titles (novellas), each with a mystery solved by Nick, but the overall storyarc focuses on Nick's personal life and the recurring characters give the book (and overall series) continuity.
This is a great first book with wonderful mysteries that hooked me and a fantastic, rather captivating, ex-cop turned PI whose prolific sexual escapades mask the heartbreak of losing the ex-lover who shoved him out of the closet resulting in the loss of both his family and job with the Chicago PD. I liked the first book so much that I ended up reading the entire Nick Nowack Mystery series up to the latest release, including Little Boy Dead: A Boystown Prequel, Boystown 2: Three Nick Nowak Mysteries, Boystown 3: Two Nick Nowak Mysteries, Boystown 4: Time for Secrets, and Boystown 5: Murder Book. I became so invested in Nick that frankly, I can't wait to find out where Thornton takes this character as well as some secondary characters I've become attached to -- particularly since we know some of what is coming and after the heartbreaking events in Murder Book.
I've finished a few books since I began writing this post, The Tilted World by Tom Franklin and Beth Ann Fennelly, a historical fiction/romance book set in 1927 during the Mississippi Flood (Kindle ed.), The Padișah's Son and the Fox by Alex Jeffers, a Turkish erotic fairy tale (Print ed.), and 'Nathan Burgoine's debut full-length novel Light, a combination superhero action/adventure romance, with strong spec-fic elements (Kindle ed.).