April reading

“Disassociation is a gay ritual as much as any other,” Jeremy Atherton Lin notes in one of the many examples of his superb aphoristic prose. Forensic, dirty, meditative, and often quite serious, Gay Bar stands as the sharpest book I’ve read about what queer men seek on the dance floor. Desires met and unfulfilled. Hookups with the intensity of relationships. An inquiry then into what a “relationship” means when a combination of pose, remix, and luck reorder what our society requires — what Wallace Stevens remarked was “required, as a necessity requires.” Together with the boyfriend he calls Famous Blue Raincoat, — one of the few moments of preciousness — Lin visits ever-changing prosceniums in which ideals of gayness get tested by ideas of gayness. Fashions and rules of comportment change as senselessly as pop music idols. “Identity wasn’t about finding something within — a cicada biding time in my underground — but about sensing  myself about in the world,” Lin writes. As it moves faster to keep up with Lin and Famous, Gay Bar accumulates the aperçus, some more apposite than others. (“Memoir is how you groom yourself. Memoir is drag.”)

My April reading:

John Le Carré – Silverview
Stephen Spender – Love-Hate Relations
Joan Richardson – How to Live, What to Do: Thirteen Ways of Looking at Wallace Stevens
Nigel Williamson – Borges: A Life
Alejandro Zamba – Ways of Going Home
Ruth Prawer Jhabvala – Heat and Dust
Roger Lowenstein – Ways and Means: Lincoln and His Cabinet and the Financing of the Civil War
* Henry James – The American
Ron Brownstein – Rock Me on the Water: The Year Los Angeles Transformed Movies, Music, Television, and Politics
Henry Green – Blindness
Jeremy Atherton Lin – Gay Bar: Why We Went Out
E.M. Forster – Three Cheers for Democracy
Daniel Mendelsohn – Ecstasy and Terror: From the Greeks to Game of Thrones

* Reread.

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