August 26th, 2012

raised eyebrow

Book #2: Almost Like Being in Love

Almost Like Being in Love

Title: Almost Like Being in Love

Author: Steve Kluger

Genre: Romantic Comedy, LGBTQ Fiction

Summary: Travis and Craig fall in love in boarding school. Once they leave for universities on two different coasts, they lose touch with each other. Twenty years later Travis realizes that he’s still in love with Craig so he puts his life on hold and hitchhikes from California to New York to surprise Craig, who has no idea that a blast from his past is about to appear on his (and his boyfriend’s) doorstep.

Stars: *** (3)

Review: Have you ever watched a romantic comedy that was witty and funny and sarcastic, it made you laugh and you enjoyed the time spent watching it but afterwards it really didn’t have an impact one way or another on your life? This is exactly that type of book. The story has sweet and dramatic moments but the emotional content seemed shallow, the love between Travis and Craig never seemed to move on past a teenage infatuation stage. Instead of deep character development, the author chose to use a plethora of cultural references and quotes that seemed overbearing and confusing at times. The presentation of the story also occurred in the form of diary entries, e-mails, texts, legal documents, newspaper articles, letters, checklists, etc. The success of this technique wasn’t consistent, at times it worked beautifully but at other times it served as a distraction from the story, sometimes even supplying superfluous information that got a bit tedious. The story also touched on some social issues pertinent to homosexuals like AIDS, gay marriage, discrimination, etc. but only addressed them on a very superficial level.

However, don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a bad book, just… average. The story was enjoyable (if cliché) and there were times I couldn’t stop laughing (the wit and sarcasm was entertaining as well). It was an easy read that could be finished in a few hours and the ending made me feel good and fuzzy on the inside. 

Dead Dog Cat

(no subject)

My class in Fantasy & Science Fiction Literature assigned some mixed short story and poem readings from Hawthorne and Poe; I finished them, and I'm giving myself credit here thereby. So there.

Books 72 and 73 for 2012

I've read very little in August. I was looking forward to recuperating from knee surgery, and off work for six weeks (still have another two to go), and was planning to read for a lot of it. It did not happen the way I'd planned it.

72. Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, 1990, 412 pages.
This was a re-read of an old favourite, and it was just as delightful as I'd remembered. The end of the world can be highly amusing if the story is told as well as this was.

73. For book #73 I read three short plays, which added up, in total, to 171 pages. I read Augst Strindberg's Miss Julie (1879); Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House (1888); and Oliver Goldsmith's She Stoops to Conquer (1773).

August Strindberg had put me in a bad mood even before I started reading the play. Miss Julie comes with a long preface, in which Mr. Strindberg, who was Swedish, explains his philosophy of life in general, and his condescension towards women in particular. I was not thrilled by the thought of reading a play in which men's views are naturally superior, but I wanted to expand my horizons....they have expanded and I won't be annoyed by this man again. The story was of a young woman of high birth who has a liaison with one of the household servants; it leads to the quite elegant conclusion that still abounds greatly in society, about how men who sleep around are relieving their natural feelings, and women who do so are sluts. Was not impressed.

.....excuse me while I climb down from my soapbox.....

I loved the Ibsen play. Ibsen was Norwegian, and had thoughts almost diametrically opposed to those of Strindberg. Apparently there were near-riots upon A Doll's House opening in the Oslo theatre, and given the time period I can see why. The story is of a woman who is greatly constricted and talked down to within the confines of her marriage, and the solution that she comes to in order to change her life. It was well-written and enjoyable, and managed not to be preachy about its viewpoint, but to allow theatre-goers to understand her husband's behaviour and its consequences for themselves. I'd like to read more of Ibsen; he and I would be sympatico, I think.

Oliver Goldsmith's play, She Stoops to Conquer, was such a relaxing work to read. It had all the old tropes. There were hidden identities, soliloquys overheard by other players, conversations behind screens, people being deliberately felt a bit like a Shakespeare comedy and was enjoyable, if rather predictable.