SOMETIMES I FAIL TO READ BOOKS.
I make the attempt! But for whatever reason, I can't get through them. And it's kind of ludicrous, because of what I do manage to get through.
recommended a book to me called Heads In Beds, about the hospitality industry. And it really is quite interesting reading when it's about the hospitality industry, though a) it makes me think all humans are disgusting and b) it makes me glad I rarely stay in hotels. But it's really an autobiography of one man's journey through the hospitality industry -- and that wouldn't be a problem except he's kind of a bro. He's a little douchey, a little bro-y, and there came a point where I just couldn't go on. (Also I think he's kind of racist.) But it was a good recommendation because normally, authorial issues aside, that kind of book is right up my street.
The other book I have recently been unable to finish fills me with more regret. I think I found it on a list of "trashy beach reads with real literary value"; it's called The Lord Won't Mind by Gordon Merrick, the first volume in what's called the Peter-Charlie trilogy. The Lord Won't Mind is a really important piece of literature, actually, one of the first major works of literature to portray gay relationships as both positive and unlikely to end in death.
When I was describing it to someone the other day I said, "You know how when you were in your early teens you heard about how scandalous Lady Chatterly's Lover was, so you went and found it in the library and it turned out to be super
tame? This is the book you were looking for." It is chockablock full of nearly continuous gay sex, to which I have no objection though it did make reading it on the bus somewhat awkward. There are little kids around, yo, and sometimes they try to read what I'm reading, I don't pretend to understand why.
But yes. The Lord Won't Mind
actually is really important and at least according to many reviews on many sites it was a huge touchstone for queer kids in the seventies and remains so for queer kids without access to much other queer media. And I get that, and it's very well written, so I respect this book.
But man, Charlie is an asshole. He's a racist, rapey, partner-beating asshole. I'm told that by the end of the book he's learning about what an asshole he is, and that's good, but I didn't have the fortitude to keep reading about a sweet, desperately naive kid getting entangled with this giant asshole
Apparently, you guys, I have a problem with assholes in books.
I did manage to finish Andrew Caldwell's "Their Last Suppers", which is a book about the last meals of famous historical figures. (And, for some reason, John Candy. Not that he's not awesome, but...he's not exactly Napoleon or Alexander the Great.) I have to admit I wasn't that impressed with this one either; the historical blurbs that precede the menus aren't as much about the food of the era, as I'd hoped they would be, but rather are sort of high-school level historical essays on the people in question. The recipes themselves are often rather shoddily assembled, with poor cooking instructions which frequently ignore how to plate or consume the more unusual dishes. There were also three women, out of 21 profiles, which seemed a bit sketch.
So it has not been a banner week for books. But I've got another little stack of books waiting for me to read, and a lot of travel coming up, so we shall see.