Read Any Good Books Lately?To counteract my series of American Idol posts, I thought I'd talk about a couple of the books I've been reading lately. Because I do read. Really. I do.
Scott first recommended Fun Home by Alison Bechdel to me after receiving it for Christmas this year and loving it. Bechdel is the cartoonist behind the popular gay comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For. She bills her book as a "Family Tragicomic" and tells it in comic book form. What I expected to be a light-hearted fun read was actually Bechdel's moving memoir of her father's death and supposed suicide, his closeted homosexuality and her coming of age as a lesbian. The characters are true to life and Bechdel tells a compelling and intelligent story rich with literary references from Greek mythology to F. Scott Fitzgerald.
In a recent article Bechdel describes having to tell her mother that she was writing a memoir about one of the most painful and devastating times in their family's history. Her mother took the news surprisingly well and followed up by sending Alison a quote from William Faulkner which read "The writer's only responsibility is to his art. … If a writer has to rob his mother, he will not hesitate."
Speaking of mothers, my own mother recommended Dan Savage's The Commitment to me which I also read recently. You may be familiar with Dan Savage's regular sex advice column "Savage Love" and his prickly editorials for The Stranger, a Seattle based alternative newspaper. (Check out his...ahem..."colorful" response to Garrison Keillor's recent homophobic remarks.) Savage's book, also a memoir, recounts the story of organizing an anniversary-party-pretending-to-be-a-wedding-reception after a secret Canadian wedding ceremony with his boyfriend.
I think my mother could relate particularly well to the role of Savage's own mother who shows up periodically throughout the book with strategically timed visits and phone calls always with another bullet proof argument for why Savage and his boyfriend should get married. The story is told with much good humor and love. Savage also presents a very well researched and balanced argument in favor of gay marriage. It's a good read.
So that's what I've been reading. How about you? Read any good books lately?