Summer reading. Had me a blast.
The Other Night at Quinn's (2018)- Mike Faloon: Improvisational prose recounts fragments of a man's life through visits to/reviews of a small bar on jazz night. Interesting, though not for everyone. On one page, someone references the Nihilist Spasm Band, locally legendary. The son of one member lives on my street. The person quoted misidentifies them as a "Toronto band." Sure, close enough.
The Boys of Fairy Town: Sodomites, Female Impersonators, Third-Sexers, Pansies, Queers, and Sex Morons in Chicago's First Century (2018)- Jim Elledge: Any book with "sex morons" in the title recommends itself. An interesting peak into Chicago's underlit corners. Hidden history often hides in plain sight.
Last Night at the Telegraph Club (2021)- Malinda Lo: a well-written if slow-moving book that straddles YA and literary. Set mostly in San Francisco's Chinatown in the 1950s, it concerns a cross-racial same-sex relationship. Lo makes gripping and occasionally disturbing use of historical context and detail.
Cool for the Summer (2021)- Dahlia Adler: YA, well enough written, set at Mary Sue Secondary. Everyone is beautiful and/or wealthy and/or excessively competent. High school senior must choose between the affable QB / MVP she's crushed on for years, and the hot super-talented girl she fell for in the summer. Much of the subsequent conflict would vanish if anyone behaved sensibly-- even by teen standards-- for five seconds. Includes a diversity checklist scene where the protagonist goes to a party and describes everyone by their racial and/or sexual identity, and then those characters play no significant role.
The Devil's Larder (2001)- Jim Crace: The much-lauded author serves sixty-four very short stories about food, with occasional paranormal seasonings. A few are excellent. Most are well-prepared, but neither filling nor memorable.
Started: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue (V.E. Schwab).