When I began writing this post I had the intention of listing ten of my favourite books in gay fiction for 2010. But it quickly became apparent that it would be impossible to restrict the list to only ten. Despite the fact that my reading time was more limited over 2010 due to the demands of real life and work and I read much less than in previous years, there were too many reading gems that I did read and could not omit from the year’s best.
Over the course of the year I made several wonderful discoveries in new-to-me authors, finally got around to reading books that had been sitting on my shelves for years, I received some great recommendations from online friends, some of my favourite authors released incredible stories and I gave myself permission to re-read some past favourites without guilt.
In the end, twenty books (novels, novellas, anthologies and short stories) made the final cut of my best in gay fiction for 2010 across several genres – contemporary, erotica, horror, historical, mystery, romance and young adult. Some were weighty stories, others lighter fare with happy endings, and several had unforgettable characters that continued to haunt me long after I was done reading their stories. But all the books listed as my best of 2010 in their own way dealt with the stuff of life and fed my mind, heart and soul.
The business of real life continued to interfere with my reading and reviewing during April and May. Too much work and lack of free time prevented me from reading as many books as I normally would over a two-month period.
On the positive side, virtually all of the books I did read fall into the category of very good to excellent reads. So the theme for Spring 2010 is quality over quantity. I’m starting to get through the backlog of reviews and hope to fall into a more regular pace of reading and reviewing for the month of June.
At some point, hasn’t every bottom yearned to be ravished by a powerful, inescapable top? What dominant hasn’t fantasized about a gorgeous young sub with an incredible ass, so horny he could never say no? The Boy Can’t Help It offers over a dozen such stories of beautiful young men: a gymnast, a diver, a surfer, a marine and an assortment of college boys submitting to construction workers, horny professors, butch jocks, corporate titans, insatiable miners, and even one’s own psychiatrist.
When Allen Pasztory discovered he was likely to die before his time, he realized that what he could pass down to the people he loved was stories. Stories of and for his families – the family he was born to and the family he stumbled upon and fiercely embraced.
The hearing child of parents raised in the inhumane surroundings of a state school for the deaf, all along Allen knew he and his family were different. His sister tried her best to become ordinary, as if it were possible, but Allen knew better. He would be ready to offer sanctuary when an ordinary family cast out his nephew Kit.
Allen fell for freelance artist Jeremy’s talent and looks, but it was Jeremy’s unanticipated bravery that supported them through the years while they nurtured their new family. Despite hostility from without and threat from within, they created a secure and loving home for Jeremy’s precocious son Toby and, later, Allen’s nephew.
But safety can’t be guaranteed. Allen must tell himself stories to survive, stories that may explain his life to the boys he’s raised, for “your life is never only your own story, and what you don’t know for sure you must invent, using all the clues you can gather.”
March was a relatively productive reading month with two exceptional stories, The Summer Between by Andrew Binks and The Decade of Blind Dates by Richard Alther. I also read and reviewed the latest installment of Andrew Grey’s Love Means Series, Love Means … No Boundaries and a sweet western/cowboy m/m romance by Leiland Dale entitled, When The Blue Bird Calls.
Peter Bauman, a forty-five-year-old divorced gay painter, plunges into the personal ads just prior to the Internet in his quest for the perfect partner.
He dates a colorful cast of characters from a Connecticut physician, a rabid Republican, to a Texas-two-stepping, tattooed punk. Next there’s the heavier-than-advertised geek who arrives with a bag of sex toys, but Peter is more serious with a handsome, stern Maine woodsman, followed by a British aristocrat patron who declines further intimacy because of his AIDS.
As Peter negotiates his new gay identity, his best friend, Barry, counsels and supports him at every step, especially as Peter deals with a health crisis. During a decade of sex and shenanigans, Peter, encouraged by his ex-wife, daughter, and son, examines his life and, at last, discovers his soul mate.
Virtually all the books I read this year are in the area of gay fiction (erotica, romance, horror, suspense, urban fantasy, western/cowboy, young adult, etc.), and as the year draws to an end I thought I’d put together a list of my favourite books and stories for 2009.
The two books that standout the most and I consider my #1 reads for 2009 are Amnesic Nostalgia by Zea Miller and Fool for Love: New Gay Fiction by editors Timothy J. Lambert and R.D. Cochrane. These two gems rightfully take their place as part of the list of some of my most favourite books.
Jamie is in Costa Rica on spring break. He has his books and writing notebook, but is otherwise alone in this tropical paradise. At dinner he meets two very attentive waiters – Rudiger and Luis – and the interest is mutual. They convince Jamie to accompany them to “la playita” — the “little beach” – a popular and fun place where no one wears anything. It is on la playita that Rudiger and Luis bring Jamie’s private fantasies to life.
Rough Cut is a collection of seventeen short stories all written by Vincent Diamond, and edited by the author and Richard Labonté, of which, fifteen are connected and tell the continuing story of recurring characters.