Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Gay Pulp ebooks - Greenleaf Adonis Series

The website neatopotato has a bunch of cool adult pulp novels for download, I recommend you check them out.  They're easily convertible to your Kindle or Kobo and free.

Three of the books have no covers, and the cover is half the fun of these books.  I looked all over the net and couldn't find them, so here's two of the missing covers, complete with links.

Blow the Man Down by Jason Bonds

Glory Hole Cop by Barton Lewis

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Legend of the Ditto Twins by Jerry Douglas

The Legend of the Ditto TwinsThe Legend of the Ditto Twins by Jerry Douglas
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Gimmicky, not believable, not exciting, not erotic.
This book is the fictional story of twins who fall in love and become porn stars.
It seems to be written to titillate rather than to masturbate, but it seems to sail along the line between the two and never really fits in either.
I feel too much of the erotic tension comes from the fact that they're twins, which is okay for the first 100 pages or so but grows thin.
Also lines like, after the first time they have sex, "Clark and I had become a single entity again, for the first time since the original egg split prenatally", don't really help.
To me, the point of erotica is the set-up and the building of tension. That doesn't happen here, so we're left with the fiction and a plot that really goes nowhere cumulating in a stupid over-the-top last-minute ending from Hell.
The lines frequently fall with a thud, such as when the then 21 year old twins announce they are "as ready for their comeback as Norma Desmond." Plus the book is full of Judy Garland quotes and "Hello, Dolly" songs, you know, like all the 21 year olds like.
The scenes with their one-dimensional mother are so cringe inducing, it gets to become so bad it's good, like Showgirls. The mother parts were a highlight for me by the end, as well there's a quarter of the book devoted to making a porn movie, something the author is obviously very familiar with, and that part was good.
The book is all over the map in general. The twins smoke at least 100 cigarettes during the course of the book, someone who is going to read it, please keep count; I’ve never seen anything like it. In addition, pornography and incest are presented as both art and a civil rights issue, respectively, whereas prostitution and drugs are presented as the devil's right hand, with all the moralizing of an after school special.
Steer clear.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather

Death Comes for the Archbishop (1927)Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

While the subject matter is not my usual thing, I read this for a book club and quite enjoyed it, I think it's perfect for a wide audience of people.
The novel is a series of vignettes on two priests traversing the old west, New Mexico and area, in the mid 1800's.
The writing is beautiful, and though literary with a wide vocabulary, it's still relatable and a book written to read, rather than a book written to admire. I see other reviews have called it dry or slow and I sometimes wonder if I'm reading the same book as these people. It's not The Bourne Ultimatium, but there's sex, violence and murder on nearly every page.
I do agree with other reviews that the characters are not very likeable but the stories presented come off more as fairy tales, morality tales you can see being passed around the old west, and are all incredibly charming.
Being written when it was, the book avoids the modern questions of religion and faith, which I was glad of. While I don't understand the need or the audacity of French men to travel thousands of miles to convert self-reliant indiginous peoples to a crazy religion, I think the explanations for such behavious would only have riled me up. Taking this motivation as a given, I was able to focus more on the story itself.
Lastly, I thought the title was an interesting idea. You reveal the last page of the book in the title, something I've not seen before, but by focusing on his death, you also focus on his life, and can contemplate on it alongside the archbishop, closed up in that dark room murmuring in French.

Tres bon.

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Monday, July 16, 2012

The Toronto You Are Leaving by Gordon Stewart Anderson

The Toronto You Are LeavingThe Toronto You Are Leaving by Gordon Stewart Anderson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The best gay-themed book set in Toronto, without question.

I went looking to read versions of stories similar to my own and tried to find books set in gay Toronto at the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives. I found five, only five, and this was the most accomplished.

It's rare to see a first novel so fully fleshed out and not focused solely on the self. This book is a big, epic book, spanning decades and covering the gay history of Toronto. I feel like some people may be turned off by the AIDS angle, suffering from AIDS fatigue. This is not an AIDS book, AIDS isn't mentioned until the last 10 percent of the book. Also I personally put it off for a while until I had time for such a sweeping read, and I shouldn't have, the story is very personal and primarily focuses on two people.

The book starts with a romance and tentative steps toward the gay scene when in college, something experienced by many gays growing up in small towns around the world, and like myself:
"Only he'd always known there was Toronto, there was a bus, and one day he had got on it."

I really appreciated the discussions on the Canadian-ness of the characters, the stiff British upper-lip combined with the laissez-faire influence from the south creating something unique in a story rarely told.

The story of the publication of the book is almost as good as the book itself and is detailed in the introduction.

I took a star off for the story, I felt it could have been more sweeping and included more Toronto events happening during the story as a plot point rather than a brief aside.

Also I feel the book took a turn in the end with AIDS coming on suddenly, but I imagine that in itself was realistic, and the final chapter of the book is perfection.

The strength of this novel is the characterizations, the vivid portrait of Toronto brought to life, and the fact that it was published at all.

I would and will be recommending it to every gay Torontoian I know, it is our story captured as never before or since.

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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Letter to Children's Aid, re: Protestors

Children's Aid Society of Ontario

Protestors this morning at College and Yonge using their children as human shields.
Inducting a 6 year old into a religious cult and forcing them to stand in the hot sun holding a large photo of a dismembered corpse is child abuse, I don't seem how that can be debated.  I would encourage you to take their children away from them immediately.

At the very least I would ask you to launch an investigation.

If this was some kind of sex protest, and the child was holding an image of a naked person, the Society would intervene.  How is a photo of the corpse of a dismembered baby not more damaging to the child's psyche?

I ask you to act, and quickly.  I would be happy to help with any more information.

Adam Dunn

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

What I want

What do I want?
The question has become clearer, easier to answer as I get older, in many respects.

There was a recent speed dating event at the Toronto library for gay/queer people 19-35. The idea was you bring a book and talk about it for three minutes, then you move on to the next person.
I did think of going, I really did.  It was on the night of the week that I volunteer for the archives but I could have gotten out of that.
What I think stopped me was the age.  19-35, I'm 33, was everyone there going to be too young?  I suppose that's what I told myself anyway, though I should have gone regardless in retrospect.  It's a two hour committment, who cares if everyone was too young.
Anyway, I didn't go, something about not wanting to belong to a club that would have me as a member.  I know a lot of gays feel this way, that we don't fit in.  I hear a lot "I don't listen to gay radio" or "I don't watch gay TV" or "I wouldn't go on a gay vacation" from gay people. The expectation being, "I'm not THAT type of gay".

A great article in Attitude this month, an excerpt from the book The Velvet Rage: Overcoming the Pain Of Growing Up Gay in a Straight Man's World by Alan Downs on just this kind of thinking.

I need to read it.
I was asked if I would consider hosting a similar speed-dating book event for the archives.  I like books.  And one thing that is good, that I have overcome (give props to yourself where you can!) is I would be able to host something like this.  I am not worried about talking in front of people or looking silly or talking and those are things I have gained with age and experience so props there.

But thinking of this has sent me in to a spiral. 
Why did I not attend that event?  Quentin Crisp's "Great dark man" is not coming, what am I going to do about that?  I'm around a load of men at the archives, but I rule them out, some too old, too young, too nicely dressed, too old, too physically fit, like Goldilocks with her porridge, so where the hell is the one that's just right?  Am I waiting for the great dark man that won't come?

And I think the reason that no one's coming is that at some point I started ruling everyone out.  Too handsome, not handsome enough, too... whatever.

Which leads to too.... alone.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Letter to City Councillor, re: Protestors

Kristyn Wong-Tam

Protestors this morning on Jarvis at Carlton holding large pictures of dismembered baby corpses to protest abortion.

Without limiting their right to free speech, I'm wondering if it would be possible to restrict the displaying of dismembered corpses in public places?

Failing that, what about a by-law saying you cannot display pictures of mutilated corpses within 50 feet of a public road? Or maybe 100 feet?

Five people with signs ruined the morning of thousands which doesn't seem right.

Thank you for considering this,

Adam Dunn

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Letter to my MP re: Cigarette Warnings

The Honourable Mr. Bob Rae

I am writing to you as I recently found this image on a package of cigarettes, which I enclose, and believe the line has been pushed too far.

A dismembered corpse may discourage picking up a package of cigarettes, but I don’t think it’s an appropriate image to show the general public.

This particular image is too far. I ask you: Can you actually look at it?

This was approved by the Federal Government, mandated by them, and as such I ask you to intervene as my representative.

While I can appreciate the government’s efforts on smoking cessation, this image is to me unacceptable.

Adam Dunn

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Tune in Tokyo: The Gaijin Diaries by Tim Anderson

Tune in Tokyo: The Gaijin DiariesTune in Tokyo: The Gaijin Diaries by Tim Anderson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A great engaging fun book, I'd recommend it to anyone the least bit curious about Tokyo or living abroad.
The author relocates to Tokyo for two years and madcap adventures ensue.
I felt the book worked best when the humour was inherent in the situation, such as the crazy drunk roommate, the other teachers giving a definition of "broke" as when something falls and cracks, and his partner was presented as hysterical. These parts were all perfect.

Working less well was the forced comedy, such as the anime characters taking over the world, and for me I wasn't that interested in the music aspects of the book.

These are minor complaints, there really is something in here for everyone. A great book for a nice price from a funny author, pick it up.

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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Signed: The Hard Return by Marcus McCann

It's difficult for me to meet and talk with authors when I haven't totally loved their work.  Take for example, me almost getting thrown out of the Jonathan Franzen book signing.
So it was with some trepedation I spoke to Marcus McCann at Glad Day Book's Pride signing event.
I went to hear him read first, he read several poems, mostly from his first book for some reason, and several he had written himself not in a book.  Very few, maybe two, from the book he was there to push, The Hard Return.
He started off the event playing to the crowd and saying he was going to read poems about sex, which got an appreciative howl from the audience. 
He then spent 20 minutes reading poems not about sex.
While technically he seems very gifted and at a level beyond me craftsmanship wise, he didn't seem to put as much effort into entertaining his audience as he did in to displaying his mastery of word-crafting.  For example, one poem was read that was a list of brands of men's jackets, while acknowledging that this style of poem went out 10 years ago. Another poem was read because it sounded cool, syllable/onomatopoeia wise, but little was presented understanding/enjoying wise.
At the end of the event, I was now struggling more with what to say.
A positive was that he was attractive and judging by his offhand asides during the reading, seemed sexually uninhibited.  I don't know that was actually presented in the work performed though....
So I ended up picking the two poems I like best and asked him for more information on them. 
One was about a dunk tank and when I asked why he wrote about that, he said there was a famous poem about a butterfly and he had wanted to write about the opposite of a butterfly, which was a dunk tank.
Quickly moving on, I asked about an empowering poem he wrote that started with being small and gaining self-confidence into finally macho swagger.  He said that was a break-up poem. I explained that I probably wouldn't have got that from the poem itself, at which point he said:
"Yes, they don't make sense, they're all crap."
And my work was unfortunately once again done.

If you're going to make artistic decisions, is it really too much for me to question why in an attempt to understand?

That could have gone better.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Pride 2012

So many people taking so many photos.
I only took one, this one of porn star Tristan Bull (right).

Three photos from the excellent Hidden Cameras show at Harbourfront.