I had a good week! Loved the tagged one and also Intimacies. Doha and the Winman were okay reads for me.
I had a good week! Loved the tagged one and also Intimacies. Doha and the Winman were okay reads for me.
Why do people hurt eachother so much? And themselves? Why being so hard on yourself and one another? This book is real life. Not mine, but it feels so real. Wallace does and my heart goes out to him. The loneliness of the black gay boy trying to fit in the the white Midwest. Hiding in science. All that anger and the feeling of not being worthy of love. All the misunderstandings but also the tenderness. The book touched me deeply. #bookspin #pop21
Today I finished the 2 books I was reading and now I‘m unsure what to pick up. I‘m thinking of the tagged one but I also have to start The Diviners for the #manawakans buddyread as well as School for Love for the #NYRBbookClub. And now that I‘m writing this I realize I forgot to add #DrZ for #DecemberChill, which I really must start too. So much required reading makes me unmotivated and escaping in a podcast 🤫😇
This is beautifully written. Kevin R. Free is the #audiobook narrator and he does a great job, though I couldn't help comparing this to Murderbot as a result. And they are nothing a like. This takes place over a summer weekend and centers around a group of grad students who are basically starting to question everything in their lives, past, present and future. I'm making it sound boring but it really isn't.
Wallace, a biochem student from Alabama, hates it at his midwest university, and who can blame him? He‘s in a story where nothing happens and every conversation — between co-workers, lovers, or “friends” — is an over-sensitive fight about feeling ignored. There‘s no drama here — nobody wants anything interesting — unless you count constant arguing. Wallace takes 300 pages deciding if he wants to leave. For me, the decision is way too easy.
This was such an amazing book, it portrays living a life built on trauma so well. The past trauma becomes like a poison in Wallace‘s body and it affects him physically and emotionally. My stomach was in knots for most of it. I could feel Wallace‘s exhaustion with his world, the constant up hill battles. The racism both at work and with his friends. I think Wallace will stay with me for a while.
This novel examines sexuality and race through the lens of a group of science graduate students. The more I roll this in my head the more I mull its casual and intimate violence. There‘s the jealousy and destruction of lab experiments, the “casual” attempt to break up a friend‘s relationship, tossed off racial microaggressions, and a lot of rough sex. A very thought-provoking novel worthy of its Booker nomination.
Anyone else starting their weekend curled up with some good books?
Here's my TBR for the upcoming 48 hour #QueerBlackathon, happening June 19th-20th. #Blackathon
[ID: Two books sit cover up in front of a mirror. On the left, a green cover with a black figured; the title is The Gospel of Breaking, by Jillian Christmas. On the right, an orange cover featuring black slashes and a bird; the title is Real Life, by Brandon Taylor.]
This novel‘s pacing and language is beautiful. There‘s misery, ugliness, but not too horrific to read. The glimpses of Wallace‘s past expertly weaved in; the depiction of loneliness, isolation, desire is raw and unshrinking. It‘s infuriating to read of the humiliation, and pain that Wallace suppressed but I was glad to see some kindness, and perhaps hope. I wish him well in his life.
I was planning to read Orkney for our #HolidayEscape then I realised my loan on the tagged book is due soon. 🤦♀️
I‘m only two chapters in, and I have a feeling it‘s going to stick with me for some time. Seems like a good pick with it being Pride Month (though unofficially outside US). 🌈
^^ friendship as comfort & cult, trauma as common currency
“Miller laughs at him. The nervousness abates, and so does the nausea, the churning sense of being gossiped about. You have to learn to trust people, to believe that they mean you no harm, Wallace thinks.”
A lot of reading of facial expressions, laughs, physical cues, a narrator who, like Wallace, can‘t stop searching under the surface for intent.
A campus novel over a late summer Midwestern weekend: gossipy grad students wrestling w/ ambition, motivation, trust, work, loyalty, attraction. Wallace=outsider in his friend group, dealing w/ subtle but steady racism & tokenism plus his own self-sabotage & fear of intimacy. The bully‘s confession in Miller. Style somewhat presentational & sensational but characters very much alive. A deep ache in this book. A longing to know what to want. 2020
We follow Wallace and his circle of grad student friends over the course of an emotionally tumultuous weekend. Wallace‘s particular intersection of identities - being black, gay, and poor - sets him apart, and leaves him often feeling isolated, angry, and misunderstood. This is intensified by some recently uprooted past trauma. Taylor delivers a remarkable debut and paints a vivid emotional landscape for his characters.
Oh my god @Reggie this book! I haven‘t read a contemporary novel with this kind of intimacy and intensity for a long time - it was like a shot of adrenaline that woke me right up. First of all, Brandon Taylor has bucketloads of talent. So many passages that stung with their hurt. Raw and yet sharply drawn with no wasted words.
This is intense stuff. ⬇️
A little book with a lot of feelings. Wallace‘s life has been difficult. Struggles begin in his childhood but still follow him throughout his life into graduate school, where he joins a group of friends but doesn‘t feel like he really belongs. This “outsider” feeling readers experience through Wallace‘s story, as a gay black man, is quietly heartbreaking. There‘s a passage near the end about apathy I adored and will remember from this novel.
Brandon Taylor is a very talented writer, his use of language is so beautiful. Although this was a book full of difficult subject matter it was so good. In a book I‘m reading for a research methods class it suggested that reading good literature or novels can help you to become a better writer (although writing journal articles is very methodical). One more book off my #bookspinbingo board
#audiobaking lemon blueberry brownies 🫐 🍋 for my friend‘s birthday celebration this evening. (Socially distanced with only 4 of us, of course 😊)
This book 😔— I‘m about 36% in and it‘s already pretty rough for Wallace, as a gay black man in a science lab and within his group of friends.
Oof, Wallace! ? I got so riled at all the shit he had to deal with. The lab stuff was deplorable but the constant oblivious slights from his white friends (who habitually resort to silence and laughter to traverse moments that are a humiliation to him) were worse. Each time he said, "It's fine", my heart sank. I really wanted things to work out for him, but doubted that they would. The closing chapter made the whole thing all the more poignant.
I did enjoy this book but I struggled a bit to get through it. It‘s one of those books that I just wasn‘t excited to read but the writing was great! Wallace the protagonist is someone most of us could relate to in some ways. That isolation felt between friends and other relationships as a queer black man in the Midwest was so relatable and heart wrenching.
I‘m hoping to get to a good portion of these for #blackhistorymonth. Any in there that I absolutely cannot miss?
Of the seven 2020 Booker Longlist books I‘ve listened to, this, written in five weeks, is the only one I‘ve really liked. It‘s depressing but terrific, especially in the layers and how he handles them. He mixes looks at discrete racism, at queerness, at grad school blues... and at human contradictions. And he captures Wallace‘s deep need for intimacy as he firmly represses his own emotions, or any self expression.
Real Life centers on Wallace, a black, gay man who is struggling with racism and surviving in an all-white setting while trying to figure out his future. I love that he is in grad school in the biological sciences and the lab setting that gives us. This book kept me on my toes in the best way—things would happen I wasn‘t expecting, and the ending doesn‘t resolve the situation. I want to read more about Wallace! This is really good.
A wonderful book. I was really moved by Wallace, his isolation was heartbreaking. The almost total lack of empathy of the people around him and the sheer injustice of their attitudes toward him made me really angry. The lab politics was bad enough, but those so-called friends... Ugh! A little more in spoiler comment. Thanks for sharing this reading experience with me @JennyM
An absolute beauty of a book that I feel deserves all the hype. The author touched on so many issues in a deft and tender way. And his portrayal of graduate life was, well, very real life! Thanks so much for reading this alongside me @CarolynM and for gifting me this gorgeous copy.
“Money is always on their minds...They discuss the lives and fares of faculty the way one might track the paths of minor planets. Careers move in orbits, fixed by certain factors. One typically stays at the level of their graduate or postdoc institution, or goes one step lower...Fellowships lead to good postdocs, good postdocs lead to good grants, good grants lead to faculty positions....It all rises and falls on money”.
So very true!!!☝️
Oof, talk about a gut punch. Wallace‘s loneliness and vulnerability were palpable as were his experiences as a gay, black man in a mostly white, mostly hetero graduate program in the Midwest. There is some HEAVY content including descriptions of sexual assault so CW. But Taylor is a monumental talent and I can‘t wait to read whatever else he chooses to write next. 4🌟
Brandon Taylor took me back to grad school and let me experience a weekend through the eyes and mind of Wallace, a gay black student from Alabama in a midwestern city. Real Life contains authentic characters who have baggage, and the relationships between partners, friends, and coworkers are complicated.
It‘s a cold, grey, rainy day and we just ended a dumpster fire of a year. I probably should have picked something a bit sunnier for my first read of 2021 but that wouldn‘t have been on brand.
I‘m feeling the pain of grad school in this 1st chapter, deep dark memories creeping up. (*shiver*). I probably should feel more about life decisions, and about race and homosexuality. A good start to my next 2020 Booker longlist book.
Eeek...I‘ve been wanting to read this but my library has a huge wait. So happy to have my very own copy! Thankyou so much, @CarolynM Sending lots of festive cheer to you and yours 🎄😘🎅
Wallace, biochem grad student at a Midwestern University, meets with four friends on a Friday evening. The book is comprised of the events of one pivotal weekend in Wallace's life. As it is largely set in what one might assume is an enlightened & liberal environment: academia, one might expect a gay Black character such as Wallace to be exposed to fewer prejudices. Not so. Wallace encounters microaggressions, attempts at limiting agency,👇
Starting this this evening.
As an aside, this is a mega good quality paperback (as in the quality of the paper... 🧐🤓) which led me to wonder who the publisher was. And it's Daunt Books (Marylebone) - I had no idea they also published. I'll be exploring that later.
Loved this immersive & true novel. It juxtaposes Wallace‘s daily life with the looming issue of his self-denial. Pitch-perfect observations of student life: idle moments & conversations, fluidity & mood swings. They operate on the surface, not facing problems & not yet starting careers. So then, what is real life? Wallace‘s early trauma leaves him vigilant, nihilistic & afraid of the world. He can‘t stay, or move. Poetic, on point, heartbreaking.
I've heard mixed reviews on Real Life, although mostly favorable. The main criticism has been Taylor's prose style, which some find overwritten. I admit, there have been a couple of sentences so far that haven't landed, but I just devoured the first 60 pages.
May need a rest but my brain doesn‘t seem to know what to read next either!!