“Life can be hard. I know how hard it can be. And then she said, ‘Déjate querer.’ Let yourself be loved.”

9781471171031The LGBTQ Book club met way back in March at the Central Library to discuss The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Alire Saenz. It follows Sal through his senior year in high school as he struggles with his identity as the adopted white son of a very supportive gay Mexican-American man, his place in his loving extended family and the trials faced by his best friends.

Book club members liked this poignant coming-of-age story. It isn’t plot driven, but the characters are so well conceived and complex and the story is so uplifting that the pace doesn’t flag. Even in a long book we wanted to hear more from Sal’s supportive family and his best friend, a girl named Sam. It was refreshing that Sam and Sal could be friends without romantic complications. However, we agreed that Sal’s father Vicente was the real star of the novel. His unending patience allowed him to embrace his ex-boyfriend Marcos, to take care of both Sam and Sal’s other friend Fito and to have a successful career as an artist. At times he seemed too saintly, but is certainly an aspirational character. His orientation was both slowly revealed and fully integrated into the story. He becomes the de facto dad to these three motherless teens.

Vicente gives Sal a letter Sal’s dead mother wrote to him. The plot hinges on Sal’s decision to open the letter but we all felt that was secondary to getting to know the characters. We were a bit surprised with what he does with it (especially in a world with social media) but thought the ending was deserved.

We also discussed intersex. Here’s one explanation.

Join us tomorrow for our final meeting as we discuss The House of Impossible Beauties by Joseph Cassara. We’ll also be hosting an LGBTQ book swap at Central on September 15 from 2-4. Bring your own books and leave with new-to-you  titles. 

More Information:
About the author
Interview with the author
About the book
Other works

Posted in LGBTQ Book Club

“I wasn’t popular, but I wasn’t an outcast. I was everywhere with everybody, and at the same time I was all by myself.”

bornacrimeThe Brown Baggers met on Thursday, July 18 to discuss Trevor Noah’s autobiography Born a Crime.

In Born a Crime, Trevor Noah recounts his childhood in South Africa under the apartheid government and the first few years of democratic rule by the nation’s black majority. His is the story of a disobedient young boy who had to hide from the world during the early years of his life since the government could take him from his mother if they were discovered. Noah tells stories from his childhood and high school years with a humorous twist. He describes visiting three churches every Sunday with his mother, being pushed out of a moving car, and navigating high school. Noah writes about how he struggled to fit in and how he always felt like an outsider.

The Brown Baggers loved this book and the discussion was full of laughter as members recounted their favorite parts of the book. Many felt that it was incredible how Noah was able to learn so many languages and become such an international star, when he had so little growing up and faced numerous challenges. Some Brown Baggers thought his success was due to his mother’s influence, who was such a strong person, and really pushed him to learn.

Some members said that they learned more about South Africa in general and about apartheid after reading this autobiography. They felt that Noah used humor to cope with everything that happened in his life and thought it was amazing that he was so observant, especially when he was so young. Others mentioned that this was a great story of survival.

Mentioned:
Documentary: You Laugh But It’s True
Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali
The Kitchen House by Kathleeen Grissom
Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust by Immaculee Ilibagiza
The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu: And Their Race to Save the World’s Most Precious Manuscripts by Joshua Hammer
Nelson Mandela

The Brown Baggers will discuss A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza on Thursday, August 15 at noon in the Central Library and newcomers are always welcome.

New book club kits available

 

On a hot summer day, what do you like to do? Drink lemonade? Stay indoors because you know the heat outside will kill you? Or, maybe you like to sleep? But, for those of you who love to read, I have a special surprise- new book club kits.

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah – Viann and Isabelle have always been close even if their age difference sets them apart. When World War II strikes, Antonie, Viann’s husband is called away to fight and Isabelle is sent to live with Viann. During this event in their lives, not only will the relationship of the sisters will be tested, but also their personal opinions on what is right and what is wrong.

She has her Mother’s Laugh by Carl Zimmer –  This nonfiction book tells the history of human understanding when it comes to hereditary and how that has shaped this society. It tells the transitions of genetic research and makes predictions on how our evolution will impact the future. If you enjoy science, you will most likely enjoy this book. This kit was funded by a grant from the National Network of Libraries of Medicine

Place a hold for The Nightingale here and for She has her Mother’s Laugh here.