Book Recommendation

I recommend these reads.

Call Me By Your Name, Something Like Summer.

November 2017’s Coming of age gay romance novels I read.

Following October’s themes of friendship, forbidden love and coming of age in February Flowers by Fan Wu. I read two coming of age gay romance novels. Early in November I came across their movie adaption trailers. Both named after the books, Call Me By Your Name (movie trailer) released in August and Something Like Summer (movie trailer)released earlier in March. Being the bookie I am, I downloaded the ebooks and read them.

CALL ME BY YOUR NAME by Andre Aciman

It’s the summer of 1983, and precocious 17-year-old Elio Perlman is spending the days with his family at their 17th-century villa in Lombardy, Italy. He soon meets Oliver, a handsome doctoral student who’s working as an intern for Elio’s father. Amid the sun-drenched splendor of their surroundings, Elio and Oliver discover the heady beauty of awakening desire over the course of a summer that will alter their lives forever.

“You are my homecoming. When I’m with you and we’re well together, there is nothing more I want. You make me like who I am, who I become when you’re with me, Oliver. If there is any truth in the world, it lies when I’m with you, and if I find the courage to speak my truth to you one day, remind me to light a candle in thanksgiving at every altar in Rome.”

I loved this novel, its setting, characters and love story. You just have to love the hero, Elio. For a large part of the novel he battles with his growing affection for Oliver. Elio who played amazing classical music renditions with the piano and guitar, was sensual and endearing. Oliver was vibrant, outgoing, loveable. Elio’s parents were elegant people.  There were also other memorable characters. It was truly a summer of love, music and fun at their beautiful villa and town. Because the narrative had built up Elio’s attraction to Oliver. When they finally became intimate it was magical. You could feel the unease Oliver felt about pursuing the relationship because of Elio’s age and other unmentioned reasons. The story went further than that summer. It was a painful separation.

A few things about the book struck me. There was the irony later revealed in the plot. All the while Elio battled with his attraction, Olivier’s oblivious attitude and self loathing. He did not know Oliver had also been attracted to him while battling his feelings. Another irony was that Elio’s father knew about his love for Oliver. Even though they both tried hard to hide it. If you are in a heterosexual relationship its easy to take a grew things for granted. Things like the scent of your lover, showing public affection, etc.

Years later they meet again and we are reminded of what was and what could have been.

SOMETHING LIKE SUMMER by Jay Bell.

Love, like everything in the universe, cannot be destroyed. But over time it can change. The hot Texas nights were lonely for Ben before his heart began beating to the rhythm of two words; Tim Wyman. By all appearances, Tim had the perfect body and ideal life, but when a not-so-accidental collision brings them together, Ben discovers that the truth is rarely so simple. If winning Tim’s heart was an impossible quest, keeping it safe would prove even harder as family, society, and emotion threaten to tear them apart. Something Like Summer is a love story spanning a decade and beyond as two boys discover what it means to be friends, lovers, and sometimes even enemies.

“Falling in love is a subtle process, a connection sparked by attraction, tested by compatibility, forged by memory.”

Ben! He was one of my favourite book characters of 2017. The book spans his teenage years far into his late adult years. Various characters show us the extent we can all go in pursuit of love. Even though I loved Ben’s love for Tim. Their break up was painful. I kept thinking ‘damn you self denial and lying!’ I was relieved when Ben found and fell in love with mature, calm Jace. All the characters are loveable especially optimistic, open, talented and loving Ben. I must say I was deeply sad at Jace’s demise but happy with the end of the book.

Ben, Tim and Jace form a love triangle that made my heart skip with worry, thrill and excitement. The style of the story gives us a peep into each characters thoughts. However the story is told mostly through Ben’s perspective. I loved the relationship he had with Jace with all its make ups and vacation travels. Bliss.  I like how without being gay you can relate to a lot of issues in the book. How one can struggle with what one wants to do and what is expected of the person. Making a choice between two confusing delectable admirers or finding a career to pursue. And of course being gay in the 90s and now.

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Amethyst’s Book Lust

                  I.

I’ll be dropping the names of books that make the bookie in me salivate with lust.

Amethyst’s Book Lust, is a book list I have compiled from various months Purchase Lists, Literature Prize Lists, online literary magazine reviews and my journal entries. It’s my personal list of African contemporary reads anyone should lust after. These books are from various genres, forms and plot timelines which weave rich stories from the lives of colorful Africans on and off the continent. With their intriguing titles and in no particular order:

1. The Woman Next Door by Yewande Omotosho. This novel captures South African’s changing racial relations since 1950s through two feuding elderly female neighbors. It’s available on Goodreads and Roving Heights Books.

2. Your Father Walks Like A Crab by Tolu Akinyemi is a poetry collection for people who do not like poetry. It’s available on Okadabooks, Roving Heights Books and Amazon.

3. Like A Mule Bringing Icrecream to the Sun by Sarah Ladipo Manyika. A wondrous tale of the effects of aging on eccentric yet sophisticated Dr Morayo Da Silva. It’s available on Cassava Republic, Roving Heights Books and Goodreads.

4. On Black Sister’s Street by Chika Unigwe. “is a probing and unsettling exploration of the many factors that lead African women into prostitution in Europe, and it pulls no punches about the sordid nature of the job.”- Bernadine Evaristo, Independent.Co.Uk. It’s available on Amazon, Roving Heights Books and Goodreads.

5. We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo. The highly acclaimed coming of age novel of Zimbabwean lead character, Darling who leaves for America. It’s available on Goodreads and Amazon.

6. Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. “An unflinching portrayal of the slave trade explores it’s impact down generations, from 18th century West Africa to modern day US.”-Diana Evans, The Guardian. It’s available on Konga, Amazon, eBay, theguardianbookshop and Roving Heights Books.

7. Known and Strange Things by Teju Cole. This is a critically acclaimed collection of essays on art, literature, photography and politics. It’s available on http://www.faber.co.uk and Amazon.

8. Chronic School Hater by Ngozi Ilondu is a humorous but practical book on redefining learning in Nigeria sold exclusively on Okadabooks.

9. Aro’mo Leegun (Harbinger of Bone Pains) by Muideen Owolabi Bakare is an educative memoir of a warrior’s guide to living with sickle cell disease.

10. The Girl Who Can and Other Stories is a collection of short stories by irrepressible Ghanian author Ama Ata Aidoo. I love short stories and collections give me plenty of them. Roving Heights and buyreadlove.com have the book on sale.

Thank me and the authors after your climaxes.