The SF Gay Men's Book Club
Meets at 5:00 PM on the 2nd Sunday of each month
Books Inc. Opera Plaza
601 Van Ness Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94102
March 2018 Selection: More than 120 years after Oscar Wilde submitted The Picture of Dorian Gray for publication in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine, the uncensored version of his novel appears here for the first time in a paperback edition. This volume restores all of the material removed by the novel's first editor.
Upon receipt of the typescript, Wilde's editor panicked at what he saw. Contained within its pages was material he feared readers would find "offensive"--especially instances of graphic homosexual content. He proceeded to go through the typescript with his pencil, cleaning it up until he made it "acceptable to the most fastidious taste." Wilde did not see these changes until his novel appeared in print. Wilde's editor's concern was well placed. Even in its redacted form, the novel caused public outcry. The British press condemned it as "vulgar," "unclean," "poisonous," "discreditable," and "a sham." When Wilde later enlarged the novel for publication in book form, he responded to his critics by further toning down its "immoral" elements.
Wilde famously said that The Picture of Dorian Gray "contains much of me" Basil Hallward is "what I think I am," Lord Henry "what the world thinks me," and "Dorian what I would like to be--in other ages, perhaps." Wilde's comment suggests a backward glance to a Greek or Dorian Age, but also a forward-looking view to a more permissive time than his own repressive Victorian era. By implication, Wilde would have preferred we read today the uncensored version of his novel.
December 2017 Selection: A human embryo is allowed to preview the world before deciding whether to be born. The embryo named Prospect will meet a range of people to help him make up his mind. Among them, a greeting card writer, a sociopath, and Prospect's very own inscrutable parents. Trish Mesmer is the scientist charged with counseling Prospect, though she has more hidden agendas then a centipede has legs. At the same time, Trevor Grueling grows increasingly committed to derailing the bio-experiment all together. This speculative tale is served up with equal helpings of whimsy, dread, and hope. At heart, this is literary fiction with a slightly sci-fi premise. The book may not appeal to hardcore sci-fi readers. Those who appreciate the trippy, modern world on display in the movie "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" or "Being There" may find themselves at home. ** AUTHOR NOTE. In May 2013, the author is releasing a revised edition of PROSPECT which includes book reviews, discussion questions, and a preview of the opening 20 pages of his next novel THE HOPE STORE. Also the book has been re-proofed.
May 2017 Selection: Follow three brothers as they tear their way through childhood, growing up in the shadow of Paps and Ma, and learning a kind of love that is serious, dangerous, unshakable, and glorious
April 2017 Selection: Call Me by Your Name is the story of a sudden and powerful romance that blossoms between an adolescent boy and a summer guest at his parents' cliffside mansion on the Italian Riviera. During the restless summer weeks, unrelenting but buried currents of obsession, fascination, and desire intensify their passion as they test the charged ground between them and verge toward the one thing both already fear they may never truly find again: total intimacy. Andre Aciman's critically acclaimed debut novel is a frank, unsentimental, heartrending elegy to human passion.
March 2017 Selection: COSTA BOOK OF THE YEAR AWARD WINNER
"A haunting archeology of youth . . . Barry introduces a narrator who speaks with an intoxicating blend of wit and wide-eyed awe, his unsettlingly lovely prose unspooling with an immigrant's peculiar lilt and a proud boy's humor." -The New York Times Book Review
"Suffused with joy and good spirit . . . If you underlined every sentence in Days Without End that has a rustic beauty to it, you'd end up with a mighty stripy book." --Time
From the two-time Man Booker Prize finalist Sebastian Barry, "a master storyteller" (Wall Street Journal), comes a powerful new novel of duty and family set against the American Indian and Civil Wars
Thomas McNulty, aged barely seventeen and having fled the Great Famine in Ireland, signs up for the U.S. Army in the 1850s. With his brother in arms, John Cole, Thomas goes on to fight in the Indian Wars--against the Sioux and the Yurok--and, ultimately, the Civil War. Orphans of terrible hardships themselves, the men find these days to be vivid and alive, despite the horrors they see and are complicit in.
Moving from the plains of Wyoming to Tennessee, Sebastian Barry's latest work is a masterpiece of atmosphere and language. An intensely poignant story of two men and the makeshift family they create with a young Sioux girl, Winona, Days Without End is a fresh and haunting portrait of the most fateful years in American history and is a novel never to be forgotten.