Why I Read M/M Romance ~ Introduction to Ulysses

Why I read and review M/M Romance

I read M/M romance to feel visible. I am an enormously romantic person (the opposite of my husband); I cry at TV commercials. But, as a gay man, I have always struggled not to be invisible. Out is my default mode. I hate feeling invisible. I’ve always been drawn to literature with gay characters who mattered, from Mary Renault to Gore Vidal to E.M. Forster. In a world where almost everyone I know is straight (and where straight couples all around me – my parents and grandparents, my brother and his wife—have provided me with excellent role models for happy relationships), I need to see men fall in love with men. I need to have their struggle to fit into their worlds resonate with my own 58 years on this earth. I need to share their joy and their anguish.  I need to see their relationships enshrined and validated and, to repeat myself, made visible. Gay men have such relatively little romantic presence in contemporary pop culture; M/M lit fills that gap for me.  I have read 1000s of books in my life, and now 95% of what I read is M/M.   I review these books because I can. Because I need to. I love to write, and I want to talk about the books I love (or don’t love, for that matter) and writing reviews lets me recognize those authors who push my buttons in the best way. A good review is my way of saying “thank you.”

My Authors to Watch

Harper Fox: Possibly my favorite author of all.  Her writing is immensely literate and elegant; her characters vivid and authentic; her sense of place almost unmatched.  She’s as good as any contemporary writer in any genre I’ve read.

Amy Lane: Empress of angst. I’ve never read an author who can tighten emotional violin strings the way she can. Her “Promise Rock” series is among the great romantic epics, and her characters remain with me long after I’ve forgotten the plot.

Alex Sanchez: YA/LGBT books are enormously important to me, and Sanchez has written some of the most beautiful, moving and authentic books about teenage boys coming to grips with their orientation.  The God Box in particular is one that touched me deeply, because it brought the whole issues of religion and faith into the mix.

Charlie Cochrane: The Cambridge Don series will forever been one of my favorites – the carefully wrought period detail, the delicately handled realities of a long-ago hostile world in which love nonetheless can flourish between two endearing, quirky, intelligent men.

J.L. Merrow: Maybe I just have a thing about British women writers.  Merrow’s books are delicious, elegant, touching, witty and populated with people I can’t help but love.

Neil Plakcy: One of my heroes. His “Mahu” series about a gay detective in Hawai’i is clear-eyed, beautifully written, and creates a vivid sense of what it is to be American in a place with an amazingly complex ethnic history. These are detective stories with a powerful gay character, and his gayness is not incidental. His evolution as a gay man is the central theme throughout.  Identity and action are what Plakcy does best.

Josh Lanyon: Everybody loves Josh, and with good reason.  I have my issues with him, but no one writes better (not in mainstream literature, either). He singlehandedly reminds us that gay literature, and m/m literature need not be second rate.

Ben Monopoli: The Cranberry Hush and The Painting of Porcupine City. A young author with a short backlist—but he writes books that are quirky, and slightly off-kilter.  Vivid and heartfelt, passionate and true. I want to see what he does next.

Brent Hartinger: I know him and admire him and his books opened a door for me.  Russel Middlebrook is the redheaded boy I’d have fallen in love with in high school if it had been possible when I was a teenager.

Farewell Giveaway
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.

Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,

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7 thoughts on “Why I Read M/M Romance ~ Introduction to Ulysses

  1. Have you read any of Forster’s short stories? Particularly the ones with gay content which weren’t published in his lifetime?

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