What we’re about
Boston's monthly book club featuring literature by and about gay men.
Upcoming events (3)See all
- The Male Gazed by Manuel BetancourtBoston Public Library - Central Library, Boston, MA
Manuel Betancourt has long lustfully coveted masculinity—in part because he so lacked it. As a child in Bogotá, Colombia, he grew up with the social pressure to appear strong, manly, and, ultimately, straight. And yet in the films and television he avidly watched, Betancourt saw glimmers of different possibilities. From the stars of telenovelas and the princes of Disney films to pop sensation Ricky Martin and teen heartthrobs in shows like Saved By the Bell, he continually found himself asking: Do I want him or do I want to be him?
The Male Gazed grapples with the thrall of masculinity, examining its frailty and its attendant anxieties even as it focuses on its erotic potential. Masculinity, Betancourt suggests, isn’t suddenly ripe for deconstruction—or even outright destruction—amid so much talk about its inherent toxicity. Looking back over decades’ worth of pop culture’s attempts to codify and reframe what men can be, wear, do, and desire, this book establishes that to gaze at men is still a subversive act.
Written in the spirit of Hanif Abdurraqib and Olivia Laing, The Male Gazed mingles personal anecdotes with cultural criticism to offer an exploration of intimacy, homoeroticism, and the danger of internalizing too many toxic ideas about masculinity as a gay man.
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Brookline Booksmith: https://www.brooklinebooksmith.com/
Beacon Hill Books: https://www.bhbooks.com/
- Mishima: A Biography by John NathanBoston Public Library - Central Library, Boston, MA
At forty-five, Yukio Mishima was the outstanding Japanese writer of his generation, celebrated both at home and abroad for The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea. In 1970 he startled the world by stepping out onto a balcony in Tokyo before an assembly of troops and plunging a sword into his abdomen; a disciple then beheaded him, completing the ritual of hara-kiri. John Nathan's riveting biography traces the life of this tortured, nearly superhuman personality. Mishima survived a grotesque childhood, and subsequently his sadomasochistic impulses became manifest-as did an increasing obsession with death as the supreme beauty. Nathan, who knew Mishima professionally and personally, interviewed family, colleagues, and friends to unmask the various-often seemingly contradictory-personae of the genius who felt called by "a glittering destiny no ordinary man would be permitted."
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Porter Square Books: https://www.portersquarebooks.com/
- Confessions of a Mask by Yukio MishimaBoston Public Library - Central Library, Boston, MA
The story of a man coming to terms with his homosexuality in traditional Japanese society has become a modern classic.
Confessions of a Mask tells the story of Kochan, an adolescent boy tormented by his burgeoning attraction to men: he wants to be “normal.” Kochan is meek-bodied, and unable to participate in the more athletic activities of his classmates. He begins to notice his growing attraction to some of the boys in his class, particularly the pubescent body of his friend Omi. To hide his homosexuality, he courts a woman, Sonoko, but this exacerbates his feelings for men. As news of the War reaches Tokyo, Kochan considers the fate of Japan and his place within its deeply rooted propriety.
Confessions of a Mask reflects Mishima’s own coming of age in post-war Japan. Its publication in English—praised by Gore Vidal, James Baldwin, and Christopher Isherwood— propelled the young Yukio Mishima to international fame.
Support local bookstores. I checked and Confessions is currently on their bookshelves.
Trident Booksellers: https://www.tridentbookscafe.com/
Harvard Bookstore: https://www.harvard.com/