I've been reading more books, and now I must write about them.
'Tis is the biographical sequel of Frank McCourt's stupendous Angela's Ashes. But you probably already knew that. It's been around a long time, and it was even sitting in my to-be-read pile for, I bet, a couple years. Pat had lent it to me either after I had read AA or I'd told her I was enjoying McCourt's debut memoir, and I, in turn, lent it to Paula before I read it. I really enjoyed 'Tis. It wasn't as earth-shatteringly intense or as funny as AA, but it was a great read. McCourt didn't flinch at showing what a dick he was toward his first wife. And the passages about his early teaching jobs were priceless.
Swish: My Quest to Become the Gayest Person Ever by Joel Derfner was loads of fun. Even though it may sound profoundly superficial based on its title, the book contains a great deal of wisdom mixed in with the humor. Derfner is supersmart and a fantastic writer, and he manages to mine an amazing number of insights from such swishy and wacky situations as joining a cheerleading squad (as a non-college-attending adult) and teaching aerobics to the severely mentally ill. The last chapter, about his undercover visit to an ex-gay retreat, was a fine bit of journalism and a terrific piece of writing, but it seemed tacked on to make the book even more serious. And it was: Derfner writes that his editor "suggested that part of my book be about something unexpected and subversive." It was both of those things, but it seemed off topic by 180 degrees (going to an antigay-group gathering is the very opposite of delightfully embracing your gayness) and might have been better as an article for The Advocate, which would have snapped it up if it knew what was good for it. All in all, though, Swish is a fantastic book that you definitely should read. I picked up my copy when I visited Heather and George in the swishiest city in the country.
Derfner is known in the gay blogosphere for being Faustus, M.D., the author of "The Search for Love in Manhattan." I've added a link to the blog in my READ THESE OR ELSE! list.