Just By Looking at Him by Ryan O’Connell

Book Description

From the star of Peacock’s Queer as Folk and the Netflix series Special comes a darkly witty and touching novel following a gay TV writer with cerebral palsy as he fights addiction and searches for acceptance in an overwhelmingly ableist world.

Elliott appears to be living the dream as a successful TV writer with a doting boyfriend. But behind his Instagram filter of a life, he’s grappling with an intensifying alcohol addiction, he can’t seem to stop cheating on his boyfriend with various sex workers, and his cerebral palsy is making him feel like gay Shrek.

After falling down a rabbit hole of sex, drinking, and Hollywood backstabbing, Elliott decides to limp his way towards redemption. But facing your demons is easier said than done.

Candid, biting, and refreshingly real, Just by Looking at Him is an incisive commentary on gay life, a heart-centered, laugh-out-loud exploration of self, and a rare insight into life as a person with disabilities.

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Quiet Dell by Jayne Anne Phillips

I found Quiet Dell at the library. It was on display at the end of a bookshelf. The synopsis seemed interesting, so I added it to my reading list. Quiet Dell is a novel written by Jayne Anne Phillips. It is based on real life events in 1931, but has been fictionalized.

The story is presented in a rather interesting manner. The reader is first introduced to the victims. The Eicher family has been living in genteel poverty since the death of Mr. Eicher several years before the book begins. Their situation becomes even more precarious after the death of Mr. Eicher’s mother, the matriarch of the family. Asta Eicher has been corresponding with a man she met through a lonely hearts service, and she believes that this man is the solution to all of her problems. But he is not, and within a month, Asta and her three children are dead. Read more

Fallen Beauty by Erika Robuck

I don’t remember how I first heard about Fallen Beauty. Usually I have a good memory when it comes to books, and I can remember whether a book was recommended on Amazon or if I read a book review in Entertainment Weekly. But I’m just drawing a blank when it comes to Fallen Beauty. Nevertheless, it was in my library pile, and its due date was quickly approaching, so I put it at the top of my to-read pile.

Fallen Beauty is a work of historical fiction written by Erika Robuck. This is her fourth novel, and her third to feature prominent 20th century American literary figures. I actually have her Call Me Zelda on my Kindle. I do believe that it was a Kindle deal of the day. No, I don’t think that there is a correlation between the Kindle deal and finding out about Fallen Beauty. Read more

Sense and Sensibility by Joanna Trollope

I found Sense and Sensibility on the new release shelf at the library. I am familiar with Joanna Trollope’s name, but I don’t think I have read any of her other books. The title intrigued me: Sense and Sensibility is another of Jane Austen’s great novels. I didn’t mean to go on an Austen fanfiction bender; it just sort of happened.

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Longbourn by Jo Baker

I am a big fan of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, so I was excited when I found out about Longbourn, written by Jo Baker. Pride and Prejudice fanfiction, for lack of a better term, is nothing new. There are a few novels that I have enjoyed, and some that I did not enjoy.

Fans of Pride and Prejudice will recognize Longbourn as the Bennet family home. The novel takes place below stairs of that fine home, as the small household staff works to meet the needs of Mr. and Mrs. Bennet and their five daughters. As the events of the novel unfold, the members of the staff are right there. Mrs. Hill the housekeeper strives to make Mr. Collins’ visit a pleasant one, and everyone is concerned about what will happen when he does not make a match with one of the five Bennet daughters. In a poignant moment, Mary is devastated when Mr. Collins chooses Charlotte Lucas, and locks herself in her room, playing melancholy songs on the pianoforte. Read more

This House Is Haunted by John Boyne

I just finished reading This House Is Haunted by John Boyne. I found it on Amazon when I was browsing for books, and then requested it through the library network. I did not recognize the author at first, but then I later realized that he also wrote The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. He has written several other books for both children and adults.

I am not always a fan of ghost stories. I will admit to being a scaredy cat. But, I love 19th century England, so I gave this book a chance, and I’m glad I did. Read more