A young gay man shares his anxieties and epiphanies about safe sex in this memoir.
The author’s not really sure when he first heard about AIDS. As a child in the 1980s and early ’90s, Peterson (Skin Job, 2012, etc.) knew the anxiety that swirled around the disease, an unease that followed him as he came out. But by the time he reached college, the landscape had dramatically shifted with HIV treatments. In this chatty, diarylike narrative, Peterson shares his journey from his initial, fraught sexual encounters to the assured, fun adventures he has thanks, in large part, to PrEP, an HIV prevention pill. In his early escapades, Peterson found himself wondering how gay sex fit into the idea of first base, second base, and so on. He dated throughout college, having a range of good experiences, bad ones, and an especially traumatizing encounter during which he was sexually assaulted. After college, Peterson “pinballed around from one lousy hookup to another” until a friend and mentor suggested he try dating HIV-positive men instead of “ignoring that huge chunk of the queer population.” Peterson eventually warmed to the idea and soon after decided to go on PrEP. As his explorations continued, he found a wealth of sexual partners and a minefield of opinions to battle. Most important, he developed confidence in the bedroom and outside of it. Diary is the right category for this charming and candid book, as it’s filled with detailed one-night stands, Grindr messages, heart-to-hearts with friends, and some truly intimate moments. In writing about sex, Peterson leaves no stone unturned and matches his memories with his wit. “I should’ve lost my virginity to Cher, not Avril Lavigne,” he quips. The author is careful to weave his storytelling into his research, which only gets clunky occasionally, as when whole chunks of interviews with others interrupt the narrative. There are some spots where the account drags, in the parade of sexual exploits, but it remains readable and enjoyable nonetheless.
Readers curious about how HIV prevention drugs can influence a sexual revolution should find lots of vivid details in this ambitious and honest story.
Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)
Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.
Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").