As you, Dear Constant Reader, know too well I do not generally read fiction outside of some set criteria: if it's not written by Stephen King/Dean R Koontz or it's not about time travel/freaks of evolution/zombies then generally it's not read.
However whilst Jim was in Boston last week he informed me I simply had to, no excuses allowed, read a book by Jay Bell called Something Like Summer. Given I was in the middle of reading a particularly awesome alternate history novel at the time I was not so keen. But, out of both a trust of Jim's taste and fear of his wrath if I hadn't at least started the book by the time he got home, I decided to give it a go.
The book's story revolves around the life of one gay guy from high school through to twenty-somethingness, from his first crush through marriage and tragedy. The main character, Ben, acts in ways I can barely comprehend, but the story drew me in and I found myself actually empathising with the characters so much that I struggled to read through the embarrassing/dangerous situations Ben got himself into because I find those sorts of situations so terrifying. His on/off romance with Tim is well done, even if I couldn't ever imagine acting the way Ben does at times, with Tim reminding me very much of the character of John Dixon in Get Real.
The mark of a good story is how well it makes you care about the characters and, honestly, by the end of the book there were tears in my eyes which was quite embarrassing as I was sitting at my desk at work! And it did a truly awesome job of capturing those early years in a gay guy's life when he's just coming out and gave me a nice nostalgic glow regarding my own misspent youth.
If you're looking for something that's easy to read, engaging, affordable and touching then this book will tick all those boxes. Check it out!
If you feel benevolent and particularly generous, this writer always appreciates things bought for him from his wishlist