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of Note

Bob the Book
By David Pratt

Discussed February 2012

Buy from Amazon.com

Books

  • Bob – Private Pleasures: Myth and Representation in Male Photo Sets and Pornography from the Pre-Stonewall Era to 1979
  • Moishe – Beneath the Tallis: The Hidden Lives of Gay and Bisexual Orthodox Jewish Men
  • Luke – A Mirror Crack’d: Affirmation and Denial in Gay Male Pronography from 1980 to the Present
  • Angela – Mansfield Park
  • Neil – A Pocket Book of Gay Love Poems
  • Jerry – Christianity and Homosexuality: A New Perspective
  • Sunny – Making the Most of the Life You Want
  • (and others)

People

  • Ron
  • Alfred
  • Owen
  • Duane
  • Tovah
  • (and others)

Questions

  1. Did you like the book?  Why or why not?
  2. The genre (and its related areas of mythology, faerie tale, etc) has a long history of “talking animal” stories – the anthropomorphism of creatures.  Did you find this similar to that type of story – why/why not?  How well do you think the author handled the “personification” of books?
  3. Despite this being a work of fiction about books, fiction is rarely encountered in this story?  Do you think this was a realistic portrayal of our social relationship to books?
  4. Sexual assault plays an interesting role in the story – two victims of assault are presented in a somewhat better light after their assaults change them (Owen and Luke).  What do you think this says about the author’s attitudes toward sex and assault?
  5. Women play an almost inconsequential role in the story…..minor sidekicks, off-stage catalysts, etc….what did you think about the male-centric angle?
  6. What did you think of the portrayals of each “book”?  Did you find them original?  Did they make sense?  Did they delve into stereotype?
  7. What did you think of the idea that books “speak” and “influence” people?
  8. What year/time period did it feel like this was written in/taking place in?
  9. What did you think the novel was trying to say about our relationship with books?
  10. How many people read this book digitally – and how does the growth of digital reading change the dynamics of our relationship to books... of gay literature...
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