The movie Latter Days, that Sam posted about a few days ago, has spurred me to start this thread. If you have a chance to watch Latter Days, as you can see from Sam's thread, watch it. I can't say anything else besides, you won't regret it. I enjoyed the movie so much, I'm gonna check out the book too. Anyway, I have a short list of books that I've read over the past few months that might be of interest to you younger queer or questioning guys. I'm 23 myself and in the closet to most of my friends. If nothing else, these books have given me some small degree of comfort, knowing that I'm not the only one out there who had to go through this. These are primarily first love stories, but what makes them truly good reading is the fact that the main characters are always ordinary guys leading ordinary lives. They learn that being gay is something to come to grips with and isn't nearly as disastrous as they had previously believed. In fact, it can be a wonderful thing if you give it a chance. Keep in mind that they can be fairly optimistic in their outlook, in that the love stories are a little more ideal than they should be, but I guess everybody wants a happy ending. Nevertheless, they are good reading. Leave Myself Behind by Bart Yates This book has a very Catcher in the Rye feeling to it. It's really just as much a mystery novel as it is a love story. That's what I appreciated about it. The entire story wasn't just about the protagonist being a homosexual. Noah York is a closeted gay teenager with a foul mouth, a critical disposition, and plenty of material for his tirades. After his father dies, Noah's mother, a temperamental poet, takes a teaching job in a small New Hampshire town, far from Chicago and the only world Noah has known. While Noah gets along reasonably with his mother, the crumbling house they try to renovate quickly reveals dark secrets, via dusty Mason jars they discover interred between walls. The jars contain scraps of letters, poems, and journal entries, and eventually reconstruct a history of pain and violence that drives a sudden wedge between Noah and his mother. Fortunately, Noah finds an unexpected ally in J. D., a teenager down the street who has family troubles of his own. Rape and other physical violence, alcoholism, and incest--the novel describes these abuses in a brutal, matter-of-fact way that may leave some readers uncomfortable. Most of the time, however, Yates effectively captures the honest, sometimes silly, often tender interactions between his fragile characters. - James Klise Almost Like Being in Love by Steve Kluger This one is my personal favorite (I've read it 5x since I bought it at the beginning of summer). In fact, I gave my first well-worn copy away to somebody else and bought another for myself. It's pretty light-hearted and something that I think people of all ages would enjoy. I'd really like to see this made into a movie, but I know it probably won't happen. High school jock Craig McKenna and Broadway musical-obsessed Travis Puckett fall in love during their senior year at the Beckley School in Tarrytown, N.Y., spend a summer in Manhattan, then drift tearfully away to different colleges: Travis to USC, Craig to Harvard. Twenty years later, oddball Travis, now a history professor at his alma mater, is a favorite with students thanks to some unorthodox teaching methods, but he's laughably unlucky in love. An injury ended Craig's college football career, and he's now an upstate New York attorney with activist inclinations and a soft spot for runaways. He's also about to marry long-term boyfriend Clayton-though he's never forgotten his first romance. As Travis wades through the dating pool (most of his dates score badly on his "Boyfriend Checklist") and doles out advice to his straight screenwriter roommate Gordo, Craig takes on the biggest case of his life: a run for the state assembly. When Travis becomes determined to reunite with Craig, he sets off on a wild cross-country adventure, providing perfect fodder for Gordo's ultimate screenplay. In true fairy-tale fashion, Travis insinuates himself back into Craig's life, but will the pair end up happily ever after? Though the narrative is overlong, Kluger keeps it absorbing with a parade of newspaper articles, letters, diary entries, checklists, court transcripts and charts, all composed to brilliant comic and dramatic effect. The Continuing Journals of Will Barnett by Ronald Donaghe. This is actually a 3 book series. Book 1: Uncle Sean When fourteen-year-old Will Barnett meets his Uncle Sean, whom he has not seen since he was six years old, Will is instantly captivated by his uncle's beauty and begins at that moment to fall in love. That such love is dangerous and forbidden, young Will is only vaguely aware. While trying to understand what his feelings mean, he is driven to write about his Uncle Sean and begins with these words: "Uncle Sean sure is pretty, but there's something wrong with him, anyway." "Donaghe's magic in crafting this tale was writing Will's journal in the voice of a fourteen-year-old...The book is so realistic that one wonders what has become of Sean and Will since the box containing Will's journal was stowed away in the barn thirty years ago...The novel is a natural for high school and publics libraries." --John R. Selig Book 2: Lance When Lance and Will meet on a windswept ledge on the edge of a desert mountain, neither young man knows the trials they will each face. Lance, the troubled, violet-eyed young man will find the love and support of a family he never had. But more importantly the pure love of a man—for Life. But he must make a heart-wrenching choice: to embrace that love, or take the opportunity of a lifetime, which may well mean giving up his chance at love. Book 3: All Over Him When Will and Lance decide to separate for two years while Lance goes to art school in San Francisco and Will moves to Austin, Texas, to attend university there, neither of them can imagine the powerful temptations that await them in each city. Lance moves in the lofty circles of artists and actors, while Will fights lingering temptations of his own, sharing an apartment with his beloved and beautiful Uncle Sean. Both young men stand at a crossroads and must decide if the love they have shared was merely a teen romance or the real thing.