Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Who Are We?

We are a group of gay men, of various ages, who like to read. We choose one book a month to read, (either gay fiction or gay non-fiction....we alternate, although we seem to read a good deal more fiction than non-fiction), and meet to discuss it.

Why a “GAY MEN’S” book group?

For many of us, this group was our first opportunity to finally read books with gay lead characters and storylines that resonate with our own gay life experiences. Although we all have enjoyed various genres of books throughout our lives, there’s nothing quite like the thrill of reading a book with gay characters, gay love scenes, and discussions of gay issues. (And, by the way, it’s a nice alternative to the gay bars as a way of socializing with other gay men).

How Long Have We Been Around?

The group has existed since March, 1995. Except for a brief hiatus during that first year, the group has met every single month without fail ever since. (And to see what books we’ve read, scroll down a little further. Our current and upcoming titles are listed towards the top of this page ).

Where Do We Meet?

We meet in Huntington at the Book Revue bookstore. (Scroll down further for directions). At the moment, we are in the process of trying out a new schedule of meetings, (we used to meet on the third Thursday of every month at 8:00 pm, but we are currently trying out the second Sunday of every other month at 3:00 pm). We have an arrangement with Book Revue bookstore { (631)271-1442 } where we get a 20% discount on our monthly title. Just ask at the front counter for the Gay Men’s Book Group book of the month.

Is there a fee to attend the group?

Nope, it's free! (Cool, huh?). However, you will need to purchase the book we're reading to read it in advance, so you'll be able to participate in the discussion. Or you can get it from the library, if it's available there, (a fair amount of the titles we read are probably not available at most libraries, but it doesn't hurt to check).

How Does It Work?

The meetings begin with every person in the group getting a chance to give a brief, (up to 3 minutes, if you want), uninterrupted report of how they felt about the book. (You don’t have to partake in this part if you don’t want to, but it’s a nice opportunity to introduce some of your ideas to expand on in the next part).
The next part is more conversational, where people are free to jump in with their own opinions, as various points of the book are brought up and discussed. You will find that there are often widely varying views on every book we discuss, which of course makes for interesting discussion!
The final part of the meeting is where we choose which title to read for an upcoming meeting. We are very open to suggestions for titles to read.....especially from new members. Our only requirement is that the book have some gay connection......either subject matter or gay authorship, ( both is usually the case! ). Also during this time, we welcome members to make announcements about events or other goings-on that the group might be interested in.

Is It Required to Attend Every Meeting?

No, of course not. It’s a book group, not the National Guard. We all lead busy lives, and certain months some members can’t make it, or may not have time to read a whole book for that month. We understand. We’re always here, though, for when you do have the time. (And once you join, you may find you don’t ever want to miss a meeting!).

How Can I Get DIRECTIONS to Where the Group Meets, Or Ask More Questions About the Group?

You can get directions on this page, (just scroll dwon a bit further to where it says "Directions", and if that’s unclear, you can call the book store at 631-271-1442 for directions).

Do you guys ALWAYS read “gay books”? Don’t you ever read a popular “mainstream” title, like “The DaVinci Code”?

This was something we debated about for a while. We have come to the firm conclusion that, because this is a Gay Men’s Book Group, we should always read books that have some gay connection; either gay subject matter, or a gay author, (or both). By the way, it can be argued that “The Davinci Code” has a gay connection, (DaVinci was gay, after all!). But the fact is, his homosexuality is addressed in the book for about 2 lines. The bottom line is, people come to our group expecting to read gay-oriented fiction & non-fiction. It isn’t fair to those who come for that reason to go “off topic”, even if it’s only occasionally. You will find, however, there is an enormous range of books that fall into our “acceptable” categories, and again….we’re always open to suggested titles you might have.

Do I Need to be “Out of the Closet” to attend the Book Group?

It really doesn’t matter; that’s your business. We’re not here to judge your level of “outness”, (is that a word?). Some people have questions about how private our group is, (like, “will someone from my neighborhood / church / synagogue / job / air force battalion see me at the book group?”. Well, here's the situation: even though we do meet in a public book store, we still have somewhat of a private space, (customers only occasionally pass by where we meet), and there’s no sign overhead pointing out that this is a “GAY MEN’S BOOK GROUP”, so, chances are, even if someone did happen to spot you there, it’s unlikely you’d be “outed”. But ultimately, you'll have to assess the situation for yourself.

How do you guys choose which books the group is going to read?

Very democratically. For the last portion of each book group meeting, we open the floor for members to introduce “candidates” for possible selection for future months’ reading material. Books are passed around, and everyone in attendance has a chance to look over each “candidate” book. Then, we vote. The “candidate” books are held up individually, and each person gets to cast one vote for their favorite pick. The book with the most votes becomes our selection for a future month, (we often pick 2 to 3 months in advance, so the books can be listed on the website, and also be there at the store for members to pick up the night of the meeting prior to the month that book is being read). We are ALWAYS open to anyone in the group bringing suggestions/ “candidate” books for possible selection. However, there are 2 rules to keep in mind:
It MUST fall into the parameters of what we consider a “gay book”.
You MUST have a physical copy of the book WITH YOU that day for it to be considered. Even if you think it is a spectacular book, we cannot consider it if all you’ve brought with you is a printed-out Amazon review, or, worse yet, just your own word-of-mouth recommendation. We need to actually SEE the book… members often base their vote on things such as page count, cover blurbs, text size….and also, some members just like to look over a book before voting on it.
How Else Can I Get Involved In the Book Group?

Join our online group! We have a Yahoo group that allows members and prospective members to stay in touch between meetings, discuss books, and find out more about the group. Just scroll down a little further to see the “Yahoo Groups” button….click on it to subscribe to the group, (it’s FREE!).

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