1. What are you currently reading? All that Heaven Allows: A Biography of Rock Hudson by Mark Griffin. An exceptionally good looking boy with a wretched family life fantasizes about escape and acclaim. His success becomes equal parts dream-come-true and nightmare. It's an old story, kinda cliche, and in the case of Rock Hudson, all true.
From Illinois, to Hollywood, this story follows Roy Fitzgerald as he becomes Rock Hudson, twice the biggest money-making movie star of the 1950s. And then as he becomes the face of AIDS in the 1980s. For an inherently shy man who treasured his privacy and so carefully guarded his sexuality, it was an especially cruel ending.
I didn't plan for this to be the first book I began in Pride Month, but it's fitting that it is. On these pages, Rock is a sympathetic character. Shy, determined and perpetually exploited. In addition to drama lessons, voice lessons, etc., he was expected to put across for gay producers and press agents. On the one hand, this "casting couch" behavior was completely accepted by the major studios, on the other hand, everyone is ready to expose and ruin the victims, not the predators. It's compelling, very sad, and reminds me of the tales I've read about Marilyn Monroe's career trajectory. Sexual exploitation is not about pleasure, it's about power.
This book is long (500+ pages) and frank but not salacious. It's fascinating.
2. What did you just finish reading? Bury the Lead by David Rosenfelt. A serial killer is preying on women around Passaic. Attorney Andy Carpenter is asked to represent the suspect by his long-time pal Vince Sanders. Vince is the owner of the local newspaper and the suspect is Vince's star reporter. Andy is hesitant because the district attorney himself is going to try the case. The DA wouldn't take such a high-profile case if there was any chance at all he could lose.
Andy takes the case anyway and it takes him from Jersey to Cleveland and back again. There are whistle blowers and prostitutes and mob kingpins involved. Is it possible that powerful forces are involved in a conspiracy to set up the reporter?
I recommend this book because of the character of Andy Carpenter. He's an unlikely but likeable hero. He smart but not supernaturally brilliant. He's brave, but neither strong nor a crack shot. He's just a lawyer who loves his dog, loves his girl, and wants to return home from court believing justice has been done.
3. What will you read next? Dirty Blonde, a legal thriller by Lisa Scottoline.