“Eighty-Sixed,” by David B. Feinberg
Most gay books that take place in New York in the 1980s are angry and filled with despair as AIDS ravages the community. David Feinberg’s “Eighty-Sixed” is unique in that the whole first half is a joyous celebration of gay life in the city, from bathhouses to gay bars to bedrooms. Feinberg is hilarious and heartfelt as he navigates sex, dating, his family and his friends. And even though the second half, which takes place in 1986, inevitably descends into the heartbreak and chaos of the AIDS epidemic, Feinberg remains his neurotic, hyper-self-conscious, hilarious self.
—Adam Roberts, Los Angeles
Every once in a while we need to be reminded that ordinary people can do extraordinary things. We need a healthy dose of inspiration. This book provided that.
It is my No. 1 choice because the humble Florence Finch, a young, widowed Filipino woman living in Manila during World War II, left me in awe of her bravery and courage. Why had I never heard of this woman? Her actions saved countless lives. This book was hard to put down, a “fix your own dinner, I am reading” book. It will remain in my soul as inspiration.
—Jan Drury, Portland, Ore.
“Lucy by the Sea” was my favorite read of 2022. It brought back the early days of the pandemic so clearly with the experiences of the familiar character, Lucy Barton, by the masterful writer Elizabeth Strout. You could feel the raw emotions, the fear and wonder, the sights, sounds and tastes of those first few months so clearly. It brought the reader back to a unique time where our lives and relationships changed and will never be the same again.
—Karen Hartman, Westminster, Colo.
It’s the end of Ferrante’s Neapolitan quartet. One story spanning four novels — and five decades of births and deaths, alliances and betrayals — it ends as intensely as it begins. You never forget that the epic rests on the archetypal friendship of two vividly drawn girls, best friends often in conflict.