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Book Club: Reading Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Other Four-Letter Words

Join us for a lively, Zoom discussion of Michael Ausiello's darkly comic memoir (now a movie staring Jim Parsons). Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Other Four-Letter Words (2017) Email to RSVP

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December 2022 Book Club
Discussing Michael Ausiello's darkly-comic memoir Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies: A Memoir of Love, Loss and Other Four-Letter Words (2017). Now a motion picture staring Jim Parsons, Ben Aldridge and Sally Field.  

When: Thursday, December 15, 2022  
8:00-9:30 pm ET (Eastern Time); 5 pm PT (Pacific Time)

RSVP: Please RSVP for the Zoom link.  (Same as last month, if you attended before). Email with Book Club or Spoiler Alert in the subject line. . 

Watch the movie trailer here:
(Yes, you can attend the Zoom discussion if you have seen the movie but not yet read the book)


1. About the book Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies: A Memoir of Love, Loss and Other Four-Letter Words 

Spoiler Alert is a “heartbreaking but often surprisingly hilarious memoir” (People) about the lessons, love, and laughter of the fourteen years a respected TV columnist shared with his late husband before he succumbed to cancer. Perfect for fans of Bettyville and No Happy Endings.

For over a decade, TV fans have counted upon Michael Ausiello’s insider knowledge to get the scoop on their favorite shows and stars. From his time at 
Soaps In Depth and Entertainment Tonight to his influential stints at TV Guide and Entertainment Weekly to his current role as cofounder of the wildly popular website TVLine, Michael has established himself as the go-to expert when it comes to our most popular form of entertainment.

What many of his fans don’t know, however, is that while his professional life was in full swing, Michael had to endure the greatest of personal tragedies: his longtime boyfriend, Kit Cowan, was diagnosed with a rare and very aggressive form of neuroendocrine cancer. Over the course of eleven months, Kit and Michael did their best to combat the deadly disease, but Kit succumbed to his illness in 2015.

In this heartbreaking and darkly hilarious memoir, Michael tells the story of his harrowing and challenging last year with Kit while revisiting the thirteen years that preceded it, and how the undeniably powerful bond between him and Kit carried them through all manner of difficulties—always with laughter front and center in their relationship.

“Engrossing, poignant, tragic, and hilarious” (Jenny Lawson, #1 New York Times bestselling author), Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies is “a story about love and loss, joy and heartbreak. And in the midst of personal turmoil, we learn that bravery comes in many forms” (The Washington Post). 



 2. About author Michael Ausiello.
Wikipedia Entry:

Michael Ausiello is the founder and editor-in-chief of TVLine, a television entertainment website owned by Penske Media that launched in 2010. Ausiello began his publishing career in 1997 at Soaps In Depth before moving on to TV Guide in 2000, where he debuted his signature, spoiler-tinged “Ask Ausiello” column and established himself as a major player in the world of TV journalism. In 2008, he jumped to Entertainment Weekly, where he penned a column in the magazine as well as an award-winning blog. He currently splits his time between New York City and Los Angeles.

3. Where to find the book: 

Besides your library -- mine has 6 copies of the book! -- (including inter-library loan), and retailers (e.g., Kindle edition $13.99 [direct link] or use the free Kindle app on any device; book is available from all booksellers in every format).  I saw it available used for as little as $4. 

Google Books Preview (23 pages) and Library borrowing sources: 

More sources TBA  


4. *OPTIONAL RESOURCES* for the book and Author here: 

Interview with Ausiello about the book
(5 minutes):

Simon & Schuster page about the book

Lambda Literary Review:



5. About the Film Spoiler (to be released Dec 2 select markets; Dec 16 US)

Film Trailer: 

 Jim Parsons interview Tonight Show: Spoiler movie and his 20-year relationship with his husband (8 mins):

Wikipedia page:

Variety Magazine article Sept 2022:

 6. Book Reviews

NY Times Review of book 


"A poignant memoir."

– Entertainment Weekly

"As hate threatens to strangle our country, take a look at what love looks like."

– Newark Star-Ledger

Spoiler Alert is both tender and raw. It almost feels inappropriate to be invited into such a deeply personal chapter of someone’s life. It’s a story about love and loss, joy and heartbreak. And in the midst of personal turmoil, we learn that bravery comes in many forms."  – The Washington Post  

  “When a journalist as talented as Ausiello turns their focus inward, something special is bound to occur. Such is the case with Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies. A more heartbreaking, honest, funny, and insightful book on the subject of loss can be found nowhere.”

– J.J. Abrams, writer-director-producer, Lost, Alias, Westworld, Star Trek, Star Wars: The Force Awakens

“Engrossing, poignant, tragic, and hilarious – I couldn't put it down. Read this book. You are welcome.”

– Jenny Lawson, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Let’s Pretend This Never Happened and Furiously Happy

“Sexy and sweet, charming and funny, Michael Ausiello somehow manages to turn a story of loss into a hopeful tale that shines with warmth and wit.”

– Lauren Graham, star of Gilmore Girls and Parenthood and New York Times bestselling author of Someday, Someday, Maybe and Talking as Fast as I Can

"Like some of Michael's favorite TV shows, his book is heartfelt, smart, funny, insightful, and packs an enormous emotional punch. I can't recommend it more."

– Greg Berlanti, writer-director-producer, The Flash, Arrow, Everwood, Dawson's Creek, Brothers & Sisters

"Tender, profoundly poignant, and cleverly written with equal parts wit and integrity, the book is grounded in the realities of modern relationships and the grim fate of mortality. A heartbreaking memoir infused with dark humor and composed with true love."

– Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“The ending is given away in the title, but the experience of reading it is something wholly unexpected . . . . a humorous, enlightening, and sometimes even sensual look at gay life in New York City…and a swoon-inducing romance that pulls no punches about how just how much work goes into staying with the love of your life until the end of his life . . . .The beauty of the book, however, is that the details don’t have to mirror a reader’s own life so eerily for the story to feel so personally powerful.”

– Kevin Fallon, The Daily Beast

"Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies is a haunting and profoundly sad story, but it's brightened by witty writing, comedic interludes and the two charismatic, endearing and appealing heroes at the book's center."

– Shelf Awareness

"What Ausiello has done is made certain that Cowan’s one special life will never be forgotten. The hero died, but the spirit lives."

– Lambda Literary Review

–> ** INVITE ** ANY YALE ALUMNI to our Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies discussion on December 15



NOTE: Our informal group doesn’t have any set “curriculum;” we discuss the books that members nominate and that we all vote for… but ongoing themes, connected to LGBTQ+ experience – sometimes including Yale – do emerge. At discussions, each of us can bring up ANY points we want. We welcome the widest range of opinions, in a lively collegial atmosphere – Boola Boola Redux! 


Yale GALA LGBTQ+ Book Club is a series of lively Zoom discussions of LGBTQ+ contemporary and classic novels, non-fiction, plays, and poetry. All alumni are welcome, of all orientations, genders, races, and points of view. We meet the third Thursday of every month at 8 pm ET via Zoom. 


To register, please email with the subject line, “Yale GALA LGBTQ+ Book Club: Spoiler - or simply Book Club

More Info: 


Thursday, January 19 2023: Reading The Summer Book by Tove Jansson (2008 - 184 pages)

Thursday, February 16 2023 reading Love in the Big City by Sang Jong Park and Anton Hur (2021 - 201 pages)



We are NOT limited to the below recommendations but see what you think of these diverse titles. Nominate any LGBTQ+ book that interests you, contemporary or classic, whether a work of FICTION (novel, story collection), NON-FICTION (history, biography, memoir, essay collection), PLAY (or musical), or POETRY; there doesn’t need to be a Yale connection. Mention your choice, at a discussion, and I’ll add it to the following list for future group emails. We periodically, live at the beginning of discussions, take nominations and then vote as a group.

For our UPCOMING OPEN DATES (‘Third Thursdays’) – in the next couple of months, we need to select books for: September XX, October YY and November ZZ.  
If you’re looking for some ideas, here are major LGBTQ+ book ‘best lists’ and award winners (Lambda Literary, Publishing Triangle, Stonewall Awards, more). NEW!  BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) LGBTQ+ literature with links to external BIPOC sites. You’re not limited to those websites. PLEASE NOTE: new titles take a few months to become widely available in libraries. Here are members’ recommendations.


  • AMAN recommends: (FICTION) Delicious Foods by James Hannaham;  Marriage of a Thousand Lies by SJ Sindu;  The Prophets by Robert Jones Jr.;  The Story of a Marriage by Andrew Sean Greer.  (NON-FICTION) Becoming a Man: The Story of a Transition by P Carl;  Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay; Love, Hate and Click Bait by Liz Bowery (2022 - 309 pages).
  • ANN recommends: The Motion of Light in Water: Sex and Science Fiction Writing in the East Village memoir by Samuel R. Delany
  • BRUCE recommends: Giovanni's Room by James Baldwin;  The Gallery by John Horne Burns (1947); Dreadful: The Short Life and Gay Times of John Horne Burns by David Margolick
  • CHIP recommends: Poetry of Emily Dickinson (list of Dickinson’s most openly lesbian poems)
  • JIM recommends: The Bell by Iris Murdoch;  The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde;  Julian [last ‘pagan’ Roman emperor] by Gore Vidal;  Pictures and Passions: A History of Homosexuality in the Visual Arts by James M. Saslow (includes hundreds of art photos; winner of two Lambda Literary Awards) – THANKS to Prof. Saslow, Pictures and Passions is briefly FREE to download complete (use the basic “Download PDF” link; 59 MB).
  • MARY ANNE recommends: The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia by Masha Gessen
  • TASH recommends: Looking for Lorraine: The Radiant and Radical Life of Lorraine Hansberry by Imani Perry. There is also a PBS documentary :) 
  • CAROLYN recommends: Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl b Andrea Lawlor and XX by Carolina Robertis
  • What would YOU – including new members – like our group to discuss? Nominate ANY LGBTQ+ book that interests you! I’ll add your recommendations here.




  • Nov 2022: Love, Hait and Click Bait by Liz Bowers (2022 - gay romantic comedy)
  • October 2022: Looking for Lorraine: The Radiant and Radical Life of Lorraine Hansberry by Imani Perry (Yale '94) - book published 2018. There is also a PBS documentary movie you can watch :)  
  • September 2022: Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl, by Andrea Lawlor (2017)
  • May and June 2022: Maurice, by EM Forster (1913 - published 1971 with a happy ending)
  • April 2022: On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous, by Ocean Vuong
  • March 2022: Ain't I a Woman, by bell hooks
  • February 2022 – Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Stephen Sondheim’s “Musical Thriller”
  • January 2022 – Song in a Weary Throat, Pauli Murray’s memoir. (Movie available)
  • December 2021 – Orlando, Virginia Woolf’s novel
  • November 2021 – Shuggie Bain, Douglas Stuart’s novel
  • October 2021 – Fa**ots, Larry Kramer’s satirical first novel
  • September 2021 – The Sparsholt Affair, Alan Hollinghurst’s novel
  • August 2021 – The Talented Mr. Ripley, Patricia Highsmith’s thriller novel
  • July 2021 – Becoming a Man: Half a Life Story, Paul Monette’s memoir
  • June 2021 – Girl, Woman, Other, Bernardine Evaristo’s novel
  • May 2021 – The Inheritance, Matthew Lopez’s play, inspired by E.M. Forster’s novel Howards End
  • April 2021 – The Heart’s Invisible Furies, John Boyne’s novel
  • March 2021 – Native Country of the Heart, a Memoir, by Cherríe Moraga
  • February 2021 – Leaves of Grass (1855 first version), Walt Whitman’s poetry
  • January 2021 – The Song of Achilles, Madeline Miller’s novel
  • December 2020 – Call Me by Your Name, André Aciman’s novel [no meetings in October or November]
  • September 2020 – The Gods of Tango, Carolina de Robertis’s novel [no meeting in August]
  • July 2020 – Under the Udala Trees, Chinelo Okparanta’s novel
  • June 2020 (our first discussion) – Zami: A New Spelling of My Name, Audre Lorde’s autobiographical novel (“biomythography”)


 More info:

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