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Friday, July 07, 2017

Further Reading: Summer 2017

Written by  Gregg Shapiro

Whether you read at the beach, in the backyard, in bed or in the bathtub, these books will definitely enhance your summer reading experience.

Novel ideas – The second installment in magazine editor and cultural writer Georgette Gouveia’sThe Games Men Play” series, The Penalty For Holding (Less Than Three Press, 2017) tells the story of backup quarterback Quinn Novak whose triumph on the playing field gets him noticed by Mal and Tam, players on opposing teams, leading to a different kind of scoring.

Lesbian young-adult author Nina LaCour, who collaborated with gay novelist David Levithan on 2016’s You Know Me Well, returns with her new book We Are Okay (Dutton, 2017), in which best friends Marin and Mabel are reunited in New York after Marin left California with only her wallet, her phone and a photo of her mother.

Queer Canadian visual artist and writer Shani Mootoo’s latest novel Moving Forward Sideways Like a Crab (Akashic, 2017) follows the journey of writer Jonathan as he searches for the mother who left when his parents divorced.

My Cousin Rachel (Sourcebooks Landmark, 1951 / 2017) by bisexual writer Daphne DuMaurier (Rebecca, Don’t Look Now and others), is now a film directed by Roger Michell and starring Rachel Weisz in the titular role. The novel has been reissued with an introduction by Michell.

The tumultuous, creative, and ultimately tragic life of Isadora Duncan, the bisexual mother of modern dance, is given the novel treatment in Isadora (FSG, 2017) by Amelia Gray.

A fertile “crop” of writers, including Keith Glaeske, James Penha and Evey Brett, contributed to the “men and vegetation” anthology His Seed: An Arboretum of Erotica (Unzipped, 2017), edited by Steve Berman.

Non-fiction now – The Songs We Know Best: John Ashberry’s Early Life (FSG, 2017) by Karin Roffman is described as “the first comprehensive biography of the early life” of gay poet John Ashbery, who turns 90 this summer. The author of 20 volumes of poetry, Ashbery received the Pulitzer Prize in 1976 for Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror.

The Dog’s Last Walk (and Other Pieces) (Bloomsbury, 2017) by Howard Jacobson, author of the 2010 Man Booker Prize-winning novel The Finkler Question, is the second collection of the writer’s weekly columns for the U.K. Independent.

“Roger Ailes’s New Enlightened Code of Sexual Conduct,” “What I Saw at the Movies,” and “Dream On, You Motherfucking Mother” are just a few of the hilarious essays in writer/performer Jenny Allen’s new book Would Everybody Please Stop? Reflections on Life and Other Bad Ideas (FSG, 2017).

Mary Mann, author of Yawn: Adventures in Boredom (FSG, 2017), combines “interviews, research, and personal experience” in writing about lethargy, tedium, mundanity, monotony and disenchantment.

Poetic style – Jackknife: New and Selected Poems (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2017) by Jan Beatty opens with 22 new poems (such as “The World Between Jim Morrison’s Legs”) and features poems from her four prior books Mad River, Boneshaker, Red Sugar, and the acclaimed The Switching/Yard (including “Dear American Poetry”).

With the “fully annotated and comprehensive” New Collected Poems (FSG, 2017), edited by Heather Cass White, Marianne Moore, one of the pioneers of poetic modernism, finally gets the thorough compendium that she has long deserved.

Award-winning Caribbean-American writer and Nuyorican Poets Café Grand Slam Champion Aja Monet takes us from East New York to the South Side of Chicago and beyond in her latest poetry collection My Mother Was a Freedom Fighter (Haymarket Books, 2017).

A Grace Paley Reader: Stories, Essays, and Poetry (FSG, 2017), edited by Kevin Bowen and Nora Paley, with an introduction by George Saunders, compiles 34 of Grace Paley’s poems, along with some short stories from Paley’s acclaimed collections Later the Same Day, Enormous Changes at the Last Minute, and The Little Disturbances of Man, as well as a number of her essay.

More words and pictures – Endorsement blurbs from Alison Bechdel and Roz Chast adorn the back cover of Everything is Flammable (Uncivilized Books, 2017), the full-length graphic memoir debut by Gabrielle Bell, about the New York-based alternative cartoonist’s attempts at improving her mother’s life following a fire that destroyed her home.

Fans of Garbage (the band, of course) are going to be happy (and not only when it rains, as the song says) with the coffee-table book This is the Noise that Keeps Me Awake (Akashic, 2017) written by Garbage (Shirley Manson, Butch Vig, Duke Erikson, and Steve Marker) with Jason Cohen, and crammed full of color and black & white photos, band interviews and much more.

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