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Thursday, September 14, 2017

Further Reading • Autumn 2017

Written by  Gregg Shapiro

Drawn to it – Almost everything you need to know about Going Into Town: A Love Letter to New York (Bloomsbury, 2017), by beloved New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast, can be found in the title. In nine illustrated chapters, Brooklyn-native Chast celebrates Manhattan in all its glory.

According to artist Tom Neely, Henry & Glenn Forever + Ever (Microcosm Publishing / IWDY Comics, 2017) by Tom Neely & Friends, with a foreword by gay Judas Priest front-man Rob Halford, is the result of one of his Igloo Tornado “art fraternity” pals suggesting they create “Something like Tom of Finland art, but with Henry Rollins and Glenn Danzig.”

Enrique Garcia’s The Hernandez Brothers: Love, Rockets and Alternative Comics (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2017) takes a thorough and academic look at the work of graphic novelist brothers Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez, known for their Love and Rockets series, who have often included LGBTQ characters in their creations.

You can always draw your own conclusions, so to speak, on the blank pages of My Rad Life: A Journal (Ten Speed Press, 2017), the latest collaboration by writer Kate Schatz and illustrator Miriam Klein Stahl (co-authors of Rad Women Worldwide and Rad American Women A-Z). With quotes from and drawings of almost 50 women, including queer icons Stacyann Chin, Jazz Jennings, Alice Walker, Margaret Cho, Adrienne Rich and Audre Lorde, there is inspiration to be found in the event of a creativity block.

True words – Now available in paperback, Love Wins: The Lovers and Lawyers Who Fought the Landmark Case for Marriage Equality (William Morrow, 2016 / 2017) by Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter Debbie Cenziper and Jim Obergefell, the “definitive account…of the dramatic and previously unreported events” leading up to Obergefell v. Hodges, the milestone case regarding the legalization of same-sex marriage, is scheduled to be made into a movie from Fox 2000.

Lesbian poet Eileen Myles is the author of Afterglow (a dog memoir) (Grove Press, 2017), described as part “screenplay, monologue, science fiction, and lucid memory,” detailing the 16 years Myles spent as the human companion to a dog named Rosie.

Music and cultural critic Ann Powers, who can be heard regularly on NPR, gives the LGBTQ community a lot of love in her new book Good Booty: Love and Sex, Black & White, Body and Soul in American Music (Dey Street, 2017), citing artists including Sylvester, Klaus Nomi, Cris Williamson, Laura Nyro, Nona Hendryx and Jobriath, and touching on queercore, lesbian visibility, Paradise Garage, bisexuality, and the AIDS epidemic.

In Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies (Atria, 2017), TV personality Michael Ausiello’s “memoir of love, loss and other four-letter words”, the writer recounts the deeply personal story of his “unconventional” 13 year relationship with his husband, the late Kit Cowan, who battled a rare form of cancer and passed away in 2015.

Poetic voices – Prolific, young, queer Native American poet Tommy Pico’s first poetry collection IRL was published in 2016. Nature Poem (Tin House, 2017) Pico’s second, book-length epic poem merges poetic and texting language for an unforgettable read.

Half-Light: Collected Poems 1965-2016 (FSG, 2017) compiles the work of lauded gay poet Frank Bidart in one stunning setting, including the new collection Thirst, featuring outstanding poems such as “Ellen West”, “Herbert White”, “In Memory of Joe Brainerd”, “The Second Hour of the Night” and “For the AIDS Dead”.

Fiction finds – Pages for Her (Counterpoint Press, 2017) is the sequel to Sylvia Brownrigg’s 2002 novel Pages for You, in which readers were introduced to two women, Flannery and Anne, who had a “brief but passionate affair,” now reconnecting years later, after their lives took different directions.

In her third book, the haunting haunted house novel The Grip of It (FSG, 2017) writer and teacher Jac Jemc both reinvents and reveres the horror genre leaving readers with an experience that is difficult to shake.

Lewis DeSimone’s new novel Channeling Morgan (Beautiful Dreamer Press, 2017) is about what happens when ghostwriter Derick Sweetwater agrees to help “studly movie star” Clive Morgan’s autobiography, and his literary life goes on a collision course with “Hollywood, drag queens, and the occasional ghost.”

In Amatka (Vintage, 2017), Swedish sci-fi/fantasy writer Karin Tidbeck takes us to the “austere, wintry” titular colony where information assistant Vanja, on assignment from the government, falls in love with her housemate Nina, while also stumbling on a potentially serious problem involving Amatka, as well as a cover-up that threatens everything in her world.

Gay literary publicist and young-adult novelist Martin Wilson is back with his second book We Now Return to Regular Life (Dial, 2017), described as “part literary thriller, part coming-of-age-drama,” tells the story of what happens when a boy who is kidnapped returns home after three years.

For her second novel, The Lauras (Hogarth, 2017), Sara Taylor takes us on a cross-country journey as Ma and her non-binary offspring Alex leave a difficult situation at home only to encounter a variety of ups and downs along the way.

Posing the question, “What is a family?” gay, award-winning journalist Scot T. O’Hara turns his attention to fiction with his debut novel Tarantella (OhBoy Books, 2017), in which main character Anthony seeks healing and understanding for himself and his family.

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