BOOKS: Getting In & Out of the Swim

When a young, talented athlete, actor, musician, etc. comes on the scene, it is easy to be swept up in the excitement and think that young person has it made. They are gifted and should be placed on a pedestal. In her debut, Godspeed, Casey Legler debunks the myth of the talented, young athlete by sharing her story of life as a troubled Olympic swimmer. To an outsider, Legler had a unique and brilliant life opportunity. She lived in France with her family and began swimming at age 12. Her height and raw athletic talent made her a natural and […]

An Edgy Thriller

Summertime is here, and that means vacations. It doesn’t matter what your plans are – international adventures, weekends at the beach, the much needed “staycation” – vacations allow you to take a break from life. They allow you to relax and have a day where the hardest decision you need to make is whether you should put on pants or not. In The Cabin at the End of the World, Eric, Andrew, and their daughter, Wen, thought they were getting their relaxing vacation. The novel begins with Wen playing outside. While catching grasshoppers, Wen notices a man approaching. Her dads […]

Summer Lit 2018 Cool reads for hot weather

Summer’s (finally) here and the time is right for reading at the beach (or wherever your heart desires).  In Read by Strangers (Lethe, 2018), the follow-up to Washington, DC-based gay writer Phillip Dean Walker’s 2016 story collection At Danceteria and other stories, he populates the 16 pieces (one that is less a page in length, another that is 32 pages long) with gay porn stars (“Brad’s Head Revisited, ‘94”), a meth-addicted escort (“Three-Sink Sink”), fierce front-desk receptionists (“The Gargoyles”) and a mother having an affair with her daughter’s teacher (“Hester Prynne Got an A”). There’s even a spooky homage to […]

Fighting for Your Life

Looking back on the fears and fights of the 1980s in the midst of a raging epidemic There are books that help you pass a little time – at the beach, on an airplane, in waiting rooms. You aren’t completely invested in them, but the stories are enjoyable. Then there are books that are poignant, captivating, and so compelling that you stay up until 2 am because you have to finish it. The characters become a part of you, and the story courses through your mind for days. The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai is a one of those books. […]

To tell the truth: spring/summer 2018 non-fiction for LGBTQ readers

Now that most of the country has thawed out from one of the lengthiest winters on record, everyone is anxious to get outside and enjoy the nice weather. The following titles are suggestions for reading on a park bench, at the beach or anywhere the sun is warmly shining on you.    Thanks for the memoirs  Not only is Jake Shears a talented singer/songwriter and all- around magnetic performer who is, shall we say, easy on the eyes, but he’s also a marvelous writer as he proves with his first book, Boys Keep Swinging: A Memoir (Atria, 2018).  Following the extraordinary success of his […]

2018 National Poetry Month Reading list ’Cause a diet of mere prose makes Jack a boy dull as red is the rose

  Observed every April since its 1996 launch, National Poetry Month was created by the American Academy of poets as a means of celebrating and calling attention to poetry. Special events scheduled for National Poetry Month in 2018 include the continued airing of the star-studded PBS series Poetry in America, the Dear Poet project in the schools, as well as a multitude of events in public libraries, as well as the famous month-long “O, Miami” festival. If you prefer your poetry on a solitary, one-on-one basis, consider the recent titles below. Lesbian poet Julie Marie Wade calls Same-Sexy Marriage (A […]

Rainbow Relatives Author Visits Maryland Explaining ‘queer’ to nieces and nephews

For those who have, or may be, the rainbow sheep of their family, Sudi “Rick” Karatas’s new book, Rainbow Relatives, is a must-read. Marylanders will have the opportunity to meet the actor, writer, and producer on Saturday, May 5th at the Barnes & Noble Booksellers in Rockville (12089 Rockville Pike at Montrose Crossing; 301-881-0237). The author signing, taking place that afternoon, will give readers the chance to meet Karatas. Based upon a variety of stories from real families and advice from experts in the field, Rainbow Relatives employs warmth and humor to tackle the challenge of explaining LGBT issues to […]

A Queer Ghost Story in Sodom Road Exit

  Starla Martin is forced to move back to her small-town home of Crystal Beach after dropping out of college and drowning under crippling debt. Her story may seem to be a typical “20-something-who-can’t-hack-being-an-adult” plot, but Starla’s experience is far from normal. In Amber Dawn’s Sodom Road Exit, Starla is forced to deal with her own sexuality, demons from her past, and the lesbian ghost who keeps possessing her. Sodom Road Exit is a supernatural thriller that goes beyond the creepy and scary theme. Dawn uses her characters to explore relationships and how people can help (or fail) those around […]

Secrets from Heaven A near-death experience changes a life

  “[My story] was something that I always wanted to tell,” says Susanne Seymoure. “But when someone asks you to keep it a secret, you don’t feel like you fit in the world.” At 12 years old, Susanne Seymoure suffered a near-fatal skiing accident. While her family gathered around her seemingly lifeless body, Seymoure experienced something most people never live to tell. Seymoure is finally able to tell her story 43 years later in her book, My Secrets from Heaven – A Child’s Trip to Heaven and Back. Sharing this experience has been an emotional release for local author Seymoure. […]

A Love Letter to Portland and the Undergrownd Lesbian Mafia

  A book about a lesbian who has an affair with a straight man and gets pregnant may seem like a drama-fest. While there certainly are dramatic parts (I mean, how could there not be?), Stray City is a smart and clever debut novel that explores community, the family we create for ourselves, and how we evolve as we grow. The story follows 24-year-old artist, Andrea as she’s recovering from a terrible breakup and begins a secret relationship with her ex-girlfriend’s friend, Ryan. Author Chelsey Johnson said that Stray City began with a different angle. “I had been talking with […]