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 […]

Drug Wars ‘Predux’: Chicago in Prohibition

  The Roaring 20s may conjure up visions of flapper girls, speakeasies, and All That Jazz, but David Mamet’s novel Chicago delves into the grittier aspects of the 1920s: mobsters and murder. In his first novel in two decades, Mamet follows World War I veteran and news reporter Mike Hodge through Prohibition-afflicted Chicago as he tries to solve the mystery of his girlfriend Annie Walsh’s murder. Mike learns, however, that keeping secrets can be just as dangerous as uncovering the truth. In Chicago, secrets are currency. No one gets answers – not even Mike – without paying. As the brothel […]

In Vogue

The 1980s immediately brings up thoughts of excellent music, bad hair, and the fantastic original movies that are being remade into modern garbage. In his debut novel, The House of Impossible Beauties, author Joseph Cassara wanted to explore a lesser represented community of the 1980s – the gay and transgender ballroom scene. Loosely based on the documentary Paris is Burning and the House of Xtravaganza (a Latino home in New York City), Cassara focuses on delving into the lives and relationships of the voguing divas and their struggle to survive in the world around them. “I was interested in writing […]

High Church, Higher Deception

“Pleased be forewarned: if you worry for the girl I was – the one you are about to meet – just know the woman I am is a fierce, mostly well-adjusted warrior, who cares for her well-being.” Tina Alexis Allen’s memoir, Hiding Out: A Memoir of Drugs, Deception, and Double Lives, starts out with this honest disclaimer for good reason – this is an astonishing life story. A compelling memoir should not only have a unique story to tell but connect the reader to the author as if they are experiencing the story with the author. Allen shares details of […]

Your 2018 Winter Reading List

Words and pictures – Readers should consider themselves lucky that, presently, gay writer and photographer Bill Hayes has two books for them to enjoy. The first is the paperback edition of his breathtaking 2017 memoir Insomniac City: New York, Oliver, and Me (Bloomsbury, 2017), which interweaves essays with journal entries, photos and poetry to tell the story of the writer’s romantic relationship with the late writer and scientist Oliver Sacks. The second Hayes book, How New York Breaks Your Heart (Bloomsbury, 2018), focuses on his street photography through four-color and black & white images of his “chance encounters” with a […]