The Poetry Section

Depending on whether you are a glass half full or half empty kind of person, National Poetry Month was either six or so months ago or is coming up in less than six months. Either way, there is much to be savored in that literary genre right now. Edited by Richard Blanco, Caridad Moro, Nikki Moustaki & Elisa Albo, Grabbed: Poets & Writers on Sexual Assault, Empowerment and Healing (Beacon Press, 2020) arrives at a turning point in our history. With a foreword by Joyce Maynard and an afterword by Anita Hill, this substantial anthology includes works by a variety […]

Fall 2020 reading list

Fiction shelf Not meant to be read on an empty stomach, or even if you’re the slightest bit hungry (there’s a lot of cooking and eating!), Memorial (Riverhead, 2020) the debut novel by Bryan Washington (author of the acclaimed 2019 short story collection Lot) introduces us to Benson and Mike, a mixed race (one Black and one Japanese) gay couple negotiating their fragile and strained romantic connection while also trying to maintain relationships with their complicated families. The must-read book of the season. Finding Tulsa (Palm Drive Publishing, 2020), the new novel by Lammy Award-winning novelist and longtime journalist Jim […]

Confessing Our Desires

I Confess! Constructing the Sexual Self in the Internet Age – edited by Thomas Waugh and Brandon Arroyo (McGill-Queens University Press, 2019, 624 pages) The era post-World War 1 saw a wave of sexual modernization and reform – from gender-expansive Flappers to women’s suffrage to campaigns (born pre-term) for homosexual rights and birth control. Let’s call that the First Sexual Revolution. Post-World War 2 came Kinsey’s bombshell empirical sex research and the homophile movement, constituting a Second Sexual Revolution and setting the stage for the late 1960s “Cambrian explosion” of sexual liberation. Despite phases of right-wing revanchism starting in the […]

Author Spotlight: Baltimore’s Kirkland Hamill

Baltimore resident Kirkland Hamill’s memoir, Filthy Beasts, hits the bookshelves on Tuesday, July 14th.  A tender and heart-wrenching memoir about a family’s fall from grace, a mother’s inner demons and a son’s blind allegiance, Filthy Beasts is a fascinating window into the life of extreme privilege and a powerful story of self-acceptance.  The book recounts Hamill’s unforgettable journey through luxury hotels and charity stores, private enclaves and public shame as he confronts his family’s many imperfections, accepts his unconventional childhood, and finally comes to terms with his own hidden secrets.  Hamill recently chatted with Baltimore OUTloud regarding his upcoming book, […]

2020 Pride all summer long reading list

Whether you’re sitting out the Pride season by keeping your observances at a social distance or you’re taking it to the streets in honor of the 50th anniversary of the first Pride march, having reading materials on hand to augment the celebration is always a good idea. The following books are some worthwhile suggestions. Young readers October may be a few months away, but it’s never too early to start thinking about Halloween (considered by some to be one of the gay national holidays). In Christopher Pumpkin (Little, Brown, 2020) by Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet with illustrations by Nick […]

Your 2020 quarantine reading list

True stories In 1988, shortly before his death, disco legend Sylvester did an interview in which he talked about working with legendary record producer Tommy LiPuma. That record never came to be, but LiPuma did work with countless other music icons including  Barbra Streisand, Randy Newman, Patti Austin, Jennifer Holliday, Diana Krall, Brenda Russell and Paul McCartney and you can read all about LiPuma in The Ballad of Tommy LiPuma (Nardis, 2020) by Ben Sidran. Now available in paperback, Mama’s Boy: A Story from Our America (Vintage, 2019/2020) is the memoir by Dustin Lance Black, the Oscar-winning screenwriter of Milk, […]

National Poetry Month 2020 Reading List

April is National Poetry Month. In April 2020, readers are fortunate to have an exceptional selection of titles from which to choose. Read one or read them all, you wont be disappointed. Selected by Ocean Vuong as the winner of the Kathryn A. Morton Prize in Poetry, Your New Feeling is the Artifact of a Bygone Era (Sarabande Books, 2020) is the stunning debut poetry collection by Chad Bennett, an associate professor of English at the University of Texas at Austin. A 2020 Lannan Literary Selection, 13th Balloon (Copper Canyon Press, 2020) by Mark Bibbins is a moving and groundbreaking […]

2020 Winter Reading List

It doesn’t matter if you have perfect vision or if you need to slip on a pair of reading glasses, the following books, to be released in early 2020, all deserve to have your eyes on them. Fiction for adult readers Peter Kispert’s debut short story collection I Know You Know Who I Am (Penguin, 2020), is separated into three sections – “I Know”, “You Know,” and “Who I Am” (clever, right?) and focuses on lying liars and the lies they tell themselves and others, mixing the real (“Touch Pool”) with the fantastic (“How to Live Your Best Life”), in […]

Cuts Both Ways

In the interest of full disclosure, dear reader, it’s best that you know that Rick Karlin, author of the memoir Paper Cuts: My Life in Chicago’s Volatile LGBTQ Press (Rattling Good Yarns, 2019) is my husband. We are in our 28th year as a couple and have been officially married since 2014 (the 5,100th same-gender couple married in Illinois to do so). That said, even after all these years together, it doesn’t make it any easier to read a book in which you are one of the main characters. To his credit, Rick writes about us in the most respectful […]

The Gifts That Keep On Giving

Memoirs and memories – No other queer book published in 2019 fits in the “memoirs and memories” category than Tell Me About It 2: LGBTQ Secrets, Confessions, and Life Stories (Rattling Good Yarns Press, 2019), compiled by St. Sukie de la Croix and Owen Keehnen. A global assortment of participants submitted answers to 15 questions, ranging from “When was the first time you realized you were different?” to “How did your parents react when you came out to them?” and “Where is the wildest place you ever had sex?” A third edition of Tell Me About It is currently in […]