Stonewall stories – Arriving just in time for the Stonewall 50 festivities, We Are Everywhere: Protest, Power, and Pride in the History of Queer Liberation (Ten Speed Press, 2019) by Matthew Riemer and Leighton Brown, tells a multitude of stories of the LGBTQ community in words and pictures, from 1868 to the present day.
Updated and featuring a new introduction, Charles Kaiser’s landmark book The Gay Metropolis (Grove Press, 1997 / 2019), featuring the additional subtitle 50 Years After Stonewall, is even more essential reading than ever in light of the observance of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots.
The Stonewall riots figure prominently in historian and journalist St. Sukie de la Croix’s new book Out of the Underground: Homosexuals, The Radical Press, and the Rise and Fall of the Gay Liberation Front (Rattling Good Yarns, 2019), a thorough and enlightening exploration of the publications read and published by young, queer radicals in the “turbulent 1960s.”
Almost everything you need to know about the paperback edition Going Into Town: A Love Letter to New York (Bloomsbury, 2017/2019), 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, serving as a reminder that it’s a special place shared by gay and straight people alike.
Getting personal – In A Body in the O: Performances and Stories (University of Wisconsin Press, 2019) celebrated performance artists and activist Tim Miller, renowned for being one of the “NEA Four,” compiles prose pieces and performance scripts, as well as photographs, in this volume that also includes a foreword by Southern Illinois University professor Craig Gingrich-Philbrook.
Frank and revealing, I M: A Memoir (Flatiron Books, 2019) by fashion designer and talk show host turned cabaret performer Isaac Mizrahi traces the gay Brooklyn native from his sheltered religious upbringing through his coming out at the height of the AIDS epidemic and his stellar rise to fame and stardom.
Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls (Bloomsbury, 2019), the debut memoir by literary essayist T Kira Madden, is the brutally honest and personal story of her life as a biracial, queer teen living in Boca Raton, Florida, with parents caught in an ongoing struggle with alcohol and drug addictions.
A powerful collaboration, as well as a “compelling act of resistance,” between trans writer and musician Vivek Shraya and illustrator Ness Lee, Death Threat (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2019) presents the harrowing story of Shraya’s electronic encounter with a hate mail-sending stranger, in which she found her thoughts and dreams possessed by the sender’s threats.
In her inclusive and accessible book Unfuck Your Intimacy: Using Science for Better Relationships, Sex, and Dating (Microcosm, 2019), Faith G. Harper, PhD includes chapters such as “Sexuality, Religion and Spirituality,” “Changing Bodies, Sexual Disorders, and Other Fuckitude,” “Exploring Your Sexual Identity,” “Sexing Yourself” and “Date Like a Grownup.”
Charting the fascinating, amusing and uplifting story of activist and trans personality Gigi Gorgeous in her own words and pictures, He Said, She Said (Harmony Books, 2019) details how she went from “gawky Canadian teen” Gregory to become the documentarian, YouTube sensation and out lesbian that she is today.
Lynn Breedlove, author of Godspeed and the Lammy Award-winning Lynnee Breedlove’s One Freak Show, as well as queercore musician (remember Tribe 8?), returns to the printed page with 45 Thought Crimes: New Writing (Manic D Press, 2019), is part poetry, part prayer and all personal memoir.
Creative concepts – Previously published by Rescue Press, the newly reissued Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl (Vintage, 2017 / 2019), the debut novel by educator and editor Andrea Lawlor, is about “shapeshifter” Paul, who wildly oscillates from “Riot Grrrl to leather cub” and from “Women’s Studies major to trade” while traversing Iowa City, Boystown, Provincetown, and San Francisco.
Inspired by the last 50 years of the devastation done to the Amazon, Indian communities, and homesteaders by drug cartels, insurgent groups, and the Colombian government, Like This Afternoon Forever (Kaylie Jones Books / Akashic) by Colombian-born gay writer Jaime Manrique, centers on the “visceral love story” of Lucas and Ignacio.
Mostly Dead Things (Tin House Books, 2019), the debut novel by queer writer Kristen Arnett, introduces us to Jessa, forced to take over her family’s dying taxidermy business following her father’s suicide, as her other family members barely hold it together as their lives unravel.
For her second historical novel, The Flight Portfolio (Knopf, 2019), Julie Orringer gives readers a meticulously researched fiction portrait of Varian Fry, an American gay man credited with saving the lives (and works) of creative geniuses condemned by the Nazis, including Marc Chagall, Hannah Arendt, Marcel Duchamp and André Breton.
Prolific gay poet/writer/editor/publisher Raymond Luczak pays tribute to Djuna Barnes’s 1936 book Nightwood with his new novel Flannelwood (Red Hen Press, 2019), in which barista and failed poet Bill meets and spends a passion-filled winter with disabled factory employee James only to have the relationship end abruptly in the spring, leading Bill on a quest for answers.
Pan’s Ex: Queer Sex Poetry (Qommunicate Publishing, 2019), edited by Sage Kalmus, is a slim, pocket-sized erotic poetry anthology featuring the work of Kenneth Pobo, Sean Patrick Mulroy, Marie Hartung, David Meischen, Anthony DiPietro and Raven Sky, among others.
Show biz – You didn’t know it, but Drag: Combing Through the Big Wigs of Show Business (Rizzoli, 2019) by Frank DeCaro, with a foreword by Bruce Vilanch, is the book you’ve been waiting for all your gay life. A coffee table book suitable for more than coffee talk (Mike Meyers as Linda Richman even gets a mention), DeCaro’s thoroughly researched and very colorful tome, illustrates that “drag in show business … goes back a lot further than the first season of Drag Race,” as it takes us from ancient Greece into the 21st century.
In their book Riverdish: The Unauthorized Case Files of Riverdale (Dey Street, 2019), Riverdish podcast creators Ryan Bloomquist & Samantha Gold invite you to “hold on to your milkshake” as they reveal how the setting of the popular (and very queer) TV series Riverdale, known as the “town with pep,” became notorious as a “great place to get away with it all.” t
From obscure sitcoms such as the rightfully short-lived The Ugliest Girl in Town to more popular fare including The Dick Van Dyke Show and The Beverly Hillbillies, Quinlan Miller’s Camp TV: Trans Gender Queer Sitcom History (Duke University Press, 2019) analyzes “queer representation and gender nonconformity” on television during the 1950s and 1960s.
Boasting an assortment of LGBTQ characters, including Stewie Griffin, Karen Griffin and Bruce, as well as an array of musical numbers, Seth MacFarlane’s long-running animated series Family Guy is given the coffee-table book treatment with Inside Family Guy: An Illustrated History (Dey Street, 2019) by Frazier Moore, featuring a foreword by MacFarlane.
Gregg Shapiro is the author of Fifty Degrees (Seven Kitchens, 2016), selected by Ching-In Chen as co-winner of the Robin Becker Chapbook Prize. Other books by Shapiro include the short story collections How to Whistle (Lethe Press, 2016) and Lincoln Avenue (Squares and Rebels Press, 2014), the chapbook GREGG SHAPIRO: 77 (Souvenir Spoon Press, 2012), and the poetry collection Protection (Gival Press, 2008).
He has work forthcoming in the anthology Reading Queer: Poetry in a Time of Chaos (Anhinga Press, 2018). An entertainment journalist, whose interviews and reviews run in a variety of regional LGBT and mainstream publications and websites, Shapiro lives in Fort Lauderdale, Florida with his husband Rick and their dog Coco.