Hot reads for cold months
by Gregg Shapiro
From the fiction shelf: Midwestern writer and Wisconsin native Glenway Wescott, who counted Monroe Wheeler as a lover and Paul Cadmus and George Platt Lynes among his social circle, has been dead for more than 25 years. "A Visit to Priapus," one of his more homoerotic works of short fiction, remained unpublished until after his death. In A Visit to Priapus and Other Stories (University of Wisconsin Press, $26.95), edited and with an introduction by Wescott biographer Jerry Rosco (and a foreword by Wendy Moffatt), the title story, nine more stories and two essays have been collected under one cover for the first time.
Wally Lamb, a straight writer who is a favorite of Oprah's and book clubs around the world, has a lesbian as his main character in his new novel We Are Water (Harper, $29.99). The impact of artist Annie Oh's impending marriage to her art dealer Viveca on her family is the main focus of this timely novel.
Popular gay writer Chuck Palahniuk, author of Fight Club and others, is back with Doomed (Doubleday, $24.95), the sequel to his 2011 novel Damned , in which he first introduced us to dead adolescent protagonist Madison. As irreverent as ever, Palahniuk's vision of the afterlife, and the battle of good and evil, is distinctly his own.
Multi-award-winning lesbian mystery writer and author of the well-liked Jane Lawless Mysteries series Ellen Hart returns with two new books, The Mirror and the Mask and The Cruel Ever After (Bywater Books, $14.95). Both Minneapolis-set novels find Lawless doing what she does best, solving mysteries as only she can.
Set in Victorian England, The White Forest (Touchstone, $16), the debut novel by gay writer and teacher Adam McOmber, combines psychic powers, a questionable cult, love and friendship, and the rise of industry, for a thrilling and chilling tale.
Frank Anthony Polito, Lammy-winning author of Drama Queers! and Band Fags!, pays homage to Michael Chabon's The Mysteries of Pittsburgh in his new novel The Spirit of Detroit (Woodward Avenue Books, $15). Set in the Motor City in 1992, the book tells the story of Bradley Dayton, making his way through Detroit during a period of great personal and social upheaval.
Perfectly timed for the season, Gifts Not Yet Given (Circumspect Press, $15.99) by Kergan Edwards-Stout is a collection of 14 tales of the holidays. Among the stories, you will find a few set at Christmas, including "The Nutcracker," "The Fourth Christmas," "The Cape" and "A Doris Day Christmas."
An out and proud member of the Romance Writers of America (and prez of the LGBT chapter), homoerotic romance author Damon Suede's latest novel Bad Idea (Dreamspinner, $17.99) takes on "comic books, stupid heroes," and the "terrible risks" one takes for love.
From the nonfiction shelf: As 2013 comes to a close, two more states, Hawaii and Illinois, have legalized same-sex marriage, moving the battle for marriage equality forward. We Do! American Leaders Who Believe in Marriage Equality (Akashic, $15.95), edited by Jennifer Baumgardner & Governor Madeleine M. Kunin, compiles speeches, interviews and commentary from 1977 through 2013, in which an array of political leaders, such as the late Supervisor Harvey Milk, Senator Tammy Baldwin, Senator John Kerry, Mayor Gavin Newsom, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Governor Andrew Cuomo, Mayor Corey Booker, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Bill Clinton voice their unconditional support for the queer citizens of the US in their quest for same-sex marriage rights.
Blogger and man of many talents Joel Derfner takes readers along on his and boyfriend Mike's journey to become spouses in Lawfully Wedded Husband: How My Gay Marriage Will Save the American Family (University of Wisconsin, $26.95). Expect to laugh out loud and shed some tears, just like you would at any wedding.
Christopher Isherwood remains a subject of fascination more than 25 years after his death at 82. The musical Cabaret, based on his Berlin Stories, continues to be produced and performed. Tom Ford's film version of Isherwood's A Single Man was an Oscar nominee. Featuring a preface by Edmund White, Liberation: Diaries 1970-1983 (Harper Perennial, $19.99), edited and introduced by Katherine Bucknell, is the third volume in the series, and covers the period during which the Oscar-winning film version of Cabaret was made.
Full of great period photos, See a Little Light: The Trail of Rage and Melody (Cleis Press, $16.95), Bob Mould's revealing memoir written with Michael Azerrad, would make a great gift for the music-lover on your list. Mould, who played in groundbreaking bands such as Husker Du and Sugar, was that rare commodity in the alternative and college rock scene, an out gay man.
Legendary songwriter and "ladies man" Leonard Cohen is as straight as they come. But he does have some notable connections to the queer community. Two of the most celebrated versions of his song "Hallelujah" were recorded by out artists Rufus Wainwright and k.d. lang (lang's version has brought Cohen to tears). Cohen's daughter Lorca is the mother of Wainwright's daughter Viva Katherine Wainwright Cohen, who is being co-parented by the old friends and "progeny of two Canadian musical dynasties." I'm Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen (Ecco, $16.99) by Sylvie Simmons has all the details.
Reissued to mark the 20-year anniversary of its publication, Travels with Lizbeth (St. Martin's Griffin, $15.99) by Lars Eighner chronicles the gay writer's "descent into homelessness and his adventures on the streets." Traveling through the Southwest with his dog Lizbeth, Eighner vividly recounts his experiences from Texas to California in moving detail.
A longtime performer, and one who was mentored by Divine as well as the infamous performance troupe the Cockettes, Delores Deluce, "a five-foot diva in six-inch heels," tells her story in her memoir My Life, A Four Letter Word: Confessions of a Counter Culture Diva (Double Delinquent Press, $13.98). The book features appearances by everyone from John Waters to Joan Rivers.
Christine Benvenuto's "journey of love and anguish" Sex Changes: A Memoir of Marriage, Gender, and Moving On (St. Martin's Griffin, $15.99) allows readers to get up-close and personal with her experience as a wife whose husband transitions from male to female after more than 20 years of marriage and raising three children.
The AIDS crisis is far from over. In The AIDS Generation: Stories of Survival and Resilience (Oxford University Press, $44.65), Dr. Perry N. Halkitis examines the "bravest generation" of HIV-positive gay men, who navigated the treacherous times from the 1980s to the present. David France, director of the acclaimed AIDS doc How to Survive a Plague, wrote the introduction.
In Excluded: Making Feminist and Queer Movements More Inclusive (Seal, $17), feminist and queer activist Julia Serano reports on the matter of exclusion while providing new approaches to dealing with the topics of gender, sexuality and sexism, and encouraging inclusion.
Intimate Activism (Duke University Press, $19.72) by Rice University associate professor Cymene Howe takes readers to Nicaragua, where in 2007, sexual-rights activists overturned "the most repressive anti-sodomy laws in the Americas," almost 30 years after they were passed.