Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 3 / 18 January 2018

Springtime reading list


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Flights of fiction: Beloved gay author Armistead Maupin brings his cherished Tales of the City saga to a close on a tear-jerking note with a loving tribute to his most endearing and enduring character, trans legend Anna Madrigal, in The Days of Anna Madrigal (Harper Perennial). Now in paperback, the novel takes us from San Francisco to Winnemucca to the annual Burning Man celebration, and from the present day to Anna's secret past, answering almost any question a reader of the series might ever want to ask.

Straight friend of the community Daniel Handler, the author of the Lemony Snicket series who has collaborated with gay Magnetic Fields frontman Stephin Merritt, returns with his new adult novel We Are Pirates (Bloomsbury), about pirates terrorizing 21st-century San Francisco.

Also set in San Francisco, in 1951, Blackmail, My Love (Cleis), written and illustrated by Katie Gilmartin, involves "a murder, a mystery and a secret history," as Josie O'Connor searches for her gay brother Jimmy, and encounters a cornucopia of characters in an assortment of establishments.

If you're a fan of Joe Keenan's style of queer farce, then the fast-paced and funny Stealing Arthur (Bear Bones Books) by Joel Perry, about the trophy theft of "55 of Hollywood's highest awards," will be right up your alley.

Originally published in "a slightly different version" in 2013, William Klaber's debut novel The Rebellion of Miss Lucy Ann Lobdell (St. Martin's Press), about the title character and how "dressed in a man's clothing, she wins a girl's love" in the late 1800s, is now available in a newly reissued edition.

A 21st-century bedtime story for the ages (and all ages) if there ever was one, You Have to F**king Eat (Akashic Books) by Adam Mansbach with illustrations by Owen Brozman, the sequel to the hilarious and equally profane Go the F**k to Sleep , deals with the "other parental frustration," getting finicky kids to eat right.

Former club kid turned restaurateur Blue, the main character of Robert Levy's debut novel The Glittering World (Gallery Books), ventures to Nova Scotia from NYC for what begins as a leisurely trip with friends and develops into a shocking voyage of self-discovery as he uncovers a mysterious and long-buried part of his past.

Thanks for the memoirs: I Left It on the Mountain (St. Martin's Press), Kevin Sessums' follow-up to his acclaimed memoir Mississippi Sissy, follows the editor-in-chief of Four Two Nine and from "the high to the low and back again," as he writes about his journey of spiritual redemption.

Bettyville: A Memoir (Viking), "the last place in America with shag carpet," is where gay writer and book and magazine editor George Hodgman has returned (from Manhattan) for his role as "care inflictor" for his 90-year-old mother, the Betty of the title, in this breathtaking memoir about mother/son relationships, identity and so much more.

Wishbone: A Memoir in Fractures (Bywater Books), the first book by lauded lesbian writer and poet Julie Marie Wade, won the Colgate University Press Nonfiction Book Award in 2009 and the 2011 Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Memoir. It's now available in paperback, as well as an e-book.

"Intoxicating" memoir Dangerous When Wet (St. Martin's Press), the first book by gay writer Jamie Brickhouse, details his complex relationship with his one-of-a-kind mother Mama Jean, as well as his struggles with alcohol and coming out, all told in his distinctive voice.

Subtitled "a supermodel's journey to finding her truth," Straight Walk (Post Hill Press) by Venezuelan model and actress Patricia Velasquez, known as "the world's first Latina supermodel," is about her upbringing, coming out, and making love "in three time zones, in three cities, to three different women in one day."

Rock, paper, book: Stunning coffee-table book See Hear Yoko (Harper), "originally conceived expressly for Yoko Ono on the occasion of her 80th birthday" by "legendary rock and roll photographer" Bob Greuen, featuring interview text by Jody Denberg, spans a 41-year period, from 1971 until 2015. It combines intimate photos of Yoko with John, with son Sean, in performance, at various events, and posing with icons such as Bette Midler, Liza Minnelli, Patti Smith, and members of the B-52's, and much more for a visual treat.

In her picture-filled memoir Girl in a Band (Dey St. Books), vocalist/bassist/founding member of the legendary and influential post-punk band Sonic Youth Kim Gordon takes readers along on her personal journey from suburban Southern California to the art world/club scene of New York in the 1980s and 90s to the present day and the ending of her marriage to band member Thurston Moore.

That's entertainment: Arriving in time for the 50th anniversary of the Oscar-winning movie musical The Sound of Music, Tom Santopietro's The Sound of Music Story (St. Martin's Press) offers readers a detailed behind-the-scenes look, including eight pages of photos, at how the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein stage musical went on to become one of the most popular and adored movie musicals of all time.

Beautiful Chaos: A Life in the Theater (City Lights Books) by Carey Perloff, artistic director of San Francisco's renowned American Conservatory Theater, and the woman who helped bring Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City musical to the stage, tells her story.

Actor Keegan Allen, of ABC Family's Pretty Little Liars, has been taking pictures since he was nine years old. In life. love. beauty. (St. Martin's Press), Allen, a protege of James Franco's, shares his "photographic journey," including pix from his youth, his career and his travels, along with text and poetry.

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