Books for beach & beyond
by Gregg Shapiro
Although it seemed like it would never get here, summer has arrived, which means time spent outdoors at the beach, in the park, at a sidewalk cafe, with a book to read. The following are a few suggestions for your summer reading list.
Art of fiction Shine by Lauren Myracle (Amulet Books) is a y/a novel for readers of all ages about a brutal gay-bashing in a Southern town and how the victim's friend, young Cat, takes it upon herself to investigate the crime when she believes that local law enforcement isn't doing enough.
Rahul Mehta's debut short story collection Quarantine (HarperPerennial) includes stories previously published in The Kenyon Review, The Sun and New Stories from the South, and features characters from the gay male Indian-American community.
Edited by Lazaro Lima and Felice Picano, Ambientes: New Queer Latino Writing (University of Wisconsin Press), an anthology of short fiction by both gay men and women, includes stories by Achy Obejas, Emanuel Xavier and Rigoberto Gonzalez.
The latest Killian Kendall mystery, The Truth of Yesterday (P.D. Publishing) by Josh Aterovis, finds the gay sleuth heading to Washington, DC, on a surveillance mission, where he finds more than he bargained for. Prolific anthology editor and writer Shane Allison's latest offering is Afternoon Pleasures: Erotica for Gay Couples (Cleis), and features contributions from Jeff Mann, Rachel Kramer Bussel and Rob Rosen.
Part of the proceeds from the sale of graphic novel Lost Raven (Bluewater Comics) by Darren G. Davis, which tells the tale of HIV+ attorney Zak Raven getting shipwrecked and abandoned on a forgotten island, will go to Evergreen AIDS Foundation.
With illustrations by Mike Dutton, in the tradition of her groundbreaking classic children's book Heather Has Two Mommies (Tricycle Press), Leslea Newman's Donovan's Big Day, about the wedding of Donovan's Mommy and Mama, is for readers of all ages.
Poetic voices Carl Phillips, who teaches at Washington University in Saint Louis, returns with his 11th book of poetry, Double Shadow (Farrar, Straus and Giroux).
A collection of words and images that highlights the impact of HIV and AIDS among people of color, War Diaries (AIDS Project Los Angeles/Global Forum on HIV and MSM), edited by Tisa Bryant and Ernest Hardy, contains work by Kevin Simmonds, Jericho Brown, avery r. young, G. Winston James, Reginald Harris, Samiya Bashir and others.
Touch (FS&G), Henri Cole's seventh poetry collection, exposes the relationship between the body and human connection, often through both pleasure and discontent. A Xicana Code of Changing Consciousness: Writings, 2000-2010 by Cherrie L. Moraga (Duke Univ. Press) is a collection of political and familial essays and poems written through different personae of the queer Chicana woman.
In their own words Subtitled How a Gay, Hammer-Swinging Twentysomething Survived a Year in Iraq, Bronson Lemer's The Last Deployment (Univ. of Wisconsin Press) places the author and gay soldier in the midst of the Iraq war, under the now-overturned "don't ask, don't tell" policy.
My Queer War (FS&G), by the late art expert James Lord, relates the story of a young soldier (Lord) coming to terms with his sexuality during WWII. Highly regarded queer sexpert Susie Bright speaks her mind in her memoir Big Sex Little Death (Seal Press).
Now available in paperback, Where's My Wand?: One Boy's Magical Triumph Over Alienation and Shag Carpeting by Eric Poole (Berkeley) use large doses of humor to tell of a young gay man's spiritual journey growing up in the Midwest during the 70s, inspired by Bewitched.
Published shortly before the announcement of the cancellation of long-running soap opera All My Children (on which she's played Erica Kane for 40 years), Susan Lucci's memoir All My Life (It Books/HarperCollins), written with Laura Morton, might have taken a very different turn than it does.
Delicate Courage: An Exquisite Journey of Love, Death, and Eternal Communication (iUniverse) follows Jim Geary's life of service in the AIDS community following life-changing events in late-70s San Francisco.
New nonfiction At nearly 400 pages and oversized, Steven Petrow's Complete Gay & Lesbian Manners: The Definitive Guide to LGBT Life (Workman), written with Sally Chew, is a guide to help answer questions ranging from coming out, dating and moving in together to parenting, bullying and homophobia and workplace issues in the LGBT community.
Embracing a willingness to "fail" through a humorous approach, Judith Halberstam explores pop culture, avant-garde performance and queer art in The Queer Art of Failure (Duke Univ. Press). Treatment counselor Michael Shelton, M.S., C.A.C., is the author of Gay Men and Substance Abuse, A Basic Guide for Addicts and Those Who Care for Them (Hazelden).
Bunch of bios Elizabeth Taylor: A Passion for Life by Joseph Papa (HarperCollins) is told through biographer Papa's words and quotes from the late Taylor. Celluloid Activist: The Life and Times of Vito Russo by Michael Schiavi (Univ. of Wisconsin Press) is the long-awaited biography of the late activist, film critic and author of The Celluloid Closet. For further reading on queer film, Univ. of Minnesota Press has reprinted Tony Peake's 1999 Derek Jarman: A Biography .
Lady of Burlesque: The Career of Gypsy Rose Lee by Robert Strom (McFarland & Co.) is chock-full of photos and fascinating details of the legendary stripper and entertainer's life. Out author Jackson Holtz takes on the tale of "wanted criminal, American outlaw, international celebrity" and troubled teen Colton Harris-Moore in Fly, Colton, Fly: the True Story of the Barefoot Bandit (New American Library).