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Early bird gets the LGBTQ bookworm

by Gregg Shapiro

Early bird gets the LGBTQ bookworm

Visit your favorite independent bookseller or the love-it-or-hate-it Amazon.com to reserve and order copies of these forthcoming LGBTQ books for readers of all rainbow stripes.

Owen Keehnen's "Dugan's Bistro and The Legend of the Bearded Lady" (Out Tales) came out at the end of 2018, but it still deserves to be read in 2019. Keehnen creates nostalgia for those who remember original club-kid The Bearded Lady and Chicago's celebrated gay disco the Bistro, as well as nightspots Coconuts and Paradise, stirring up envy in those who were never able to take part in the experience.

Back with a vengeance, the new Fab Five (Antoni Porowski, Tan France, Jonathan Van Ness, Bobby Berk and Karamo Brown) of Netflix's "Queer Eye" transfer their expertise from the screen to the page in the coffeetable book "Queer Eye: Love Yourself, Love Your Life" (Clarkson Potter).

Edited by The Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide's founder and editor-in-chief Richard Schneider Jr., the lengthy-titled "In Search of Stonewall: The Riots at 50, The Gay & Lesbian Review at 25 — Best Essays, 1994-2018" (G&LR Books) features new essays by Martin Duberman, Lillian Faderman and Andrew Holleran, as well as selected essays by Edmund White, Harry Hay, Michael Denneny, Larry Kramer, Karla Jay, Felice Picano, D. Gilson, John D'Emilio, Bob Smith, Jewelle Gomez, Michael Bronski, Amy Hoffman, Frank Browning, John Rechy, Del Martin & Phyllis Lyon, Dennis Altman and others.

Commemorating the 1969 BBC debut of the beloved and occasionally cross-dressing comedy troupe, the updated edition of "Monty Python Speaks" (Dey Street) by David Morgan, with a foreword by John Oliver and lots of photos, is the complete oral history of the group, which featured one openly gay member, the late Graham Chapman.

You think Brooklyn is queer now? "When Brooklyn Was Queer" (St. Martin's Press) by Hugh Ryan traces the borough's vibrant, forgotten queer history beginning in the mid-1850s and continuing to the present day, essentially replacing the "systematic erasure" of its longtime LGBTQ community and restoring its rightful place in the saga of Brooklyn.

"Pagan Light: Dreams of Freedom and Beauty in Capri" (FSG) by Jamie James includes queer people such as Truman Capote and Oscar Wilde among those who have found in the tiny, "isolated and arrestingly beautiful" island of Capri "a wildly permissive haven" for people with "nowhere else to go."

The upcoming 30th anniversary of the passing of queer Nigerian photography Rotimi Fani-Kayode is a fitting time for "Bloodflowers: Rotimi Fani-Kayode, Photography, and the 1980s" (Duke) by W. Ian Bourland. The author examines the life and work of Fani-Kayode, who died at 34 in 1989.

The debut book by award-winning designer and artist Chris Rush, "The Light Years" (FSG) is a memoir following the writer on his "journey of discovery and reconciliation" taking him from New Jersey to the West, seeking knowledge, the divine and home, during the 1960s and 70s.

"Everything In its Place: First Loves and Last Tales" (Knopf) is the final volume of essays, 34 in all, by the late gay writer Oliver Sacks, "imbued with his trademark curiosity, erudition, and sense of wonder."

"No Walls and the Recurring Dream: A Memoir" (Viking) is "little folksinger," entrepreneur, activist, feminist, queer icon and New Orleans resident Ani DiFranco's prose debut. Telling her story as only she can, DiFranco takes us from her early years into her songwriting-performing-recording career as the head of Righteous Babe Records, up to the age of 30. DiFranco turns 50 in 2020.

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