- Views & Opinions
Whether you’re headed to the beach, the pool or the Pride Parade, it doesn’t hurt to have a book with you to pass the time. The 22 titles below range from poetry and fiction to memoirs and non-fiction. In other words, there is almost something for everyone.
Now in its second printing, a remarkable achievement for a book of poetry, Night Sky With Exit Wounds, the full-length debut collection by lauded gay poet Ocean Vuong, not only deserves of all the praise it has already received (including a Whiting Award), but much of the acclaim that is sure to follow in its wake.
Award-winning lesbian writer and educator Julie Marie Wade seamlessly merges the poetry and memoir realms of her work in Catechism: A Love Story, resulting in a dazzling collection of poetic essays about loving others and learning to love oneself.
Poetry by Jeff Mann, Trebor Healey, Alan Martinez, Mark Ward, Daniel Allen Cox, Jonathan Lay, Miles Griffis, Stephen Mead, and a collaboration by Elizabeth J. Colen and Carol Guess, are among the selections found in the anthology Not Just Another Pretty Face, edited by Louis Flint Ceci.
Taking place in the 24 hours in and around the time that Rasa, “a gay man living in an unnamed Arab country,” is outed by his grandmother — putting the lives of him, his boyfriend Taymour and others in jeopardy — Saleem Haddad’s debut novel Guapa, is a welcome introduction to a new literary voice.
The late Jackie Collins often included gay characters in her beach-read novels, including Dante, the gay brother of Lucky Santangelo. The “ever-powerful” Lucky is the main focus of Collins’ final novel The Santangelos.
19th century literary icon George Eliot (born Marian Evans) wrote her famous novels including Middlemarch under a male pseudonym in order for her work to be taken seriously. Eliot is the subject of The Honeymoon by Dinitia Smith, about the author’s brief, late-in-life marriage to the considerably younger John Walter Cross.
Arriving in time for the 2016 political season, The Pink Bus, by journalist and critic Christopher Kelly, takes us on a journey through Texas Senate candidate Patrick Francis Monaghan’s life, following an assassination attempt during a campaign stop.
The Great American Whatever, the third YA novel by gay writer Tim Federle, described as a “winning testament to the power of old movies and new memories,” introduces us to 16-year-old Quinn who, in the midst of mourning the death of his sister just might be falling in love.
David Levithan is no stranger to collaboration, writing several novels including Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist with Rachel Cohn and Will Grayson, Will Grayson with YA legend John Green. He teams up with Nina LaCour for the novel You Know Me Well, a “friends at first sight” story told in alternating chapters about Mark and Kate.
Born of YA author Kody Keplinger’s “love of female friendship,” fifth novel Run, features bi Bo and sheltered Agnes, who run away from home and experience a series of life-changing experiences that only deepens their unlikely friendship.
Written and illustrated by Emmy Award-winning puppet designer and builder Laurent Linn, the fittingly titled Draw The Line tells the story of Adrian Piper, the superhero character named Graphite that he draws, and how one can discover their own superpowers in a time of need.
Set about 100 years into the future, The Chronicles of Spartak: Rising Son by “soldier, teacher, journalist, state legislator, literary commissioner” Steven A. Coulter, is the first in a series told “through the eyes” of 16-year-old athlete Spartak Jones.
Baptist pastor’s son Garrard Conley’s Boy Erased: A Memoir is about his family’s inability to come to terms with his being gay, leading to the writer spending time at the soul-crushing ex-gay Christian ministry formerly known as Love In Action, and how he survived the experience.
As any survivor of sexual abuse can attest, the violation knows no sexual identity. So while The Telling: A Memoir is written by a straight woman, Zoe Zolbrod, it’s the kind of book that has the potential to ignite conversations among every type of reader.
Electronic music legend and activist Moby (aka Richard Melville Hall), a longtime friend of the LGBT community who counted gay DJs including the late Frankie Knuckles and Danny Tenaglia among his closest associates, tells his story in Porcelain: A Memoir.
Co-written by actress Charlotte Stewart with Andy Demsky, Little House in the Hollywood Hills, subtitled “A Bad Girl’s Guide to Becoming Miss Beadle, Mary X, and Me,” details Stewart’s 50 year career in movies and on television, including roles in Little House on the Prairie, Eraserhead and Twin Peaks, and her friendships with Joni Mitchell and others.
Long out of print, Blue Days, Black Nights, Oscar-nominated screenwriter Ron Nyswaner’s brutal memoir of his decline into drugs and sexual obsession has been reissued with an introduction by director Jonathan Demme and an epilogue by Nyswaner.
With the lengthy subtitle, “Writers Reflect on Love, Longing and the Lasting Power of Their First Celebrity Crush,” co-editors Cathy Alter and David Singleton’s Crush features contributions by queer writers such as Richard McCann (crushing on Bette Davis), Shane Harris (on Mark Hamill) and Roxane Gay (on Laura Ingalls Wilder’s husband Almanzo) and straight writers including Jodi Picoult (on Donny Osmond), Steven King (on Kim Novak) and James Franco (on River Phoenix).
If having four lesbian moms isn’t inspiration enough for a memoir such as Queerspawn in Love, then Kellen Anne Kaiser’s own personal journey, including a stint in the Israeli army and the challenges of maintaining a heterosexual romance certainly qualify as fodder.
A memoir about “raising a gender creative child from toddler to adult,” My Son Wears Heels by Julie Tarney begins with the chapter “How Do You Know I’m A Boy?,” a question she was asked by her then two-year-old son Harry in the early 1990s, and follows the author on her quest for answers.
Kevin Mumford, a professor of history at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana is the author of Not Straight, Not White, a history of the role played by black gay men in the gay rights movement that stretches from before the March on Washington, in the ’50s, to the AIDS crisis in the ’80s.
In Fair Play, Cyd Zeigler, “one of the foremost experts on LGBT issues in sports,” writes about “how sports have transformed for LGBT athletes,” including Michael Sam, Britney Griner, Jason Collins, John Amaechi, Billy Bean and Fallon Fox.