May brings in several exciting new books. In Fiction we have a new Michael Thomas Ford mystery from Kensington Books, Lucy Jane Bledsoe’s Antartica-inspired novel The Big Bang Symphony is out, as well as Michelle Cliff’s new book Into the Interior. There’s a new E.M. Forster biography out from FSG as well as two hilarious new memoirs — Eric Poole’s Where’s my Wand? and Kim Severson’s Spoon Fed — are getting great publicity. In Nonfiction Emma Donoghue’s book Inseparable explores women on women desire in Literature while Carlos Ball uncovers five game-changing LGBT Rights Lawsuits in From the From the Closet to the Courtroom.
(Review Forthcoming!) In 1942, a timid, inexperienced twenty-one-year-old Lord reports to Atlantic City, New Jersey, to enlist in the U.S. Army. His career in the armed forces takes him to Nevada and California, to Boston, to England, and eventually to France and Germany, where he witnesses firsthand the ravages of total war on Europe’s land and on its people. Along the way he comes to terms with his own sexuality, experiences the thrill of first love and the chill of disillusionment with his fellow man, and in a moment of great rashness makes the acquaintance of the world’s most renowned artist, who will show him the way to a new life.
(Review Forthcoming!) With the posthumous publication of his long-suppressed novel Maurice in 1970, E. M. Forster came out as a homosexual—though that revelation made barely a ripple in his literary reputation. As Wendy Moffat persuasively argues in A Great Unrecorded History, Forster’s homosexuality was the central fact of his life. Between Wilde’s imprisonment and the Stonewall riots, Forster led a long, strange, and imaginative life as a gay man. He preserved a vast archive of his private life—a history of gay experience he believed would find its audience in a happier time.
3. She Ain’t Heavy, She’s My Mother
By Brian Batt Harmony
(Review Forthcoming!) In She Ain’t Heavy, She’s My Mother, Bryan Batt, the actor who plays Sal Romano on the Emmy, Golden Globe, and Peabody Award–winning Mad Men, chronicles his life—and his mother’s supportive presence in it. From growing up gay below the Mason-Dixon Line to landing principal roles on Broadway, Bryan weaves a touching and hilarious story of the South, showbiz, and an unshakable bond between mother and son.
(Review Forthcoming!) From the prominent New York Times food writer, a memoir recounting the tough life lessons she learned from a generation of female cooks-including Marion Cunningham, Alice Waters, Ruth Reichl, Rachael Ray, and Marcella Hazan. Told in Severson’s frank, often funny, always perceptive style, Spoon Fed weaves together the stories of eight important cooks with the lessons they taught her-lessons that seemed to come right when she needed them most.
(Review Forthcoming!) Author Eric Poole joins the ranks of Augusten Burroughs, David Sedaris, and David Rakoff with his chronicle of a childhood gone hilariously and heartbreakingly awry in the Midwest of the 1970s. From the age of eight through early adolescence, Poole sought refuge from his obsessive-compulsive mother, sadistic teachers, and sneering schoolyard thugs in the Scotchgarded basement of his family’s suburban St. Louis tract house.
6. The Meaning of Matthew:
My Son’s Murder in Laramie, and a World Transformed (Paperback)
By Judy Shepard Plume/Penguin
Today, Matthew Shepard is synonymous with gay rights, but until 1998, he was just Judy Shepard’s son. In The Meaning of Matthew, Judy Shepard confides how she handled her crippling loss in the public eye, the vigils and protests held by strangers in her son’s name, and ultimately how she and her husband gained the courage to help prosecutors convict her son’s murderers. An unforgettable and inspiring story, chronicling one ordinary woman’s struggle to cope with the unthinkable.
(Review Forthcoming!) In this moving and funny memoir, award-winning playwright Guillermo Reyes untangles his life as the secretly illegitimate son of a Chilean immigrant to the United States and as a young man struggling with sexual repression, body image, and gay identity. But this is a double-decker memoir that also tells the poignant, bittersweet, and adventurous story of Guillermo’s mother, María, who supports herself and her son cleaning houses and then working as a nanny in Washington, D.C., and eventually in Hollywood.
8. She Looks Just Like You:
A Memoir of (Nonbiological Lesbian) Motherhood
By Amie Klempnauer Miller Beacon
(Review Forthcoming!) As a midwestern, station wagon-driving, stay-at-home mom—and as a nonbiological lesbian mother—Miller both defines and defies the norm. Like new parents everywhere, she wrestled with the anxieties and challenges of first-time parenthood-including neurotic convictions that her child was chronically ill and the muddled confusion of sleeplessness. But unlike most mothers, she experienced pregnancy and birth only vicariously. Unlike biological parents, she had to stand before a judge to adopt her own daughter. And unlike most straight parents, she wondered how to respond when strangers gushed, “I bet Daddy’s proud.”
(Review Forthcoming!) He shared the screen with the era’s top leading ladies, such as Greta Garbo, Myrna Loy, Joan Crawford, and Norma Shearer, and became Rudolph Valentino’s main rival in the “Latin Lover” category. Yet, despite his considerable professional accomplishments, Novarro’s enduring hold on fame stems from his tragic death–his bloodied corpse was found in his house on Halloween 1968 in what has become one of Hollywood’s most infamous scandals.
10. The Slap: A Novel
By Christos Tsiolkas Penguin
Winner of the 2009 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, Christos Tsiolkas’s The Slap is a riveting page-turner and a powerful, haunting rumination on contemporary middle-class family life. When a man slaps a child who is not his own at a neighborhood barbecue, the act triggers a series of repercussions in the lives of the people who witness the event-causing them to reassess their values, expectations, and desires. A compelling account of modern society and the way we live today.
(Review Forthcoming!) Roberta “Bobby” Blanchard is crushed when an accident forces her to leave professional field hockey. As Games Mistress at Metamora Academy, she’s dismayed to learn that sports take a backseat to literary and artistic pursuits. But Bobby’s arrival at the elite boarding school will unearth more than one girl’s hidden abilities, and spur some ardent rivalry between pupils—and teachers—on and off the field. Along the way, she may just learn some thrilling lessons about love…
(Review Forthcoming!) In her previous novels, Michelle Cliff explored potent themes of colonialism, race, myth, and identity with rare intelligence, lyrical intensity, and a profound sense of both history and place. Now, with Into the Interior, she has written her most intimate, courageous work of fiction yet, a searing and ultimately moving reflection on the legacy of empire and the restless search for a feeling of belonging.
(Review Forthcoming!) Bestselling author Michael Thomas Ford demonstrates once again why he is the master of portraying the contemporary gay experience, in this moving, beautifully told story of love, family, and finding one’s place in the world. Compelling, frankly funny, and often wise, The Road Home is the story of one man’s coming to terms with who he is, what he wants out of life, and where he belongs—and the complex, surprising path that finally takes him there.
(Review Forthcoming!) In a dusty post-war summer in rural Warwickshire, a doctor is called to a patient at Hundreds Hall. Home to the Ayres family for over two centuries, the Georgian house, once grand and handsome, is now in decline, its masonry crumbling, its gardens choked with weeds, the clock in its stable yard permanently fixed at twenty to nine. But are the Ayreses haunted by something more sinister than a dying way of life? Little does Dr Faraday know how closely, and how terrifyingly, their story is about to become entwined with his. A chilling ghost story.
15. The Big Bang Symphony:
A Novel of Antarctica
By Lucy Jane Bledsoe Terrace Books
Antarctica is a vortex that draws you back, season after season. The place is so raw and pure, all seal hide and crystalline iceberg. The fishbowl communities at McMurdo Station, South Pole Station, and in the remote field camps intensify relationships, jack all emotion up to a 10. The trick is to get what you need and then get out fast.
Michael Salvatore follows one man’s search for the perfect boyfriend in an imperfect world. Single, slightly neurotic Steven loves his sharp-tongued, loyal friends, his chaotic job as producer for the daytime soap If Tomorrow Never Comes, and his crazy Sicilian mother, not necessarily in that order. Four years after his boyfriend kicked him to the curb, Steven is still trying to find a replacement. There’s been no shortage of casual couplings and one night (or less) stands, but while other body parts are catered to, his heart wants something more.
Douglas Fortescue is a successful poet in England who flees the country for America following a scandal insinuating sexual impropriety; Joshua is a feral young outlaw who, against the wishes of his father, teaches himself how to read, a skill that then unleashes a world of possibility. The two men meet when Joshua robs Douglas’s carriage and takes him hostage; soon, a remarkable secret is revealed, and these two very different men grow closer, even as Douglas’s brother tries to “save” him from his uncivilized surroundings.
By William Haywood Henderson, Intro by Benjamin Alire Sáenz Bison Books
Review Forthcoming. Four years before Annie Proulx’s story “Brokeback Mountain” appeared in the New Yorker, William Haywood Henderson published Native, the tale of three gay men ensnared in the politics and prejudices of an isolated ranching town in Wyoming’s Wind River Valley. Blue, a 23-year-old ranch foreman finds himself drawn to his ranch hand, Sam. For the first time, Blue feels the possibility of a romantic connection. But the arrival of Gilbert, who fancies himself a modern-day berdache (or Two-Spirit), pushes Blue and Sam in unexpected, dangerous directions.
19. A Sticky End:
A Mitch Mitchell Mystery
By James Lear Cleis Press
(Review Forthcoming!) Best friends and sometimes lovers Edward “Mitch” Mitchell and Harry “Boy” Morgan have been in terrible jams before—their adventures of murder, mystery, and unstoppable sex have made The Back Passage and The Secret Tunnel international bestellers. Now Mitch must face the possibility that his chum is involved in the chain of events that led to the suicide of Boy’s own colleague and secret paramour, Frank. To absolve Boy, Mitch races around London finding clues while bedding the many men eager to lend a hand—or more. A tasty mystery and satisfying erotic romp.
(Review Forthcoming!) Detective Lane returns for a fourth time in Smoked, Garry Ryan’s darkest mystery to date. When Jennifer Towers is found dead in a graffiti-tagged dumpster, Detectives Lane and Harper must decipher the art to find its artist—and possibly the victim’s killer. What begins as an unconventional murder investigation leads to the disturbing discovery of two abused children, whose father becomes a prime suspect in the case. In true Detective Lane form, Lane must protect the damaged youths while keeping his own family in tact.
(Review Forthcoming!) When an old family friend apparently commits suicide from his French Quarter balcony, Scotty’s life accelerates from boring to exciting again in a nanosecond. Why would anyone want the old man dead, and what were they looking for in his ransacked apartment? It’s up to Scotty, Frank, his crazy family, and friends to get to the bottom of this bizarre mystery—and when an old, all-too-familiar face turns up, it’s not just Scotty’s life that’s in danger, but his heart.
(Review Forthcoming!) The iconic Polly Pepper, musical comedy superstar of yesteryear, is experiencing a bit of a professional dry spell— she can barely keep her bank account afloat, let alone her career. So when the nefarious Laura Crawford, scene-stealing former cast mate and perpetual diva, proposes a Polly Pepper Playhouse reunion cruise, Polly is on board, full-steam ahead. But she soon realizes that Hollywood on the high-seas will be nothing short of a shipwreck…
23. From the From the Closet to the Courtroom:
Five LGBT Rights Lawsuits That Have Changed our Nation
By Carlos Ball Beacon
(Review Forthcoming!) Engaging and largely untold, From the Closet to the Courtroom explores how five pivotal lawsuits have altered LGBT history. Beginning each case narrative at the center-with the litigants and their lawyers-law professor Carlos Ball follows the stories behind each crucial lawsuit. He traces the parties from their communities to the courtroom, while deftly weaving in rich socio-historical context and analyzing the lasting legal and political impact of each judicial outcome.
24. Keep Your Wives Away from them:
Orthodox Women, Unorthodox Desires
By Miryam Kabakov North Atlantic Books
(Review Forthcoming!) The story of those who have come out, who are still closeted, living double lives, or struggling to maintain an integrated “single life” in relationship to traditional Judaism—personal stories that are both enlightening and edifying. While a number of films and books have explored the lives of queer people in Orthodox and observant Judaism, only this one explores in depth what happens after the struggle, when the real work of building integrated lives begins. Contributors include musician and writer Temim Fruchter, Professor Joy Ladin, writer Leah Lax, nurse Tamar Prager, and the pseudonymous Ex-Yeshiva Girl.
Desire Between Women in Literature
By Emma Donoghue Knopf
Emma Donoghue brings to bear all her knowledge and grasp to examine how desire between women in English literature has been portrayed, from schoolgirls and vampires to runaway wives, from cross-dressing knights to contemporary murder stories. Donoghue looks at the work of those writers who have addressed the “unspeakable subject,” examining whether such desire between women is freakish or omnipresent, holy or evil, heartwarming or ridiculous as she excavates a long-obscured tradition of (inseparable) friendship between women, one that is surprisingly central to our cultural history.
26. Queer Questions Straight Talk:
108 Frank, Provocative Questions It’s OK to Ask Your Lesbian, Gay or Bi Loved One
By Abby Dees St. Lynn’s Press
For lesbian, gay and bi people and their straight loved ones, QQST will help them talk honestly and lovingly, to share their concerns, questions and curiosity about “the life”… what’s true, what’s just plain laughable, what hurts and what brings joy. Addressing everything from Coming Out to Stereotypes to Religion and, yes, Sex, QQST is not about getting everyone to agree, but simply to understand each other a little more. QQST is serious, fun, cheeky, deep and wise – and every once in a while a wee bit naughty. This small and tasty gift book will be released right in time for the June Pride celebrations.
27. Portrait of Colon Dash Parenthesis
By Jeffrey Jullich Litmus Press
“These are poems as performance. There are rather more actions than actors, their relative importance often pointed up with italics and exclamation marks. We develop a thirst for what is going on, without quite knowing what it is. Yet the poems are very precise about preciseness. They will wake you up.” — John Ashbery
William Reichard’s fourth collection takes its title from a funeral rite practiced in England and Scotland and surviving into the twentieth century in Wales. The ritual was usually performed by a beggar, who would pray over the deceased while consuming a meal prepared by the family. These acts absolved the dead. All sin departed the body and transferred to the “sin eater,” whose own soul was, thereafter, irrevocably damned.
29. Very Good-Looking Seeks Same:
Gay Profiles in Search of Love
By Robert Philipson Xlibris
This is Robert Philipson’s first book of transgressive, internet inspired poems. In this volume, author Robert Philipson presents an entertaining, honest and laugh out loud (LOL) collection of original poetry depicting gay men in search of love – each poem replete with the brazenness of desire.
Romance – Lesbian. Jill O’Hara, award-winning journalist and inveterate egotist, is summoned to her hometown Prairie View, Montana, to bury her father. She assumes a few days of signing papers and delegating responsibilities will complete her obligations, but her duties soon become less mundane and more menacing. To complicate matters, Jill’s first love, Annie Doyle, lives in Prairie View and despite Annie’s blistering past betrayal, Jill still desires her. Fortunately, Sheriff Rae Terabian, a woman with a uniform, power, and shady associates, deliciously distracts Jill.
Romance – Lesbian. In a land torn by war for generations, Princess Jessa is sent as a peace offering to the country of Arravan, understanding all too well that she is being sacrificed upon the altar of her father’s ambitions—and condemned to an uncertain and possibly short-lived future, if the machinations of her own family are any indication. But what she finds at Blackstone Keep is not what she expects, and for a daughter of royal blood who has known little of freedom and even less of love, the members of the Durand family are proving to be a very pleasant riddle to be solved—the youngest daughter, Darrius Durand, is the most surprising of all.