Book Buzz: Summer Must Reads

Book Buzz asked its regular contributors to share their “must read” book this summer and tell us why it’s at the top of their list. Here’s what we got.

Lucy Jane Bledsoe: Inseparable: Desire Between Women in Literature (2010), by Emma Donoghue, “because I love the breadth and guts of this project and because I know I can always count on Donoghue to be both funny and very smart.”

Ghalib Shiraz Dhalla: Chronicle of a Plague, Revisited: AIDS and Its Aftermath, by Andrew Holleran. “The only book I still haven’t read by this genius writer whose work never fails to both move and inspire me. The poignant beauty of Holleran’s words and sad relevance of the subject even today make it a must-read.”

Kenny Fries: Daisy Miller (1878), by Henry James, “because I will be writing at the Chateau de Lavigny in Switzerland, which is near the Chateau de Chillon that is an important place in the novella.”

Eric Gutierrez: The City of Falling Angels (2005), by John Berendt, and Death in Venice (1912), by Thomas Mann, because “I’m returning to Venice for the first time this summer since I was a student sleeping outside the train station… ”

Trebor Healey: Pumpkin Teeth (2009), by Tom Cardamone, “because his stories are always weird and thought-provoking, and that’s hard to find these days.”
Lambda Award Finalist

Fay Jacobs: The Sweet In-Between (2008), by Sheri Reynolds, “because Sheri has written a sweet and amazing story about a tomboy growing up in the Tidewater VA area and Sheri’s gift for dialogue has to be one of the most stunning gifts a writer has ever been given.”

Karin Kallmaker: Command of Silence (2009), by Paulette Callen. “Off the chart reviews and a Lammy mystery finalist.”
Lambda Award Finalist

James Magruder: Red Audrey and the Roping (2008), by Jill Malone, because “I finished Malone’s wonderful Lammy winner, A Field Guide to Deception, last week and want more.” (James also nudged me to mention “Monica Nolan’s hilarious Bobby Blanchard, Lesbian Gym Teacher. It was in my Lammy gift bag and I read it in one night. She keeps sex, humor, and suspense in perfect balance.”)

Felice Picano: Reason in History (1837), by Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, “because I’m writing more of what could be called history and this is the Mt. Everest of the field.”

Neil Plakcy: Date with a Sheesha (2010), by Anthony Bidulka. “I’m addicted to this series about a Saskatchewan-based private eye who travels the world to solve his cases.”

Steve Soucy: Imperial Bedrooms (2010), by Bret Easton Ellis. “Because I’m still in awe of what Bret did with Less Than Zero (1984). I’m curious to see where he takes these characters 25 years later.”

Kathleen Warnock: The Secret Lives of Somerset Maugham (2010), by Selina Hastings. “Maugham…was a master of short fiction, wrote at least two great novels (Of Human Bondage and The Razor’s Edge), and was one of the most popular playwrights of his time. He was also man who mostly loved men (and also a few women) in a time when homosexuality was still a crime in England…”

Patricia Nell Warren: The Moonlit Earth (2010), by Christopher Rice. “Chris brings some strong new direction to LGBT literature.”

John Morgan Wilson (that would be me): The Pugilist at Rest (1991), Cold Snap (1995), and Sonny Liston Was a Friend of Mine (1999), all by Thom Jones, because a trusted friend, aghast that I did not know Jones’s work, ordered his three collections for me with these words: “You must read these stories, starting with The Pugilist at Rest!”