As the U.S. Latino population grows rapidly, and as the LGBTQ Latino community becomes more visible and a more crucial part of our literary and artistic heritage, there is an increasing demand for literature that successfully highlights these diverse lives. Edited by Lázaro Lima and Felice Picano, Ambientes is a revolutionary collection of fiction featuring stories by established authors as well as emerging voices that present a collective portrait of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender experience in America today. With a preface by Picano and an introduction by Lima that sets the stage for understanding Latino literary and cultural history, this is the first anthology to cross cultural and regional borders by offering a wide variety of urban, rural, East Coast, West Coast, and midwestern perspectives on Latina and Latino queers from different walks of life. Stories range from sensual pieces to comical romances and from inner-city dramas fueled by street language to portraits of gay domesticity, making this a much-needed collection for many different kinds of readers. The stories in this collection reflect a vibrant and creative community and redefine received notions of “gay” and “lesbian.”
Finalist, Over the Rainbow selection, American Library Association
Finalist, LGBT Anthology, Lambda Literary Awards
Best Special Interest Books, selected by the American Association of School Librarians
Best Special Interest Books, selected by the Public Library Reviewers
Successful professor Nick Hoffman finds his secure, happy, college-town life changed forever after a nightmarish encounter with police. But even when that horrible night is over, life doesn't return to normal. Someone is clearly out to destroy him. Nick and his partner Stefan Borowski face an escalating series of threats that lead to a brutal and stunning confrontation.
A novel of suspense set in the academic world, Assault with a Deadly Lie probes the disturbing psychological impact of slander, harassment, stalking, police brutality, and the loss of personal safety. What will Nick do when his world threatens to collapse? How can he reestablish order in a suddenly chaotic life? Assault with a Deadly Lie, the eighth installment of Lev Raphael's Nick Hoffman Mysteries, propels the series to a new level of danger and intrigue as Nick and Stefan are catapulted out of their tranquil existence by shocking accusations.
Finalist, Midwest Book Award for Mystery/Thriller Fiction, Midwest Independent Publishers Association
“A riveting great read for mystery/suspense fans, author Lev Raphael once again documents his impressive gifts as a storyteller, holding the reader’s rapt attention from beginning to end with unexpected plot twists and surprise twists.”—Jack Mason, Midwest Book Review
“Raphael portrays with frightening power the wrenching experience of victimization by the corporatized, PR-prioritized groves of academia, where both men teach, and by local authorities militarized into SWAT teams practicing police brutality. . . . The compelling core of this unusual novel is Raphael’s depiction of the agonizing reality of victims’ shame, in which someone ‘feels doubly exposed talking about the violation’ and so says nothing.”—Booklist
“Professor Nick Hoffman learns that even tenure can’t guarantee real security.”—Kirkus Reviews
Beijing: A Novel
Philip Gambone University of Wisconsin Press, 2003 Library of Congress PS3557.A455B45 2003 | Dewey Decimal 813.54
Escaping his ghosts, AIDS widower David Masiello accepts a one-year position at a Western medical clinic in Beijing. Lonely but excited, he sets out to explore the city—both its bustling street life and its clandestine gay subculture.
David chronicles his adventures in China as he wrestles with cultural dislocation, loneliness, and sexual and spiritual longing. After a series of both comic and poignant encounters with gay Chinese men, he meets Bosheng, a handsome young artist. Though the attraction is strong, a difficult courtship ensues, during which Bosheng returns to his ancestral village to marry the girl his parents have chosen for him. Eventually, and quite unexpectedly, David and Bosheng reconnect and share an idyllic spring together. As the year ends, David must decide whether to say goodbye or face the uncertainties of a long-distance relationship.
Gambone’s novel is peopled with a host of wonderfully memorable characters: Owen, David’s forthright best friend back home; Auntie Chen, the clinic’s office mom, who wants to fix David up with a girlfriend; Stewart, David’s Beijing roommate, a graduate student doing research on Peking opera; Jiantao and Guoyang, two lovers who lecture David on the fleeting quality of American romance; and Tyson, the Australian doctor with a Chinese girlfriend, who hopes to teach David that love doesn’t need any explanations or justifications.
Big Familia follows Juan Gutiérrez, a self-employed single father, as he navigates a tumultuous year of inescapable change. His daughter, Stella, is on the verge of moving away to college; his lover, Jared, is pressing him for commitment; and his favorite watering hole—a ramshackle dive presided over by Bob the Bartender—is transforming into a karaoke hotspot. The story is set in a neighborhood that is also changing, gentrification inciting the ire of the established community.
Upon the unexpected death of one of the bar’s regulars, Juan is sent reeling, and a series of upheavals follow as he both seeks and spurns intimacy, pondering the legacy of distant parents and a failed marriage and grappling with his sexuality—all the while cycling and dating, drinking at Nicks Lounge, and parenting a determined and defiant child-become-woman.
When his incarcerated father dies and Stella reveals she’s pregnant, Juan is forced to examine the emotional bonds that both hold and hinder him, to reassess his ideas of commitment, of friendship, of love. His encounters with various characters—his mother, his ex-wife, a middle-aged punker, an aspiring acupuncturist, a dapper veteran—lead Juan to the realization that he himself must change to thrive.
This is a story of making family and making mistakes, of rending and of mending. As a Latinx queer father with a mixed-race daughter, Juan exemplifies the ways identity connects and divides us. With wit, insight, and tenderness, Big Familia explores the complexities of desire, devotion, and the mysteries of the heart.
Rice's parasitical language is akin to the acts of those naked 18th century pirates of desire. In Blood of Mugwump Rice cannibalizes the likes of Joyce, Faulkner, Burroughs, Eliot, and a whole host of dead angelic others. Now trapped inside a kinetic body that is always changing from male to female, Doug Rice (the youngest Mugwump) sets out to discover himself in his sister's body. All the while the familial matriarch, Grandma Mugwump, feeds on the flesh of young Doug. Once through the looking glass, Doug realizes that Caddie (his polysexual Faulknerian nightmare of a sister) is more terrifying and holy than the average saint. A frenzied sexual virus, genetically conveyed, mutates and possesses the meat of Doug's and Caddie's bodies forcing them to love each other in unspeakable, yet classical, ways.
Hailed for his humor and passion, the internationally acclaimed performance artist Tim Miller has delighted, shocked, and emboldened audiences all over the world. Body Blows gathers six of Miller’s best-known performances that chart the sexual, spiritual, and political topography of his identity as a gay man: Some Golden States, Stretch Marks, My Queer Body, Naked Breath, Fruit Cocktail, and Glory Box. In Body Blows, Tim Miller leaps from the stage to the page, as each performance script is illustrated with striking photographs and accompanied by Miller’s notes and comment.
This book explores the tangible body blows—taken and given—of Miller’s life and times as explored in his performances: the queer-basher’s blow, the sweet blowing breath of a lover, the below-the-belt blow of HIV/AIDS, the psychic blows from a society that disrespects the humanity of lesbian and gay relationships. Miller’s performances are full of the put-up-your-dukes and stand-your-ground of such day-to-day blows that make up being gay in America
This volume makes available for the first time in English the work of a significant Indian nationalist author, Pandey Bechan Sharma, better known in India as “Ugra,” meaning “extreme.” His book Chocolate, a 1927 collection of eight stories, was the first work of Hindi fiction to focus on male same-sex relations, and its publication sparked India’s first public debates about homosexuality. Many prominent figures, including Gandhi, weighed in on the debates, which lasted into the 1950s. This edition, translated and with an introduction by Ruth Vanita, includes the full text of Chocolate along with an excerpt from Ugra’s novel Letters of Some Beautiful Ones (also published in 1927). In her introduction, Vanita situates Ugra and his writings in relation to Indian nationalist struggles and Hindi literary movements and feuds, and she analyzes the controversies that surrounded Chocolate. Those outraged by its titillating portrayal of homosexuality labeled the collection obscene. On the other side, although no one explicitly defended homosexuality in public, some justified Ugra’s work by arguing that it was the artist’s job to educate through provocation.
The stories depict male homoeroticism in quotidian situations: a man brings a lover to his disapproving friend’s house; a good-looking young man becomes the object of desire at his school. The love never ends well, but the depictions are not always unsympathetic. Although Ugra claimed that the stories were aimed at suppressing homosexuality by exposing it, Vanita highlights the ambivalence of his characterizations. Cosmopolitan, educated, and hedonistic, the Hindu and Muslim men he portrayed quote Hindi and Urdu poetry to express their love, and they justify same-sex desire by drawing on literature, philosophy, and world history. Vanita’s introduction includes anecdotal evidence that Chocolate was enthusiastically received by India’s homosexual communities.
A new history of the queer novel shows its role in constructing gay and lesbian lives
The gay and lesbian novel has long been a distinct literary genre with its own awards, shelving categories, bookstore spaces, and book reviews. But very little has been said about the remarkable history of its emergence in American literature, particularly the ways in which the novel about homosexuality did not just reflect but actively produced queer life.
Drawing on Mikhail Bakhtin’s insight that the history of society is connected to the history of language, author Natasha Hurley charts the messy, complex movement by which the queer novel produced the very frames that made it legible as a distinct literature and central to the imagination of queer worlds. Her vision of the queer novel's development revolves around the bold argument that literary circulation is the key ingredient that has made the gay and lesbian novel and its queer forebears available to its audiences.
Challenging the narrative that the gay and lesbian novel came into view in response to the emergence of homosexuality as a concept, Hurley posits a much longer history of this novelistic genre. In so doing, she revises our understanding of the history of sexuality, as well as of the processes of producing new concepts and the evolution of new categories of language.
Whether one thinks homosexuals are born or made, they generally are not born into gay families, nor are they socialized to be gay by their peers or schools. How then do people become aware of homosexuality and, in some cases, integrate into gay communities? The making of homosexual identity is the result of a communicative process that entails searching, listening, looking, reading, and finding. Contacts Desired proposes that this communicative process has a history, and it sets out to tell that story.
Martin Meeker here argues that over the course of the twentieth century, a series of important innovations occurred in the networks that linked individuals to a larger social knowledge of homosexuality. He points to three key innovations in particular: the emergence of the homophile movement in the 1950s; the mass media treatments of homosexuals in the late 1950s and early 1960s; and the popularization of do-it-yourself publishing from the late 1940s to the 1970s, which offered bar guides, handmade magazines, and other materials that gay men and lesbians could use to seek one another out. In the process, Meeker unearths a treasure trove of archival materials that reveals how homosexuals played a crucial role in transforming the very structure of communications and urban communities since the postwar era.
"Contacts Desired is a valuable and enduring work of scholarship, surely the best book in gay and lesbian history this year."--Gay and Lesbian Review
We live in a society obsessed with tracing the cause of homosexuality. Is there a gene that can be identified? Or do the origins lie outside of biology in the cultural context of childhood or adolescence? Most importantly, should we care about any of these questions?
Drawing on their own work with gays, lesbians, and bisexuals as well as other pertinent studies, psychoanalysts Bertram J. Cohler and Robert Galatzer-Levy have written a groundbreaking work that examines how psychological development and clinical intervention as well as social and historical change across generations contribute to how we think about sexuality. The authors argue that there is little support for assuming that homosexuality has a biological basis. Recognizing the many pathways that lead to same-gender sexual orientation, the authors conclude that the cause is much less important than understanding the meaning of being homosexual. They consider the destructive nature of an intolerant society that fosters so-called conversion psychotherapy and stress the importance of helping to rebuild a sense of coherence and personal integrity among homosexuals.
The Deaf-Mute Boy
Joseph Geraci University of Wisconsin Press, 2006 Library of Congress PS3607.E725D43 2006 | Dewey Decimal 813.6
The Deaf-Mute Boy—equal parts travel story, love story, and a resonant confrontation with the Muslim world—is the tale of a gay American professor immersed in a North African society. Maurice Burke, an archaeologist, is invited to speak at a conference in the bustling port town of Sousse, Tunisia. At first disillusioned by its rampant tourism and squalid commercialism, Maurice becomes intrigued by his surroundings after meeting a local deaf-mute boy. While exploring a vibrant souk, Maurice encounters a religious leader who guides him on a fateful introduction to the boy’s family. As Maurice’s involvement with the deaf-mute boy intensifies, he finds himself drawn into a maze of Tunisian politics, culture, and religion.
The Disintegrations: A Novel
Alistair McCartney University of Wisconsin Press, 2019 Library of Congress PS3613.C3565D57 2017 | Dewey Decimal 813.6
Detached from life in Los Angeles and his past in Australia, uncomfortable around other humans, the narrator of this inventive autobiographical novel researches death on the Internet; mulls over distant and intimate stories of suicides, serial killers, and “natural deaths”; and wanders about LA’s Holy Cross Cemetery. Wry yet somber, astringent yet tender, The Disintegrations confronts both the impossibility of understanding death and the timeless longing for immortality.
What does it take to succeed as a queer teenage Eastern European sex worker in the 1990s? Eleven inches and a ruthless attitude.
Western Europe, shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall: Two queer teens from Eastern Europe journey to Vienna, then Zurich, in search of a better life as sex workers. They couldn’t be more different from each other. Milan, aka Dianka, a dreamy, passive naïf from Slovakia, drifts haplessly from one abusive sugar daddy to the next, whereas Michał, a sanguine pleasure-seeker from Poland, quickly masters the selfishness and ruthlessness that allow him to succeed in the wild, capitalist West—all the while taking advantage of the physical endowment for which he is dubbed “Eleven-Inch.” By turns impoverished and flush with their earnings, the two traverse a precarious new world of hustler bars, public toilets, and nights spent sleeping in train stations and parks or in the opulent homes of their wealthy clients. With campy wit and sensuous humor, Michał Witkowski explores in Eleven-Inch the transition from Soviet-style communism to neoliberal capitalism in Europe through the experiences of the most marginalized: destitute queers.
Fred in Love
Felice Picano University of Wisconsin Press, 2005 Library of Congress PS3566.I25Z465 2005 | Dewey Decimal 813.54
In the early 1970s, when he was still an aspiring, unpublished writer, Felice Picano began a remarkable relationship with an extraordinary animal: a days-old kitten slated for euthanasia who refused to perish. Rescued, named, and trained, Fred became an extraordinarily intelligent companion, ally, teacher, and constant wonder to the author as he began his ascent through the Bohemian circles of Greenwich Village, among musicians, actors, curious characters, and even the famous British actress in hiding right next door.
But when an acquaintance brought his female cat to be serviced by Fred, an entire new set of experiences opened up for the cat-and for Picano, who'd never had the nerve to befriend her owner, his ideal man. The course of love seldom runs straight for cats or for men, and this time would prove (hilariously) no different.
This is another of Picano's distinguished portraits of a vanished era, when a new gay domain was solidifying only a few years after the Stonewall Riots, and the still nascent gay literary world that Picano would help invent was just a conception. Fred in Love is a charming, nostalgic, funny, gossipy, involving, and ultimately enlightening story about how we learn and grow, and how we love-whether the object of our affection is a cat or another human being. It's sure to take its place next to Picano's now classic literary memoirs Ambidextrous, Men Who Loved Me, and A House on the Ocean, a House on the Bay.
"This important study is both an analysis of and a call to an involved politics. It opens the door to a far-reaching dialogue."
--Martin Duberman, Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies, The City University of New York
An active participant in and theorist of the gay and lesbian movement, Mark Blasius contends that being gay or lesbian is by definition political. By extension, the phenomenon of a movement founded on collective identity is a quintessential part of American politics. The continually rising public consciousness of the needs and interest of gays and lesbians provides Blasius with a vehicle for showing how a particular aspect of human life comes to assume political dimensions. Upon this premise, he analyzes the process of how power is exercised through sexuality and traces the historical conditions that have made possible a gay and lesbian politics
Drawing on works of political philosophy, social science, including Foucault, and gay and lesbian studies, Blasius explores the invention of a gay and lesbian ethos, through which participation, even for apolitical gays and lesbians, goes beyond a shared culture and perspective. It is a way of life more encompassing than either sexual orientation or lifestyle alone. Though he acknowledges and reflects upon the divergent range of gay and lesbian experiences, Blasius provides a framework based on theories of power, sexuality, and ethics that elaborates the significance of the movement as a whole within contemporary society.
"It is in the process of coming out...Blasius argues, that lesbians and gay men create themselves--as new subjects, as the producers of new truth, and as agents of social change. Blasius gives a coherent account that ties together all these processes--from coming out to the emergence of lesbian and gay studies-and goes on to show the 'ethical' contribution that lesbians and gay men make to contemporary American society."
--Harvard Gay & Lesbian Review
"An engaging book that intelligently explores a range of possibilities in human relations."
--George Kateb, Department of Politics, Princeton University
“A superb tribute to theatrical pioneers—The Gay and Lesbian Theatrical Legacy is required reading for both theatre scholars and gay/lesbian/bisexual history aficionados. A fascinating journey awaits them all in this highly recommended volume.”
—Broadside: Newsletter of the Theatre Library Association
The Gay and Lesbian Theatrical Legacy collects in a single volume biographies of more than one hundred notable figures whose careers flourished in the years before the 1969 Stonewall Riots marked the beginning of the gay and lesbian civil rights movement in the United States. The leading lights in American theater have included innumerable individuals whose sexualities have deviated from prevailing norms, but this history has until recently been largely unwritten and unknown. This book contributessignificantly to the recovery of this history, fashioning a much fuller, more nuanced portrait of American theater as it evolved and shedding light on the influence that sexual desire may have had on professional choices, relationships, and artistic achievements.
The Gay and Lesbian Theatrical Legacy collects biographies and portraits of influential actors, playwrights, composers, directors, designers, dancers, producers, managers, critics, choreographers, and technicians who made their mark on the American theater. Its broad coverage provides an extended glimpse into lives and careers that intersected and into networks of affiliation that made theatrical history and, by extension, social and cultural history.
The late Billy J. Harbin was Professor of Theater, Louisiana State University. Kim Marra is Associate Professor of Theater, University of Iowa. Robert A. Schanke is Professor of Theater Emeritus, Central College, Pella, Iowa.
A bold and provocative look at how the nonprofit sphere’s expansion has helped—and hindered—the LGBT cause
What if the very structure on which social movements rely, the nonprofit system, is reinforcing the inequalities activists seek to eliminate? That is the question at the heart of this bold reassessment of the system’s massive expansion since the mid-1960s. Focusing on the LGBT movement, Myrl Beam argues that the conservative turn in queer movement politics, as exemplified by the shift toward marriage and legal equality, is due mostly to the movement’s embrace of the nonprofit structure.
Based on oral histories as well as archival research, and drawing on the author’s own extensive activist work, Gay, Inc. presents four compelling case studies. Beam looks at how people at LGBT nonprofits in Minneapolis and Chicago grapple with the contradictions between radical queer social movements and their institutionalized iterations. Through interview subjects’ incisive, funny, and heartbreaking commentaries, Beam exposes a complex world of committed people doing the best they can to effect change, and the flawed structures in which they participate, rail against, ignore, and make do.
Providing a critical look at a social formation whose sanctified place in the national imagination has for too long gone unquestioned, Gay, Inc. marks a significant contribution to scholarship on sexuality, neoliberalism, and social movements.
The German Officer’s Boy
Harlan Greene University of Wisconsin Press, 2005 Library of Congress PS3557.R3799G47 2005 | Dewey Decimal 813.54
What really happened that afternoon in November 1938, when a young Polish Jew walked into the German embassy in Paris and shots rang out? The immediate consequence was concrete: Nazis retaliated with Kristallnacht—“Night of Broken Glass”—the beginning of the Holocaust. Lost in the aftermath is the story of Herschel Grynszpan, the confused teenager whose murder of Ernst vom Rath was used to justify Kristallnacht.
In this historical novel, award-winning writer Harlan Greene takes Grynszpan at his word. Historians have tried to explain away the claim that he was involved in a love affair with vom Rath; Greene, instead, depicts the lives of the underprivileged and persecuted Grynszpan and the wealthy German diplomat vom Rath as they move inevitably toward their ill-fated affair.
As a writer, Glenway Wescott (1901–1987) left behind several novels, including The Grandmothers and The Pilgrim Hawk, noted for their remarkable lyricism. As a literary figure, Wescott also became a symbol of his times. Born on a Wisconsin farm in 1901, he associated as a young writer with Hemingway, Stein, and Fitzgerald in 1920s Paris and subsequently was a central figure in New York’s artistic and gay communities. Though he couldn’t finish a novel after the age of forty-five, he was just as famous as an arts impresario, as a diarist, and for the company he kept: W. H. Auden, Christopher Isherwood, Marianne Moore, Somerset Maugham, E. M. Forster, Joseph Campbell, and scores of other luminaries.
In Glenway Wescott Personally, Jerry Rosco chronicles Wescott’s long and colorful life, his early fame and later struggles to write, the uniquely privileged and sometimes tortured world of artistic creation. Rosco sensitively and insightfully reveals Wescott’s private life, his long relationship with Museum of Modern Art curator Monroe Wheeler, his work with sex researcher Alfred Kinsey that led to breakthrough findings on homosexuality, and his kinship with such influential artists as Jean Cocteau, George Platt-Lynes, and Paul Cadmus.
Global Emergence Of Gay & Lesbian Pol
edited by Barry D Adam, Jan Willem Duyvendak and André Krouwel Temple University Press, 1998 Library of Congress HQ76.5.G56 1999 | Dewey Decimal 305.9066409
Since the Stonewall rebellion in 1969, gay and lesbian movements have grown from small outposts in a few major cities to a worldwide mobilization. This book brings together stories of the emergence and growth of movements in more than a dozen nations on five continents, with a comparative look that offers insights for both activists and those who study social movements.
Lesbian and gay groups have existed for more than a century, often struggling against enormous odds. In the middle of the twentieth century, movement organizations were suppressed or swept away by fascism, Stalinism, and McCarthyism. Refounded by a few pioneers in the postwar period, movements have risen again as more and more people have stood up for their right to love and live with persons of their choice.
This book addresses both the mature movements of the European Union, North America, and Australia and the newer movements emerging in Latin America, Eastern Europe, and parts of Asia and Africa, examining the social and political conditions that shape movement opportunities and trajectories. It is rich in the details of gay and lesbian cultural and political life in different countries.
Hogg: A Novel
Samuel R. Delany University of Alabama Press, 2004 Library of Congress PS3554.E437H64 2004 | Dewey Decimal 813.54
Acclaimed winner of the William Whitehead Memorial Award for a lifetime's contribution to gay and lesbian literature, Samuel R. Delany wrote Hogg three decades ago. Since then it has been one of America's most famous 'unpublishable' novels. The subject matter of Hogg is our culture of sexual violence and degeneration. Delany explores his disturbing protagonist Hogg on his own turf--rape, pederasty, sexual excess--exposing an area of violence and sexual abuse from the inside. As such, it is a brave book.
A Horse Named Sorrow
Trebor Healey University of Wisconsin Press, 2012 Library of Congress PS3608.E24H67 2012 | Dewey Decimal 813.6
Selection, Over the Rainbow Project, GLBT Round Table of the American Library Association
Finalist, General Fiction, Lambda Literary Awards
Winner, Ferro-Grumley Award for LGBT Fiction, Publishing Triangle
Winner, Duggins outstanding Mid-Career novelist Award, Lambda Literary Foundation
Award-winning novelist Trebor Healey depicts San Francisco in the 1980s and ’90s in poetic prose that is both ribald and poignant, and a crossing into the American West that is dreamy, mythic, and visionary.
When troubled twenty-one-year-old Seamus Blake meets the strong and self-possessed Jimmy (just arrived in San Francisco by bicycle from his hometown in Buffalo, New York), he feels his life may finally be taking a turn for the better. But the ensuing romance proves short-lived as Jimmy dies of an AIDS-related illness. The grieving Seamus is obliged to keep a promise to Jimmy: “Take me back the way I came.”
And so Seamus sets out by bicycle on a picaresque journey with the ashes, hoping to bring them back to Buffalo. He meets truck drivers, waitresses, college kids, farmers, ranchers, Marines, and other travelers—each one giving him a new perspective on his own life and on Jimmy’s death. When he meets and becomes involved with a young Native American man whose mother has recently died, Seamus’s grief and his story become universal and redemptive.
The year is 1955. Andy Meyer, a young farmer, manages the pickle factory in Link Lake, a rural town where the farms are small, the conversation is meandering, and the feeling is distinctly Midwestern. Workers sort, weigh, and dump cucumbers into huge vats where the pickles cure, providing a livelihood to local farmers. But the H. H. Harlow Pickle Company has appeared in town, using heavy-handed tactics to force family farmers to either farm the Harlow way or lose their biggest customer—and, possibly, their land. Andy, himself the owner of a half-acre pickle patch, works part-time for the Harlow Company, a conflict that places him between the family farm and the big corporation. As he sees how Harlow begins to change the rural community and the lives of its people, Andy must make personal, ethical, and life-changing decisions.
Best Books for General Audiences, selected by the American Association of School Librarians, and Outstanding Book, selected by the Public Library Association
JD: A Novel
Mark Merlis University of Wisconsin Press, 2015 Library of Congress PS3563.E7422J37 2015 | Dewey Decimal 813.54
Jonathan Ascher, an acclaimed 1960s radical writer and cultural hero, has been dead for thirty years.
When a would-be biographer approaches Ascher’s widow Martha, she delves for the first time into her husband’s papers and all the secrets that come tumbling out of them. She finds journals that begin as a wisecracking chronicle of life at the fringes of the New York literary scene, then recount Ascher’s sexual adventures in the pre-Stonewall gay underground and the social upheavals that led to his famous book “JD.” As Martha reads on, she finds herself in a long-distance conversation with her dead husband, fighting with him again about their rocky marriage and learning about the unseen tragedy in her own apartment that ended with the destruction of their son, Mickey. Mickey comes to life in the space between Jonathan and Martha’s conflicting portraits of him, while Martha and the biographer tangle over the continued relevance of Jonathan’s politics and his unfulfilled vision of a nation remade. Martha learns about herself, finally, through her confrontation with a man who will not let her go, even in death.
Mark Merlis’s JD is a brilliant and harrowing view of a half century of the American experiment, acted out on a small stage by three people who cannot find a way—neither sex nor touch nor words—to speak their love for one another.
Best Books of 2015: Fiction, Open Letters Monthly
Finalist, Gay Fiction, Lambda Literary Award
Finalist, Ferro-Grumley Award for LGBT Fiction, Publishing Triangle
Best books for public & secondary school libraries from university presses, American Library Association
“Many years after a ’60s New York writer's death, his widow confronts their tumultuous marriage and private identities through his journals. . . . JD’s most masterful element is its treatment of these two characters, both of whom spent their lives groping for contentment like one trying to find a light switch in a darkened room. A great writer offers not just tight prose but also insight, a series of probing questions that extend from the fictional world into the real one. JD asks who its characters were, and in doing so, forces the reader to confront the intricate and fascinating politics of identity.”—Shelf Awareness for Readers, *starred review
“A truly impressive work of literary fiction, JD documents author Mark Merlis as an extraordinary novelist able to deftly craft a complex plot and populate it with a roster of inherently fascinating characters and memorable events. The result is an entertaining and engaging read that will linger in the mind long after the book is finished. Very highly recommended for both community and academic library literary fiction collections.”—Midwest Book Review/Reviewer’s Bookwatch
“The fantastic JD (U. of Wisconsin), by acclaimed gay writer Mark Merlis (American Studies), is the writer's first novel in a dozen years. It's told in two voices. The first is that of the late gay writer Jonathan Ascher, and we hear from him through his journals. The second belongs to his widow Martha, who learns more about Jonathan than she ever imagined while reading the journals after agreeing to help a biographer of her late husband.”—Gregg Shapiro, Bay Area Reporter
In 2003, after serving five and a half years as a carpenter in a North Dakota National Guard engineer unit, Bronson Lemer was ready to leave the military behind. But six months short of completing his commitment to the army, Lemer was deployed on a yearlong tour of duty to Iraq. Leaving college life behind in the Midwest, he yearns for a lost love and quietly dreams of a future as an openly gay man outside the military. He discovers that his father’s lifelong example of silent strength has taught him much about being a man, and these lessons help him survive in a war zone and to conceal his sexuality, as he is required to do by the U.S. military.
The Last Deployment is a moving, provocative chronicle of one soldier’s struggle to reconcile military brotherhood with self-acceptance. Lemer captures the absurd nuances of a soldier’s daily life: growing a mustache to disguise his fear, wearing pantyhose to battle sand fleas, and exchanging barbs with Iraqis while driving through Baghdad. But most strikingly, he describes the poignant reality faced by gay servicemen and servicewomen, who must mask their identities while serving a country that disowns them. Often funny, sometimes anguished, The Last Deployment paints a deeply personal portrait of war in the twenty-first century.
InSight Out Book Club selection
Bronson Lemer named one of Instinct magazine’s Leading Men 2011
QPB Book Club selection
Finalist, Minnesota Book Awards
Finalist, Over the Rainbow Selection, American Library Association
Let Me See It: Stories
James Magruder Northwestern University Press, 2014 Library of Congress PS3613.A3473L48 2014 | Dewey Decimal 813.6
James Magruder’s collection of linked stories follows two gay cousins, Tom and Elliott, from adolescence in the 1970s to adulthood in the early ’90s. With a rueful blend of comedy and tenderness, Magruder depicts their attempts to navigate the closet and the office and the lessons they learn about libidinous coworkers, résumé boosting, Italian suffixes, and frozen condoms. As Tom and Elliot search for trusting relationships while the AIDS crisis deepens, their paths diverge, leading Tom to a new sense of what matters most. Magruder is especially adept at rendering the moments that reveal unwritten codes of behavior to his characters, who have no way of learning them except through painful experience.
Loss is sudden, the fallout portrayed with a powerful economy. In Tom and Elliott, readers come to recognize themselves, driven by the same absurd desires and unconscious impulses, subjected to the same fates.
This collection, the first of its kind, gathers original and previously published fiction and poetry from lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer authors from Appalachia. Like much Appalachian literature, these works are pervaded with an attachment to family and the mountain landscape, yet balancing queer and Appalachian identities is an undertaking fraught with conflict. This collection confronts the problematic and complex intersections of place, family, sexuality, gender, and religion with which LGBTQ Appalachians often grapple.
With works by established writers such as Dorothy Allison, Silas House, Ann Pancake, Fenton Johnson, and Nickole Brown and emerging writers such as Savannah Sipple, Rahul Mehta, Mesha Maren, and Jonathan Corcoran, this collection celebrates a literary canon made up of writers who give voice to what it means to be Appalachian and LGBTQ.
Little Reef and Other Stories
Michael Carroll University of Wisconsin Press, 2014 Library of Congress PS3603.A774588A6 2014 | Dewey Decimal 813.6
Little Reef and Other Stories announces the arrival of an original voice in literature. From Key West to Maine, Michael Carroll’s debut collection of stories depicts the lives of characters who are no longer provincial but are not yet cosmopolitan. These women and their gay male friends are “B-listers” of a new, ironic, media-soaked culture. They live in a rich but increasingly divided America, a weirdly paradoxical country increasingly accepting of gay marriage but still marked by prejudice, religious strictures, and swaths of poverty and hopelessness. Carroll shows us people stunned by the shock of the now, who have forgotten their pasts and can’t envision a future.
Winner, Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction, American Academy of Arts and Letters
Finalist, Gay Fiction, Lambda Literary Award
Finalist, Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction, Publishing Triangle
We don't usually associate thriving queer culture with rural America, but John Howard's unparalleled history of queer life in the South persuasively debunks the myth that same-sex desires can't find expression outside the big city. In fact, this book shows that the nominally conservative institutions of small-town life—home, church, school, and workplace—were the very sites where queer sexuality flourished. As Howard recounts the life stories of the ordinary and the famous, often in their own words, he also locates the material traces of queer sexuality in the landscape: from the farmhouse to the church social, from sports facilities to roadside rest areas.
Spanning four decades, Men Like That complicates traditional notions of a post-WWII conformist wave in America. Howard argues that the 1950s, for example, were a period of vibrant queer networking in Mississippi, while during the so-called "free love" 1960s homosexuals faced aggressive oppression. When queer sex was linked to racial agitation and when key civil rights leaders were implicated in homosexual acts, authorities cracked down and literally ran the accused out of town.
In addition to firsthand accounts, Men Like That finds representations of homosexuality in regional pulp fiction and artwork, as well as in the number one pop song about a suicidal youth who jumps off the Tallahatchie Bridge. And Howard offers frank, unprecedented assessments of outrageous public scandals: a conservative U.S. congressman caught in the act in Washington, and a white candidate for governor accused of patronizing black transgender sex workers.
The first book-length history of the queer South, Men Like That completely reorients our presuppositions about gay identity and about the dynamics of country life.
"Men Like That goes a long way towards redressing the urban bias in American lesbian and gay-history writing. . . . Howard's rigorous scholarship, which is based both on oral history and traditional historical documents . . . is enhanced by a disarmingly personal touch. . . . His insights into queerness and the mentality of the American South should be of great interest both to the professional gay historian and the general reader."—Madeleine Minson, Times Higher Education Supplement
"Howard creates a history remarkable in its complexity yet intimate in its portraiture. At long last an intimate and full vision of queer lives in America that did not unfold in San Francisco's discos."—Kirkus Reviews
"In this groundbreaking and engrossing analysis of gay male life in postwar Mississippi, Howard . . . boldly demonstrates that gay culture and sex not only existed but flourished in small towns."—Publishers Weekly, starred review
Out in Culture charts some of the ways in which lesbians, gays, and queers have understood and negotiated the pleasures and affirmations, as well as the disappointments, of mass culture. The essays collected here, combining critical and theoretical works from a cross-section of academics, journalists, and artists, demonstrate a rich variety of gay and lesbian approaches to film, television, popular music, and fashion. This wide-ranging anthology is the first to juxtapose pioneering work in gay and lesbian media criticism with recent essays in contemporary queer cultural studies. Uniquely accessible, Out in Culture presents such popular writers as B. Ruby Rich, Essex Hemphill, and Michael Musto as well as influential critics such as Richard Dyer, Chris Straayer, and Julia Lesage, on topics ranging from the queer careers of Agnes Moorehead and Pee Wee Herman to the cultural politics of gay drag, lesbian style, the visualization of AIDS, and the black snap! queen experience. Of particular interest are two "dossiers," the first linking essays on the queer content of Alfred Hitchcock’s films, and the second on the production and reception of popular music within gay and lesbian communities. The volume concludes with an extensive bibliography—the most comprehensive currently available—of sources in gay, lesbian, and queer media criticism. Out in Culture explores the distinctive and original ways in which gays, lesbians, and queers have experienced, appropriated, and resisted the images and artifacts of popular culture. This eclectic anthology will be of interest to a broad audience of general readers and scholars interested in gay and lesbian issues; students of film, media, gender, and cultural studies; and those interested in the emerging field of queer theory.
Contributors. Sabrina Barton, Edith Becker, Rhona J. Berenstein, Nayland Blake, Michelle Citron, Danae Clark, Corey K. Creekmur, Alexander Doty, Richard Dyer, Heather Findlay, Jan Zita Grover, Essex Hemphill, John Hepworth, Jeffrey Hilbert, Lucretia Knapp, Bruce La Bruce, Al LaValley, Julia Lesage, Michael Moon, Michael Musto, B. Ruby Rich, Marlon Riggs, Arlene Stein, Chris Straayer, Anthony Thomas, Mark Thompson, Valerie Traub, Thomas Waugh, Patricia White, Robin Wood
The Paternity Test: A Novel
Michael Lowenthal University of Wisconsin Press, 2018 Library of Congress PS3562.O894P38 2012 | Dewey Decimal 813.54
Pat Faunce yearns for more than his carefree New York life and his open relationship with Stu, an airline pilot. Above all, he wants to be a father. He persuades a reluctant Stu to move to Cape Cod, where they enlist Debora, a charismatic Brazilian immigrant, as a surrogate mother. But the men's attempt to have a child creates new emotional complications—with Stu's parents and sister, with Debora and her husband, and with each other. Building to a harrowing conclusion, this fearless, darkly funny novel asks whether making a new family is worth risking the one you have.
“It’s safe to say your relationship is in trouble if the only way you can imagine solving your problems is by borrowing a time machine.”
In 2006 comic book dealer John Sherkston has decided to break up with his physicist boyfriend, Taylor Esgard, on the very day Taylor announces he’s finally perfected a time machine for the U.S government. John travels back to 1986, where he encounters “Junior,” his younger, more innocent self. When Junior starts to flirt, John wonders how to reveal his identity: “I’m you, only with less hair and problems you can’t imagine.” He also meets up with the younger Taylor, and this unlikely trio teams up to plot a course around their future relationship troubles, prevent John’s sister from making a tragic decision, and stop George W. Bush from becoming president.
In this wickedly comic, cross-country, time-bending journey, John confronts his own—and the nation’s—blunders, learning that a second chance at changing things for the better also brings new opportunities to screw them up. Through edgy humor, time travel, and droll one-liners, Bob Smith examines family dysfunction, suicide, New York City, and recent American history while effortlessly blending domestic comedy with science fiction. Part acidic political satire, part wild comedy, and part poignant social scrutiny, Remembrance of Things I Forgot is an uproarious adventure filled with sharp observations about our recent past.
InSight Out Book Club, featured selection
Bob Smith named one of Instinct magazine’s Leading Men 2011
Winner, Barbara Gittings Literature Award/Stonewall Book Awards, American Library Association
Finalist, Over the Rainbow Selection, American Library Association
Finalist, Green Carnation Prize, international prize for LGBT Literature
Amazon Top Ten Gay & Lesbian Books of 2011
Best Books for General Audiences, selected by the American Association of School Librarians
Best Books for General Audiences, selected by the Public Library Reviewers
The Rope Swing: Stories
Jonathan Corcoran West Virginia University Press, 2016 Library of Congress PS3603.O73417A6 2016 | Dewey Decimal 813.6
A once-booming West Virginia rail town no longer has a working train. The residents left behind in this tiny hamlet look to the mountains that surround them on all sides: The outside world encroaches, and the buildings of the gilded past seem to crumble more every day.
These are the stories of outsiders—the down and out. What happens to the young boy whose burgeoning sexuality pushes him to the edge of the forest to explore what might be love with another boy? What happens when one lost soul finally makes it to New York City, yet the reminders of his past life are omnipresent? What happens when an old woman struggles to find a purpose and reinvent herself after decades of living in the shadow of her platonic life partner? What happens to those who dare to live their lives outside of the strict confines of the town’s traditional and regimented ways?
The characters in The Rope Swing—gay and straight alike—yearn for that which seems so close but impossibly far, the world over the jagged peaks of the mountains.
Secretly Inside: A Novel
Hans Warren; Translated by S. J. Leinbach University of Wisconsin Press, 2006 Library of Congress PT5880.W33S713 2006 | Dewey Decimal 839.31364
In the Dutch countryside the war seems far away. For most people, at least. But not for Ed, a Jew in Nazi-occupied Holland trying to find some safe sanctuary. Compelled to go into hiding in the rural province of Zeeland, he is taken in by a seemingly benevolent family of farmers. But, as Ed comes to realize, the Van 't Westeindes are not what they seem. Camiel, the son of the house, is still in mourning for his best friend, a German soldier who committed suicide the year before. And Camiel's fiery, unstable sister Mariete begins to nurse a growing unrequited passion for their young guest, just as Ed realizes his own attraction to Camiel. As time goes by, Ed is drawn into the domestic intrigues around him, and the farmhouse that had begun as his refuge slowly becomes his prison.
Setting the Lawn on Fire, the first novel by critically acclaimed writer Mack Friedman, trails its narrator through his obsessions with sex, drugs, art, and poison. Ivan, a young Jewish boy from Milwaukee, embarks on a journey of sexual discovery that leads him from Wisconsin to Alaska, Philadelphia, and Mexico through stints as a fishery worker, artist, and finally a hustler who learns to provide the blank canvas for other people’s dreams. The result is a new kind of coming-of-age story that sees passion from every angle because its protagonist is every kind of lover: the seducer and the seduced, the pornographer and the model, the hunter and the prey, the trick and the john. In the end, Setting the Lawn on Fire is also something rare—a fully realized, contemporary romance that illuminates the power of desire and the rituals of the body, the brain, and the heart that attempt to contain our passions.
Sugarless: A Novel
James Magruder University of Wisconsin Press, 2009 Library of Congress PS3613.A3473.S84 2009 | Dewey Decimal 813.6
Things look bad for Rick Lahrem, a high school sophomore in a cookie-cutter Chicago suburb in 1976. His mother’s second husband is a licensed psychologist who eats like an ape, his stepsister is a stoner slut, and his father is engaged to a Southern belle. Rick’s only solace is his growing collection of original Broadway-cast LPs, bought on the sly at Wax Trax.
After he brings two girls in speech class to tears by reading a story aloud, Rick is coaxed onto the interscholastic forensics team to perform an eight-minute dramatic interpretation of The Boys in the Band, the controversial sixties play about homosexuality. Unexpectedly successful at this oddball event, Rick begins winning tournaments and making friends with his teammates.
Rick also discovers the joys of sex—with a speech coach from a rival school—just as his mother, reacting to a deteriorating home environment, makes an unnerving commitment to Christ. The newly confident Rick assumes this too shall pass—until the combined forces of family, sex, and faith threaten to undo him at the state meet in Peoria.
James Magruder’s Sugarless offers a ruefully entertaining take on the simultaneous struggles of coming-out, coming-of-age, and coming-to-Jesus.
A selection of InsightOut Book Club
Finalist, Lambda Book Award for Gay Debut Fiction, Lambda Literary Foundation
Finalist, TLA Gaybie Award for Best Gay Fiction
Semi-finalist, James Branch Cabell First Novelist Award, Virginia Commonwealth University
Semi-finalist, William Saroyan International Prize For Writing, Stanford University
Telling Moments collects contemporary short stories by a diverse group of twenty-four lesbian writers. Engaging themes of life and death, aging, motherhood, race, love, work, and travel, the writers offer brief glimpses into lesbian lives.
The stories are by well-known contemporary writers—Gloria Anzaldúa, Mary Cappello, Emma Donoghue, Jewelle Gomez, Karla Jay, Anna Livia, Valerie Miner, Lesléa Newman, Minnie Bruce Pratt, Ruthann Robson, Sarah Schulman, and Jess Wells—and exciting newer voices, such as Donna Allegra and Marion Douglas. There are also stories from performance artists Carmelita Tropicana, Peggy Shaw, and Maya Chowdhry. Anna Livia’s protagonist appreciates her mother’s artful garden creation. Ruthann Robson tells of a survivor of the health care system. In Marion Douglas’s story a teenager dances with an alluring classmate. Donna Allegra’s strong construction worker copes with the death of her mother. And Karla Jay sets her character forth to swim with sharks. Most of the stories are accompanied by an author photo, biographical sketch, and—a most significant feature—a commentary from the author on her writing process and the autobiographical nature of her story, illustrating the truth behind the fiction.
They Change the Subject
Douglas A. Martin University of Wisconsin Press, 2005 Library of Congress PS3563.A72355T47 2005
Treacherously comic and poignant, the autobiographical stories in They Change the Subject follow a young man’s quest for identity through love and desire. Sustained by a single voice, the stories simultaneously offer a fractured novel and stand, powerfully, on their own. At the center of each tale is the heightened, visceral possibility of unexpected emotional encounters—from an escort’s dates in Manhattan hotels to a photo shoot that doubles as seduction. Always pushing toward a bigger shiver of passion, Martin’s young-man-on-the-make learns how to adapt his persona to suit his lovers’ needs and tries to embrace his own experience—and his self—by becoming the purest object of desire.
A Visit to Priapus and Other Stories
Glenway Wescott; Edited and with an introduction by Jerry Rosco; Foreword by Wendy Moffat University of Wisconsin Press, 2013 Library of Congress PS3545.E827V57 2013 | Dewey Decimal 813.52
Just as E. M. Forster's novel of gay love, Maurice, remained unpublished throughout his lifetime, Glenway Wescott's long story "A Visit to Priapus" was also destined to be a posthumous work, buried from 1938 until this century in Wescott's massive archive of manuscripts, journals, notebooks, and letters.
The autobiographical story is about a literary man, frustrated in love, who puts aside his pride and makes a date with a young artist in Maine. Lavishly rendered in Wescott's elegant prose, the tale is explicit where it needs to be, but—as is typical of Wescott—it is filled with descriptive beauty and introspective lessons about sex and sexuality, love and creativity.
Previously published in anthology form in the United Kingdom, "A Visit to Priapus" is presented for the first time in book form in America, containing previously uncollected stories, including three never before published. The result is a candid portrayal of the gifted but enigmatic writer who was famous in youth and remained a perceptive and compassionate voice throughout his long life. Drawn together from midcentury literary journals and magazines of the 1920s and 1930s, as well as from Wescott's papers, the stories were inspired by his life, from childhood to old age, from Wisconsin farm country to New York, London, Germany, and Paris.
Finalist, Gay General Fiction, Lambda Literary Awards
Vulgar Genres examines gay pornographic writing, showing how literary fiction was both informed by pornography and amounts to a commentary on the genre’s relation to queer male erotic life.
Long fixated on visual forms, the field of porn studies is overdue for a book-length study of gay pornographic writing. Steven Ruszczycky delivers with an impressively researched work on the ways gay pornographic writing emerged as a distinct genre in the 1960s and went on to shape queer male subjectivity well into the new millennium.
Ranging over four decades, Ruszczycky draws on a large archive of pulp novels and short fiction, lifestyle magazines and journals, reviews, editorial statements, and correspondence. He puts these materials in conversation with works by a number of contemporary writers, including William Carney, Dennis Cooper, Samuel Delany, John Rechy, and Matthew Stadler. While focused on the years 1966 to 2005, Vulgar Genres reveals that the history of gay pornographic writing during this period informs much of what has happened online over the past twenty years, from cruising to the production of digital pornographic texts. The result is a milestone in porn studies and an important contribution to the history of gay life.