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New month, new books! July is upon us, and so are a slew of new and noteworthy LGBT books.
This month, writer Judith Frank explores the shifting paradigms of parenthood and family in her new novel All I Know and I Love (William Morrow).
From William Morrow:
For years, Matthew Greene and Daniel Rosen have enjoyed a quiet domestic life together in Northampton, Massachusetts. Opposites in many ways, they have grown together and made their relationship work. But when they learn that Daniel’s twin brother and sister-in-law have been killed in a bombing in Jerusalem, their lives are suddenly, utterly transformed.
In dealing with their families and the need to make a decision about who will raise the deceased couple’s two children, both Matthew and Daniel are confronted with challenges that strike at the very heart of their relationship. What is Matthew’s place in an extended family that does not completely accept him or the commitment he and Daniel have made? How do Daniel’s questions about his identity as a Jewish man affect his life as a gay American? Tensions only intensify when they learn that the deceased parents wanted Matthew and Daniel to adopt the children—six-year-old Gal, and baby Noam.
The impact this instant new family has on Matthew, Daniel, and their relationship is subtle and heartbreaking, yet not without glimmers of hope. They must learn to reinvent and redefine their bond in profound, sometimes painful ways. What kind of parents can these two men really be? How does a family become strong enough to stay together and endure? And are there limits to honesty or commitment—or love?
A dog is a man’s best friend, right? Yes and no. In his new memoir/travelogue Travels with Casey (Simon & Schuster), journalist Benoit Denizet-Lewis examines man’s often-complicated relationships with its canine companions.
From the publisher:
A moody Labrador and his insecure human take a funny, touching cross-country RV trip into the heart of America’s relationship with dogs.
“I don’t think my dog likes me very much,” New York Times Magazine writer Benoit Denizet-Lewis confesses at the beginning of his journey with his nine-year-old Labrador-mix, Casey. Over the next four months, thirty-two states, and 13,000 miles in a rented motor home, Denizet-Lewis and his canine companion attempt to pay tribute to the most powerful interspecies bond there is, in the country with the highest rate of dog ownership in the world.
On the way, Denizet-Lewis—known for his deeply reported dispatches from far corners of American life—meets an irresistible cast of dogs and dog-obsessed humans. Denizet-Lewis and Casey hang out with wolf-dogs in Appalachia, search with a dedicated rescuer of stray dogs in Missouri, spend a full day at a kooky dog park in Manhattan, get pulled over by a K9 cop in Missouri, and visit “Dog Whisperer” Cesar Millan in California. And then there are the pet psychics, dog-wielding hitchhikers, and two nosy women who took their neighbor to court for allegedly failing to pick up her dog’s poop.
Travels With Casey is a delightfully idiosyncratic blend of memoir and travelogue coupled with an exploration of a dog-loving America. What does our relationship to our dogs tell us about ourselves and our values? Denizet-Lewis explores those questions—and his own canine-related curiosities and insecurities—during his unforgettable road trip through our dog-loving nation.
In Girlie Calendar (Headmistress Press), poet Mary Meriam delves into the dizzying emotional highs and lows wrought by deeply felt passion and desire.
From the publisher:
In Girlie Calendar, Mary Meriam soars through a year of months like an oracle, discerning and predicting, from her unique perch, the narrative of a lesbian who lives her private, reflective days with unquenched lust and devotion. In this decade-of-poems cycle, written between 2002-2012, all of the hunger, weariness, lovelorn woe, as well as joyous daily acts, render a life transformed by seasons, ripened by years. Meriam seduces us to hope and offers courage in this invocation, which reflects her aspiration for all of us: “There is a good that will reverse the world.”
In A Queer Capital: A History of Gay Life in Washington D.C. (Routledge), author Genny Beemyn offers an extensive historical overview of LGBT life in the nation’s capital.
Rooted in extensive archival research and personal interviews, A Queer Capital is the first history of LGBT life in the nation’s capital. Revealing a vibrant past that dates back more than 125 years, the book explores how lesbians, gay men, and bisexuals established spaces of their own before and after World War II, survived some of the harshest anti-gay campaigns in the U.S., and organized to demand equal treatment. Telling the stories of black and white gay communities and individuals, Genny Beemyn shows how race, gender, and class shaped the construction of gay social worlds in a racially segregated city.
From the turn of the twentieth century through the 1980s, Beemyn explores the experiences of gay people in Washington, showing how they created their own communities, fought for their rights, and, in the process, helped to change the country. Combining rich personal stories with keen historical analysis, A Queer Capital provides insights into LGBT life, the history of Washington, D.C., and African American life and culture in the twentieth century.
NYU Press is releasing Fat Gay Men: Girth, Mirth, and the Politics of Stigma by Jason Whitsel, a sociology-based investigation of issues concerning body image in contemporary gay culture.
About the book:
To be fat in a thin-obsessed gay culture can be difficult. Despite affectionate in-group monikers for big gay men–chubs, bears, cubs–the anti-fat stigma that persists in American culture at large still haunts these individuals who often exist at the margins of gay communities. In Fat Gay Men, Jason Whitesel delves into the world of Girth & Mirth, a nationally known social club dedicated to big gay men, illuminating the ways in which these men form identities and community in the face of adversity. In existence for over forty years, the club has long been a refuge and ‘safe space’ for such men. Both a partial insider as a gay man and an outsider to Girth & Mirth, Whitesel offers an insider’s critique of the gay movement, questioning whether the social consequences of the failure to be height-weight proportionate should be so extreme in the gay community.
This book documents performances at club events and examines how participants use allusion and campy-queer behavior to reconfigure and reclaim their sullied body images, focusing on the numerous tensions of marginalization and dignity that big gay men experience and how they negotiate these tensions via their membership to a size-positive group. Based on ethnographic interviews and in-depth field notes from more than 100 events at bar nights, café klatches, restaurants, potlucks, holiday bashes, pool parties, movie nights, and weekend retreats, the book explores the woundedness that comes from being relegated to an inferior position in gay hierarchies, and yet celebrates how some gay men can reposition the shame of fat stigma through carnival, camp, and play. A compelling and rich narrative, Fat Gay Men provides a rare glimpse into an unexplored dimension of weight and body image in American culture.
The sexual escapades of writer Brontez Purnell get the illustrated treatment in The Cruising Diaries(Gimme Action). Written by Purnell and illustrated by Janelle Hessig, The Cruising Diaries “is a collection of writer/musician Brontez Purnell’s various sexual follies and misadventures around ’00s Oakland. Taco truck blowjobs, ‘shrooms, Santa –everything you could want from an illustrated sex memoir and much, much more.”
As always, if we missed an author or book, or if you have a book coming out next month, please email us.