New in February: Kevin Sessums, Lashonda Katrice Barnett, Kenny Porpora, and Carter Sickels
Author: Edit Team
February 12, 2015
New month, new books! A new month is upon us, and so are a slew of new and noteworthy LGBT books.
In his new memoir I Left It on the Mountain (St. Martin’s Press), writer Kevin Sessums details his debilitating descent into drug addiction and his hard fought road to redemption:
On his 53rd birthday, Kevin Sessums woke up in his L.A. hotel room wondering how he would get through his scheduled interview with Hugh Jackman. For years he had interviewed the bright lights: Madonna, Courtney Love, Jessica Lange, and all the other usual suspects; but, Kevin knew that his rapidly unraveling life was as shallow as the hotel’s hip furniture and he was hanging on by his fingertips. In I Left It on the Mountain, Sessums chronicles his early days in NY as an actor, his years working for Andy Warhol at Interview and Tina Brown at Vanity Fair, countless nights of anonymous sex, his HIV Positive diagnosis and his descent into addiction. It’s also the chronicle of one man’s spiritual redemption found while climbing to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro, walking the Camino de Santiago de Compostelo and trudging across the cold, lonely winter beaches of Provincetown. Peopled with the famous like Daniel Radcliffe and Diane Sawyer as well as anonymous companions corporeal and otherwise whom he met while mountain climbing and hiking, I Left It on the Mountain is the story of one man’s fall and rebirth, the next moving chapter in Kevin Sessums’ extraordinary life that takes him from the high to the low and back again. For readers who loved Mississippi Sissy and want to know what happened to that tenacious little boy with the baseball mitt, I Left It On the Mountain is the sometimes very dark, but ultimately hopeful answer.
In Jam on the Vine (Grove Press), author LaShonda Katrice Barnett provides a startling snapshot of America in the early 1900s through the prism of a singular, vividly drawn character:
Ivoe Williams, the precocious daughter of a Muslim cook and a metalsmith from central-east Texas, first ignites her lifelong obsession with journalism when she steals a newspaper from her mother’s white employer. Living in the poor, segregated quarter of Little Tunis, Ivoe immerses herself in printed matter as an escape from her dour surroundings. She earns a scholarship to the prestigious Willetson College in Austin, only to return overqualified to the menial labor offered by her hometown’s racially biased employers.
Ivoe eventually flees the Jim Crow South with her family and settles in Kansas City, where she and her former teacher and lover, Ona, found the first female-run African American newspaper, Jam! On the Vine. In the throes of the Red Summer—the 1919 outbreak of lynchings and race riots across the Midwest—Ivoe risks her freedom and her life to call attention to the atrocities of segregation in the American prison system.
Skillfully interweaving Ivoe’s story with those of her family members, LaShonda Katrice Barnett’s Jam! On the Vine is both an epic vision of the hardships and injustices that defined an era and a moving and compelling story of a complicated history we only thought we knew.
In the collection Untangling the Knot: Marriage, Relationships & Identity (Ooligan Press), writer-editor Carter Sickels explores the cultural impact of marriage equality on the LGBTQ community:
Untangling the Knot: Marriage, Relationships & Identity, an anthology of essays and creative nonfiction, delves past the mainstream focus on marriage equality—beyond the knot— to examine the broad scope of issues facing members of the LGBTQ community. The collection sheds light on what marriage equality actually means for queer communities. By confronting the concept of tradition through personal discourse, this volume seeks to create conversation amongst the diverse members of the LGBTQ community and their straight allies to prompt a larger, grander, and more realistic vision of what marriage equality really means for those living in the United States. Untangling the Knot: Marriage, Relationships & Identity includes the voices of many individuals who are underrepresented in the modern discourse surrounding LGBTQ rights, and these unique perspectives may change the direction of that conversation for good.
Grand Central Publishing is releasing Autumn Balloon, a memoir of familial drama by writer Kenny Porpora:
Every autumn, Kenny Porpora would watch his heartbroken mother scribble messages on balloons and release them into the sky above Long Island, one for each family member they’d lost to addiction. As the number of balloons grew, his mother fell deeper into alcoholism, drinking away her sorrows every night in front of the television, where her love of Regis Philbin provided a respite from the sadness around her.
When their house was foreclosed upon, Kenny’s mother absconded with him and his beloved dog and fled for the Arizona desert, joining her heroin-addicted brother on a quixotic search for a better life. What followed was an outlaw adolescence spent in constant upheaval surrounded by bizarre characters and drug-addicted souls.
In the wake of unspeakable loss, Kenny convinced a college to take a chance on him, and turned to the mentors, writers, and poets he found to rebuild the family he lost, and eventually graduated from the Ivy League with a new life.
Porpora’s memoir is the story of a deeply dysfunctional but loving family, and follows his life from the chaos of his youth to his triumphs in the Ivy League. At times darkly comic, at times elegiac, The Autumn Balloon is a beautifully written testament to the irreplaceable bonds of family, even under the most trying circumstances, and one that marks the debut of an exciting new writer.
As always, if we missed an author or book, or if you have a book coming out next month, please email us.
- Between These Walls by John Herrick, Segue Blue
- Buddha’s Bad Boys by Alan Chin, Bold Strokes Liberty Editions
- Forgotten: Andones by
- The Evening Chorus by Helen Humphreys, Mariner Books
- Jam on the Vine by LaShonda Katrice Barnett, Grove Press
- The Manservant by
- The Rebellion of Miss Lucy Ann Lobdell: A Novel by William Klaber, St. Martin’s Press
- The Useless Man by Sait Abasiyanik, Archipelago Books
- Vera’s Will by Shelly Ettinger, Hamilton Stone Editions
- The Asylum: True Tales of Madness From a Life in Fashion by Simon Doonan, Blue Rider Press
- In Walt We Trust: How a Queer Socialist Poet Can Save America from Itself by
- The Plausibility Problem: The Church and Same-Sex Attraction by Ed Shaw, Inter-Varsity Press
- The Selected Letters of Langston Hughes by Langston Hughes and Arnold Rampersad, Knopf
- That’s So Gay!: Challenging Homophobic Bullying by Jonathan Charlesworth, Jessica Kingsley Publishing
- Untangling the Knot: Queer Voices on Marriage, Relationships & Identity edited by Carter Sickels, Ooligan Press
- Italian Masculinity as Queer Melodrama: Caravaggio, Puccini, Contemporary Cinema (Global Masculinities) by
- Queer Victorian Families: Curious Relations in Literature (Routledge Studies in Nineteenth Century Literature) by Duc Dau and Shale Preston, Routledge
- Seeing Sodomy in the Middle Ages by Robert Mill, University 0f Chicago Press
- Transgender Communication Studies: Histories, Trends, and Trajectories edited by
- Warped: Gay Normality and Queer Anti-Capitalism (Historical Materialism Book) by Peter Drucke, Brill Academic Publishers
- Women′s Cinema, World Cinema: Projecting Contemporary Feminisms by Patricia White, Duke University Press
- At the Crossroads by Max Pierce, Lethe Press
- Best Gay Romance 2015 by Felice Picano, Cleis Press
- Best Lesbian Romance 2015 by Radclyffe, Cleis Press
- Betting on Love by Alyssa Linn Palmer, Bold Strokes Books
- The Comfortable Shoe Diaries by Renée J. Lukas, Bella Books
- Don’t Say Goodbye by Bridget Essex, CreateSpace
- For the Love of Cake by Erin Dutton, Bold Strokes Books
Lights, Camera, Cupid! (A Bluewater Bay Valentine’s Day Anthology) by SE Jakes, Amy Lane, Z.A. Maxfield, Anne Tenino, and L.A. Witt, Riptide Press
- One Last Thing by Kim Baldwin & Xenia, Bold Strokes Books
- Pedal to the Metal by Jesse J. Thoma, Bold Strokes Liberty Editions
- Sometimes Quickly by Anne Laughlin, Bold Strokes Impressions
- Petticoats and Promises by Penelope Friday, Bella Books
- Speakeasy by MJ Williamz, Bold Strokes Books
- The Right Thing Easy by Laina Villeneuve, Bella Books
- Up the Ante by PJ Trebelhorn, Bold Strokes Books
- Waiting for the Flood by Alexis Hall, Riptide Press
- Zero Visibility by Georgia Beers, Brisk Books
- Appetites: Tales of Lesbian Lust (A Lizzie’s Bedtime Stories Anthology) (Volume 1) edited by
- Best Lesbian Erotica by Laura Antoniou, Cleis Press
- Fifty Shades of Pink by KT Grant, Riverdale Avenue Books
- Load the Dice by Moriah Gemel, Interlude Press
- M by Jacob Louder, Go Deeper Press
- Rough and Raw: Gay Slave Stories by Chris Johns,BLVNP Incorporated
- Rules to Live by Heidi Belleau, Anah Crow,Dianne FoxLisa Henry, Cari Z, and Anna Zabo, Riptide Press
- Dark Rites by Jeremy Jordan King, Bold Strokes Soliloquy
- The Deadening: Book Three of the Sisters of Spirits Trilogy by Yvonne Heidt, Bold Strokes Books
- The Demon Within by Linda Kay Silva, Sapphire Books Publishing
- Dragon Horse War: The Calling by D. Jackson Leigh, Bold Strokes Books
- In the Now by
- Woeful Pines by S.Y. Thompson, Regal Crest
- Cheap as Beasts by Jon Wilson, Bold Strokes Liberty Editions
- A Dark Horse by Blayne Cooper, Bella Books
- The Jade Butterfly: A Dan Sharp Mystery by , Dundurn
- The Merchant of Death by Lisa Henry and J.A. Rock, Riptide Publishing
- Ordinary Mayhem by Victoria A. Brownworth, Bold Strokes Books
- Trowchester Blues by Alex Beecroft, Riptide Publishing
- The Autumn Balloon by Kenny Porpora, Grand Central Publishing
- Drugs, Food, Sex and God: An addicted Drug Dealer Goes From Convict to Doctor Through the Power of Intention by
- I Left It on the Mountain by Kevin Sessums
- The Melon Capital of The World: A Memoir by Blake Allmendinger, University of Nebraska Press
- My Avant-Garde Education by Bernard Cooper, W. W. Norton & Company
- To Begin to Know: Walking in the Shadows of My Father by David Leser, Allen & Unwin
- Canto hondo/Deep Song (Camino del Sol) by , University of Arizona Press
- The Devastation by Melissa Buzzeo, Nightboat Books
ART BOOKS/GRAPHIC NOVELS
- Bordered Lives: Transgender Portraits from Mexico by , The New Press