Intimates: East Bay Queer Book Club
June 2015 Selection: 2014 LAMBDA LITERARY AWARD FINALIST
WINNER OF THE 2014 ALEX AWARD
"BOOKLIST "TOP 10 FIRST NOVEL OF 2013
"SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL "BEST BOOK OF 2013
Max Walker is a golden boy. Attractive, intelligent, and athletic, he's the perfect son, the perfect friend, and the perfect crush for the girls in his school. He's even really nice to his little brother. Karen, Max's mother, is determined to maintain the facade of effortless excellence she has constructed through the years, but now that the boys are getting older, she worries that the facade might soon begin to crumble. Adding to the tension, her husband Steve has chosen this moment to stand for election to Parliament. The spotlight of the media is about to encircle their lives.
The Walkers are hiding something, you see. Max is special. Max is different. Max is intersex. When an enigmatic childhood friend named Hunter steps out of his past and abuses his trust in the worst possible way, Max is forced to consider the nature of his well-kept secret. Why won't his parents talk about it? What else are they hiding from Max about his condition and from each other? The deeper Max goes, the more questions emerge about where it all leaves him and what his future holds, especially now that he's starting to fall head over heels for someone for the first time in his life. Will his friends accept him if he is no longer the Golden Boy? Will anyone ever want him--desire him--once they know? And the biggest one of all, the question he has to look inside himself to answer: Who is Max Walker, really?
"Golden Boy" is a novel you'll read in one sitting but will never forget; at once a riveting tale of a family in crisis, a fascinating exploration of identity, and a coming-of-age story like no other.
Author April Sinclair is joining The Intimates Book Club for their discussion on May 31st at 6:00 PM!
May 2015 Selection: Chicago deejay Daphne "Dee Dee" Dupree is sassy and successful--but a series of catastrophic relationships has left her gun-shy. Now with her own life and the lives of those closest to her seemingly coming apart at the seams, she's going to have to leave the safe cocoon of her broadcasting booth to face her world, her secrets, and a new promise of mature love fearlessly and head-on.
March 2015 Selection: Max Wolf Valerio crafts a raw, gripping, and poetic account of life before, during, and after injecting testosterone. Valerio's detailed observations about a lesbian transitioning from female to a heterosexual male highlights the physical and emotional differences between women and men, and alternately challenges and confirms readers' assumptions about gender.
Valerio presents his story in three parts: the height of his transition, in which he witnesses his own increased energy and sex drive while struggling with gaining confidence in his male self and bearing witness to his own demise as a woman; life before testosterone, when as Anita, a self-identified lesbian out for fourteen years, he confronts startling moments of awareness of a deeper, earlier dream of who he really is; and life after testosterone, when the experience of living in the world as a man is at once a homecoming and a confirmation that male behavior is at least partly rooted in biology.
"The Testosterone Files" addresses the most fundamental issues of transitioning, from buying men's underwear to choosing a male name, as well as the profound subjects of male privilege, physical power, and existing as a male who was once distrustful and critical of men's intentions. Valerio's honest and forthcoming opinions on gender, identity, and self-perception comprise the core of this intensely personal and absorbing narrative which grapples with the tough and complex issues that emerge in a world whose assumptions about gender binaries are being increasingly challenged as more people openly self-define across the gender spectrum.
February 2015 Selection: The #1 "New York Times" Bestseller An "Entertainment Weekly" Top Ten Book of the Year Now a Major Motion Picture"""" """""Running with Scissors" is the true story of a boy whose mother (a poet with delusions of Anne Sexton) gave him away to be raised by her unorthodox psychiatrist who bore a striking resemblance to Santa Claus. So at the age of twelve, Burroughs found himself amidst Victorian squalor living with the doctor's bizarre family, and befriending a pedophile who resided in the backyard shed. The story of an outlaw childhood where rules were unheard of, and the Christmas tree stayed up all year round, where Valium was consumed like candy, and if things got dull an electroshock- therapy machine could provide entertainment. The funny, harrowing and bestselling account of an ordinary boy's survival under the most extraordinary circumstances. Running with Scissors Acknowledgments
Gratitude doesn't begin to describe it: Jennifer Enderlin, Christopher Schelling, John Murphy, Gregg Sullivan, Kim Cardascia, Michael Storrings, and everyone at St. Martin's Press. Thank you: Lawrence David, Suzanne Finnamore, Robert Rodi, Bret Easton Ellis, Jon Pepoon, Lee Lodes, Jeff Soares, Kevin Weidenbacher, Lynda Pearson, Lona Walburn, Lori Greenburg, John DePretis, and Sheila Cobb. I would also like to express my appreciation to my mother and father for, no matter how inadvertently, giving me such a memorable childhood. Additionally, I would like to thank the real-life members of the family portrayed in this book for taking me into their home and accepting me as one of their own. I recognize that their memories of the events described in this book are different than my own. They are each fine, decent, and hard-working people. The book was not intended to hurt the family. Both my publisher and I regret any unintentional harm resulting from the publishing and marketing of Running with Scissors. Most of all, I would like to thank my brother for demonstrating, by example, the importance of being wholly unique.
January 2015 Selection: Rubyfruit Jungle is the first milestone novel in the extraordinary career of one of this country's most distinctive writers. Bawdy and moving, the ultimate word-of-mouth bestseller, Rubyfruit Jungle is about growing up a lesbian in America - and living happily ever after.
Born a bastard, Molly Bolt is adopted by a dirt-poor Southern couple who want something better for their daughter. Molly plays doctor with the boys, beats up Leroy the tub and loses her virginity to her girlfriend in sixth grade.
As she grows to realize she's different, Molly decides not to apologize for that. In no time she mesmerizes the head cheerleader of Ft. Lauderdale High and captivates a gorgeous bourbon-guzzling heiress.
But the world is not tolerant. Booted out of college for moral turpitude, an unrepentant, penniless Molly takes New York by storm, sending not a few female hearts aflutter with her startling beauty, crackling wit and fierce determination to become the greatest filmmaker that ever lived.
Critically acclaimed when first published, Rubyfruit Jungle has only grown in reputation as it has reached new generations of readers who respond to its feisty and inspiring heroine.
November 2014 Selection: The true story of a nice Jewish boy who joins the Church of Scientology and leaves twelve years later to become the lovely lady she is today.
October 2014 Selection: Tell me a story. A panicked call from his ex-wife summons Ken Nicholson back to New Orleans, where his son has been attacked and left for dead. While his child's life hangs in the balance, Ken endures visions connected to a terrifying time from his past. As a teenager, he witnessed the brutal deaths of several young men, an act orchestrated by his benefactor, Travis Brugier. Following the shocking spectacle, Brugier kills himself before Ken's eyes. Now, decades later, someone wants Ken to remember, wants Ken to return to those violent days. With the lives of his estranged family and his lover, David, threatened, Ken has no choice but to follow his nightmares back to their origin. There he will battle a corrupt and powerful being that believes every life is a story to be captured and rewritten, a being that doesn't believe in happy endings. Welcome back to Wonderland.
September 2014 Selection: A breakneck tale of kick-ass, wise-ass, sexy-ass lesbians and zombies, Eat Your Heart Out opens on what promises to be another tediously annoying day at Ashbee's Furniture Outlet. Then the strip-mall calm of Nowhere, Ohio, is shattered by the sudden, simultaneous appearance of Renni Ramirez-hyper-competent star of the beloved Rising Evil B-movie franchise-and actual zombies, leaving Ashbee's hapless staff and Renni trapped behind an automatic door they can't lock. Can failed creative-writing student/apprentice store manager/eagle-eyed markswoman Devin escape the besieged furniture store to rescue her girlfriend? Will Renni's experience slaughtering motion-captured CGI monsters save the day before the army bombs the town? Once bitten, how many zombies can a person expect to take out before succumbing to infection? Who is the mysterious Deus Ex Machina, and what is he doing with that bone saw? All of these questions and more whisper behind the scream of the single most important thing Devin needs to know in order to survive: is Renni a top or a bottom?
August 2014 Selection: On a moonlit night on the outskirts of London, Lord Geoffroy Loveall findsthe answer to his prayers: an abandoned baby, somehow still alive amid thejunk of a rubbish heap. Rescuing the infant from certain death, Lord Geoffroy adopts her as his only child, heir to the fabulous Love Hall fortune. He names her Rose in memory of his long-dead sister and gives hera childhood of unparalleled gaiety and unstinting pleasure. But every house has a secret, and as Rose approaches adolescence, the secret of Love Hall becomes impossible to hide. As much as Lord Geoffroy wanted a daughter, the baby he brought home is, in fact, a boy.
July 2014 Selection: The modern literary classic that has been compared to "To Kill a Mockingbird" and "Catcher in the Rye."
"As close to flawless as any reader could ask for."
"-The New York Times Book Review"
The publication of Dorothy Allison's "Bastard Out of Carolina" was a landmark event. The novel's profound portrait of family dynamics in the rural South won the author a National Book Award nomination and launched her into the literary spotlight. Critics have likened Allison to William Faulkner, Flannery O'Connor, and Harper Lee, naming her the first writer of her generation to dramatize the lives and language of poor whites in the South. Since its appearance, the novel has inspired an award-winning film and has been banned from libraries and classrooms, championed by fans, and defended by critics.
Greenville County, South Carolina, is a wild, lush place that is home to the Boatwright family-a tight-knit clan of rough-hewn, hard- drinking men who shoot up each other's trucks, and indomitable women who get married young and age too quickly. At the heart of this story is Ruth Anne Boatwright, known simply as Bone, a bastard child who observes the world around her with a mercilessly keen perspective. When her stepfather Daddy Glen, "cold as death, mean as a snake," becomes increasingly more vicious toward her, Bone finds herself caught in a family triangle that tests the loyalty of her mother, Anney-and leads to a final, harrowing encounter from which there can be no turning back.
Now available in a twentieth anniversary keepsake edition with a new afterword by the author.
June 2014 Selection: The enthralling debut from bestselling novelistMichael Chabon is a penetrating narrative of complexfriendships, father-son conflicts, and the awakening of a young man's sexualidentity. Chabon masterfully renders the funny, tender, and captivating first-person narrative of Art Bechstein, whose confusion and heartache echo the tones of literary forebears like The Catcher in the Rye's HoldenCaulfield and The Great Gatsby's NickCarraway. TheMysteries of Pittsburgh incontrovertibly established Chabonas a powerful force in contemporary fiction, even before his PulitzerPrize-winning novel The AmazingAdventures of Kavalier & Clay set theliterary world spinning. An unforgettable story of coming of age in America, itis also an essential milestone in the movement of American fiction, from anovelist who has become one of the most important and enduring voices of thisgeneration.
May 2014 Selection: Virginia Woolf described "Orlando" as "an escapade, half-laughing, half-serious; with great splashes of exaggeration, " but many think Woolf's escapade is one of the most wickedly imaginative and sharply observed considerations of androgyny that this century will see. Orlando is, in fact, a character liberated from the restraints of time and sex. Born in the Elizabethan Age to wealth and position, he is a young male aristocrat at the beginning of the story - and a modern woman four centuries later. The hero-heroine sees monarchs come and go, hobnobs with great literary figures, and slips in and out of each new fashion. Woolf presents a brilliant pageant of history, society, and literature as well as subtle appreciation of the interplay between endings and beginnings, past and present, male and female.
Author Lucy Jane Bledsoe joins The Intimates for their April meeting!
April 2014 Selection: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.
At least that's how thirty-year-old Rosie Moore views it as she flies in for her third season on the Ice. She plans to avoid all entanglements, romantic and otherwise, and do her work as a galley cook. But when her flight crash-lands, so do all her plans.
Mikala Wilbo, a brilliant young composer whose heart--and music--have been frozen since the death of her partner, is also on that flight. She has come to the Ice as an artist-in-residence, to write music, but also to secretly check out the astrophysicist father she has never met.
Arriving a few weeks later, Alice Neilson, a graduate student in geology who thinks in charts and equations, is thrilled to leave her dependent mother and begin her career at last. But from the start she is aware that her post-doc advisor, with whom she will work in Antarctica, expects much more from their relationship.
As the three women become increasingly involved in each other's lives, they find themselves deeply transformed by their time on the Ice. Each falls in love. Each faces challenges she never thought she would meet. And ultimately, each finds redemption in a depth and quality of friendship that only the harsh beauty of Antarctica can engender. Finalist, Lambda Literary Awards Finalist, Ferro-Grumley Award for LGBT Fiction, awarded by the Publishing Triangle Finalist, Northern California Independent Booksellers Association Honorable Mention, "Foreword Magazine"'s Gay/Lesbian Fiction Book of the Year Best Books for General Audiences, selected by the Public Library Association
March 2014 Selection: Asher Machnik is a teenage boy cursed with a beautiful androgynous face. Guys punch him, girls slag him and by high school he's developed an intense fear of being touched. Art remains his only escape from an otherwise emotionally empty life. Eulalie Mason is the lonely, tough-talking dyke from school who befriends Ash. The only one to see and accept all of his sides as a loner, a fellow artist and a best friend, she's starting to wonder if ash is ever going to see all of her.... a + e 4EVER is a graphic novel set in that ambiguous crossroads where love and friendship, boy and girl, straight and gay meet. It goes where few books have ventured, into genderqueer life, where affections aren't black and white.
February 2014 Selection: Fairy tales have long intrigued readers. They're the first stories we remember, and they resonate within us as adults. In Sleeping Beauty, Indeed, editor Joselle Vanderhooft offers us a new take on an ancient theme: fairy tales told from with a lesbian perspective. From Cinderella to Sleeping Beauty, from original myths by talented authors to classics retold with a deft hand, these imaginative tales are by turn erotic and sensuous, loving and wicked. Take a bite of the magic apple and take this anthology to bed tonight.
January 2014 Selection: This is not a hair book. It's a dark comedy of a spiritual misfit, a child with a dream born into the wrong town. Religious cults, corporate cults, insane clients--Francis can't catch a break. Francis has observed his own inability to fit in since birth, and his decision to be a professional cosmetologist only exacerbates his innate oddness.
Daniel LeVesque accepted his cosmically assigned career of cosmetologist after attending the Arthur Angelo School of Cosmetology and Hair Design. His writing appears in "Punk Globe" and numerous anthologies. He currently resides in Oakland, California. This is his first book.
November 2013 Selection: What is the correct etiquette for visiting a brothel? How should one react when a transsexual wants to show off her latest surgery? Is it appropriate to speak to television personalities when they're buying underwear? These are the questions that matter in London's Soho neighborhood, where Clayton Littlewood runs the cult clothing store Dirty White Boy. From his window on one of the busiest street corners in the world, Littlewood watches the daily parade of fashion queens, prostitutes, gangsters, and celebrities that make up the population of this strangest of villages. "Dirty White Boy" is a vivid mosaic of modern London, caught between the ghosts of the past and the uncertainties of the future. With an unforgettable cast of characters ranging from Chico the camp queen to Pam the Fag Lady (with guest spots by stars like Kathy Griffin and Graham Norton), these compulsively readable true tales offer a wry panorama of Soho's rich and often raucous subcultures.
August 2013 Selection: Set in the 1950s Paris of American expatriates, liaisons, and violence, a young man finds himself caught between desire and conventional morality. With a sharp, probing imagination, James Baldwin's now-classic narrative delves into the mystery of loving and creates a moving, highly controversial story of death and passion that reveals the unspoken complexities of the human heart.
April 2013 Selection: The last thing in the world Thom Creed wants is to add to his father's pain, so he keeps secrets. Like that he has special powers. And that he's been asked to join the League the very organization of superheroes that spurned his dad. But the most painful secret of all is one Thom can barely face himself: he's gay.
But becoming a member of the League opens up a new world to Thom. There, he connects with a misfit group of aspiring heroes, including Scarlett, who can control fire but not her anger; Typhoid Larry, who can make anyone sick with his touch; and Ruth, a wise old broad who can see the future. Like Thom, these heroes have things to hide; but they will have to learn to trust one another when they uncover a deadly conspiracy within the League.
To survive, Thom will face challenges he never imagined. To find happiness, he'll have to come to terms with his father's past and discover the kind of hero he really wants to be.
February 2013 Selection: An upper-class woman recovering from a suicide attempt, Margaret Prior has begun visiting the women's ward of Millbank prison, Victorian London's grimmest jail, as part of her rehabilitative charity work. Amongst Millbank's murderers and common thieves, Margaret finds herself increasingly fascinated by on apparently innocent inmate, the enigmatic spiritualist Selina Dawes. Selina was imprisoned after a seance she was conducting went horribly awry, leaving an elderly matron dead and a young woman deeply disturbed. Although initially skeptical of Selina's gifts, Margaret is soon drawn into a twilight world of ghosts and shadows, unruly spirits and unseemly passions, until she is at last driven to concoct a desperate plot to secure Selina's freedom, and her own.
As in her noteworthy deput, Tipping the Velvet, Sarah Waters brilliantly evokes the sights and smells of a moody and beguiling nineteenth-century London, and proves herself yet again a storyteller, in the words of the "New York Times Book Review," of "startling power." A tale that will leave readers "transfixed with horror and excitement" ("Daily Mail," London) Affinity, in its accomplishment and sophistication, leaves no doubt as to this writer's considerable gifts.
January 2013 Selection:Richard Rossi works in HR at a Boston-based software company and prides himself on his understanding of the foibles and fictions we all use to get through the day. Too bad he's not as good at spotting such behavior in himself. What else could explain his passionate affair with Benjamin, a very unavailable married man? Richard is also not entirely available himself--there's Conrad, his adorable if maddening partner to contend with. But when Conrad starts spending a suspicious amount of time in Ohio, and economic uncertainty challenges Richard's chances for promotion, he realizes his priorities might be a little skewed.
October 2012 Selection: Set against the harsh reality of an unforgiving landscape and culture, The Man Who Fell in Love with the Moon provides a vision of the Old West unlike anything seen before. The narrator, Shed, is one of the most memorable characters in contemporary fiction: a half-Indian bisexual boy who lives and works at the Indian Head Hotel in the tiny town of Excellent, Idaho. It's the turn of the century, and the hotel carries on a prosperous business as the town's brothel. The eccentric characters working in the hotel provide Shed with a surrogate family, yet he finds in himself a growing need to learn the meaning of his Indian name, Duivichi-un-Dua, given to him by his mother, who was murdered when he was twelve. Setting off alone across the haunting plains, Shed goes in search of an identity among his true people, encountering a rich pageant of extraordinary characters along the way. Although he learns a great deal about the mysteries and traditions of his Indian heritage, it is not until Shed returns to Excellent and witnesses a series of brutal tragedies that he attains the wisdom that infuses this exceptional and captivating book.