The Intimates: The East Bay Queer Book Club
July 2018 Selection: The basis of the PBS American Experience documentary Stonewall Uprising.
In 1969, a series of riots over police action against The Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York City's Greenwich Village, changed the longtime landscape of the homosexual in society literally overnight. Since then the event itself has become the stuff of legend, with relatively little hard information available on the riots themselves. Now, based on hundreds of interviews, an exhaustive search of public and previously sealed files, and over a decade of intensive research into the history and the topic, Stonewall: The Riots That Sparked the Gay Revolution brings this singular event to vivid life in this, the definitive story of one of history's most singular events.
A Randy Shilts / Publishing Triangle Award Finalist
June 2018 Selection: In a futuristic society run by an all-powerful Gov, a bender teen on the cusp of adulthood has choices to make that will change her life--and maybe the world.
Fifteen-year-old bender Kivali has had a rough time in a gender-rigid culture. Abandoned as a baby and raised by Sheila, an ardent nonconformist, Kivali has always been surrounded by uncertainty. Where did she come from? Is it true what Sheila says, that she was deposited on Earth by the mysterious saurians? What are you? people ask, and Kivali isn't sure. Boy/girl? Human/lizard? Both/neither? Now she's in CropCamp, with all of its schedules and regs, and the first real friends she's ever had. Strange occurrences and complicated relationships raise questions Kivali has never before had to consider. But she has a gift--the power to enter a trancelike state to harness the "knowings" inside her. She has Lizard Radio. Will it be enough to save her? A coming-of-age story rich in friendships and the shattering emotions of first love, this deeply felt novel will resonate with teens just emerging as adults in a sometimes hostile world.
April 2018 Selection: Ambitious, sporty, feminine "capital-"L" lesbians" had been Nina Krieger's type, for friends that is. She hadn't dated in seven years, a period of non-stop traveling--searching for what, or avoiding what, she didn't know. When she lands in San Francisco's Castro neighborhood, her roommates introduce her to a whole new world, full of people who identify as queer, who modify their bodies and blur the line between woman and man, who defy everything Nina thought she knew about gender and identity. Despite herself, Nina is drawn to the people she once considered freaks, and before long, she is forging a path that is neither man nor woman, here nor there. This candid and humorous memoir of gender awakening brings readers into the world of the next generation of transgender warriors and tells a classic tale of first love and self-discovery.
March 2018 Selection: Hailed by critics as "a bravura performance" ( Locus) and "witty, sharp-eyed, [and] full of interesting people" ( Newsday), this acclaimed novel, filled with remarkable plot twists and unexpected humor, takes fantasy to an unprecedented level of elegant writing and scintillating wit. Award-winning author Ellen Kushner has created a world of unforgettable characters whose political ambitions, passionate love affairs, and age-old rivalries collide with deadly results.
On the treacherous streets of Riverside, a man lives and dies by the sword. Even the nobles on the Hill turn to duels to settle their disputes. Within this elite, dangerous world, Richard St. Vier is the undisputed master, as skilled as he is ruthless--until a death by the sword is met with outrage instead of awe, and the city discovers that the line between hero and villain can be altered in the blink of an eye.
January 2018 Selection: Largely to amuse herself, Gertrude Stein wrote this book in 1932..using as a sounding board her companion Miss Toklas, who had been with her for twenty-five years. The book is full of the most lucid and shapely anecdotes, told in a purer and more closely fitting prose...than even Gide or Hemingway have ever commanded.
October 2017 Selection: The recipient of numerous literary prizes, including the National Book Award, the Kafka Award, five Hugo Awards and five Nebula Awards, the renowned writer Ursula K. Le Guin has, in each story and novel, created a provocative, ever-evolving universe filled with diverse worlds and rich characters reminiscent of our earthly selves. Now, in The Birthday of the World, this gifted artist returns to these worlds in eight brilliant short works, including a never-before-published novella, each of which probes the essence of humanity.
September 2017 Selection: During the Civil War, two young soldiers on opposite sides find themselves drawn together. One is a war-weary but scholarly Southerner who has seen too much bloodshed, especially the tortures inflicted upon the enemy by his vicious commanding officer, his uncle. The other is a Herculean Yankee captured by the rag-tag Confederate band and forced to become a martyr for all the sins of General Sheridan's fires. When these two find themselves admiring more than one another's spirit and demeanor, when passions erupt between captor and captive, will this new romance survive the arduous trek to Purgatory Mountain?
August 2017 Selection: From the astonishingly talented writer of The Accidental and Hotel World comes Ali Smith's brilliant retelling of Ovid's gender-bending myth of Iphis and lanthe, as seen through the eyes of two Scottish sisters. Girl Meets Boy is about girls and boys, girls and girls, love and transformation, and the absurdity of consumerism, as well as a story of reversals and revelations that is as sharply witty as it is lyrical. Funny, fresh, poetic, and political, Girl Meets Boy is a myth of metamorphosis for a world made in Madison Avenue's image, and the funniest addition to the Myths series from Canongate since Margaret Atwood's The Penelopiad.
July 2017 Selection: Jameson Currier expands his richly detailed storytelling to an international level, weaving together the intertwining stories of the search for a missing journalist in the Bamiyan region of Afghanistan with a young man's search for his older brother in Manhattan in the aftermath of 9-11. The result is a sweeping, multi-cultural novel of what it means to be a gay citizen of the world.
June 2017 Selection: At thirty-five, Mary Frazier Armstrong, called "Frazier" by friends and enemies alike, is a sophisticated woman with a thriving art gallery, a healthy bank balance, and an enviable social position.In fact, she has everything to live for, but she's lying in a hospital bed with a morphine drip in her arm and a life expectancy measured in hours."Don't die a stranger," her assistant says on her last hospital visit."Tell the people you love who you are."And so, as her last act on earth, Frazier writes letters to her closest family and friends, telling them exactly what she thinks of them and, since she will be dead by the time they receive the letters, the truth about herself: she's gay.
The letters are sent.Then the manure hits the fan in Charlottesville, Virginia, because the funny thing is, Frazier Armstrong isn't going to die after all.
May 2017 Selection: Winner of a 2013 Lambda Literary Award
A New York Times bestselling novel of desire, secrecy, and sexual identity, In One Person is a story of unfulfilled love--tormented, funny, and affecting--and an impassioned embrace of our sexual differences. Billy, the bisexual narrator and main character of In One Person, tells the tragicomic story (lasting more than half a century) of his life as a "sexual suspect," a phrase first used by John Irving in 1978 in his landmark novel of "terminal cases," The World According to Garp.
In One Person is a poignant tribute to Billy's friends and lovers--a theatrical cast of characters who defy category and convention. Not least, In One Person is an intimate and unforgettable portrait of the solitariness of a bisexual man who is dedicated to making himself "worthwhile."
April 2017 Selection: Before Buffy, before Twilight, before Octavia Butler's Fledgling, there was The Gilda Stories, Jewelle Gomez's sexy vampire novel. This remarkable novel begins in 1850s Louisiana, where Gilda escapes slavery and learns about freedom while working in a brothel. After being initiated into eternal life as one who "shares the blood" by two women there, Gilda spends the next two hundred years searching for a place to call home. An instant lesbian classic when it was first published in 1991, The Gilda Stories has endured as an auspiciously prescient book in its explorations of blackness, radical ecology, re-definitions of family, and yes, the erotic potential of the vampire story.
March 2017 Selection: Dispatches from Lesbian America is a collection of more than forty works of short fiction and memoir from contemporary writers, some newly emerging and some well-known. Unique in recent lesbian anthologies, these thoughtful stories address themes meaningful to us in the modern world. Featured Authors: Charlene Allen, Mari Alschuler, Joan Annsfire, Roxanne Ansolabehere, Terry Baum, Xequina Maria Berber, Elizabeth Bernays, Lynn Brown, Giovanna Capone, Susan Clements, Elana Dykewomon, Haley Fedor, Joanne Fleisher, Pippa Fleming, Judy Grahn, Felicia Hayes, Lois Rita Helmbold, Chante Shirelle Holsey, Toke Hoppenbrouwers, Happy/L.A. Hyder, Bev Jafek, Bev Jo, Lenn Keller, Heidi LaMoreaux, Alison Laurie, Mo Markham, Arielle Nyx McKee, Heal McKnight, Helena Montgomery, Dr. Bonnie J. Morris, Ashley Obinwanne, Artemis Passionflower, Tonya Primm, Francesca Roccaforte, Lilith Rogers, Ruth A. Rouff, Heath Atom Russell, Barbara Ruth, Mary Saracino, Cheela "Rome" Smith, Tess Tabak, and Polly Taylor.
February 2017 Selection: After 15 years of designing more than 1,500 book jackets at Knopf for such authors as Anne Rice and Michael Chrichton, Kidd has crafted an affecting an entertaining novel set at a state university in the late 1950s that is both slap-happily funny and heartbreakingly sad. The Cheese Monkeys is a college novel that takes place over a tightly written two semesters. The book is set in the late 1950s at State U, where the young narrator, has decided to major in art, much to his parents dismay. It is an autobiographical, coming-of-age novel which tells universally appealing stories of maturity, finding a calling in life, and being inspired by a loving, demanding, and highly eccentric teacher.
January 2017 Selection: The Pink Marine is the story-full of hilarity and heartbreak-of how a teenage boy who struggles with self-acceptance and doesn't fit the traditional definition of masculinity finds acceptance and self-worth in Marine Corps boot camp. When Greg Cope White's best friend tells him he's spending his summer in Marine Corps boot camp at Parris Island, South Carolina, all Greg hears is 'summer' and 'camp'. Despite dire warnings from his friend, Greg vows to join him in recruit training. He's eighteen, underweight, he's never run a mile-and he's gay. Greg's sheltered life hadn't prepared him for military service. A prince out of water, he packed five suitcases since he'd never been away from home for thirteen weeks. The U.S. Marines stripped him from all of that, shaved his head and put a rifle in his hands. At first he struggles to keep up, and afraid his secret will be discovered. But midway through, the desire to survive and become a Marine trumps fear. He learns that everyone, just like in the real world, comes into the service feeling 'different'; possibly prejudged for the color of their skin, their weight, their poverty--some have even chosen boot camp over jail. Can a flighty, 112-pound, unmanly Texan transform into one of the few, the proud, the Marines? Will Greg even survive?
November 2016 Selection: "Dora: A Headcase" is a contemporary coming-of-age story based on Freud's famous case study--retold and revamped through Dora's point of view, with shotgun blasts of dark humor and sexual play.
Ida needs a shrink . . . or so her philandering father thinks, and he sends her to a Seattle psychiatrist. Immediately wise to the head games of her new shrink, whom she nicknames Siggy, Ida begins a coming-of-age journey. At the beginning of her therapy, Ida, whose alter ego is Dora, and her small posse of pals engage in "art attacks." Ida's in love with her friend Obsidian, but when she gets close to intimacy, she faints or loses her voice. Ida and her friends hatch a plan to secretly film Siggy and make an experimental art film. But something goes wrong at a crucial moment--at a nearby hospital Ida finds her father suffering a heart attack. While Ida loses her voice, a rough cut of her experimental film has gone viral, and unethical media agents are hunting her down. A chase ensues in which everyone wants what Ida has.
October 2016 Selection: In her starkly beautiful and wholly unexpected tale, Jackie Kay delves into the most intimate workings of the human heart and mind and offers a triumphant tale of loving deception and lasting devotion.
The death of legendary jazz trumpeter Joss Moody exposes an extraordinary secret, one that enrages his adopted son, Colman, leading him to collude with a tabloid journalist. Besieged by the press, his widow Millie flees to a remote Scottish village, where she seeks solace in memories of their marriage. The reminiscences of those who knew Joss Moody render a moving portrait of a shared life founded on an intricate lie, one that preserved a rare, unconditional love.
August 2016 Selection:
A revelatory novel about being queer and Muslim, set in war-torn Iraq in 2003. Ramy is a young gay Iraqi struggling to find a balance between his sexuality, religion, and culture. Ammar is a sheikh whose guidance Ramy seeks, and whose tolerance is tested by his belief in the teachings of the Qur'an. Full of quiet moments of beauty and raw depictions of violence, "God in Pink "poignantly captures the anguish and the fortitude of Islamic life in Iraq.
Hasan Namir was born in Iraq in 1987. "God in Pink" is his first novel.
June 2016 Selection: In the far future, human culture has developed five distinctive genders due to the effects of a drug easing sickness from faster-than-light travel. But on the planet Hara, where society is increasingly instability, caught between hard-liner traditions and the realities of life, only male and female genders are legal, and the "odd-bodied" population are forced to pass as one or the other. Warreven Stiller, a lawyer and an intersexed person, is an advocate for those who have violated Haran taboos. When Hara regains contact with the Concord worlds, Warreven finds a larger role in breaking the long-standing role society has forced on "him," but the search for personal identity becomes a battleground of political intrigue and cultural clash. Winner of a Lambda Literary Award for Gay/Lesbian Science Fiction, Shadow Man remains one of the more important modern, speculative novels ever published in the field of gender- and sexual identity.
April 2016 Selection:"New York Times" Bestseller Winner of the 2015 WOMEN'S WAY Book Prize Goodreads Best of 2014 Semi-Finalist Books for a Better Life Award Finalist Lambda Literary Award Finalist "Time" Magazine 30 Most Influential People on the Internet American Library Association Stonewall Honor Book
In her profound and courageous "New York Times" bestseller, Janet Mock establishes herself as a resounding and inspirational voice for the transgender community and anyone fighting to define themselves on their own terms.
With unflinching honesty and moving prose, Janet Mock relays her experiences of growing up young, multiracial, poor, and trans in America, offering readers accessible language while imparting vital insight about the unique challenges and vulnerabilities of a marginalized and misunderstood population. Though undoubtedly an account of one woman s quest for self at all costs, "Redefining Realness" is a powerful vision of possibility and self-realization, pushing us all toward greater acceptance of one another and of ourselves showing as never before how to be unapologetic and real."
January 2016 Selection:
A tale of grief and lust, frustration and hilarity, death and family
Penelope O'Grady and Cara Wall are risking disaster when, like teenagers in any intolerant time and place--here, a Dublin convent school in the late 1970s--they fall in love. Yet Cara, the free spirit, and Pen, the stoic, craft a bond so strong it seems as though nothing could sever it: not the bickering, not the secrets, not even Cara's infidelities.
But thirteen years on, a car crash kills Cara and rips the lid off Pen's world. Pen is still in the closet, teaching at her old school, living under the roof of Cara's gentle father, who thinks of her as his daughter's friend. How can she survive widowhood without even daring to claim the word? Over the course of one surreal week of bereavement, she is battered by memories that range from the humiliating, to the exalted, to the erotic, to the funny. It will take Pen all her intelligence and wit to sort through her tumultuous past with Cara, and all the nerve she can muster to start remaking her life.
November 2015 Selection:Universally praised on its publication, "Fire Shut Up in My Bones"is a pioneering journalist s indelible coming-of-age tale.
Charles M. Blow s mother was a fiercely driven woman with five sons, brass knuckles in her glove box, and a job plucking poultry at a factory near their segregated Louisiana town, where slavery's legacy felt close. When her philandering husband finally pushed her over the edge, she fired a pistol at his fleeing back, missing every shot, thanks to love that blurred her vision and bent the barrel. Charles was the baby of the family, fiercely attached to his do-right mother. Until one day that divided his life into Before and After the day an older cousin took advantage of the young boy. The story of how Charles escaped that world to become one of America s most innovative and respected public figures is a stirring, redemptive journey that works its way into the deepest chambers of the heart.
October 2015 Selection:
Set in the 1980s against the backdrop of a swiftly gentrifying Manhattan, "The Lost Language of Cranes "tells the story of twenty-five-year-old Philip Benjamin, who realizes he must come out to his parents after falling in love for the first time with a man. Philip's parents are facing their own problems: pressure from developers and the loss of their longtime home. But the real threat to the family is Philip's father's own struggle with his suppressed homosexuality, realized only in Sunday afternoon visits to gay porn theaters. Philip's revelation to his parents leads his father to a point of crisis and provokes changes that forever alter the landscape of the family's lives.
July 2015 Selection: An evocative coming-of-age novel about growing up gay in Sri Lanka during the Tamil-Sinhalese conflict one of the country s most turbulent and deadly periods.
Arjie is funny.
The second son of a privileged family in Sri Lanka, he prefers staging make-believe wedding pageants with his female cousins to battling balls with the other boys. When his parents discover his innocent pastime, Arjie is forced to abandon his idyllic childhood games and adopt the rigid rules of an adult world. Bewildered by his incipient sexual awakening, mortified by the bloody Tamil-Sinhalese conflicts that threaten to tear apart his homeland, Arjie painfully grows toward manhood and an understanding of his own different identity.
Refreshing, raw, and poignant, Funny Boy is an exquisitely written, compassionate tale of a boy s coming-of-age that quietly confounds expectations of love, family, and country as it delivers the powerful message of staying true to one s self no matter the obstacles."
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.