The Intimates: The East Bay Queer Book Club
March 2020 Selection: The first novel in the beloved Tales of the City series, Armistead Maupin's best-selling San Francisco saga, and inspiration for the Netflix original series once again starring Laura Linney and Olympia Dukakis.
Inspiration for the Netflix Limited Series, Tales of the City
A PBS Great American Read Top 100 Pick
For almost four decades Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City has blazed its own trail through popular culture--from a groundbreaking newspaper serial to a classic novel, to a television event that entranced millions around the world. The first of nine novels about the denizens of the mythic apartment house at 28 Barbary Lane, Tales is both a sparkling comedy of manners and an indelible portrait of an era that changed forever the way we live.
November 2019 Selection:***WINNER OF THE 2018 EISNER AWARD FOR BEST U.S. EDITION OF INTERNATIONAL MATERIAL -- ASIA***
Yaichi is a work-at-home suburban dad in contemporary Tokyo; formerly married to Natsuki and father to their young daughter, Kana. Their lives suddenly change with the arrival at their doorstep of a hulking, affable Canadian named Mike Flanagan, who declares himself the widower of Yaichi's estranged gay twin, Ryoji. Mike is on a quest to explore Ryoji's past, and the family reluctantly but dutifully takes him in. What follows is an unprecedented and heartbreaking look at the state of a largely still-closeted Japanese gay culture: how it's been affected by the West, and how the next generation can change the preconceptions about it and prejudices against it.
October 2019 Selection: A People magazine Best Book of Fall 2019 "F***ing outstanding."--Roxane Gay, New York Times bestselling author
Juliet Milgros Palante is a self-proclaimed closeted Puerto Rican baby dyke from the Bronx. Only, she's not so closeted anymore. Not after coming out to her family the night before flying to Portland, Oregon, to intern with her favorite feminist writer--what's sure to be a life-changing experience. And when Juliet's coming out crashes and burns, she's not sure her mom will ever speak to her again.
But Juliet has a plan--sort of. Her internship with legendary author Harlowe Brisbane, the ultimate authority on feminism, women's bodies, and other gay-sounding stuff, is sure to help her figure out this whole "Puerto Rican lesbian" thing. Except Harlowe's white. And not from the Bronx. And she definitely doesn't have all the answers . . . In a summer bursting with queer brown dance parties, a sexy fling with a motorcycling librarian, and intense explorations of race and identity, Juliet learns what it means to come out--to the world, to her family, to herself.
September 2019 Selection: Doro is an entity who changes bodies like clothes, killing his hosts by reflex -- or design. He fears no one -- until he meets Anyanwu. Anyanwu is a shapeshifter who can absorb bullets and heal with a kiss...and savage anyone who threatens those she loves. She fears no one -- until she meets Doro. From African jungles to the colonies of America, Doro and Anyanwu weave together a pattern of destiny that not even immortals can imagine.
August 2019 Selection: The acclaimed modern science fiction masterpiece, included on Library Journal's Best SFF of 2016, the Barnes & Nobles Sci-Fi Fantasy Blog Best Books of 2015, the Tor.com Best Books of 2015, Reader's Choice, as well as nominated for the Arthur C. Clarke Award, the Kitschie, and the Bailey's Women's Prize.
Follow a motley crew on an exciting journey through space--and one adventurous young explorer who discovers the meaning of family in the far reaches of the universe--in this light-hearted debut space opera from a rising sci-fi star.
Rosemary Harper doesn't expect much when she joins the crew of the aging Wayfarer. While the patched-up ship has seen better days, it offers her a bed, a chance to explore the far-off corners of the galaxy, and most importantly, some distance from her past. An introspective young woman who learned early to keep to herself, she's never met anyone remotely like the ship's diverse crew, including Sissix, the exotic reptilian pilot, chatty engineers Kizzy and Jenks who keep the ship running, and Ashby, their noble captain.
Life aboard the Wayfarer is chaotic and crazy--exactly what Rosemary wants. It's also about to get extremely dangerous when the crew is offered the job of a lifetime. Tunneling wormholes through space to a distant planet is definitely lucrative and will keep them comfortable for years. But risking her life wasn't part of the plan. In the far reaches of deep space, the tiny Wayfarer crew will confront a host of unexpected mishaps and thrilling adventures that force them to depend on each other. To survive, Rosemary's got to learn how to rely on this assortment of oddballs--an experience that teaches her about love and trust, and that having a family isn't necessarily the worst thing in the universe.
July 2019 Selection: "ZAMI is a fast-moving chronicle. From the author's vivid childhood memories in Harlem to her coming of age in the late 1950s, the nature of Audre Lorde's work is cyclical. It especially relates the linkage of women who have shaped her . . . Lorde brings into play her craft of lush description and characterization. It keeps unfolding page after page."-- Off Our Backs
June 2019 Selection: When Fox is a Thousand is a lyrical, magical novel, rich with poetry and folklore and elements of the fairytale. Larissa Lai interweaves three narrative voices and their attendant cultures: an elusive fox growing toward wisdom and her 1000 birthday, the ninth-century Taoist poet/nun Yu Hsuan-Chi (a real person executed in China for murder), and the oddly named Artemis, a young Asian-American woman living in contemporary Vancouver.
With beautiful and enchanting prose, and a sure narrative hand, Lai combines Chinese mythology, the sexual politics of medieval China, and modern-day Vancouver to masterfully revise the myth of the Fox (a figure who can inhibit women's bodies in order to cause mischief). Her potent imagination and considerable verbal skill result in a tale that continues to haunt long after the story is told.
First published to wide acclaim in 1995 and out of print since 2001, this new edition of When Fox is a Thousand, published by Arsenal Pulp Press for the first time, features a new foreword by the author.
May 2019 Selection: A transgender reporter's narrative tour through the surprisingly vibrant queer communities sprouting up in red states, offering a vision of a stronger, more humane America.
Ten years ago, Samantha Allen was a suit-and-tie-wearing Mormon missionary. Now she's a senior Daily Beast reporter happily married to another woman. A lot in her life has changed, but what hasn't changed is her deep love of Red State America, and of queer people who stay in so-called "flyover country" rather than moving to the liberal coasts.
In Real Queer America, Allen takes us on a cross-country road-trip stretching all the way from Provo, Utah to the Rio Grande Valley to the Bible Belt to the Deep South. Her motto for the trip: "Something gay every day." Making pit stops at drag shows, political rallies, and hubs of queer life across the heartland, she introduces us to scores of extraordinary LGBT people working for change, from the first openly transgender mayor in Texas history to the manager of the only queer night club in Bloomington, Indiana, and many more.
Capturing profound cultural shifts underway in unexpected places and revealing a national network of chosen family fighting for a better world, Real Queer America is a treasure trove of uplifting stories and a much-needed source of hope and inspiration in these divided times.
March 2019 Selection: From one of the world's foremost intersex activists, a candid, provocative, and eye-opening memoir of gender identity, self-acceptance, and love.
My name is Hida Viloria. I was raised as a girl but discovered at a young age that my body looked different. Having endured an often turbulent home life as a kid, there were many times when I felt scared and alone, especially given my attraction to girls. But unlike most people in the first world who are born intersex--meaning they have genitals, reproductive organs, hormones, and/or chromosomal patterns that do not fit standard definitions of male or female--I grew up in the body I was born with because my parents did not have my sex characteristics surgically altered at birth.
It wasn't until I was twenty-six and encountered the term intersex in a San Francisco newspaper that I finally had a name for my difference. That's when I began to explore what it means to live in the space between genders--to be both and neither. I tried living as a feminine woman, an androgynous person, and even for a brief period of time as a man. Good friends would not recognize me, and gay men would hit on me. My gender fluidity was exciting, and in many ways freeing--but it could also be isolating.
I had to know if there were other intersex people like me, but when I finally found an intersex community to connect with I was shocked, and then deeply upset, to learn that most of the people I met had been scarred, both physically and psychologically, by infant surgeries and hormone treatments meant to "correct" their bodies. Realizing that the invisibility of intersex people in society facilitated these practices, I made it my mission to bring an end to it--and became one of the first people to voluntarily come out as intersex at a national and then international level.
Born Both is the story of my lifelong journey toward finding love and embracing my authentic identity in a world that insists on categorizing people into either/or, and of my decades-long fight for human rights and equality for intersex people everywhere.
February 2019 Selection: A manifesto from one of America's most influential activists which disrupts political, economic, and social norms by reimagining the Black Radical Tradition.
Drawing on Black intellectual and grassroots organizing traditions, including the Haitian Revolution, the US civil rights movement, and LGBTQ rights and feminist movements, Unapologetic challenges all of us engaged in the social justice struggle to make the movement for Black liberation more radical, more queer, and more feminist. This book provides a vision for how social justice movements can become sharper and more effective through principled struggle, healing justice, and leadership development. It also offers a flexible model of what deeply effective organizing can be, anchored in the Chicago model of activism, which features long-term commitment, cultural sensitivity, creative strategizing, and multiple cross-group alliances. And Unapologetic provides a clear framework for activists committed to building transformative power, encouraging young people to see themselves as visionaries and leaders.
January 2019 Selection:
One teenager in a skirt.
One teenager with a lighter.
One moment that changes both of their lives forever.
If it weren't for the 57 bus, Sasha and Richard never would have met. Both were high school students from Oakland, California, one of the most diverse cities in the country, but they inhabited different worlds. Sasha, a white teen, lived in the middle-class foothills and attended a small private school. Richard, a black teen, lived in the crime-plagued flatlands and attended a large public one. Each day, their paths overlapped for a mere eight minutes. But one afternoon on the bus ride home from school, a single reckless act left Sasha severely burned, and Richard charged with two hate crimes and facing life imprisonment. The case garnered international attention, thrusting both teenagers into the spotlight.
Winner of the Stonewall Book Award--Mike Morgan & Larry Romans Children's & Young Adult Literature Award
December 2018 Selection: Lambda Award 2015 for Best Gay Mystery!
Foreword Reviews' 2014 INDIEFAB Book of the Year Award Winner
Josie O'Conner travels to San Francisco in 1951 to locate her gay brother, a private eye investigating a blackmail ring targeting lesbians and gay men. Jimmy's friends claim that just before he disappeared he became a rat, informing the cops on the bar community. Josie adopts Jimmy's trousers and wingtips, to clear his name, halt the blackmailers, and exact justice for too many queer corpses. Along the way she rubs shoulders with a sultry chanteuse running a dyke tavern called Pandora's Box, gets intimate with a red-headed madam operating a brothel from the Police Personnel Department, and conspires with the star of Finocchio's, a dive so disreputable it's off limits to servicemen -- so every man in uniform pays a visit.
Blackmail, My Love is an illustrated murder mystery deeply steeped in San Francisco's queer history, as established academic and first-time novelist Katie Gilmartin's diverse set of characters negotiate the risks of same-sex desire in a dangerous era. Set in such legendary locations as the Black Cat Cafe, the Fillmore, the Beat movement's North Beach, and the Tenderloin, Blackmail, My Love is a singular, stunning introduction to a new author and to gay noir.
November 2018 Selection: This book leads readers through a troubled past using the authors family circle as a touch point and resource for discovery of much more. Personal and strong, these stories present an evocative new view of the shaping of California. and the role of the Mission period in the lives of all California Indians. The result is a work of literary art that is wise, angry, and playful all at once
September 2018 Selection: Andre Aciman's Call Me by Your Name is the story of a sudden and powerful romance that blossoms between an adolescent boy and a summer guest at his parents' cliffside mansion on the Italian Riviera. Each is unprepared for the consequences of their attraction, when, during the restless summer weeks, unrelenting currents of obsession, fascination, and desire intensify their passion and test the charged ground between them. Recklessly, the two verge toward the one thing both fear they may never truly find again: total intimacy. It is an instant classic and one of the great love stories of our time.
Winner of the Lambda Literary Award for Ficition
August 2018 Selection: Featuring his world-famous masterpiece, "Death in Venice," this new collection of Nobel laureate Thomas Mann's stories and novellas reveals his artistic evolution. In this new, widely acclaimed translation that restores the controversial passages that were cut out of the original English version, "Death in Venice" tells about a ruinous quest for love and beauty amid degenerating splendor. Gustav von Aschenbach, a successful but lonely author, travels to the Queen of the Adriatic in search of an elusive spiritual fulfillment that turns into his erotic doom. Spellbound by a beautiful Polish boy, he finds himself fettered to this hypnotic city of sun-drenched sensuality and eerie physical decay.
Also included in this volume are eleven other stories by Mann: "Tonio Kroger," "Gladius Dei," "The Blood of the Walsungs," "The Will for Happiness," "Little Herr Friedmann," "Tobias Mindernickel," "Little Lizzy," "Tristan," "The Starvelings," "The Wunderkind," and "Harsh Hour." All of the stories collected here display Mann's inimitable use of irony, his subtle characterizations, and superb, complex plots.
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.