You probably got plenty of reading done during the Polar Vortex because who in their right mind would leave the house? But just because the weather has improved doesn’t mean that you should skimp on your reading. Here are a few suggestions for the Pride season.
Journalist and blogger Kelly Cogswell tells her own story in Eating Fire: My Life as a Lesbian Avenger (University of Minnesota, 2014). Cosgrove immersed herself in activism, plunging into the explosive, fire-eating world of in-your-face action all in the name of making the world a safer place for “baby dykes,” lesbians and women everywhere.
Before there was openly gay football player Michael Sam, there was out, 6’8” WNBA player Brittney Griner. Her memoir In My Skin: My Life On and Off the Basketball Court (!t Books, 2014) by Brittney Griner with Sue Hovey follows her from her Houston childhood to college at Baylor University to her career as a professional athlete.
Edited by Robert Kirby, Qu33r: New Comics from 33 Creators (Northwest, 2014) includes Diane DiMassa, Ed Luce, Justin Hall, Jennifer Camper, Steve MacIsaac, Amanda Verwey, David Kelly, Jon Macy and Eric Orner, providing personal essays in images.
Influential (and somewhat controversial) 20th century “cultural impresario” Carl Van Vechten is the subject of The Tastemaker: Carl Van Vechten and the Birth of Modern America by Edward White (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2014). A familiar face during the Harlem Renaissance, Van Vechten’s circle included Langston Hughes, Gertrude Stein, and F. Scott Fitzgerald.
In the introduction to the book, The Animals: Love Letters Between Christopher Isherwood and Don Bachardy (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2014), Kathleen Bucknell she writes about one of the greatest true gay love stories of all time which gives readers another intimate glimpse into their lives through this collection of correspondence.
Location, Location, Location
In her latest publication, TransCuba, (Daylight Books, 2014), Mariette Pathy Allen shows the growing visibility and acceptance of the trans community in a country transitioning into a relaxed model of communism. An interview with Mariela Castro talks about the passage of a law allowing trans individuals to legally change their gender.
For Safe Space (Duke, 2014), Christina B. Hanhardt, Associate Professor of American Studies at University of Maryland, College Park, drew on research in Manhattan and San Francisco to trace the way queer activism and the development of urban communities have intertwined for the past 40 years.
Anyone who has encountered straight breeders pushing SUV strollers through Chicago’s Boystown or NYC’s Chelsea neighborhoods will find something to relate to in sociologist Amin Ghaziani’s There Goes The Gayborhood? (Princeton, 2014).
Over the course of the 12 “Essays on the Body” in You Feel So Mortal (University of Chicago, 2014), Peggy Shinner touches on subjects ranging from feet to shoplifting to self-defense and places in between and beyond.
Consisting of 26 personal essays, In A New Century: Essays on Queer History, Politics, and Community Life (University of Wisconsin, 2014) by John D’Emilio, looks at history and its lessons.
By Gregg Shapiro