August 13, 2017 | Arts / Entertainment

A list of great gay books for some late summer reading

Yes, August is quickly slipping by and soon the summer will be over. But don't fret as there's still time to sneak away to the cottage or the beach with a good book for some R and R and R (rest, relaxation and reading).

Here are some suggestions ...

MYSTERY

Honky Tonk Samurai

Honky Tonk Samurai - Joe R. Lansdale

The story starts simply enough when Hap, a former 60s activist and self-proclaimed white trash rebel, and Leonard, a tough black, gay Vietnam vet and Republican with an addiction to Dr. Pepper, are working a freelance surveillance job in East Texas. But the pair is soon blackmailed into covering a missing person case, which leads to a lot more (including murder!).

Jenni Laidman reviewed the book for the Chicago Tribune, saying:

Listening to a Joe R. Lansdale's East Texas detective yarn in the Hap Collins-and-Leonard Pine series is like hanging out with a skilled barroom raconteur. Lansdale's language dances with colorful and regular profanity as he performs a shotgun wedding between wild and ridiculous, tying it together with enough cartoonish violence and abundant wit to send you reaching for your wallet to buy the next round. . . . Altogether it's wild, funny, utterly improbable and thoroughly satisfying entertainment.

HUMOR

Theft By Finding

Theft By Finding - David Sedaris

Humorist David Sedaris is letting fans into his secret source for all the funny essays and semi-autobiographical tales he writes. From overheard comments and salacious gossip, to soap opera plot twists and secrets confided by total strangers, he collects everything in his own, personal diaries.
 
Now, Sedaris shares his private writings with the world. Theft by Finding, the first of two volumes, "is the story of how a drug-abusing dropout with a weakness for the International House of Pancakes and a chronic inability to hold down a real job became one of the funniest people on the planet."
 
According to the Guardian:
"The diary begins in 1977 with 21-year-old Sedaris hitchhiking around the United States and sleeping variously in a dried-out riverbed, on a golf course and under a bridge. He smokes pot and takes acid and, to earn money, picks and packs fruit and washes dishes. In Knoxville, Ohio, a drunk pickup driver tries to assault him, prompting him to jump out of the truck while it’s still moving. Afterwards he flags down a car whose occupants offer to take him to Cincinnati. Throughout the journey they throw cans out of the window and say that all black people should be slaves. 'Oh boy. What a day,' Sedaris sighs."

 

AUTOBIOGRAPHY

Tranny: Confessions Of Punk Rock’s Most Infamous Anarchist Sellout

 
Laura Jane Grace opens up about not only transitioning in the publlc eye, but doing it with the backdrop of fronting an in-your-face punk rock group like Against Me! (which formed in 1997). She came out as trans in 2012, and is now sharing the intimate details about her search for dignity in an arena not always open to gender outlaws.
 
From the AV Club
Now some four years removed from Grace’s official coming out as a woman, Tranny leaves her in a much better place, even as she admits that her transition is still a work in progress. Still, the hardest part of Grace’s journey feels like it’s been completed by the memoir’s end. In a time where the world is becoming increasingly more aware of transgender issues, Grace’s memoir offers something more than just a quality read. It’s a poignant and timely look at a still-emerging cultural issue worthy of serious discussion.
 
NON-FICTION
 
Queer City
 
 
London is seen as a liberal, queer friendly city, but it wasn't always that way. Chronicler Peter Ackroyd explores the hidden history of the city, from the notorious Normans to the frenzy of executions for sodomy in the early nineteenth century. He journeys through the coffee bars of sixties Soho to Gay Liberation, disco music and the horror of AIDS.
 
From the Independent:
As with his gargantuan history of London, Ackroyd here revels in origins, particularly of words, and part of the joy of Queer City is the abundance of recherché terms for all types of sexual being and erotic act, and their bizarre derivations. The word “faggot," he informs us early on, meant a bundle of sticks of wood, on top of which accused sodomites were burned to death. And language, at least from the 11th century onwards, has been used as a form of control, he says, with “sodomy” “a catch-all term that could mean anything or everything."
 
... Ackroyd here offers another utterly unique reading experience, with something to tickle the nose, or shelve for a dinner party, on every page.
 
COMIC BOOK
 
Love is Love
 
 
Get your comic fix and help raise money for a worthwhile cause with Love is Love.
 
The comic book industry came together to honor those killed in Orlando last year. From IDW Publishing, with assistance from DC Entertainment, this oversized comic contains moving and heartfelt material from some of the greatest talents in comics -- mourning the victims, supporting the survivors, celebrating the LGBTQ community, and examining love in today's world.
 
Even better, all material was donated by the writers, artists, and editors with all proceeds going to victims, survivors, and their families.
 
 
CLASSICS
 
Giovanni
 
Giovanni’s Room - James Baldwin
 
Giovanni's Room is a 1956 novel by James Baldwin. The novel follows the life an American man living in Paris and his feelings and frustrations with his relationships with other men in his life, particularly an Italian bartender named Giovanni whom he meets at a Parisian gay bar.
 
From Pride.com:
Giovanni's Room explores feelings of self-loathing, social isolation and confusion. Sadly, gay and bisexual men often feel like outsiders in the communities that they should feel the most accepted. If you grew up as the only queer person in a small, rural town or you grew up in a religious, anti-LGBT household, surely you know the feelings of isolation and confusion. ... Giovanni's Room explores these emotions and evokes them in all of his readers.

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