September 9, 2010 | by David J. Hoffman
10 must-read books for fall

Weeding through scores of books set to hit shelves this fall, Antonio Gonzalez, chief editor of LambdaLiterary.org, compiled a list of 10 must reads. As he notes, from a few well-known authors (Emma Donoghue), to a relative unknown (Tristan Garcia), to a Grammy winner (Ricky Martin), the fall book line-up is all over the map.

Here are the books (in no particular order) that Gonzalez expects to make a big impact among LGBT literary critics, bookworms and novice readers alike.

1. “Mary Ann in Autumn” by Armistead Maupin (Harper; $25.99) In the eighth installment of Maupin’s Tales of the City series, Mary Ann Singleton (now 57) returns to San Francisco after 20 years with news she can only share with her pal Michael Tolliver — who’s happily married to a younger man. By the way, did you know there’s a musical of the saga coming out next year in San Francisco with a score and lyrics by Jake Shears and John Garden of Scissor Sisters? (Nov.)

2. “Hate: A Romance,” by Tristan Garcia, translated by Marion Duvert and Lorin Stein (Faber and Faber; $14) Winner of France’s prestigious literary award Prix de Flore, “Hate” is set in Paris in the ’80s and chronicles a group of friends — and the subsequent love affairs that destroy a life. Previously titled “The Best Part of Men,” “Hate” received a tepid review from Publisher’s Weekly, but with its enticing cover, who can resist picking up this new translation? (Oct.)

3. “Inferno (A Poet’s Novel)” by Eileen Myles (OR Books; $16) If the glowing reviews from John Waters, Alison Bechdel and John Ashbery don’t convince you, then perhaps you need to read the first two sentences: “My English professor’s ass was so beautiful. It was perfect and full as she stood at the board writing some important word.” (Nov.)

4. “By Nightfall” by Michael Cunningham (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux; $25) Despite making Anis Shivani’s list of “Most Overrated Contemporary Authors,” Cunningham’s talent cannot be overlooked, even when he’s writing about the existential crises of wealthy New Yorkers. (Sep.)

5. “Me” by Ricky Martin (Celebra; $26.95) After fathering twin boys via surrogate and finally coming out, Martin releases his memoir that, according to the press release, takes us through his musical career, the challenges of increased fame, and his “unique personal connection with millions of fans around the world.” (Nov.)

6. “Grant Wood: A Life” by R. Tripp Evans (Knopf; $37.50) The artist behind one of America’s most famous paintings, “American Gothic,” was much more complicated than the image of simple, decent, homespun Americana that his paintings reflected. (Oct.)

7. “Fever of the Bone” by Val McDermid (Harper; $14.99) The sixth in the Tony Hill mystery series, this novel received a starred review and high praise from Publishers Weekly: “McDermid demonstrates once again that she’s as adept with matters of the heart as she is with murder.” (Sept.)

8. “Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture” by Jonathan D. Katz and David C. Ward (Smithsonian Books; $45) The companion volume to an exhibition of the same name at the National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution, “Hide/Seek” highlights the often overlooked influence of gay and lesbian artists on American art and portraiture through 140 full-color illustrations, drawings and portraits by leading American artists from Eakins, to O’Keeffe, to Rauschenberg, to Warhol, to Mapplethorpe. (Nov.)

9. “Room” by Emma Donoghue (Little, Brown; $24.99) Long-listed for the Man Booker Prize, Donoghue’s new novel tackles kidnapping, sociopaths and child psychology. (Sept.)

10. “Unbearable Lightness” by Portia de Rossi (Atria; $25.99) De Rossi, as described by Amazon.com, “shares her struggles with eating disorders and her sexuality in this riveting memoir.” Back in February, Portia confirmed her book was “definitely not self-help.” (Nov.)

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