The spring publishing season is full of gay reads, especially if you like memoirs.
Mikey Walsh gifts us with a sequel to last year’s “Gypsy Boy” (one of my favorite books of 2012) with his new book “Gypsy Boy on the Run.” This book picks up where the first book left off — Walsh has just escaped his father’s abuse and the Romany culture in which he grew up — and off we go. Which is great, since the first book practically begged for an update. His being gay is a major reason he was shunned by his culture of origin.
What would you do if you hailed from a place where you being gay was the farthest thing from your neighbors’ minds? In “Prairie Silence,” author Melanie Hoffert tackles that, coming from her home state of North Dakota. This is a beautiful book, almost bucolic, and filled with a quiet sense of calm and crops.
“Letters from the Closet: Ten Years of Correspondence That Changed My Life” by Amy Hollingsworth is a bit of a unusual memoir: it’s about a teacher who was not “out,” his favorite student and letters that he wrote to her that she kept until his death, years later. It’s a powerful story of secrets that aren’t so secret, from a Christian writer.
Speaking of church, “Banished: Surviving My Years in the Westboro Baptist Church” by Lauren Drain is the true story of the organization and a little girl whose father got so caught up in his examination of the church that he moved his family to Kansas and into the fold. It’s also the story of a girl who examines her conscience and realizes that her former beliefs were wrong. Controversial? You betcha, but oh-so-interesting, too.
“Plane Queer” by Phil Tiemeyer is a book about male flight attendants from the 1920s to about a decade ago, their work in a female-dominated career, the discrimination they faced and how AIDS has tied into their area of the industry. There’s a lot to learn here (because — did you know this? — they were in the forefront of an important civil rights law), so this book isn’t just a scandal-filled, juicy read.
Local gay author Garrett Peck continues his historical explorations with “The Smithsonian Castle and the Seneca Quarry.” This is somewhat of a sequel to Peck’s last book and explains how some of D.C.’s best-loved sites are tied together in an unlikely way.
California-based gay author and pop culture historian Mike Pingel is out with another tidbit-crammed page turner. “Betty White Rules the World” traces the legend’s career from “Life With Elizabeth,” “Mary Tyler Moore,” “The Golden Girls,” “Hot in Cleveland” and more. As with previous books on everything from “Wonder Woman” to “Charlie’s Angels,” Pingel keeps the pace moving — pullout boxes and mini-chapters are well-chocked with interesting factoids that keep the pace moving.
So you’re clamoring for a novel. Just a good story, that’s all you want.
And then you want “The Beauty of Men Never Dies” by David Leddick.
Blending fiction with memoir, this book is about aging and falling in love later in life. It’s a whirlwind trip from America to Europe, from one fabulous job to another, and from love lost to love gained. How much is true and how much is not? I’m not saying. Read the book.
Gay author Brent Hartinger will release “The Elephant of Surprise” from Buddha Kitty Books on March 31. It’s the fourth book in the “Geography Club” series, the first entry of which has been adapted into a film starring Scott Bakula and Nikki Blonsky. In “Elephant,” Russel and his friends Min and Gunnar laugh about a phenomenon referenced in the title — the tendency of life to never turn out as expected. Russel becomes involved with Wade, a hot-but-homeless activist, just as his old flame Kevin returns to his front burner. And Min is learning surprising things about her girlfriend Leah. Hartinger, a former Blade contributor, has earned kudos for his well-crafted depictions of gay teen life.
Finally, if you just want something fun, hedonistic and so hot you’ll need oven mitts, then look for “Decadence” by Eric Jerome Dickey this spring. Nia Simone Bijou (she of 2008’s “Pleasure”) is back and looking to hone her “gifts” of love by stepping into a pleasure palace for awhile.