September 12, 2013 | by Terri Schlichenmeyer
Books of the season
Lawfully Wedded Husband, Lawfully Wedded Wife, My Brother My Sister, gay news, Washington Blade

Several great books with LGBT themes are out this year. (Photos courtesy of the publishers)

So you’re dreaming, maybe, of a wedding coming up. Maybe it’s yours, or you can live vicariously through the pages of several great books on gay marriage that are out this year.

“Lawfully Wedded Husband” by Joel Derefner (University of Wisconsin Press) is a rompishly fun book about wooing and cooing, chapel bells, wedded bliss and all that comes with it — and more, including a reality show.

Didn’t I say it was fun?

And then there’s “Lawfully Wedded Wives,” edited by Nona Caspers and Joell Hallowell (Spuyten Duyvil, spuytenduyvil.net). In this book, you’ll read a series of vignette-interviews from lesbians who fell in love and took the plunge. This book is huge and lush with page after page of dual tales, each speaking to the romantic and the practical-minded, both. Each story is also filled with love and happiness — and if you need some great ideas for your own wedding, check out the beautiful pictures that accompany each chapter.

Local lesbian poet Kathi Wolfe has a new collection out called “The Green Light” from Finishing Line Press. She’ll read selections at Busboys & Poets (2021 14th Street, N.W.) on Sunday from 5-7 p.m. (bosboysandpoets.com) and at the Nora School (955 Sligo Ave. in Silver Spring, Md.) on Thursday. Details at nora-school.org.

Coming out to your family may have been easy, or it may have been difficult. In “My Brother My Sister” by film critic Molly Haskell (Viking), the author tells the story of her brother who reveals his long-time angst: he’s a woman trapped in a man’s body and at 60-something, he decides to make things right by going through the process to become the woman he knows he’s always been. This is a book about trans history and transsexuals in Western culture, but that’s not all. There’s grief and confusion, dealing with memories and plenty of open-hearted learning; and a story about coming to accept the people you love, all told from the point of view of a family member who watches this transformation.

Who can resist a good scare? Not you, especially when the nights get longer and darker, so you’ll want to look for “This House is Haunted” by John Boyne (Other Press), which will be out just in time for Halloween.

Boyne, author of my absolute all-time favorite books (“The Absolutist”) goes classic here with a proper British nanny who’s hired to tend two children living in a large (and remote!) estate. The kids are creepy, there are no adults around and there’s something watching her — or, at least, there’s something very malevolent lurking around.

Knowing what it is will require some sleuthing — some “don’t-open-that-door” kind of sleuthing, which means you shouldn’t read this book alone. Or in the dark. Or on a stormy night.

Sometimes, all you want is comfort reading (kind of like literary comfort food, if you will) and for that, reach back to “When Women Were Warriors – Book 1: The Warrior’s Path” by Catherine M. Wilson, as read by Janis Ian (Dog Ear Audio). This is the story of a young woman who follows in the footsteps of her mother, her mother’s mother and many of the women in her family who’ve gone to war. The girl, Tamras, begins by becoming a warrior’s apprentice.

Legend has it that Janis Ian loved this book. When Wilson found out, she met Ian and the rest is herstory. “When Women Were Warriors” was released in 2008, but this fresh audio take on the ages-old story of warfare and wisdom will surely come as a welcome fall surprise for brand-new fans of this series.

So go ahead and admit it: you’re positively gleeful on “Glee” nights. And that’s why you’ll want to look for “Drama High” by Michael Sokolove (Riverhead Books). This is the story of a real-life high school theater company and their teacher, Lou Volpe; his life, his 40 years of teaching and the thousands of kids he’s directed in plays that arguably rival that of Broadway. Going further, Sokolove — one of Volpe’s former students — follows a small group of high school actors through one year on the stage and behind the scenes.

And finally, if you’re looking for a gift for yourself or if you really want to impress someone, then look for something a little different from the publishing house of Bruno Gmunder.

The classic photography of David Vance is profiled in “Men and Gods,” due out in November, and it will surely give you some religion. Or if you’re looking for something with a little more action, look for “Tie Me Up! The Complete Guide to Bondage” by Stephan Niederwieser, which also includes how-tos, suggestions for tools to use and a guide for putting aside your inhibitions. And “Beards: An Unshaved History” by Kevin Clarke offers a history of facial hair from the gay perspective, and shows how hot a beard can make a man.

Another interesting coffee table book is the lavishly illustrated “2013 Best of Gay Erotic Art: Capolavoro di Uomo: Masterpiece of Man.” It’s $69.95 and available at capolavoroart.com.


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