ReadOut Shorts: October 2007
Lois Lenz, Lesbian Secretary
Kensington Books (www.kensingtonbooks.com)
Ann Bannon channels Nancy Drew! Join Lois Lenz as she defies her parents, goes to the big city, falls in with our kind of girls and solves the mystery to boot. Along the way we visit upscale parties, sleazy bars, and one seriously twisted boss lady. This campy parody of the pulp fiction novels of the 1950s had me laughing out loud. — Review: Angel Curtis
Two Lives: Gertrude and Alice
Yale University Press (www.yalebooks.com)
I always wondered how Gertrude and Alice, both lesbian and Jewish, survived Vichy France. Janet Malcolm, through top-notch investigative journalism, not only answers the question but expands it to include the larger battles of a lifetime relationship. Part history, part biography, part criticism of Stein’s most difficult writings, Two Lives should be on the bookshelf of anyone wanting to understand Stein’s work and life. — Review: A.C.
Essays & Speeches by Audre Lorde
Ten Speed Press (www.tenspeed.com)
Audre Lorde taught my generation we must speak about the ugliness that affects our lives. That failure to name the horror perpetuates it. That failure to speak up is to condemn those who follow to our very darkest nights. This collection of essays and speeches is still important not only to those who read them when fresh, but to anyone trying to understand why it is important to listen to our gut, to speak up, and to “act out.” Lorde’s work continues to be one of the most powerful catalysts for real change. Here’s hoping it inspires another generation. — Review: A.C.
This heartfelt coming-of-age/coming- out story, despite being marketed to teens, will be welcomed by anyone who ever loved superheroes. Young Thom Creed is coming out, figuring out how to tell his dad (a former hero, fallen from grace), learning to use his developing powers, and trying out for the League, the premier superhero team. The final chapters fall back on a few comic book cliches, but the trip there is full of genuine emotion and page-turning drama. — Review: Neil Ellis OrtsGRL2GRL: Short Fictions
Julie Ann Peters
Little, Brown Books (www.littlebrown.co.uk)
This collection of short stories shows us the lives of young women in the very brief interlude between childhood and fully realized self. Stories of coming out, coming of age, and learning to be true to oneself, regardless of how flawed that self may be, fly off the page and into the reader’s heart. Real stories, well told, make this one a winner. — Review: A.C.
Alyson Books (www.alyson.com)
It made me wonder when the opening chapter of a mystery, featuring a lesbian, by a lesbian, uses a snake as a murder weapon. Phallus jokes aside, Morgan Hunt’s Sticky Fingers grabs you from the first page with the shear fun of the writing. Characters you can care about, a decent plot, and truly funny one-liners make this one a delightful late-summer read. — Review: A.C.
In the Meantime
Toby Press (www.tobypress.com)
Kathryn, Luke, and Starling meet as young children and make a lifelong pact of devotion to one another. The language is direct, spare, without sentimental manipulation, letting the events evoke whatever emotion the reader may have. Seventy years are covered in less than 200 pages, giving what is not told as much weight as what is. This literary meditation on friendship is a tale worth savoring. — Review: N.O.
The Garden of Lost and Found
Carroll & Graf (www.carrollandgraf.com)
The Garden of Lost and Found is a wonderful story completely marred by tedious writing. A young gay man goes from truck-stop tricks to a prime New York property, finding himself and his connection to others along the way. The characters are believable, almost mythical…getting to know them is virtually impossible. The story is a classic tale of disparate lives brought together by fate, culminating with a very real tragedy. Too bad the pretentious writing makes it so difficult to read. — Review: A.C.