ReadOut Shorts: April 2008

Janine Avril
Alyson Books (

Avril tells her family’s story — and secrets — with a prose style that is very plain, almost dry. She lets the facts of the story land the many and considerable emotional punches, avoiding any easy tabloid sensationalism. A mother’s death from a rare cancer, a father’s death from AIDS, and the lies surrounding both make this is a page-turner of a memoir. — Review: Neil Ellis Orts

Sex for America: Politically Inspired Erotica
Edited by Stephen Elliott
Harper Perennial (

As Bill Clinton reminded us, sex and politics is a powerful combination. In Sex for America, several very good writers tell us superb stories based on the headlines of today. Not hot, but truly hilarious, this one is just what we all need to give us some perspective on current events. Besides, how can you not enjoy a book that starts “I did not mean to sodomize Dick Cheney”? — Review: Angel Curtis

GJiggerGentleman Jigger
Richard Bruce Nugent
Da Capo Press (

Nugent was a participant in the Harlem Renaissance. This book, written in 1928, is now posthumously published for the first time. As a novel, it’s a bit of a mess, showing cracks from being assembled from multiple unfinished manuscripts. It is also a fascinating document, one of the few to deal forthrightly with the sexual politics of the era, making it a worthwhile read more for historical than aesthetic reasons. — Review: Neil Ellis Orts 

Clark Gable: Tormented Star
David Bret
Carroll & Graf (

Though written in a somewhat “tabloid-y” style, Clark Gable contains a wealth of information about the bisexual American legend that you’ve probably not seen before. As long as you’re not expecting superb writing, you’ll enjoy this eye-opening look at the macho “gay-for-pay” star of Gone with the Wind. — Review: Troy Carrington   

Beyond (Straight and Gay) Marriage
Nancy D. Polikoff

Beacon Press (
One of my problems with the whole “gay marriage” argument is that it doesn’t go far enough. If we are going to radically reform the social partnership norm, we should include all sorts of families, not just the ones that “kind of” look like heterosexual marriage.   This book provides effective arguments that we should be able to marry if it suits our cultural needs, but that marriage should not be necessary to achieve such legal consequences as inheritance rights, the ability to sponsor a partner for immigration, and survivors’ benefits. — Review:Angel Curtis DancingwithTinaDancing with Tina: A Memoir of Co-dependency
Terry Oldes

STARbooks Press (
“Write yourself sane” is a standard therapeutic tool. Oldes’ use of the tool gives us this book: part memoir, part journal, part therapy.   We get a real look at his life with methamphetamine and the friends who helped save him. We don’t get a sense of how the struggle with the drug changed him. You’ll find reading this is like listening in on someone else’s therapy — fascinating or embarrassing, depending on your particular sense of dirty linen as small talk. — Review: Angel Curtis The Summer Book 2008
Edited by Sarah Gish
Gish Creative (

All kinds of day camps are being offered in Houston this summer, including a “Mad Hatter Arts Camp”; video-game design camps; journalism and architecture camps for teens; surfing, chess, and even manners camps. This guide includes over 200 camps and classes, which are organized alphabetically, by category, by age group, by length, by indoor or outdoor facilities, by scholarships offered, and by camp dates. For a complete list of retailers, go to — Preview: Suzie Lynde

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