ReadOut Shorts: May 2008

JamesCanonTales from the Town of Widows
James Cañón
Harper Perennial (

An isolated Columbian village’s men are taken away by Communist guerrillas. After a long, hungry struggle, the remaining women find a way to step out of their traditional roles to build a culture that mirrors the ideology that took away their men. After sixteen years a few of the men return, but they find that the price of staying is to live by the women’s rules. It would be easy to say that “this is a female utopia book that really works,” but that would minimize the brilliance of this major work. I’m sure I won’t be the only person comparing Cañón to Allende and Marquez. — Review: Angel Curtis

Making Waves: Navy Women of World War II
Evan Bachner
Abrams (
This beautiful book pulls you in with its cover: strong women in work clothes, in repose. Bachner has assembled over 150 not-seen-before photographs of World War II WAVES and aircraft plant workers. What immediately struck me is the respect the photographers of the time showed their subjects. Instead of seeing anything at all exploitive, we see pictures that brilliantly showcase the strength, commitment, and work of American women. This is more than a coffee-table book—it is a slice of history we’re starting to forget. — Review: Angel Curtis 

StraightActingStraight Acting
Angelo Pezzote
Kensington (

The advice columnist confronts the “no fems” attitude of M2M personals and the subsequent pressure to “butch it up.” Much of what he says is common-sensible in that “well, now that you say it” kind of way, but he often says it repeatedly. (I get it — relax and be yourself!) It’s full of good advice . . . it’s just too long by half. Skim through the repetition for the parts that could benefit you. — Review: Neil Ellis Orts

Fool on the Hill
Morgan Hunt
Alyson Books (
Morgan Hunt continues to delight with this new offering. Tess finds her ex-lover and roommate’s musical idol crucified during her morning walk. She then works to find the killer before the killer finds her. This one is the whole package — characters who continue to grow, a great story, wonderful writing, and wicked humor. — Review: Angel Curtis  

PurplePPurple Panties
Edited by Zane
Strebor/Atria Books (
Women, light the candles, pour the wine, and get ready to rumble! Zane pulls together stories from some of the world’s top erotic writers to produce a “can’t sit still” collection of pure delight. When I sat down to write this review, I wanted to simply pull out my thesaurus and list every word for hot, sexy, and steamy. It’s that good. — Review: Angel Curtis 

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