ReadOut Shorts: November 2008

Andy Stevenson vs. the Lord of the Loins
KageAlanKage Alan
Zumaya Boundless
Why so serious? Imagine Wittiest Man Alive (and OutSmart writer) Jack Varsi (who used to pen TWT’s “Showbiz” column) as a college sophomore (in Michigan, circa 2008) and you might conjure up Andy Stevenson, whose encounter with a cuuuute but philandering poet from a creative writing class leads to a fierce, raucous, and very public “intervention.” Lots of authors attempt razor-sharp gay repartee, but Kage Alan delivers with zingers galore, dripping with sarcasm on every page. —Review: Donalevan Maines

Hit the Road, Manny!
Christian Burch
Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing
Now imagine Jack Varsi as a third-grader circa 2008 and you might picture Keats Rufus Dalinger, the precocious narrator of this sequel to The Manny Files, about a bald, male nanny (a “manny”), his charges, and—oh yes—their “bachelor” Uncle Max. Designed for readers ages 8–12, the shenanigans of Hit the Road, Manny! involve the whole Dalinger family in an RV road trip across America that culminates with a jaw-dropping surprise in Las Vegas. (Hint: Vegas = wedding chapels.) —Review: Donalevan Maines

Dirty White Boy: Tales of Soho
WhiteClayton Littlewood
Cleis Press
Dirty White Boy is both the name of a clothing boutique that closed last June in London’s trés gay Soho district and the title of the shop owner’s urban diary of the “varied cross section of lost souls” he experienced there in 2006. As Lin-Manuel Miranda did with Broadway’s Tony-winning best musical In the Heights, Littlewood gleans life lessons in his own back yard through the affairs of “the underclass, the true eccentrics, the waifs and strays the party crowd passes by.” —Review: Donalevan Maines

Blinded by the Light
Morgan Hunt
Alyson Books
Blinded by the Light is everything you’ve come to expect from Morgan Hunt and better. Hunt continues to grow as a writer, and this offering is a distinct step change upward. Tess Camillo continues to evolve, the plotting is much more intricate, and the one-liners continue to amaze. The already good writing has also improved. This one takes place in an art installation in the desert—the description is so vivid that you can see this truly amazing conceptual space in your mind’s eye. Don’t let the poor editing in the first couple of chapters put you off—this one is another keeper. —Review: Angel Curtis

Hollywood Bohemians: Transgressive Sexuality and the Selling of the Movieland Dream
HollywoodBrett L. Abrams
McFarland & Company
Between 1917 and 1941, Hollywood studios, gossip columnists, and novelists featured an unprecedented number of homosexuals, cross-dressers, and adulterers in their depiction of the glamorous Hollywood lifestyle. Abrams tells us how studios and the media used images of these sexually adventurous characters to promote the industry and appeal to the prurient interests of their audiences. Informative but dry. —Review: Troy Carrington

Don’t Call Me a Drama Queen
Dr. Debra Mandel
Alyson Books
What sounds like it could be a campy book of humor isn’t. Subtitled “A Guide for the Overly Sensitive and Their Significant Others Who Need to Learn How to Lighten up and Go with the Flow,” this fairly dry paperback is a psychologist’s primer for drama queens of every persuasion to eliminate unnecessary stress, resentment, depression, and disappointment. —Review: Donalevan Maines

The Screwed-Up Life of Charlie the Second
ScrewedUpDrew Ferguson
Ferguson’s story is the standard high-school-outcast-finds-a-boyfriend, is dumped, and grows from the experience. Along the way, we get to witness almost every masturbatory moment a horny high school kid is capable of. This setup allows the book to fail on two levels—both as a story and as porn. Don’t make eye contact with this geek of a book. —Review: Angel Curtis


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