Monday, January 14, 2008

Forewords and Afterwords

This post has been a long time in the making. I haven't mentioned three books I've read recently, and no sooner did I get my reading list down a bit there are a bunch of new titles I've itching to dig into.

Read and recommend:
"Mississippi Sissy": Kevin Sessums' beautifully written memoir about growing gay up in Jackson, Miss., in the '60s and early '70s has an perverse psychosexual mystery running through it that had me gasping for air with each turn of the page. (Anyone else feel it? Surely it was intentional.) Kevin recognized me in Starbucks the other day and said hi and I couldn't have been more tickled. I've seen him every day since -- we're now "office mates" as he puts it. Look forward to the sequel. His life has only gotten more exciting in the ensuing years. Learn more here.

"Boston Boys Club": My pal Johnny Diaz's debut novel examines the lives and loves of three good gay guys in Boston whose lives intertwine at the local watering hole. It's a fun and quick "beach read" style book, although I have to say it was especially fun for me because I'd spent four days up close and personal with Mr. Diaz at a conference last year and I could see bits and pieces of his personality (and obsessive-compulsive tendencies!) in each of the characters.

"Look Me in the Eye" by John Elder Robison. An interesting memoir from the older brother of "Running With Scissors" author Augusten Burroughs, Robison grew up with undiagnosed Asperger's Syndrome and didn't know why he was so "different" until middle age. His years on the road with the rock band KISS are particularly fun. Learn more on Robison's blog here.

Next up:
"The Memoirs of a Beautiful Boy" by Robert Leleux. If you crossed Augusten Burroughs' mom without the crazy with Kevin Sessums' life minus the tragedy, you'd have Leleux, or so the delightful review in today's Times has me thinking: "My mother is my movie star and my football hero, and nothing feels impossible when she charges forth, mink coat abristle." By the time his mom seeks a cure for her baldness "caused by years spent wearing showstopping wigs" I knew this book was for me. Learn more here.

"The Sixth Form" by Tom Dolby. A look inside New England preps schools from the author of "The Trouble Boy." Learn more here.

"The Devil in the White City" by Erik Larson. A Christmas gift from a friend who says this is the best nonfiction book he's read in ages.

Coming this summer:
"Band Fags" by Frank Anthony Polito (out May 27). Perhaps the most anticipated book of my lifetime because the synopsis -- well, minus the instruments -- reads like my childhood in Madison Heights, Mich. The author and I became friends when he came across my blog and noticed striking similarities between our stories. Best friends growing up in suburban Detroit are both gay but can't come to terms with it in the same fashion or at the same time. Learn more at

"Miami Manhunt"by Johnny Diaz (out June 24). My pal's followup to "Boston Boys Club": One star. That's what Miami News resident movie critic Ray Martinez would give the local dating scene. He wants to meet a guy to take home to his Cuban mami and papi -- but can real romance live up to his Hollywood fantasies? Learn more here.


Frank Anthony Polito said...

Thanks for the plug, KW... See you soon!

John Robison said...

It's good to see you're still alive and well down there.

Best wishes

Joey said...

The Devil In the White City is one of the best non-fiction books I've read in a long long time too. Totally interesting history. Juicy, fascinating, horrifying, hilarious- it has it all. The second best book I've read is Until Proven Innocent: Political Correctness and the Shameful Injustices of the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case (which even the NY Times had to give in and praise as a good book). Shockingly infuriating stuff. That book will NOT be popular in Durham nor Manhattan though. (P.S.- If you enjoy Devil In the White City, Larson's written two other excellent non-fiction books).

Johnny Diaz said...

Thanks K! :)

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