Bookshelf

Bookshelf

Conversations and Cosmopolitans
In one of those happy-ending coming out stories you wish would happen to you but in reality you only ever read about, Conversations and Cosmopolitans: Awkward Moments, Mixed Drinks and How A Mother and Son Finally Shared Who They Really Are by Robert Rave and Jane Rave (St. Martin’s Press, $14.99) tells the story of a gay novelist’s unique, seemingly-nothing-is-off-limits relationship with his mother. From Robert’s manscaping adventures to Jane’s experiences as a small-town pregnant teenager, Conversations tells the funny, heartfelt inside story of a relationship that became stronger after a gay son and his mother let down their guards and opened up to each other. — Winston Gieseke 

CONVERSATIONS AND COSMOPOLITANS 390x (COURTESY) ADVOCATE.COMTwo Times Intro: On the Road With Patti Smith 
One icon documents another in Two Times Intro (Akashic, $23.95), featuring photos taken by gay R.E.M. front man Michael Stipe as he followed punk-rock legend Patti Smith for two weeks on tour in 1995, when she resumed performing after the death of her husband. First published in 1998, it’s being reissued with a new preface by Smith and a new introduction by Stipe, who praises not only Smith’s music but also her acclaimed memoir Just Kids, about her relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe. While Two Times Intro is primarily arresting black-and-white photographs, it includes an appreciation of Smith written by William S. Burroughs and text from several other observers, including Smith’s band members Lenny Kaye, Tom Verlaine, and Oliver Ray, and rock journalist Paul Williams, who recounts his last meeting with Allen Ginsberg, backstage after a Smith concert in Boston. Overall, the book is a fitting tribute from one musician to another and a testament to the enduring talent and appeal of the straight-but-never-narrow godmother of punk. Akashic is also offering a premium deal for the book accompanied by an exclusive limited-edition photo of Smith in New Orleans in 2010, signed by Stipe. —Trudy Ring 

TWO TIMES INTRO 200x (COURTESY) ADVOCATE.COMNaamah’s Blessing
Officially the ninth novel in lesbian author Jacqueline Carey's D'Angeline series, Naamah’s Kiss (Grand Central Publishing, $26.95) is set decades after the events of the first book in the series as the half-Maghuin-Dhonn druid, half-D’Angeline sex priestess Moirin returns to Terre d’Ange to find the royal family broken. Not the best of the critically acclaimed Naamah series (Naamah’s Curse and Naamah’s Kiss are the others) but this book is, like the others, sure to be on the New York Times bestseller list for weeks. Still, fantasy fans would be best served by starting the series at the beginning (with Kushiel’s Dart) or you really won’t understand what’s going on. — Susan Hernandez 

NAAMAH'S BLESSING 200px (COURTESY) ADVOCATE.COMOld, Gay and Fabulous
First time author Ken Sofronski’s Old, Gay and Fabulous (CreateSpace, $12.99) isn’t much to look at — the self-published vibe might turn off some buyers — but readers who delve into the book won’t be disappointed. The 73-year-old Sofronkski is a New York-based court reporter and actor who appeared in Julie & Julia and Mean Streets and his debut memoir offers an engaging and witty look at gay life over several decades from the Stonewall Riots to Bette Midler’s debut at the Continental Baths to escaping death on 9/11. Most interesting, though, is the authors accounts of his mother, an out and proud butch lesbian, who worked at a Coatesville, Pennsylvania factory making springs for car seats. — Diane Anderson-Minshall 

OLD GAY AND FABULOUS 200px (COURTESY) ADVOCATE.COMThe Literary Party: Growing Up Gay and Amish in America 
James Schwartz’s collection of poetry and short stories about being “gaymish” is emotional, compelling, sometime devastating but always accessible even to those who don’t care for poetry (read: most Americans). The ultimate upshot: Growing Up Gay and Amish in America (InGroup Press, $12.95) is probably the only book in America that’ll tell you what it’s like to take a horse and buggy to a gay nightclub. — Diane Anderson-Minshall 

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