Gay Catholics, Suicidal Moms, and the Polymorphous Perversity of Madonna’s Big Toe

With a fat gay Catholic kid, a suicidal, closeted mom, and essays on the perceived perversions of everything from Trekkies to Madonna, this week's books have plenty to offer readers who think truth is stranger than fiction.

BY Diane Anderson-Minshall

May 08 2012 1:08 PM ET UPDATED: May 14 2012 12:01 AM ET

I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts: Drive-by Essays on American Dread, American Dreams by Mark Dery x300 \ ADVOCATE.COMI Must Not Think Bad Thoughts: Drive-by Essays on American Dread, American Dreams by Mark Dery (University of Minnesota Press, $25)

Author Mark Dery is never at a loss for source material, and this inventive and immenently readable collection of essays covers a variety of peculiar topics including porn fantasies of Star Trek fans, Facebook as Limbo of the Lost, George W. Bush’s fear of his inner queer, the homoerotic subtext of the Super Bowl, the sadism of dentists, the branding of Hitler, the sexual identity of 2001’s HAL (think you know?), the suicide note considered as a literary genre,  Lady Gaga, and the polymorphous perversity of Madonna’s big toe. It's both wonderfully provocative and absurd, but always well-measured and intellectually thoughtful —  a winning combination in a collection like this. (UPress.UMN.edu) — Diane Anderson-Minshall

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