Fall entertainment previews: Books
August 28 2006 12:00 AM ET
Stephen Beachy, Some Phantom/No Time Flat
(Suspect Thoughts Press). Bay Area novelist
Stephen Beachy is best known for his New York
magazine story last October that exposed the true identity
of the young HIV-positive gay hustler and cult hero
“JT LeRoy” as a 40-year-old woman named
Laura Albert. Beachy’s two novellas are
understated and creepy and amply demonstrate how he could
see through the smoke and mirrors of a great literary
Sulayman X, Adventures of a Bird-Shit Foreigner
(Alyson). A young Thai-American man negotiates
his passage to gay adulthood on the unforgiving Thai
streets. The author (whose first novel was Bilal’s
Bread, also from Alyson) has lived in Bangkok for 10
Joan Didion, We Tell Ourselves Stories in Order to Live
(Everyman’s Library). Before The Year
of Magical Thinking, Didion made her mark as
the preeminent chronicler of Los Angeles at its dirtiest
and dreamiest. Relive the Manson years with this collection
of Didion’s nonfiction.
Kim Powers, The History of Swimming
(Carroll & Graf). A poignant, suspenseful
memoir about the author’s search for his
suicidal twin brother, who in his late 20s mysteriously
disappeared from Manhattan.
Lucy Jane Bledsoe, The Ice Cave
(University of Wisconsin Press). After a
harrowing solo journey to the High Sierras, Bledsoe
reconnects with nature on a series of incredible true
adventures from the Mojave Desert to Antarctica.
Sam Harris, Letter to a Christian Nation
(Knopf). The author of the best seller The End
of Faith provides the perfect hostess gift for
families who don’t invite your partner over for
Thanksgiving. Harris describes his book as “my best
effort to arm progressives and secularists against the
religious certainties of Christian
fundamentalists—in about a hundred pages.”
Gillian Kendall, Mr. Ding's Chicken Feet: On a Slow
Boat From Shanghai to Texas
(University of Wisconsin Press). Some people go
out for cigarettes and never come back. Kendall shook off a
boyfriend in Australia and signed on as English
teacher and the only female crew member on a Chinese
ship. Close quarters, strange foods, and seething
pheromones—some of them quite possibly lesbian.
William J. Mann, Kate: The Woman Who Was Hepburn
(Henry Holt). Described as “the first
major Hepburn biography outside of her
control,” this book contains new material made
available only since Hepburn’s death, Mann puts
forward some provocative theories about how Hepburn
promoted her “dual sexuality” to spark
interest on the screen and off.
Michelle Tea, Baby Remember My Name: An Anthology of
New Queer Girl Writing
(Carroll & Graf). Twenty-two emerging voices
brought together by the dyke author (Valencia, Rent
Girl) and cofounder of the road show Sister Spit.
Brian Whitaker, Unspeakable Love: Gay and Lesbian Life
in the Middle East
(University of California Press). Wear your pride
shirt in Cairo and you will never complain about being
stared at in Home Depot again.
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