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Sunny words

Sunny words


What better way to beckon second glances this summer than with a book that signals your profound sophistication? Then again, how about a work you can still make sense of while sipping cocktails at the pool? To spare you the homework of finding the best books for your mood, wallet, and barbecue chatter, we asked folks at four of the country's best lesbian and gay bookstores for their predictions about the summer's most-anticipated titles. This short list is the result, with thanks to Philip Rafshoon of Outwrite Books and Coffeehouse in Atlanta, Ed Hermance of Giovanni's Room in Philadelphia, Kim Brinster of New York City's Oscar Wilde Memorial Bookshop, and Jason Galloway at San Francisco's A Different Light Bookstore.


Dark Reflections by Samuel R. Delany (Carroll & Graf, $15.95; in stores now) Gay granddaddy Delany is best known for his science fiction, but his latest novel is about a gay African-American poet steeped in New York City's Lower East Side. "It's an extraordinary meditation on deformed social attitudes, loneliness, and the startling invigoration of life's small triumphs," observes Philly's Hermance.

Landing by Emma Donoghue (Harcourt, $25; in stores now) Accomplished Irish novelist Donoghue turns her pen to an old-fashioned girl-meets-girl romantic comedy. "It's about a world traveler and one who's never traveled, who connect, fall in love, and try to sort themselves out across the distances," says Brinster in New York. She also recommends Donoghue's story collection Touchy Subjects, now in paperback.

The Child by Sarah Schulman (Carroll & Graf, $24.95; in stores now) One of our most articulate observers of heterosexual cruelty and gay resistance, Schulman delivers her eighth novel, about a teen who kills after his online lover is jailed for pedophilia. "Word is she doesn't hold back in this book about online predators, AIDS, and mental deterioration," says Galloway in San Francisco.


Always by Nicola Griffith (Riverhead, $26.95; in stores now) Stylish lesbian action heroine Aud Torvingen knows how to multitask. While wrestling with grief over her lost lover and reckoning with her mother, she unleashes the unlikely female warriors in her martial arts class, gets into an erotic tangle, and roots out injustice on a Seattle film set. "The Blue Place and Stay stand as my all-time favorite thrillers. I'm excited to catch another installment of Aud's adventures," says Brinster.

The Messiah by Lee Hayes (Strebor, $15; July 10) Hayes has won a wide following for his visceral, seductive, and gripping novels that plumb the recesses of black gay men's psyches and drip with hot sex. His new thriller, about a reporter who faces off with a serial killer (who may be his lover), looks like one of the summer's most popular books, says Atlanta's Rafshoon.

The Beloved Son by Jay Quinn (Alyson, $24.95; in stores now) It could be anyone's story: A grown man with almost-grown children returns home to care for his elderly parents and comes to terms with his gay brother. For Galloway, the appeal is that "books about other people's dysfunctional families let us forget about our own for a while."


Dahlia Season: Stories and a Novella by Myriam Gurba (Manic D Press, $14.95; in stores now) Looking for a fresh, edgy voice that could rival Michelle Tea? Try this collection about a Chicana goth baby dyke who's sent to Catholic school to get rid of her weirdness. "We all know how that helps, right?" asks Galloway, whose ears pricked when he heard the main character's best friend is an "ex-carny trannyboi."

Hook, Line and Homicide by Mark Richard Zubro (St. Martin's Minotaur, $25.95; June 26) It's hard to believe we're up to the 12th mystery featuring retired Chicago high school teacher Tom Mason and his lover Scott Carpenter, a former major league baseball player. But "a new Tom and Scott mystery is always one of the most popular beach reads," says Brinster.

Lois Lenz, Lesbian Secretary by Monica Nolan (Kensington, $14; August) This 1950s-style potboiler about a "former cheerleader with a knack for office skills" isn't coming out until August, but the vintage pulp cover alone makes it worth the wait.


The Grand Surprise: The Journals of Leo Lerman edited by Stephen Pascal (Alfred A. Knopf, $30; in stores now) This gay man was one of the most influential figures in New York publishing. (Vogue, Vanity Fair, Mademoiselle) Lerman's once secret journals are dish to die for: Yul Brynner begging him for sex, Marlene Dietrich giving him a lesson on female anatomy, and Steve McQueen's bisexual liaisons are just a taste.

The Worlds of Lincoln Kirstein by Martin Duberman (Knopf, $37.50; in stores now) Memo to ballet queens: "One of our best historians examines the life of the gay man who was a driving force in helping create modernism, including sustaining George Balanchine's New York City Ballet," says Hermance.

The View From Here: Conversations With Gay and Lesbian Filmmakers by Matthew Hays (Arsenal Pulp Press, $22.95; in stores now) What's not to love about a film book with Divine in a red dress on the cover? Galloway points out that profiled filmmakers include John Waters, Gregg Araki, Lea Pool, and Pedro Almodovar.


Woof! A Gay Man's Guide to Dogs by Andrew DePrisco (Bowtie Press, $19.95; June 30) "We have just about as many dogs as humans come into our little store in the Castro, and this cute tongue-in-cheek gay men's guide to finding the dog of their dreams will be huge for us," says Galloway.

Tim Gunn: A Guide to Quality, Taste and Style by Tim Gunn and Kate Moloney (Abrams Image, $17.95; in stores now) The presiding stitch queen on TV's Project Runway (who's soon to have his own makeover reality show) delivers a manual for sharp dressing that "will be on the reading list of every stylish man," predicts Rafshoon.

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