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by Tracy Baim, Windy City Times

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Please support independent bookstores by purchasing your books through them. Stores we recommend include Women & Children First, Unabridged Books, The Book Cellar, After Words, the Book Table, 57th Street Books, Quimby's and Powell's.


Thirty-six stories from LGBT and allied business leaders make up the anthology Out & Equal at Work: From Closet to Corner Office from Out & Equal Workplace Advocates. The group's founding executive director, Selisse Berry, edited the anthology. She said the book is a reminder that "it really does get better. Out & Equal at Work is the first time that business leaders, including C-Suite executives from Fortune 500 companies, have come together to share their personal stories of facing discrimination and forwarding LGBT equality in the workplace." Berry said some of the contributors lost their jobs, family, friends and some even nearly their lives. "But by being their authentic selves at work, many saw their careers—and companies—blossom," according to a press release for the book. Chicago-area resident Lori Fox writes about her life as a transgender woman working on corporate diversity issues. Other contributors include Kayla Shell of Dell, Maggie Stumpp of Prudential, George Kalogridis of Disneyland Resort, Rosalyn Taylor O'Neale of Campbell Soup, and Deborah Dagit of Merck. Some of these people write about their multiple barriers beyond LGBT issues. This is a very important book for LGBTs in the corporate workforce.

Rub Out the Words: The Letters of William S. Burroughs (1959—1974), edited by Bill Morgan (Ecco Books), was published in 2012. It's a lengthy hardcover providing a close-up look at this Beat Generation gay icon. The 300 letters are by Burroughs to friends, family and colleagues, and they expand beyond his early Beat days to later years when he had links around the world.

Homesteading: Essays on Life, Death, Sex, and Liberation, by Julie E. Enszer (One Spirit Press), features the poet's essays from 1992 to 2008. Enszer worked part of this time on LGBT rights in Ferndale, Mich., and for national groups. She speaks of compromise and coalitions, organizations and changing fashions (between the activist and corporate worlds), and much more.

The New Erotic Photography 2, from world-renowned Taschen publishers, doesn't disappoint. It features the work of 50 photographers from around the world. Among the models are erotic film star Kimberly Kane, Colombian expat Alejandra Guerrero, skate-boarder and heavy metal rocker Magdalena Wosinska, self-portraitist Erica Simone and Liz Earls. It's meant to be erotic, and seems to also have an eye for straight male lovers of lesbians (and the majority of the photographers are male), but the book also does a great job of featuring women of diverse age, size and color. More female contributors would make the third volume much better.

The Velvet Rage, first published in 2006, has been revised and reissued in a second edition from Da Capo Press. Clinical psychologist Alan Downs addresses the questions of growing up gay in a straight man's world, especially from a psychological perspective.

The Missing Myth: A New Vision of Same-Sex Love, by Gilles Herrada, is available now from Select Books, . Herrada looks at the role homosexuality has played in the evolution of humans. The book asks if "homosexual behavior is an aberration from the standpoint of reproduction, why is it widespread among humans, primates—and a myriad of other animal species—and why has it been favored by evolution?" It also investigates prohibitions against homosexuality, and how the community finally began to fight back. It is a dense book full of much information, but it will open your mind to a variety of new concepts.


Wax by Therese Ambrosi Smith (Blue Star Books) is a fantastic imagining of women helping their country in the nation's industrial workforce after the attack on Pearl Harbor that began U.S. intervention in World War II. The book follows three young women as they challenge themselves and take the risk of joining other "Rosie the Riveters." One of the three comes out as a lesbian, and the others also face their own struggles. Many of these women were forced back into stereotypical roles after the war. Smith does a great job of helping us remember the women who helped the nation in so many ways. "I wanted a book that would engage, entertain and inform," Smith said. "Our grandmothers were the home half of the Greatest Generation."

Lust in Time: Erotic Romance Through the Ages, edited by Rob Rosen, is a collection of stories from modern writers which moves in chronological order from 1000 B.C. to 1969 A.D. From ancient Israel and Greece and Rome, to the time of the Vikings, the Wild West, Woodstock, and all points in between, witness the steamy encounters, lurid battles, raucous clashes, and tender moments of couples who span the centuries. Get swept up in the lives of the biblical David, Emperor Hadrian, barbarians from Britannia, a 19th Century physician, Jewish immigrants, cowboys and Indians, Billy the Kid, Civil War and World War I soldiers, hippies, and more. Authors: C.C. Williams, Kayla Jameth, Tilly Hunter, Julian Siminski, Stevie Woods, Jeff Mann, Kenzie Mathews, James Thorpby, K. Vale, Michael Roberts, Salome Wilde, Steve Rudd, Barry Brennessel, Richard May, Landon Dixon and Rob Rosen. See .

A Horse Named Sorrow, by Trebor Healey (University of Wisconsin) is a story of love and profound loss, set in San Francisco of the 1980s and 1990s. Seamus Blake, 21, meets Jimmy, a Buffalo, NY, native who came to San Francisco via a very long bicycle ride. But Jimmy dies of AIDS complications and Seamus has to fulfill his promise to Jimmy, riding with his ashes via bicycle all the way to the East Coast. Acclaimed author Maureen Seaton writes of the book: "A Horse Named Sorrow is simply, inexorably beautiful. It is sexy, cinematic, the prose itself an absolute joy to read, and often funny as holy hell. It is, at the same time, one of the saddest works I have ever read; piercing, poignant, and memorable."

Maxie Mainwaring, Lesbian Dilettante, by Monica Nolan (Kensington Publishing) has a pulp novel cover in keeping with Nolan's other campy lesbian novels Lois Lenz, Lesbian Secretary and Bobby Blanchard, Lesbian Gym Teacher. In this newest book, Nolan writes of a "dilettante debutante" trying to learn enough skills to hold down a real job. The reason she has to earn a living? She was caught fooling around with another female during the Daughters of the American Pioneers Annual Tea.

Arsenal Pulp Press has a Queer Film Classic monograph series, the latest being Strangers on a Train: A Queer Film Classic by Jonathan Goldberg. In the slim volume, Goldberg explores the homoerotic undertones between the two male characters (played by Farley Granger and Robert Walker) in Alfred Hitchcock's 1951 film, which was based on lesbian writer Patricia Highsmith's novel.

Teen Life

Brent Hartinger released a groundbreaking gay teen novel, the Geography Club, 10 years ago. That book sold well and was optioned for a film—which is finally expected to be out this year (with stars Scott Bakula and Nikki Blonsky). Hartinger has now released a third sequel to that book, The Elephant of Surprise (Buddha Kitty Books). The Russel Middlebook Series follows teen Russell again as he copes with love and life. The title The Elephant of Surprise is based on the "tendency for life to never turn out as expected." And the characters in the book certainly find out how true that is.

Where You Are is the newest novel by J.H. Trumble, author of Don't Let Me Go. Published by Kensington, this is about the "love that dare not speak its name" times two—a gay high school student is mentored by his math teacher, and they are increasingly drawn to one another. The book deals with the many nuances of this difficult subject (difficult no matter the genders). The book is especially detailed about the complexities of a teenage gay boy's life.

Canadian transgender electronic singer-songwriter Rae Spoon is branching out to the printed page with First Spring Grass Fire (Arsenal Pulp Press). The book follows a young person growing up queer in a Pentecostal Midwestern family. Author Ivan E. Coyote called the book "brave and blasphemous."

Children's Books

What Makes a Baby (Triangle Square Books for Young Readers) is a very specific kids book about how babies are made and born. It does not shy away from calling a vagina a vagina, and a sperm a sperm. Written by sexuality educator Cory Silverberg and illustrated by award-winning Canadian artist Fiona Smyth, What Makes a Baby is also very inclusive of different family types (yes, LGBT) and races. It is for kids pre-school to 8 years old, and starts at the basics of sperms and eggs, and moves on to conception, gestation and birth. The story doesn't gender people or body parts, "so most parents and families will find that it leaves room for them to educate their child without having to erase their own experience," the author stated. See .


If you are a fan of old movies and TV shows, The Loretta Young Show: Best of The Complete Series—100th Birthday Edition is for you. This 17-DVD set is jam-packed with not just her TV series, but home movies, interviews and more. Young was a child actor in silent movies and transitioned to an adult star—she was in more than 100 movies. She won an Academy Award for best actress for The Farmer's Daughter. The Loretta Young Show launched in September 1953 and ran until 1961.

Graphic Novels

Down to the Bone is Ralf Keonig's sequel to The Killer Condom, from Ignite! Entertainment. The story is presented as a movie on the page, with translation by Jeff Krell. It's an imaginative universe of gay men navigating their sex and sexuality, amidst the murder of a leather bar owner and other gay men. It's quite creepy and explicit, and not for everyone, but well executed (so to speak).

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