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Great Gifts: Books for the Holidays
by Tracy Baim, Windy City Times

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Continuing last week's theme of books, music and videos good for gift giving—to yourself or others—here are some more recent releases to stuff your stockings, and your mind.

As always, we encourage our readers to purchase their books through LGBT-friendly and independent places such as Women & Children First Bookstore ( 5233 N. Clark, which also has online ordering, including of e-books ) , Unabridged Books ( 3251 N. Broadway ) , The Book Cellar ( 4736-38 N. Lincoln ) , Seminary Co-Op ( 5757 S. University ) , 57th Street Books ( 1301 E. 57th ) , and other independent stores.

Don't Let Me Go

by J.H. Trumble

A novel about being gay in high school, and finding true love, or true love at least for the time being. This is a story of two boys who are inseparable in their love, but when one moves to New York, both their worlds start to crumble and be re-built. Will there be room for each other in this new construction?

Joe Dallesandro: Warhol Superstar, Underground Film Icon, Actor

by Michael Ferguson

Dallesandro was a "tough kid from the streets of New York who became a counterculture emblem of male beauty and ambiguous sexuality through the films of Andy Warhol and Paul Morrissey". Chicagoan Michael Ferguson examines the films Dallesandro made for the Factory ( including Flesh, Trash and Heat ) , as well as the X-rated Frankenstein and Dracula, his offbeat movies in Europe, and his return to America as character actor. As the book's promo notes: "Ambivalent about his fame as a Warhol Superstar, Dallesandro is nevertheless irrevocably drawn back to the images of his younger self and a persona that captured the gaze of both women and men during the sexual revolution. As the first openly eroticized male sex symbol of the movies to appear casually naked on screen, he spoke to our fantasies and liberated the male nude as an object of beauty in the cinema. Including new interviews with Joe, an extensive biographical section, and photographs from the actor's personal collection, Ferguson has revised, expanded, and updated his long out-of-print book Little Joe, Superstar."

Inseparable: Desire Between Women in Literature

by Emma Donoghue

Lesbian literary treasure Emma Donoghue first released this book in 2010, and it won the Stonewall non-fiction award from the American Library Association. Cleis Press is now releasing it in paperback, and it is a must-have for fans of literary history. The book traces lesbian inclusion ( or whatever the undercover words might have been for "close friends" or "gal pals" ) in writing, starting with The Book of Ruth in the King James Bible, in 16th century writings, Shakespeare, Sade, Balzac, Chaucer, Radclyffe Hall, Agatha Christie, Patricia Highsmith, Sarah Waters and more. There are vampires and school girls, cross-dressers and murderers. Highly recommended.

Gay Letters From Millicent to Maude

by James Considere and Bill Edwards

The co-authors of this 100-page book have a preserved legacy of humorous letters providing both details of the 1950s and the feelings of a gay man ( who assumes the alter ego, Millicent during that period ) . Millicent writes to his gay male friend ( Maude ) with components of information that are missing when one reads the few clinical books published about gay life in the 1950s. "We hope to bring many insights about gay life in the past," said Considere. Millicent "writes from a gay male debutante's perspective, witty with some acrimony, but never sorrowful," according to the authors.

The Unreal Life of Sergey Nabokov

by Paul Russell

This is a work of historical fiction, one of my favorite types of books. Russell imagines the life of famous Russian writer Vladimir Nabokov's forgotten gay brother. The novel begins in November 1943 with the raids in Berlin, when Sergey starts to write down the story of his life in Czarist Russia, his time at Cambridge University and in the Parisian salon of Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas. He is a lover of Cocteau, and later finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time, in war-torn Berlin—he eventually was arrested and sent to a prison camp, where he died in 1945.

Emma Goldman: Revolution As a Way of Life

by Vivian Gornick

Timing is everything, and with the Occupy Movement in full swing across the U.S. and parts of the world, this book is a perfect fit for those looking to reflect on the history of revolutions. Goldman ( 1869-1940 ) was way ahead of her time in many ways, but also reflective of the chaos of her own day. She was for sexual freedom, marriage reform, birth control and freedom of speech. She was an anarchist who wrote and spoke her mind across the world. She was born in the Russian Empire and was attracted to the anarchist cause after the Haymarket riot in Chicago on May 4, 1886—a union demonstration that turned violent and resulted in the convictions of five anarchists ( four were executed, one allegedly committed suicide in prison ) . Still inspiring and relevant after all these years, Goldman's life and work are motivating for anyone who cares about social justice.

She Was One of Us: Eleanor Roosevelt and the American Worker

by Brigid O'Farrell

Third Wave feminist Baumgardner presents a collection of her best essays ( old and new ) and interviews with the women who most inspire her—including Riot Grrrl's Kathleen Hanna, transgender activist Julia Serano and Native American activist Winona LaDuke. At the promo notes: "When many young women in the '90s were feeling let down by Second Wave feminists, Baumgardner was advocating for a new kind of feminism: wearing fishnet stockings and lipstick, questioning the status quo, and helping women understand that they didn't have to change who they were in order to be a feminist." Some readers may know the author for her important "I Had an Abortion" documentary and activist project. Baumgardner is also the author of Look Both Ways: Bisexual Politics and Abortion & Life, and the co-author, with Amy Richards, of Manifesta: Young Women, Feminism and the Future and Grassroots: A Field Guide for Feminist Activism.

Ashamed to Die: Silence, Denial, and the AIDS Epidemic in the South

by Andrew Skerritt

Journalist Skerritt looks at the impact of AIDS on the Southern U.S., which now claims 40% of the nation's AIDS cases—but only 36% of the population as a whole. This book explores the epidemic and brings to light the effect poverty, lack of education and taboos regarding sexuality among the African-American community have in the proliferation of AIDS in the region.

Learning to Love It

by Bill Leubrie

A novel about a gay man approaching middle age who finds a genie in a bottle. Trouble follows when he wishes for a new body and riches. Repeat after me: Careful what you wish for, you just may get it.

Thoughts of a Tribal Elder: One Queerman's Journey from the Ashes Risen

by Roger Goodman, M. Mus., M. Div.

Chicagoan Goodman has lived with AIDS for many years. Once, he was in a coma for 10 days. "Like the phoenix, I rose from my own flames and ashes to become an even more beautiful bird with golden wings and purple feathers on its head," he said. "This is just a book of thoughts and, hopefully, some wisdom gathered through the course of my life, not just my life as an out Queerman since 1965, but my life since childhood through living with HIV/AIDS and overcoming addictions through recovery, gaining a spiritual connection with the Spirit of the Universe." Goodman was active during the civil-rights movement and protests over the Vietnam War. After being an international concert harpsichordist, teacher and recording artist, he began work on the AIDS documentary film From the Ashes Risen. See .

The Lost Women of Lost Lake

by Ellen Hart

Jane Lawless returns in this new mystery by award-winning lesbian author Ellen Hart, among my favorite writers. Don't worry, Jane's friend Cordelia is also here in fine form. Their friend Tess is the focus of the mystery this time, because an investigative journalist has arrived and is poking around into Tess's past. Going to visit relatives for the holidays? Take along this Ellen Hart book for your reading pleasure. A great escape.

Definitely Not Mr. Darcy

by Karen Doornebos

This is a funny premise, where a divorced 39-year-old woman who lives for all things Jane Austen finds herself on a reality show set in 1812 ( hardships and all ) —with contestants vying for Mr. Wrightman.

Sweet Like Sugar

by Wayne Hoffman

A novel about being gay and questioning true love. This is an interesting concept, with a young gay skeptic and his unlikely friendship with an older straight rabbi who has lost his wife, his "bashert" ( the Yiddish word for the person you are fated to meet ) . Can the young man learn lessons from the rabbi?

Pigeons Don't Float

This is part of a series of downloadable books for children who have no other access to stories about LGBT-headed families in their communities. According to the 2010 census, children with same-sex parents live in 96% of U.S. counties. Pigeon's Don't Float is the story of Lilly, a girl with two moms, who loves family Sundays at the park. One Sunday while feeding the ducks, Lilly sees a pigeon float. No one believes her.

Burning Bridges

by Natalie Aday

This is a painful story of abuse told from the perspective of one who was tormented by a lover, and that abuse only ended when her partner Tomi died. Aday writes about the difficulty in finding a way to walk away from someone who not only terrorized her, but her whole family.

The Prospect of My Arrival

by Dwight Okita

We reviewed this book in full a few weeks ago, but I wanted to add my thoughts on this inspired new novel by Chicagoan Okita. This is a story about a "pre-born" who gets to decide whether he wants to actually be born, in a future where technology can implant his consciousness into a young man's body, so he can experience the good and bad of the world, and then reflect on if he wants to enter the chaos. Okita, a gay author, has included a gay angle in this novel, but it's a sci-fi piece worthy of fans from any background.

Girls Who Bite: Lesbian Vampire Erotica

edited by Delilah Devlin

Devlin, a writer of fiction herself, has compiled a collection of vampire stories for those interested in a more Sapphic take than Twilight and True Blood provide. Writers include Adele Dubois, Christine d'Abo, Paisley Smith, Myla Jackson, Shayla Kersten and Vivi Anna.

The Ultimate Guide to Orgasm for Women

by Mikaya Heart

I am pretty sure this book needs the least description for our well-read audience. Cleis Press has put out this new "essential guide to pleasure for all women."

Big Big Love: A Sex and Relationships Guide for People of Size ( and Those Who Love Them )

by Hanne Blank

Another book with a title that pretty much says it all, this one published by Celestial Arts, revised from an earlier edition.

Happy Accidents

by Jane Lynch

"Relax. … Don't sweat it." Those are words of advice from Jane Lynch to … Jane Lynch, her younger self, in this new autobiography by the star of stage, film and TV. We know a lot about Lynch in her star days, ever-present on TV, commercials and at awards shows. All this attention is much deserved. But her early years provide clues to help guide younger people struggling to find their place in the world. Her coming out as a lesbian is important for our community, but her general anxiety and stress provide life lessons for anyone.

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