Wednesday, November 30, 2022

World AIDS Day: A BookMen reading list

Over the past 23+ years, our group has read dozens of books that reference HIV/AIDS. As we prepare to mark the 25th anniversary of the first World AIDS Day, on Dec. 1, here is a sampling of those titles:

Philip Clark, editor: Persistent Voices: Poetry by Writers Lost to AIDS (out of print, alas)

David B. Feinberg: Queer and Loathing: Rants and Raves of a Raging AIDS Clone   

Thom Gunn: The Man with Night Sweats            


Larry Kramer: The Normal Heart                


Michael Mancilla: Love in the Time of HIV                                                                

Armistead Maupin: Michael Tolliver Lives                                                                    

Paul Monette: Borrowed Time                                                                             

Randy Shilts: And the Band Played On                                                                

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Discuss "Specimen Days" with the author

Back in July, we discussed Michael Cunningham's 2005 trilogy of interlocked novellas, Specimen Days. My hazy recollection of our discussion is that few if any of the attendees thought it was a great book, or even one of the author's best--but we had no trouble talking about it for the full hour, which says something. If you're still hungry for more discussion of it, the New York Times' T Magazine Book Club invites you to join Cunningham and novelist Nee Mukerjee for a virtual conversation about the novel on Thursday, Dec. 8. You can find out more, and RSVP, by going to this link.

25 Influential NYC Novels

This past summer, T Magazine assembled a panel of four authors, including Michael Cunningham, to identify "the 25 most influential New York City novels published between 1921 and 2021." Although the winners offer relatively little gay content, I still found the list useful as a reminder of several titles I've been meaning to read for years.

A bullet (over off-Broadway) dodged...

While on my annual culture vulture pilgrimage to New York City last month, I mentioned to the friend I was visiting that our group had discussed Hanya Yanagihara's A Little Life back in 2018, and expressed interest in a theatrical adaptation of the novel being presented at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Without a word, he handed me this New York Times review, and let's just say that was the end of that idea! Even if it had been a better production than it apparently was, seeing something four hours long in Dutch (with English supertitles) is certainly not my idea of a good time--or my friend's. Your mileage may vary, of course, but judging by the paucity of support for the nomination of Yanagihara's new book, To Paradise, for our 2023 reading list, I suspect not.

"Blood Brothers" en Español

Back on Oct. 19, we discussed Ernst Haffner's 1932 novel, Blood Brothers. During our chat, Mike Mazza was kind enough to share a link to the Spanish-language version, which I am belatedly posting here. If you compare the edition we used for the discussion, you'll notice a rather different tone between the two covers. 

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Making the Invisible Visible

On Dec. 1, World AIDS Day, Rebel Santori Press will release Invisible History: The Collected Poems of Walta Borawski --edited by our very own Philip Clark and Michael Bronski, the poet's partner. As the press release notes, the collection "marks the return of a singular poet, Walta Borawski (1947-1994) for new generations to enjoy." Congratulations, Philip!

The book also kicks off the publisher's new imprint, The Library of Homosexual Congress, curated by Tom Cardemone and Sven Davisson, which is dedicated to preserving and promoting provocative works of gay literature, with a focus on the AIDS crisis.


Friday, November 4, 2022

Ite lista est: BookMen DC's 2023 reading list

NOTE: This list does not include books on the 2022 list that have not yet been scheduled, or our current anthology (Pages Passed from Hand to Hand).  Nor does it include the quarterly non-LGBTQ selections.


A Scarlet Pansy by Robert Scully

Better Angel by Forman Brown (writing as Richard Meeker)

City of Night by John Rechy

Death Trick (A Donald Strachey Mystery) by Richard Lipez (writing as Richard Stevenson)

Fadeout (A Dave Brandstetter Novel) by Joseph Hansen

Gilgamesh: A New Translation of the Ancient Epic, translated from the Akkadian and with essays by Sophus Helle

Less Is Lost by Andrew Sean Greer

Love in the Big City by Sang Young Park

Midnight Cowboy by James Leo Herlihy

Queer by William S. Burroughs

Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown

The Gold Diggers by Paul Monette

The Kingdom of Sand by Andrew Holleran


Aspects of the Novel by E.M. Forster

Bad Gays: A Homosexual History by Huw Lemmey and Ben Miller

Secret City: The Hidden History of Gay Washington by James Kerchick

What Is the Grass: Walt Whitman in My Life by Mark Doty


Oscar Wilde: A Life by Matthew Sturgis

Who Killed My Father by Edouard Louis

Zami: A New Spelling of My Name by Audre Lorde


Afterparties: Stories by Anthony Veasna So

Far Out: Recent Queer Science Fiction and Fantasy, edited by Paul Guran

Global Queer Plays: Seven LGBTQ+ Works from Around the World, by Danish Sheikh inter alia.