Hola, literate queens! It’s Fran again, here with a queer book roundup. We get a lot of books in through the Out office, but from this month’s reading harvest, we found the cream of the crop of books by queers, or with queer-adjacent topics. Now I know y’all like to support queer artists and writers, so please add all these to your shopping cart, or better yet, go pick them up at your local bookstore. Anyway, here’s the best queer books from April 2019. Happy reading!
Jericho Brown is one of the sexiest poets making work today, and that’s a fact. I don’t mean that just the poems are sexy — though, they are really, really sexy — but Jericho’s biceps alone are enough to make you faint. But anyway, back to his poems. His much anticipated The Tradition is a reminder of Brown’s mastery and untouchable finesse of rhythm. In his bottom anthem, “Thighs and Ass” (which is, by the way, on page 69), Brown writes, “Yes, I knew meat would lure men, / And flesh properly placed will lead / One to think that he can—when / He runs from what sniffs to kill us— / Mount my back trusting I may carry / Him at a good speed for a long distance.” Hoo, girl. This book made me sweat!
Okay, I know you think you don’t need another coffee table book, but… you need this coffee table book. Documenting the history of queer art following 1969 in collaboration with the Leslie Lohman Museum, this beautiful Rizzoli book is an homage to work from Keith Haring, Robert Mapplethorpe, and Nan Goldin and other legends. It will educate you even if you think you knew everything about these artists, and aside from fine art, the book also tells stories from film, magazines, performance, and the media that came along with it.
Who doesn’t love a good coming-of-age memoir? Telling the story of a son in a fiercely Roman Catholic household during the 1960s, this boarding school narrative dives into the deep, emotional truths of what it meant to be in the closet during that time. The book also dives into his relationship with his father who is an alcoholic in a healing story many need to hear.
People call Lie With Me, a 1984 teenage romance novella, the French Brokeback Mountain. A sexy, pure, and radiant story, this book has been republished for US readers, and translated by Molly Ringwald. Yes, that Molly Ringwald! This is a great gift book, a quick plane-read, and honestly, better than Brokeback Mountain. Don’t miss it!
We have been waiting for Camonghne’s first book of poetry for quite some time, and now it’s finally here. The dazzling debut is a series of entertaining and insightful musings. Ranging from political commentary, to nostalgic #relatable memories of childhood, hate crimes and Black Lives Matter — Felix’s brain will make you want to get brunch with her immediately. Her poem “Tonya Harding’s Fur Coats” is a great example, setting you up for something comical, but unraveling in a deeply thoughtful and imaginative meditation on class and wealth gaps. Oh, did I mention she’s also a political analyst? Pick a lane, Camonghne!
Move over Ina Garten, there is a new gay icon in town taking over the cooking book market. David Burtka, husband to a one Neil Patrick Harris, released his debut cookbook with 106 recipe, 16 party themes, and so many other cute tips and tricks for hosting your own gay gathering. If you’re not very good at dinner parties or having people over, this book is a great place to start. Burtka is a true master, and a hostess with the mostess.
So many good poetry out this month! Inspired by the Turing Test, queer scientist Alan Turing’s measurement of a machine’s ability to exhibit human behavior, Soft Science is a voyage of queer femme futurism. An academic by trade, with a slam poetry claim to fame, Choi’s tone and rhythm leap right off the page. Your only regret getting this book will be that Choi herself isn’t there to read it to you her very compelling performance style.
A new release of the legendary queer artist Frida Kahlo’s personal writings will have you in awe at the magnitude of her brain. Funny, observant, and passionate, this intimate look into the painter’s world takes the form of 50 letters to her mother. Their relationship was complex, fraught at times, and the letters create an honest portrait of Kahlo’s anxieties, fears, relationships, and artistic process.