Show me the books he loves and I shall know the man far better than through mortal friends - Silas Weir MitchellToday guest is Sarah Schulman, American novelist, historian and playwright and early chronicler of the AIDS crisis. Sarah is a Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at the City University of New York, College of Staten Island and a Fellow at the New York Institute for the Humanities at New York University.
Jean Genet's Funeral Rites
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Faber and Faber (September 25, 2009)
Amazon: Funeral Rites
Jean Genet's sensual and brutal portrait of World War Two unfolds between the poles of his grief for his lover Jean, killed in the Resistance during the liberation of Paris, and his perverse attraction to the collaborator Riton. Powerfully written, and with moments of great poetic subtlety, Funeral Rites is a dark meditation on the mirror images of love and hate, sex and death. Translated by Bernard Frechtman
Carson McCullers Ballad of the Sad Cafe
Paperback: 160 pages
Publisher: Mariner Books (April 5, 2005)
Amazon: The Ballad of the Sad Cafe: and Other Stories
A classic work that has charmed generations of readers, this collection assembles Carson McCullers’s best stories, including her beloved novella “The Ballad of the Sad Café.” A haunting tale of a human triangle that culminates in an astonishing brawl, the novella introduces readers to Miss Amelia, a formidable southern woman whose café serves as the town’s gathering place. Among other fine works, the collection also includes “Wunderkind,” McCullers’s first published story written when she was only seventeen about a musical prodigy who suddenly realizes she will not go on to become a great pianist. Newly reset and available for the first time in a handsome trade paperback edition, The Ballad of the Sad Café is a brilliant study of love and longing from one of the South’s finest writers.
Ron Hanson's Mariette In Ecstasy
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Harper Perennial; First Edition edition (June 5, 1992)
Amazon: Mariette in Ecstasy
The highly acclaimed and provocatively rendered story of a young postulant's claim to divine possession and religious ecstasy.
Philip Roth's Portnoy's Complaint
Paperback: 289 pages
Publisher: Vintage; international edition (September 20, 1994)
Amazon: Portnoy's Complaint
Portnoy's Complaint n. [after Alexander Portnoy (1933- )] A disorder in which strongly-felt ethical and altruistic impulses are perpetually warring with extreme sexual longings, often of a perverse nature. Spielvogel says: 'Acts of exhibitionism, voyeurism, fetishism, auto-eroticism and oral coitus are plentiful; as a consequence of the patient's "morality," however, neither fantasy nor act issues in genuine sexual gratification, but rather in overriding feelings of shame and the dread of retribution, particularly in the form of castration.' (Spielvogel, O. "The Puzzled Penis," Internationale Zeitschrift für Psychoanalyse, Vol. XXIV, p. 909.) It is believed by Spielvogel that many of the symptoms can be traced to the bonds obtaining in the mother-child relationship. With a new Afterword by the author for the 25th Anniversary edition.
Visions of Cody by Jack Kerouac
Paperback: 448 pages
Publisher: Penguin (Non-Classics) (August 1, 1993)
Amazon: Visions of Cody
Written during 1951-52, this novel was an underground legend by the time it was finally published in 1972. Written in an experimental form, Kerouac created the ultimate account of his voyages with Neal Cassady, which he captured in a different form for On the Road.
Cambridge and Crossing the River by Caryl Phillips
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Vintage (February 2, 1993)
One of England's most widely acclaimed young novelists adopts two eerily convincing narrative voices and juxtaposes their stories to devastating effect in this mesmerizing portrait of slavery. Cambridge is a devoutly Christian slave in the West Indies whose sense of justice is both profound and self-destructive, while Emily is a morally-blind, genteel Englishwoman.
Paperback: 237 pages
Publisher: Vintage (January 15, 1995)
Amazon: Crossing the River
From the acclaimed author of Cambridge comes an ambitious, formally inventive, and intensely moving evocation of the scattered offspring of Africa. It begins in a year of failing crops and desperate foolishness, which forces a father to sell his three children into slavery. Employing a brilliant range of voices and narrative techniques, Caryl Phillips folows these exiles across the river that separates continents and centuries. Phillips's characters include a freed slave who journeys to Liberia as a missionary in the 1830s; a pioneer woman seeking refuge from the white man's justice on the Colorado frontier; and an African-American G.I. who falls in love with a white Englishwoman during World War II. Together these voices make up a "many-tongued chorus" of common memory—and one of the most stunning works of fiction ever to address the lives of black people severed from their homeland.
Kool-AIDS: the Art of War and I, The Divine by Rabih Allemeddine
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Picador; 1st edition (July 1, 1999)
Amazon: Koolaids: The Art of War
An extraordinary literary debut, this book is about the AIDS epidemic, the civil war in Beirut, death, sex, and the meaning of life. Daring in form as well as content, Koolaids turns the traditional novel inside out and hangs it on the clothesline to air.
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; First Edition edition (October 2002)
Amazon: I, the Divine: A Novel in First Chapters
Named after the "divine" Sarah Bernhardt, red-haired Sarah Nour El-Din is "wonderful, irresistibly unique, funny, and amazing," raves Amy Tan. Determined to make of her life a work of art, she tries to tell her story, sometimes casting it as a memoir, sometimes a novel, always fascinatingly incomplete. "Alameddine's new novel unfolds like a secret... creating a tale...humorous and heartbreaking and always real" (Los Angeles Times). "[W]ith each new approach, [Sarah] sheds another layer of her pretension, revealing another truth about her humanity" (San Francisco Weekly). Raised in a hybrid family shaped by divorce and remarriage, and by Beirut in wartime, Sarah finds a fragile peace in self-imposed exile in the United States. Her extraordinary dignity is supported by a best friend, a grown-up son, occasional sensual pleasures, and her determination to tell her own story. "Like her narrative, [Sarah's] life is broken and fragmented. [But] the bright, strange, often startling pieces...are moving and memorable" (Boston Globe). Reading group guide included.
Aquamarine by Carole Anshaw
Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: Mariner Books (November 14, 1997)
Olympic swimmer Jesse Austin is seduced and consequently edged out for a gold medal by her Australian rival. From there, Anshaw intricately traces three possible paths for Jesse, spinning exhilarating variations on the themes of lost love and parallel lives unlived. Dorothy Allison, author of Bastard Out of Carolina, writes, "I found myself wishing I could buy a dozen copies and start a discussion group, just so I'd be able to debate all the questions this astonishing novel provokes." A Reader's Guide is available.
Parting The Waters by Taylor Branch
Paperback: 1088 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster; First Paperback Edition edition (November 15, 1989)
Amazon: Parting The Waters
Hailed as the most masterful story ever told of the American civil rights movement, Parting the Waters is destined to endure for generations. Moving from the fiery political baptism of Martin Luther King, Jr., to the corridors of Camelot where the Kennedy brothers weighed demands for justice against the deceptions of J. Edgar Hoover, here is a vivid tapestry of America, torn and finally transformed by a revolutionary struggle unequaled since the Civil War. Taylor Branch provides an unsurpassed portrait of King's rise to greatness and illuminates the stunning courage and private conflict, the deals, maneuvers, betrayals, and rivalries that determined history behind closed doors, at boycotts and sit-ins, on bloody freedom rides, and through siege and murder. Epic in scope and impact, Branch's chronicle definitively captures one of the nation's most crucial passages.
Frida by Hayden Herrerra
Paperback: 528 pages
Publisher: Harper Perennial (October 1, 2002)
Amazon: Frida: A Biography of Frida Kahlo
Hailed by readers and critics across the country, this engrossing biography of Mexican painter Frida Kahlo reveals a woman of extreme magnetism and originality, an artist whose sensual vibrancy came straight from her own experiences: her childhood near Mexico City during the Mexican Revolution; a devastating accident at age eighteen that left her crippled and unable to bear children; her tempestuous marriage to muralist Diego Rivera and intermittent love affairs with men as diverse as Isamu Noguchi and Leon Trotsky; her association with the Communist Party; her absorption in Mexican folklore and culture; and her dramatic love of spectacle. Here is the tumultuous life of an extraordinary twentieth-century woman -- with illustrations as rich and haunting as her legend.
Virginia Woolf by Quentin Bell
Paperback: 576 pages
Publisher: Mariner Books (March 20, 1974)
Amazon: Virginia Woolf: A Biography
The first full-scale biography of the eminent British writer, written by her nephew. Index; photographs.
The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William Shirer
Paperback: 1264 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster; 1st Touchstone edition (November 15, 1990)
Amazon: The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich
Hailed as “one of the most important works of history of our time” (The New York Times), this definitive chronicle of Hitler’s rise to power is back in hardcover with a new introductory essay by Ron Rosenbaum (Explaining Hitler and How the End Begins) commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of its National Book Award win. Since its publication in 1960, William L. Shirer’s monumental study of Hitler’s Nazi Empire has been a perennial international bestseller. The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich offers an unparalleled and thrillingly told examination of how Adolf Hitler nearly succeeded in conquering the world. With millions of copies in print around the globe, this is a vital and enduring classic—a superbly written, unsurpassed record of the last century’s darkest hours.
The Mass Psychology of Fascism by Wilhelm Reich
Paperback: 432 pages
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 3 edition (November 1, 1980)
Amazon: The Mass Psychology of Fascism
In this classic study, Reich provides insight into the phenomenon of fascism, which continues to ravage the international community in ways great and small. Drawing on his medical expereinces with men and women of various classes, races, nations, and religious beliefs, Reich refutes the still generally held notion that fascism is a specific characteristic of certain nationalities or a political party ideology that is imposed on innocent people by means of force or political manneuvers. "Fascism on only the organized political expression of the structure of the average man's character. It is the basic emotional civilization and its mechanistic-mystical conception of life."—Wilhelm Reich. Responsibility for the elimination of fascism thus results with the masses of average people who might otherwise support and champion it.
Imperialism: The Highest Form of Capitalism by Vladimir Lenin
Paperback: 128 pages
Publisher: Intl Pub (June 1969)
Amazon: Imperialism the Highest Stage of Capitalism
Vladimir Lenin created this hugely significant Marxist text to explain fully the inevitable flaws and destructive power of Capitalism: that it would lead unavoidably to imperialism, monopolies and colonialism. He prophesied that those third world countries used merely as capitalist labour would have no choice but to join the Communist revolution in Russia. "Great Ideas": throughout history, some books have changed the world. They have transformed the way we see ourselves - and each other. They have inspired debate, dissent, war and revolution. They have enlightened, outraged, provoked and comforted. They have enriched lives - and destroyed them. Now Penguin brings you the works of the great thinkers, pioneers, radicals and visionaries whose ideas shook civilization and helped make us who we are. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
My Emily Dickinson by Susan Howe
Paperback: 160 pages
Publisher: New Directions; Reissue edition (November 15, 2007)
Amazon: My Emily Dickinson
"Starts off as a manifesto but becomes richer and more suggestive as it develops."—The New York Sun. With exacting rigor and wit, Howe pulls Dickinson free of all the sterile and stuffy belle-of-Amherst cotton wool and shows the poet in touch with elemental forces of nature, and as a prophet in all her radical zealotry and poetic glory. Her Emily Dickinson is a unique American genius, a demon lover of poetry—no neurasthenic spider artist. Howe draws into her discussion Browning, Wuthering Heights, the Civil War, "Master," the great Puritan preachers, captivity narratives, Shakespeare, and phantom lovers. As she chases away narrow and reductive feminist readings of the poet, Howe finds instead a radically powerful and true feminism at work in Dickinson, focusing the whole on that heart-stopping poem "My Life had stood—a Loaded Gun." A remarkable and passionate poet-on-poet engagement, My Emily Dickinson frees a great poet from the fetters of being read as a special female neurotic, and sets her against a fiery open sky where "Perception of an object means loosing and losing it...only Mutability certain." My Emily Dickinson won The Before Columbus Foundation Book Award.
Living My Life by Emma Goldman
Paperback: 284 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace (April 26, 2011)
Amazon: Living My Life
Emma Goldman (1869–1940) played a pivotal role in the development of anarchist political philosophy in North America and Europe in the first half of the twentieth century and her influence remains strong to this day. Goldman became a writer and a renowned lecturer on anarchist philosophy, women's rights, and social issues, attracting crowds of thousands. She died in Toronto on May 14, 1940, aged 70. During her life, Goldman was lionized as a free-thinking "rebel woman" by admirers and derided by critics as an advocate of violent revolution. Her writing and lectures spanned a wide variety of issues, including prisons, atheism, freedom of speech, militarism, capitalism, marriage, free love, and homosexuality; she even developed new ways of incorporating gender politics into feminism and anarchism. After decades of obscurity, Goldman's iconic status was revived in the 1970s when popular culture rekindled interest in her life.
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Secret History: The Biography of Sam Seward by Justin Spring
Paperback: 496 pages
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; First Edition edition (July 19, 2011)
Amazon: Secret Historian: The Life and Times of Samuel Steward, Professor, Tattoo Artist, and Sexual Renegade
A finalist for the 2010 National Book Award. Drawn from the secret, never-before-seen diaries, journals, and sexual records of the novelist, poet, and university professor Samuel M. Steward, Secret Historian is a sensational reconstruction of one of the more extraordinary hidden lives of the twentieth century. An intimate friend of Gertrude Stein, Alice B. Toklas, and Thornton Wilder, Steward maintained a secret sex life from childhood on, and documented these experiences in brilliantly vivid (and often very funny) detail. After leaving the world of academe to become Phil Sparrow, a tattoo artist on Chicago’s notorious South State Street, Steward worked closely with Alfred Kinsey on his landmark sex research. During the early 1960s, Steward changed his name and identity once again, this time to write exceptionally literate, upbeat pro-homosexual pornography under the name of Phil Andros. Until today he has been known only as Phil Sparrow—but an extraordinary archive of his papers, lost since his death in 1993, has provided Justin Spring with the material for an exceptionally compassionate and brilliantly illuminating life-and-times biography. More than merely the story of one remarkable man, Secret Historian is a moving portrait of homosexual life long before Stonewall and gay liberation.
The Biography of Malcolm X by Manning Marable
Hardcover: 608 pages
Publisher: Viking Adult; 1St Edition edition (April 4, 2011)
Amazon: Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention
Years in the making--the definitive biography of the legendary black activist. Of the great figure in twentieth-century American history perhaps none is more complex and controversial than Malcolm X. Constantly rewriting his own story, he became a criminal, a minister, a leader, and an icon, all before being felled by assassins' bullets at age thirty-nine. Through his tireless work and countless speeches he empowered hundreds of thousands of black Americans to create better lives and stronger communities while establishing the template for the self-actualized, independent African American man. In death he became a broad symbol of both resistance and reconciliation for millions around the world. Manning Marable's new biography of Malcolm is a stunning achievement. Filled with new information and shocking revelations that go beyond the Autobiography, Malcolm X unfolds a sweeping story of race and class in America, from the rise of Marcus Garvey and the Ku Klux Klan to the struggles of the civil rights movement in the fifties and sixties. Reaching into Malcolm's troubled youth, it traces a path from his parents' activism through his own engagement with the Nation of Islam, charting his astronomical rise in the world of Black Nationalism and culminating in the never-before-told true story of his assassination. Malcolm X will stand as the definitive work on one of the most singular forces for social change, capturing with revelatory clarity a man who constantly strove, in the great American tradition, to remake himself anew.
Madame Bovary (Lydia Davis translation)
Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Viking Adult; First Edition edition (September 23, 2010)
Amazon: Madame Bovary
A literary event: one of the world's most celebrated novels, in a magnificent new translation. Seven years ago, Lydia Davis brought us an award-winning, rapturously reviewed new translation of Marcel Proust's Swann's Way that was hailed as "clear and true to the music of the original" (Los Angeles Times) and "a work of creation in its own right" (Claire Messud, Newsday). Now she turns her gifts to the book that redefined the novel as an art form. Emma Bovary is the original desperate housewife. Beautiful but bored, she is married to the provincial doctor Charles Bovary yet harbors dreams of an elegant and passionate life. Escaping into sentimental novels, she finds her fantasies dashed by the tedium of her days. Motherhood proves to be a burden; religion is only a brief distraction. In an effort to make her life everything she believes it should be, she spends lavishly on clothes and on her home and embarks on two disappointing affairs. Soon heartbroken and crippled by debts, Emma takes drastic action with tragic consequences for her husband and daughter. When published in 1857, Madame Bovary was deemed so lifelike that many women claimed they were the model for its heroine. Today the novel is considered the first masterpiece of realist fiction. Flaubert sought to tell the story objectively, without romanticizing or moralizing (hence the uproar surrounding its publication), but whereas he was famously fastidious about his literary style, many of the English versions seem to tell the story in their own style. In this landmark translation, Lydia Davis honors the nuances and particulars of a style that has long beguiled readers of French, giving new life in English to Flaubert's masterwork.
Inferno by Eileen Myles
Paperback: 256 pages
"What is a poem worth? Not much in America. What is a life worth? Inferno isn't another 'life of the poet,' it's a fugue state where life and poem are one: shameful and glorious. People sometimes say, 'I came from nothing,' but that's not quite right. Myles shows us a 'place' a poet might come from, did come from--working class, Catholic, female, queer. This narrative journey somehow takes place in a moment, every moment, the impossible present moment of poetry." - Rae Armantrout
War Diaries edited by Ernest Hardy and Tisa Bryant
War Diaries is an anthology of contemporary writing focused on black gay male desire and survival, edited by Tisa Bryant and Ernest Hardy, and published by AIDS Project Los Angeles' educational publishing program, spearheaded by Patrick "Pato" Hebert.
We believe the arts to be an instrumental tool in HIV/AIDS awareness and education, as the arts provide people of color with ways to share experiences and affirm the value of their lives. War Diaries is available at no cost, and will be distributed to anyone anywhere requested.
Get your free copy of WAR DIARIES by emailing Pato Hebert at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Put "War Diaries" in the subject line, and your mailing address in the body of the email.
Don't Let Me Be Lonely by Claudia Rankine
Paperback: 168 pages
Publisher: Graywolf Press; First Edition edition (August 26, 2004)
Amazon: Don't Let Me Be Lonely: An American Lyric
In this powerful sequence of TV images and essay, Claudia Rankine explores the personal and political unrest of our volatile new century
I forget things too. It makes me sad. Or it makes
me the saddest. The sadness is not really about
George W. or our American optimism; the
sadness lives in the recognition that a life can
The award-winning poet Claudia Rankine, well known for her experimental multigenre writing, fuses the lyric, the essay, and the visual in this politically and morally fierce examination of solitude in the rapacious and media-driven assault on selfhood that is contemporary America. With wit and intelligence, Rankine strives toward an unprecedented clarity-of thought, imagination, and sentence-making-while arguing that recognition of others is the only salvation for ourselves, our art, and our government. Don't Let Me Be Lonely is an important new confrontation with our culture, with a voice at its heart bewildered by its inadequacy in the face of race riots, terrorist attacks, medicated depression, and the antagonism of the television that won't leave us alone.
Leche by R Zamora Linmark
Paperback: 280 pages
Publisher: Coffee House Press; NONE edition (April 12, 2011)
After thirteen years of living in the U.S., Vince returns to his birthplace, the Philippines. As he ventures into the heat and chaos of the city, he encounters a motley cast of characters, including a renegade nun, a political film director, arrogant hustlers, and the country’s spotlight-driven First Daughter. Haunted by his childhood memories and a troubled family history, Vince unravels the turmoil, beauty, and despair of a life caught between a fractured past and a precarious future. Witty and mesmerizing, this novel explores the complex colonial and cultural history of the Philippines and the paradoxes inherent in the search for both personal and national identities.
About Sarah Schulman: Sarah Schulman is the author of fifteen books, including nine novels. She has won a Guggenheim Fellowship in Playwrighting, a Fullbright in Judaic Studies, two American Library Association Book Awards, and is the 2009 recipient of the Kessler Prize for sustained contribution to LGBT studies. Sarah is Distinguished Professor at the City University of New York, College of State Island, a Fellow of the New York Institute for the Humanities at New York University. She is on the advisory board of the Center for Human Rights and Social Movements at Harvard's Kennedy School. She is the US coordinator of the first LGBT Delegation to Palestine. She lives in New York.
The Child by Sarah Schulman
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Arsenal Pulp Press (September 1, 2008)
Amazon: The Child
The Child, a Lambda Literary Award finalist, is the eleventh and perhaps most controversial book by acclaimed lesbian writer Sarah Schulman, available for the first time in paperback. This novel explores the parameters of queer teen sexuality against a backdrop of hysteria and sanctioned homophobia, based on the 1997 sexual assault and murder of an eleven-year-old boy by a fifteen-year-old. Stew is a lonely teen who discovers love on an adult website. But when his older boyfriend is arrested in an Internet pedophilia sting, his proclivities are revealed to his family and friends, to his horror. Devastated by these revelations and left to fend for himself, he ends up committing murder. Brazen and daring in its themes, The Child is a powerful indictment of sex panic in America, and a plaintive meditation on isolation and desire.
The Mere Future by Sarah Schulman
Hardcover: 184 pages
Publisher: Arsenal Pulp Press (September 1, 2009)
Amazon: The Mere Future
For a nation that elected Barack Obama as president, here is the first novel of the new era: The Mere Future, by award-winning novelist, activist, and playwright Sarah Schulman, set in a utopian (or is it dystopic?) future vision of New York City. The city has morphed into what appears to be an idealized version of itself, the result of what the new mayor calls "The Big Change," in which rent is cheap, homelessness is a thing of the past, and the only job left is marketing. Advertising no longer appears in public but in the privacy of one's home; chain stores and homogenous culture disappear, and a rugged individualism triumphs. Despite the utopian surface, however, there is a disturbing malaise that infects the population; some openly question how the mayor is paying for such measures, which take place at the expense of anyone feeling anything close to art or emotion, culminating in murder and a resulting trial that transfixes the city. Will justice be served under the new Lifestyle-Appropriate Trial and Sentencing System? Sparkling with witty and provocative social commentary, The Mere Future is a startling vision of the world to come that blows literary conventions out of the water.
Ties That Bind: Familial Homophobia and Its Consequences by Sarah Schulman
Hardcover: 192 pages
Publisher: New Press, The (October 6, 2009)
Amazon: Ties That Bind: Familial Homophobia and Its Consequences
Although acceptance of difference is on the rise in America, it’s the rare gay or lesbian person who has not been demeaned because of his or her sexual orientation, and this experience usually starts at home, among family members. Whether they are excluded from family love and approval, expected to accept second-class status for life, ignored by mainstream arts and entertainment, or abandoned when intervention would make all the difference, gay people are routinely subjected to forms of psychological and physical abuse unknown to many straight Americans. “Familial homophobia,” as prizewinning writer and professor Sarah Schulman calls it, is a phenomenon that until now has not had a name but that is very much a part of life for the LGBT community. In the same way that Susan Brownmiller’s Against Our Will transformed our understanding of rape by moving the stigma from the victim to the perpetrator, Schulman’s Ties That Bind calls on us to recognize familial homophobia. She invites us to understand it not as a personal problem but a widespread cultural crisis. She challenges us to take up our responsibilities to intervene without violating families, community, and the state. With devastating examples, Schulman clarifies how abusive treatment of homosexuals at home enables abusive treatment of homosexuals in other relationships as well as in society at large. Ambitious, original, and deeply important, Schulman’s book draws on her own experiences, her research, and her activism to probe this complex issue—still very much with us at the start of the twenty-first century—and to articulate a vision for a more accepting world.