Category Archives: GLBT non-fiction

New in December from BRUNO GMUNDER

New in December

ZACK
DEADLY CIRCUS OF DESIRE
Rome 108 AD: A teeming city of splendors and squalor, where millionaires enjoy everything money can buy, while the poor scrabble to survive, their only distractions brutal gladiatorial games and the races of the Circus Maximus. After a chance encounter the lives of two diverse young men intertwine. Streetwise Tullius Rufio and patrician Quintus Alba could not be more different, but events conspire to link them first in friendship, then in desire … Gladiators, chariot racers, and prostitutes clash in this erotic saga of Acient Rome, which turns from a circus of desire to youthful love between two engaging heroes.

ftp://b2b:2012@92.79.136.6/2014/978-3-86787-785-5

240 Pages, english
Softcover, 5 1/4 x 7 1/2 Inches
€ 14,99 / US$ 16,99 / £ 10,99
ISBN 978-3-86787-785-5

GENGOROH TAGAME
FISHERMAN’S LODGE
Gengoroh Tagame is one of the most famous manga artists in the world. He is already mentioned in the same breath as Tom of Finland. Art magazine 032c wrote: “Tom of Finland’s work looks like something out of Disney beside his illustrations.” Fans all over the world worship the masculine eroticism of his elaborate drawings. Following Endless Game and Gunji, Bruno Gmünder publishes his third volume in English in the Gay Manga series. Gay Manga series: Fisherman’sLodge, together with the short stories Confession and End Line.

ftp://b2b:2012@92.79.136.6/2014/978-3-86787-795-4

160 pages, black/white, English, explicit
Softcover with flaps, 6.75 x 9.5 inch
€ 19,99 / US$ 24,99 / £ 19,99
ISBN 978-3-86787-795-4

WINSTON GIESEKE
SLAVE BOYS
Being a slave boy means always having to say you’re sorry. Never making decisions or grappling between right and wrong. Because slave boys always know their place. And whether or not they’re tied down, they feel happily powerless. At times their humiliation is painful, but it always leads to enlightenment. Featuring off-the-cuff tales of men in cuffs—or slings, or collars—Slave Boys is a titillating erotic collection of slaves and masters.

ftp://b2b:2012@92.79.136.6/2014/978-3-86787-788-6

208 pages, english
Softcover, 5 1/4 x 7 1/2 Inches
€ 15,99 / US$ 17,99 / £ 11,99
ISBN 978-3-86787-788-6

Song
BIG IS BETTER 2
Following the huge success of Big is Better, exceptional talent Song releases a second volume in English. He was the comic discovery of the year 2013. His characters Sam, the tender muscle giant, and Pete, the well-endowed boy, are banished from the gay community and the world at large. They find love with one another because of their differences and go through some adventures. Genetically altered males, crazy scientists, terrorists — what is waiting ahead for them?

ftp://b2b:2012@92.79.136.6/2014/978-3-86787-769-5

160 pages, full colour, English, explicit
Softcover, 7 x 9.5 Inches
€ 19,99 / US$ 24,99 / £ 19,99
ISBN 978-3-86787-769-5

Takeshi Matsu
MORE AND MORE OF YOU
Gay manga at its best: Takeshi Matsu’s humorous and highly erotic stories enjoy popularity in Japan andworldwide. Bruno Gmünder publishes his works for the first time in English, making it available to a larger audience.

ftp://b2b:2012@92.79.136.6/2014/978-3-86787-793-0

160 pages, english, black/white, explicit
Softcover, 6.75 x 9.5 Inches
€ 19,99 / US$ 24,99 / £ 19,99
ISBN 978-3-86787-793-0

“My Thinning Years: Starving the Gay Within” by Jon Derek Croteau— Transformation

my thinning years

Croteau, Jon Derek. “My Thinning Years: Starving the Gay Within”, Hazelden, 2014.

Transformation

Amos Lassen

When he was a youngster, Jon Derek Croteau tried to be what his father expected of him. He denied his sexuality as a way to gain love and respect of the man who abused him and with this he developed a deep and internalized homophobia. He really just wanted to disappear. His self-denial resulted in “anorexia, bulimia, and obsessive running, which consumed him as an adolescent and young adult”.

 Jon did not face his sexual identity until his experience with Outward Bound and he continued to do so once he went to college and began to deal with years of repression and anger and his father’s control. This is Jon’s story and it is one of courage and the will to survive. It meant finding a new definition of family, one that was to include friends, relatives and others who supported him as he began to realize and understand who he was. This is a sensitive and sad story that is filled with “pain, alienation and rejection” but it is the story of triumph. Here is “a brutally honest tale of one man’s struggle to understand who he is in the midst of a world that cannot or will not understand.” We quickly see that life is very different for a gay person who comes of age in today’s culture than it is for his straight counterpart.

Jon developed forms of denial – eating disorders, obsessive exercising, and an intense homophobia. During the first part of the book where Jon writes of his childhood and the emotional and physical struggles and the pain he had to deal with caused my eyes to fill with tears more than once. However, when we reach the second part of the book we find hope and love and the tears that flowed this time were different. Jon’s strength and courage are amazing yet there is an intensity to the writing that is truly beautiful to read.

This is not a book just for gay teens accepting themselves , it is a book for the people who love them as well. Here is a book for the world that is quickly changing and for us to understand that love knows no gender or sexuality. Jon Croteau gives a voice to those who have been overlooked and silent for way too long and he does so beautifully. Now at almost forty years old, Jon can look back and write of his journey and we see what a wonderful young man he was and still is today.

 His memories of incidents from his youth will resonate with young people confronting the same situation and it is amazing that he has remained resilient and is able to give an occasional humorous look at his situation.

It will took courage, action, and speaking the truth out loud and hopefully others will follow the lead that Croteau took here. We can only hope that this book will have a part in making others see what many in the LGBT community have had to deal with and that we can all love and accept them as they are.

“Gender in Judaism and Islam: Common Lives, Uncommon Heritage” by Kashani-Sabet, Firoozeh and edited by Beth S. Wegner— So Alike and So Different

gender and islam and judaism

Kashani-Sabet, Firoozeh. “Gender in Judaism and Islam: Common Lives, Uncommon Heritage”, (edited by Beth S. Wenger), NYU Press, 2014.

So Alike and So Different

Amos Lassen

 There are many interrelated characteristics in Judaism and Islam—both are derived from Middle Eastern Cultures and both are text based. They also both traditionally and often exclude women yet we tend to spend time looking at the differences rather than the similarities. Both groups have seen resurgence in orthodoxy of late and both seem to have growing feminist movements that challenge traditions and religious structures. Here in America, both are minorities and each group’s religion is distinctive. Now we see that the time has come to look at the relationships between the two groups by exploring gender.

This volume brings together scholars from both Judaism and Islam and they look at a large variety of topics (see table of contents below) that include

gendered readings of texts, legal issues in marriage and divorce, ritual practices, and women’s literary expressions and historical experiences, along with feminist influences within the Muslim and Jewish communities and issues affecting Jewish and Muslim women in contemporary society. The book is divided into sections (see below) and the author and editor introduce each section.

 Attention is paid to the theoretical innovations that gender scholarship has brought to the study of Muslim and Jewish experiences. I think one of the things that make this book so special is that we do not look at Judaism and Islam as being at odds but rather we reconsider the connections between the two religions instead of them as opposites. We get insights into each of these cultures as well as comparative perspectives that deepen our understanding of both Islam and Judaism.

This is both a compelling and well-needed study that includes wonderful discussions of contemporary feminism as well as information about honor killings and crimes of passion. The articles contained are written by scholars yet in easy to read language and we move beyond stereotypes and politics.

We become aware of the commonalities and differences among Jewish and Muslim women along with gendered aspects of their religious and cultural experiences. This is a study that brings a dialogue to the fields of Islamic and Jewish Studies into a rich dialogue and because the emphasis is on shared histories and intersecting paths, we see new ways of understanding complexities in the lives of Muslims and Jews, both in the past and in the present.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction– Firoozeh Kashani-Sabet and Beth S. Wenger

Part I. Comparative Perspectives 13

  1.  Jewish and Muslim Feminist Theologies in Dialogue: Discourses of Difference— Susannah Heschel
  2.  Jewish and Islamic Legal Traditions: Diffusions of Law— Amira Sonbol

Part II. Limits of Biology:
Bodily Purity and Religiosity

  1. Scholarly versus Women’s Authority in the Islamic Law of Menstrual Purity— Marion Katz
  2. Gender Duality and Its Subversions in Rabbinic Law— Charlotte Elisheva Fonrobert
  3. Gender and Reproductive Technologies in Shia Iran— Soraya Tremayne

Part III. Crimes of Passion:
Formative Texts and Traditions

  1.  Not a Man: Joseph and the Character of Masculinity in Judaism and Islam— Lori Lefkovitz
  2. Dishonorable Passions: Law and Virtue in Muslim Communities— Catherine Warrick
  3.  Legislating the Family: Gender, Jewish Law, and Rabbinical Courts in Mandate Palestine— Lisa Fishbayn Joffe

Part IV. Cultural Depictions of Jewish and Muslim Women 237

  1.  A Literary Perspective: Domestic Violence, the “Woman Question,” and the “Arab Question” in Early Zionism— Andrea Siegel
  2. An Autobiographical Perspective: Schools, Jails, and Cemeteries in Shoshanna Levy’s Life Story— Orit Bashkin
  3.  An Artistic Perspective: The Women of Bahram Beizai’s Cinema—Hamid Dabashi

Afterword: Common Ground, Contested Terrain—Joan W. Scott

Glossary 349

About the Contributors 351

Index 355

“Nights at Rizzoli” by Felice Picano— How It Was

nights at rizzoli

Picano, Felice. “Nights at Rizzoli”, OR Books, 2014.

How It Was

Amos Lassen

If anyone can tell us how it was once for gay writers, it is Felice Picano. Picano is one of the people responsible for getting our literature accepted and respected. He was one of the original members of the Violet Quill s he knew who was who and what was going on. Picano also worked at Rizzoli books and with this memoir he takes us back to New York when Rizzoli was a place where gay men met alongside intellectuals, celebrities, artists and assorted hangers-on. This was before Stonewall and Picano had yet become the writer we love. Rizzoli was a bookstore that catered to the who’s who of New York and Picano tells us of meeting them first there and then seeing them at night in the less beautiful places. I have long been a Picano fan and have reviewed almost of his books and have noticed how he shares his talent with so many different publishers. I am just amazed at the accuracy of his memory and in awe of his storytelling.

Rizzoli at 712 Fifth Avenue was a very special place. You could see Salvador Dalí, Jerome Robbins, Jackie Onassis. Gregory Peck, Mick Jagger, S. J. Perelman, I. M. Pei, Philip Johnson, Josephine Baker, John Lennon and many more. These were people for whom New York City was the center of the world—but this was in the 1970’s (before Amazon) when people actually shopped for books (much as I still do today at Brookline Booksmith and Calamus in Boston. People mingled and talked back then and you could meet anyone at Rizzoli. My first trip to New York as a young adult included a stop there. Those that worked at Rizzoli were also special people—they had a sense of sophistication and were only too glad to help a customer. (Remember those when salespeople really sold?).

Let’s go back to 1971 when Picano was trying to get a break as a writer and when a friend helped him to get a part-time job at Rizzoli. We see here that that job changed his life forever because it allowed him to meet some of the most important people in the cultural life of New York City. He learned so much there that he really did not know fear. When work was over for the day (here comes the juicy part), Picano would leave the world of taste and elegance and left that world behind as he roamed the city visiting the gay clubs and bars as well as the piers and he tells us about it.

I must say that physically and visually this is one of Picano’s most beautiful books. Aside from the wonderful written memories that he shares with us are also five beautiful photographs.

“Nine-to-Five Fantasies: Tales of Sex on the Job” edited by Alison Tyler— Pleasurable Business

nine-to-five

Tyler, Alison (editor). “Nine-to-Five Fantasies: Tales of Sex on the Job”, Cleis Press, 2014.

Pleasurable Business

Amos Lassen

In this new anthology edited by Alison Tyler we get a new way to look at work and get to read some very steamy stories about sex on the job. We have eighteen stories by Sommer Marsden, Kate Pearce, Delilah Night, Sophia Valenti, Heidi Champa, Sasha White, A.M. Hartnett, Andrea Dale, Laila Blake, Tilly Hunter, Elisa Sharone, Giselle Renard, Crystal Jordan, Devin Phillips, Cora Zane, Jeremy Edwards, Kathryn O’Holloran and the editor Alison Tyler.

The settings vary—the water cooler, the office and the stockrooms and the props always seem to be available— rulers a good spanking, shipping tape is great for bondage, and we see that sometimes the office has a very tempting lure.

Even with the rules that are usually broken, work can be a great place for sex. The stories exclude no job and they build up fantasies. (In addition to the fantasies about construction workers, cowboys, and mechanics that have always existed we can also add “bookbinders, IT guys, and even an ice cream man”.

Most of the stories are about quickies just as the stories are “quickies” themselves. What really makes these stories exciting is that they take place where they are not supposed to. What takes place for many is considered forbidden (making the stories all the more salacious and therefore all the more fun to read).

“Wishbone: A Memoir in Fractures” by Julie Marie Wade— Life Happens

wishbone

Wade, Julie Marie. “Wishbone: A Memoir in Fractures”, Bywater Books, 2014.

Life Happens

Amos Lassen

Julie Marie Wade seems to have lived a life that was filled with falls— “crashing to the ground from a swing. The sensation of slipping from the platform saddle atop a circus elephant, sliding “flat as a penny against his wrinkled skin, rattling the bones of my ribs.” The shame and uncertainty of being spilled from the security of parental love. And, finally, triumphantly, the felix culpa, the fortunate fall, of love”. In her fragmentary memoir (which won the Lambda Literary Award in 2011 and is now released as a paperback), we are treated to the fragmentary structure of her memoir. It is poetic in language and it makes us look deep within ourselves as we read about someone else. Wade’s story is one of poignancy and description of loss and separation. She takes us through what she remembers and we immediately relate to her—many of us have been where she has been but do not have the tools or the language to describe our lives.

We venture on a journey through childhood that is both simple and unique but always presented lyrically. Not only does Wade come of age but she becomes who she is. Wade looks at the human condition and she does so with style and grace and treats us to her gorgeous prose. She writes of relationships with brutal honesty and she covers the paradoxes and contradictions in them.

Her memoir is divided into episodes that explore serious and important matters of sensuality and sexuality as well as betrayal and redemption yet she does depress—rather she writes playfully but seriously. She does not look back and continues heading forward. She also explores change with extreme honesty and she writes with diversity and creativity. Most of you know that I am an avid reader and love biographies and memoirs but I must say I was not prepared for what I read here and could only wonder why it has taken me so long to read this wonderful look at a life. She is nostalgic but never morose or depressing and I admire her complete optimism.

I suppose the best description I could give this book is that it is an exploration of life but it is nowhere near a linear look at that life. The book flows like a wonderfully aged wine that we stop and sip as we drink.

Wade moves in and out of identity and time as she lets us take peeks at her life that she writes about in great detail. I am so tempted to give examples but that would destroy a wonderful reading experience for those who have not yet read this book. Yet I must mention that the theme of loneliness is constant and we so want her to find a place where she can feel that she belongs.

The discussions about queer sexuality are brilliant. She writes of what it means to be gay and how both the family and society perceive it. Here we get stories and memories that emerge as we struggle with identity as well as the dangers of being unlike others with whom we live and interact.

Seth’s Broadway Diary, Volume 1” by Seth Rudetsky— Rudetsky and Broadway

seth's broadway

Rudetsky, Seth. “Seth’s Broadway Diary, Volume 1”, Dress Circle Publishing, 2014.

Rudetsky and Broadway

Amos Lassen

Seth Rudetsky is a nice gay Jewish guy who is not only a fine musician who has wonderful ties to Broadway musical theater and the stars that make it. It seems he has the need to know everything about stars and is more than willing to share that information. This first volume is a compilation of Seth’s hilarious, Broadway-centric “Onstage and Backstage” columns for Playbill.com and these chronicle Rudetsky’s own unique life on and around the Great White Way. Rudetsky’s book “is full of his personal Broadway experiences, such as going to the final performance and party for Rent, watching in terror as Jeff Bowen was dragged off the stage during [title of show] and the night he saw Spring Awakening and helped Jonathan Groff and Lea Michele break (-ish) the law”. He gives us the inside scoop on what it’s like performing with tons of fantastic stars like Rosie Perez, Andrea McArdle, Betty Buckley, Bernadette Peters and more.

If you love the theater, this is a book for you and I am sure that many are not aware of what goes on behind the scenes and in the personal lives of the stars. There are stories of “the trials, tribulations, and hilarious encounters that make the world of Broadway tick are a great way to get a glimpse of the heart and soul of one of Broadway’s most loved characters.”

We are immediately aware of the author’s love of Broadway and his sense of humor is wonderful. You will be as anxious for volume 2 as I am.

“Porn Again: A Memoir” by Josh Sabarra— Growing Up

porn again

Sabarra, Josh. “Porn Again: A Memoir”, JBS Books, 2014.

Growing Up

Amos Lassen

Josh Sabarra comes out of the closet as if it is on fire in this memoir. As he does, he takes us with him on a Hollywood thrill-ride through growing up, coming out, coming of age and finally finding himself at 40. Before I read this, I had no idea who Sabarra was and now I just might know too much about him. Even though he was a high-level entertainment executive, Sabarra was still a virgin at 31. He was uncomfortable with who he was and was haunted by painful childhood memories. He channeled himself into a career-focused rise and this was at the expense of his own personal life.

As a teen, he had been tormented by schoolmates for being “different.” Josh held onto his close relationships with a small circle of adult females. But, even with that support, the shame and contempt that grew from his sexuality forced him into a syndrome of self-hate and that robbed him of an emotional and sexual identity for more than three decades. He had movie studio jobs through which he met celebrity idols and these led to friendships and relationships with some of the industry’s most notable characters. There were intimacies but they created a false sense of acceptance and approval, requiring that he continue to up the stakes – celebrity lovers, online dating, sexual fetishists and porn stars-for-hire.

Now that he has accepted himself as a gay male, he has become the kind of best friend that everyone wants but seldom finds. His book is poignant, heartbreaking and above everything else, brutally honest. He is provocative, salacious and totally intimate. His writing is also very funny. Sabarra is candid and sincere and he really wants us to get his message. He wrote the book for whoever, gay or straight, felt uncomfortable with who he/she is. He hits us where we feel it and afterwards he makes us laugh and that is quite a feat.

This is a book that will haunt the reader but that is a good thing since all of us have experienced sometime in our lives the feeling of not being wanted. Sabarra has had quite an intimate journey and yet he is willing to share it with us.

“The Queerness of Native American Literature” by Lisa Tatonetti— Queer Native Writing After Stonewall

the queerness of native american lit

Tatonetti, Lisa. “The Queerness of Native American Literature”, (Indigenous Americas), University of Minnesota Press, 2014.

Queer Native Writing After Stonewall

Amos Lassen

Lisa Tatonetti provides gives us a genealogy of queer Native writing after Stonewall. Looking across a broad range of literature, Tatonetti offers the first overview and guide to queer Native literature from its rise in the 1970s to the present day. We learn here that there were ties between two simultaneous renaissances of the late twentieth century: queer literature and Native American literature. We see that Indigeneity intervenes within and against dominant interpretations of queer genders and sexualities. Unfamiliar texts were recovered from the 1970s that presented fresh, cogent readings of well-known works. “In juxtaposing the work of Native authors—including the longtime writer–activist Paula Gunn Allen, the first contemporary queer Native writer Maurice Kenny, the poet Janice Gould, the novelist Louise Erdrich, and the filmmakers Sherman Alexie, Thomas Bezucha, and Jorge Manuel Manzano—with the work of queer studies scholars, Tatonetti proposes resourceful interventions in foundational concepts in queer studies while also charting new directions for queer Native studies”. I personally felt dumb reading this because none of the above authors are familiar to me and I read a great deal of gay literature. Now I know where to go to fill the gap in my personal reading habits.

The basic argument of this text is that “queerness has been central to Native American literature for decades, showing how queer Native literature and Two-Spirit critiques challenge understandings of both Indigeneity and sexuality”.


“Man to Man: Desire, Homosociality, and Authority in Late-Roman Manhood” by Mark Masterson— Love and Sex Between Men in Rome

man to man

Masterson, Mark. “Man to Man: Desire, Homosociality, and Authority in Late-Roman Manhood”, Ohio State University Press, 2014.

 Love and Sex Between Men in Rome

Amos Lassen

Mark Masterson presents us with an analysis of love between men in the late-Roman period and it is sure to cause controversy. Previous accounts have stated that sexual desire between men was forbidden or ignored while Masterson says that it was known and it was a way to show friendship, patronage, solidarity, and other important relationships among elite males in late Roman history. In fact, sexual expression was a metaphor for friendship. The greatness of a man could be measured by his sexual attractiveness, and the “substantial status differences often seen in late antiquity could be ameliorated by a superior using amatory language to address an inferior”.

There was, however, at the same time, a decided ambivalence about same-sex desire and sexual behavior between men, and indeed same-sex sexual behavior was criminalized on a large-scale. It seems that rejection and condemnation may indicate a decisive distancing between authority and this desire and behavior, authority gained power from maintaining a relation to them. There was a demonstration of knowledge of the mechanics of sex and there was nothing unknown to the authority making the demonstration. An authoritative figure that knew of scandalous masculine sexual pleasure could project its power pretty much anywhere.

There is certainly something contradictory about the positive uses of same-sex desire between men and its criminalization in one and the same moment. Many are at a loss to explain this but here our author manages to deal with it perfectly. Masterson gives us quite a provocative and bold look at same-sex desire and I believe that this book might just reopen the question as to how it was.

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