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GLBT Book Reviews
New monthly book reviews are featured on the last page of the Valley Gay Press each month and on this web site. They can also be found at Amazon.com on the page dedicated to the book itself.

Reviews are written by Valley Gay Press Book Reviewer A'JA Lyons, unless otherwise noted.

Reviews written before October 2008 were written by VGP Editor Liz Bradbury or MaryEllen Elizabeth, unless otherwise noted.

Want to have your GLBT book considered for review by this newspaper? Contact us: 610-432-5449
liz@bradburysullivancenter.org

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Scroll Down for All Reviews
or click on each title to go right
to its review:

**Down to the Bone by Mayra Lazara Dole reviewed by A’Ja Lyons

**Down to the Bone by Mayra Lazara Dole reviewed by Liz Bradbury

**Ain't Gonna Be the Same Fool Twice by April Sinclair

**Coffee Will Make You Black by April Sinclair

**Baby Remember My Name: An Anthology of Queer Girl Writing" edited by Michelle Tea

** Am I Blue?: Coming Out From the Silence by Marion Dane Bauer

** The Celluloid Closet by Vito Russo

** Running With Scissors by Augusten Burroughs

** Angel Food and Devil Dogs by Liz Bradbury

** The Guessing Game by Ted Randler

** Displacements by Jean Rubin

** King & King by Linda de Haan and Stern Nijland

** A Twist of Lime by Claudia McKay

** Rosemary & Thyme (video mystery series)

** The Tiger in the Attic:
Memories of the Kindertransport and Growing Up English by Edith Milton


** Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

** Gayellow Pages edited by Frances Green

** Psycho Kitties by Nicole Hollander

** Count Me Out by Farley Granger

** Is It A Date Or Just Coffee by Mo Brownsey

** Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel

** Jayson: Best of the 80s and 90s by Jeff Krell

** I'm the One That I Want by Margaret Cho

** The Intimate World of Abraham Lincoln by C.A. Tripp

** The Case of the Not-So-Nice Nurse:
A Nancy Clue and Cherry Aimless Mystery by Mabel Maney


** Summer Cruising by Dave Benbow


** Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters

** The Complete Saki (Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics) by H. H. Munro

** The Good Parts: Pure Lesbian Erotica by Nicole Foster

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Valley Gay Press Book Review


"Down to the Bone"
By Mayra Lazara Dole
Harperteen

Review by A'Ja Lyons

Mayra Lazara Dole’s novel, ‘Down to the Bone’ is a creative and colorful work of fiction aimed at young adults readers, but has the potential to span generations. ‘Down to the Bone’ is the story of a Miami born Cuban teenager named Laura whose happy life and relationship with Marlena comes crashing down around her when everyone finds out about her secret love.

Laura finds herself homeless after her mother disowns her for not conforming to the societal norm of heterosexuality. Laura discovers not only the limits of her mother’s conditional love, but about herself. She discovers not only about what it means to be a lesbian, but to be an out lesbian, to experience real love, and to receive it.

The protagonist is Cuban-American, but this book speaks to any lesbian of color who has faced judgment from family members, clergy, or so called friends. This book is an excellent resource for young lesbians who fear coming out or have had a difficult coming out.

I found the book to be not only humorous, but so soulful and refreshing. The colorful gay community rarely appeals to the people of color within it. This book does.


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Valley Gay Press Book Review

"Down to the Bone"
By Mayra Lazara Dole
Harperteen

Review by Liz Bradbury

Written for young adults, this facepaced novel about a 17-year-old Cuban - American “tortillera” (the Cuban slang word for dyke) who gets caught in her Catholic school reading a love letter from her girlfriend, grips you from the first page and doesn't let you go. The main character Laura, is not only thrown out of school but tossed out of the house by her mother, who says she can't love Laura unless she changes.

As Laura tries to conform, she experiences both the selfishness of those whose greatest fear is “what the neighbors will think,” and the unconditional love of friends who accept her as she is. The author skillfully weaves messages of equality and civil rights through the narrative as Laura's insight into life and love matures.

This middle-aged Lesbian reviewer was impressed not only by the authenticity of the coming out part of this story -- one in four US gay and lesbian youth who come out to their partners are thrown out of their homes -- but by the texture of GLBT Latino youths' lives in Miami. There is even a Cuban slang dictionary in the back of the book.

Those of any age who read this book will gain a better understanding of the pressures of GLBT young adults. And will probably learn a bit about dealing with those pressures. “Down to the Bone” adroitly reaches an audience that has been previously ignored and brings this audience exactly the kind of story it seeks. Let's hope every school library carries a copy of this book.


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January - February 2009 Valley Gay Press Book Review

“Ain't Gonna Be The Same Fool Twice”
by April Sinclair
Harper Paperbacks


Review by A'Ja Lyons

“Ain’t Gonna Be The Same Fool Twice” by April Sinclair is the sequel to her novel “Coffee Will Make You Black.” The story follows main character Jean ‘Stevie’ Stevenson as she begins college and redefines everything she thought she knew about herself. Stevie finds herself pursuing her first lesbian relationship and truly experimenting with her feelings towards women. She encounters another lesbian of color who becomes her guide to gay politics, drugs, and love-making. Her freshman year of college in the Midwest in the 1970s also finds her having to struggle with the racism that was rampant in those states in those times.

I found the book to be slightly second-rate, merely half as interesting as the previous book. Sinclair has a nice style but works little with her dramatic lesbian story line. Sinclair continues the coming-of-age plot, and writes it well, but her story is the same old same old with merely half of the flavor of the first novel.


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December 2008 Valley Gay Press Book Review

“Coffee Will Make You Black”
by April Sinclair
Harper Paperbacks


Review by A'Ja Lyons

“Mama, are you a virgin?” preteen Jean “Stevie” Stevenson asks her mother, after a boy in her sixth grade class sends her a note asking her the same thing.    

Stevie is a young Black woman residing in the South Side of Chicago, who comes into her own during the Civil Rights era and Black Power Movement. The title. "Coffee Will Make You Black,” was something African American elders said to children to dissuade them from heavy coffee drinking. For some of these older people, dark skin was considered a negative thing. Stevie, with her medium brown skin and medium length hair is labeled cute, but not beautiful.

Stevie the bookworm enjoys sports but she longs to fit in with the cool crowd, so she tries to conform. She also feels pressure from her fervently religious, self-hating, constantly deprecating mother who encourages Stevie to bleach her skin and to not associate with her best friend, whom the mother feels is a bad influence.

As Stevie enters high school and becomes her own person, she begins to disregard the pressure from her mother and friends. She wears an afro hairstyle rather than straightening her hair. The death of Dr. Martin Luther King and the roaring Civil Rights Movement changes the way Stevie sees herself. Stevie enters a relationship with a boy on the basketball team in her sophomore year, but during her junior year questions not only the relationship, but her sexuality when she realizes that she wishes for more than friendship with the school nurse, Ms. Horn.

Chicago born author April Sinclair has written an astonishing and inimitable coming of age debut novel about a young character’s preteen-through-high school years during the racially charged mid sixties and early seventies. This and Sinclair’s second novel, “Ain't Gonna Be the Same Fool Twice” which follows Stevie to college, are particularly good reads for young people dealing with coming of age issues.

 
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November 2008 Valley Gay Press Book Review

Review by A'Ja Lyons
"Baby Remember My Name: An Anthology of Queer Girl Writing" edited by Michelle Tea, Da Capo Press 2007

Michelle Tea, author of 'Rose of No Man's Land' and acclaimed spoken word artist, has gathered a collection of queer core writings that will please any fan of the genre. While not every story features a queer protagonist, the writing is truly queer; not just lesbian, gay, or transgender. All of the writings embrace truth and individuality, defy conventional notions, and further shake up this already liberal writing genre.

In 'Keep Your Goals Abstract' by Page McBee, a woman emotionally deals with her father's suicide and funeral. Her mother's insistence that she keep many of her fathers' belongings delivers deep emotional blows, as she seeks a farewell to disturbing memories and future solace with a lover.

'Juan the Brave' by Claudia Rodriguez, is a story about a young Transgender Latino boy who refuses to allow the neighborhood children to call him 'Erica.' No matter what anyone thinks of him, as those around him attempt to figure him out, Juan stays true to himself.

The most heartwarming tale is Jenna Henry's 'Sunshine in the Fat End.' A preteen girl named Jessie has to care for her autistic savant brother while her irresponsible mother spends her time doing drugs with her boyfriend. Jessie finds consolation with Gloria, her trailer park neighbor, a teenage girl not much older than she is, who is the sole provider for herself and her little brother.

Most of the stories have dark undertones, a few others, like the comic strip piece by Katie Fricas, are fairly lighthearted. Within the collection is a story sure to please any fan of queer literature.


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October 2008 Valley Gay Press Book Review

Review by A'Ja Lyons
Valley Gay Press Book Review -- VGP Welcomes new reviewer A'JA Lyons
Am I Blue?: Coming Out from the Silence by Marion Dane Bauer, A Young Adult Book published by Harper Trophy

Am I Blue?: Coming Out from the Silence by Marion Dane Bauer is an assemblage of eight distinct tales about young adults experiencing firsthand the perils of what comes with being gay or lesbian or being close to someone who is. Though this book was published 14 years ago, most of the stories still apply today, especially in areas of the Country that are less progressive.

In the story ‘Am I Blue’ by Bruce Coville, a young man gets heavenly help after being assaulted by a fellow classmate. ‘Winnie and Tommy’ by Francesca Lia Block details a situation where a young couple’s love is questioned when one of them questions their sexuality. In ‘Parents Night’ by Nancy Garden, a GSA booth on Parents’ Night gives a teenage girl the courage to come out to her seemingly liberal parents.

Some of the stories are relatively lighthearted and others show the melancholy side of being a sexual minority. Each author manages to tell a creative tale about finding and knowing oneself without ending up with a stereotypical "sad homosexual story.”


Want to buy this book? If you buy it or any item at Amazon through this web site, Amazon will make a donation to PA Diversity Network.

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June 2008 Valley Gay Press Book Review

Review by Liz Bradbury
The Celluloid Closet by Vito Russo, Harper & Row
This was a ground breaking book in 1985, and it still is a fascinating, information filled read that is essential to any student of GLBT history. Film historian Vito Russo offers dozens of stories and photos that show how our community has been portrayed on film since the silent era. A significant amount of Russo’s research focuses on gay and lesbian portrayals as both sex objects and seductive villains, before the advent of the Hayes office in 1934. The Hayes office effectively “outlawed” the presence of any gay character on film unless they were shown as despicable villains who were ultimately punished, usually dying by the end of the movie.

By the time Russo’s book was published in the mid 80s, Hayes office restrictions against sex, crime, and violence had generally faded away, however, Russo shows how film depictions of GLBT people were still showing the intolerant views of pre-war conservative attitudes.

In 1995, Lily Tomlin helped to finance a documentary film version of Russo’s research. It not only features dozens of classic movie clips, but contains a series of interviews by Hollywood stars, writers and historians, including openly GLBT people like Farley Granger and Gore Vidal, and supportive allies like Tom Hanks and Susan Sarandon. (It's worth seeing just for Sarandon's take on sex scenes with Catherine Deneve).

The documentary presents a great deal of information that is not in the book. But readers should note that the book contains a vast amount of material not in the movie. Don’t miss either. They are both funny, sexy and thought provoking.


Want to buy this book? If you buy it or any item at Amazon through this web site, Amazon will make a donation to PA Diversity Network.

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May 2008 Valley Gay Press Book Review

Review by Liz Bradbury
"Running With Scissors" by Augusten Burroughs 2002, Picador, $14.00

The movie got dozens of poor reviews at Amazon, where readers of the book insisted the book was so much better. I happened to like the movie so I figured the book would be great. It was good, but I liked the movie better.

The book, an autobiographical work that describes Augusten Burroughs’ bizarre adolescence, features a mother that is so dysfunctional, Joan Crawford seems like June Cleaver. Mom dumps Augusten at the home of her warped therapist whose family brings to mind a barely saner Addams family. Burroughs describes a series of incidents that colored his life, but the book also contains a definite understory of the boredom that comes from a life with no rules or obligations, including no school.

The movie has the extra intensity of an excellent cast, including Annette Benning, Alec Baldwin, Kristen Chenoweth, Jill Clayburgh, and Gwyneth Paltrow and lacks some of the grossness of the book which makes the movie easier to take. Still it’s an interesting story, both funny and grim with a writing style that makes it compelling.


Want to buy this book? If you buy it or any item at Amazon through this web site, Amazon will make a donation to PA Diversity Network.

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April 2008 Valley Gay Press Book Review

Review by MaryEllen Elizabeth
Angel Food and Devil Dogs
by Liz Bradbury

"ANGEL FOOD AND DEVIL DOGS” IS DELICIOUS!!!"

2008, Boudica Publishing Inc., $14.95

FIVE STARS AND HIGH PRAISE FOR LIZ BRADBURY’s Debut Lesbian Mystery/Romance Angel Food and Devil Dogs -- Read and become a part of this highly stimulating, brilliantly written novel. You won’t be disappointed!

When was the last time you read a tightly plotted mystery...that actually had a lesbian main character... who is pursuing and being pursued by another lesbian character...for more than just the vague mention of a relationship?

While Private Detective Maggie Gale is working on a case with her younger sister, attorney Sara Martinez, Maggie is called to Irwin College to investigate the suspicious death of music professor Carl Rasmus. These two complex mysteries each strike deep emotional chords in this surprisingly artistic Private Eye.

As Maggie begins to encounter the cast of quirky, well-drawn suspects; enter...Dr. Kathryn Anthony. She’s drop-dead gorgeous, sexy, smart...entrancing...a Muse-- Kathryn beckons, and Maggie follows:

“She faced me for what seemed like an age, but what was probably a second. She took a breath, then she made a soft demand, “Undress me.” That's something you'll be remembering for the rest of your life, flashed through my mind. I hadn't expected anything so specific. My legs almost gave way. I reached for the top button of her shirt. My hands were trembling. I undid two. She put her hand on the back of my neck and pulled me toward her for a long passionate kiss. Her lips were deliciously soft. She tasted wonderful, like everything I'd ever wanted.”

The sexual tension builds as the mysteries weave dangerously, keeping you guessing, with Maggie and Kathryn caught right in the middle.
If you are looking for sex, romance, and intrigue (and who isn't) then you’ve come to the right place. Author Liz Bradbury has infused her savvy protagonist, with strength, humor, passion, intelligence and the awareness that her life is missing something. The result? Maggie has become one of my all-time favorite characters. I’m hoping this series goes on for at least a dozen more volumes.

-- MaryEllen Elizabeth, Valley Gay Press Book Review

Want to purchase this book? Click here to go to the Boudica Publishing Inc. web site. 20% of the net profit of this book goes to GLBTA not-for-profit advocacy and support organizations.

Want to buy this book? If you buy it or any item at Amazon through this web site, Amazon will make a donation to PA Diversity Network.


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April 2008 Valley Gay Press Book Review

Review by Liz Bradbury
The Guessing Game
by Ted Randler

"Mystery For The Guys"


2002, Palari Publishing, $16.95

A vicious murder in a gay bar, no witnesses and hate graffiti in the victims blood on the wall gets the mystery started. An intriguing game of chat room seduction plays into the hands of a cyber serial killer. An opportunistic reporter interferes with the police and clashes with the gay community. Ex-copTommy Stone who never seems to finish anything is struggling to deal with the a southern mother, an ex-wife and his gay lover and gets entangled in solving the crime. The game ends with a surprising twist. Lots of bar scenes and cyber chatter. Good reading for the guys in the crowd. - Review by Patricia Sullivan



Want to buy this book? If you buy it or any item at Amazon through this web site, Amazon will make a donation to PA Diversity Network.
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March 2008 Valley Gay Press Book Review

Review by Liz Bradbury
Displacements
by Jean Rubin

Boudica Publishing Inc., 138 pages, $14.95

"
The collected poems of 20th century woman writer Jean Rubin"

Loss, transfiguration and a sense of the absurd inform Displacements. Jean Rubin’s passionately intelligent poetry juxtaposes an ineffable, metaphysical scale against the small, often poignant details of an everyday world, and examines the paradox implicit in their co-existence with wonder, delight, and a wistful acknowledgment that it is beyond comprehension. An acute observer of city life, the behavior of children, and the steps involved in glazing a ham, Rubin extrapolates cosmic dimensions from triviality and juggles the large and the small with brio. Her voice can adapt from lyrical, to ruminative, to elegiac—but it remains always and brilliantly her own.
Edith Milton -- author of Tiger in the Attic

To purchase this book, click here to go to the Boudica Publishing Inc. web site.
If you purchase this book through this PDN Link, Boudica Publishing will donate $2.00 to PA Diversity Network.


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January/February 2008 Valley Gay Press Book Review


Review by Liz Bradbury
King & King
by Linda de Haan and Stern Nijland

"Open a dialog"



Like many fairytales of yore, this one deals with the current ruling monarch trying to marry off the next generation in order to pass along the thrown. In "King and King," the Queen wants her son the Prince to get married, whether he wants to or not. "Why, by the time I was your age, I'd been married twice already," she exclaims at him in exasperation.

She invites a series of princesses with a variety of diverse talents (opera singing, juggling etc.) to meet her son and commands him to pick one. Instead, he chooses the brother of one of the princesses and it's love at first sight. They marry and "everyone lives happily ever after." The post wedding kiss, is covered by a red heart.

The book is 32 pages, with very few words per page. It's illustrated in a cut-out collage style with bright colors and funny line drawings. According to editorial notes, its written at a 4 to 8-year-old reading level. This story presents a same-sex attraction and union in a sweet and child-like way. Its story line is direct and playful. And the out come is presented in a matter-of-fact way.

Featuring a same-sex relationship is one reason that anti-gay people find this book threatening, but the threat is more complicated than that. In this plot, the mother wants the son to conform to social norms and tradition. The son rebels and chooses love over the pressure of his family. And fairly quickly, the mother (and the rest of the Kingdom) comes around, and they live happily ever after. The fact that the relationship is accepted and people are happy about it is the real threat that far right, narrow-minded people fear.

This is the perfect book for supportive, tolerant families to use to be sure their young children know from the start that they will be accepted if they are gay or lesbian. All a parent has to do is read the book to their kid and then say at the end, "You know, if I were the Queen in this story I'd be happy with any person you wanted to marry, as long as she or he was nice and you loved each other."

We all know stories about people who wait years to tell their families they are gay, only to find out in the end their family already knew and was just waiting for the "confession" to offer their support. Why didn't the family just tell the kid they would support them right from the beginning? Why make a gay kid wonder if he or she will be loved or thrown out of the house (1 in 4 gay and transgender are thrown out by their parents)? Why don't parents make clear their love for their kids is unconditional and not homophobic? Usually because they didn't know how.

This is the perfect story to open a family discussion that ends with both -- "In our family we respect all different kinds of families," and, "I want you to know I'll always love and support you, no matter what." That's why "King & King" should be in every child's home and in every library.

Read more about this book, the local controversy around it and the Bradbury-Sullivan Center’s Library Project that is helping to place this book in area libraries... by clicking HERE.


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December 2007 Valley Gay Press Book Review


Review by Liz Bradbury
Twist of Lime: A Lynn Evans Mystery
by Claudia McKay

Where's the rest of it?


I really wanted to like this book. It had potential - lesbian mystery, warm sandy beaches, romance, intrigue... But it didn't pay off. While the descriptions of the landscape in Belize were fairly lush, the character development and action seemed stunted and flat.

There's really no mystery for the reader to figure out, no clues, just the solution revealed at the end. When main character of the series Lynn Evans meets the sultry Ivette, there's little tension and their ultimate affair is so abbreviated it seems as though a prudish editor cut it out and substituted the words, "They made love." In fact the whole book seems cut down, maybe it was, at only 188 pages.

At least the characters don't suffer from low self-esteem and internalized homophobia, like many characters in other lesbian mystery stories of the last ten years. So good for Claudia McKay on that point.

McKay has written other novels more recently, (she wrote this in one 1997). I'd bet she could pull off a better effort if she had better editorial help and less restrictions (and if someone would let her use contractions in her dialog, after all, that's the way people talk!). Here's hoping.



Want to buy this book? If you buy it or any item at Amazon through this web site, Amazon will make a donation to PA Diversity Network.


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November 2007 Valley Gay Press Book Review




Review by Liz Bradbury
Rosemary & Thyme (video mystery series)
Starring Felicity Kendal and Pam Ferris

Cozy Mysteries, Wonderful Gardens

I don’t usually review videos in this column, but the Rosemary and Thyme series, seen as an original serial on PBS, feels like the kind of escapist read you get from an English village style mystery.

The main characters, who are just good friends (but occasionally mistaken for more so) are two middle aged women who work together on creating and restoring the most beautifully filmed English and European gardens you could hope to see. Former policewoman, Laura Thyme (played by Pam Ferris) whose husband has just dumped her, and recently laid-off college professor Rosemary Boxer (played by Felicity Kendal) find and solve mysteries at every gardening job they take. The ‘not-too-complex’ plots are enhanced by the strong friendship that develops between the two women. That the women do real work, get dirty and look the way real women, do also adds to the story quality.

Three series of six episodes each are available. That ought to get you through the cold winter nights.


Want to buy this book? If you buy it or any item at Amazon through this web site, Amazon will make a donation to PA Diversity Network.


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October 2007 Valley Gay Press Book Review

Review by Liz Bradbury


The Tiger in the Attic:
Memories of the Kindertransport and Growing Up English


Compelling History


The Kindertransport allowed 10,000 Jewish children to escape the holocaust by leaving Germany for England at the dawn of WW2. These children were uprooted from a country where life had already been frighteningly altered, to be transported to a foreign land on the brink of war. Yet Edith Milton’s well written, engaging and often humorous memoir illuminates the surprising generosity and love she and her sister encountered in her new English home with “Uncle Bourke” and “Aunt Helen” and their family.

Readers are struck by the sometimes desperate need of the pre-adolescent Edith to “blend in,” especially her efforts to absorb the staid English personae of her adopted family. Milton’s memoir includes her post war journey to America and reunion with her brilliant, complicated mother, whose career as a doctor was not only terminated by anti-semitism in Germany, but cut off for years by the American medical establishment’s paranoid prejudice against trained Europeans.

Throughout, the author’s words draw a rich picture of the life she remembers living, and its fascinating contrast to her adult understanding of what was actually happening. Ultimately this is a story of a young person’s realization of her true self.

Edith Milton has an extraordinary ability to write with clarity about things she admits may be conjured by occasionally faulty memory. The fact that this is a personal account of recent history, makes this book something essential to read. The excellent writing makes it a treat.




Want to buy this book? If you buy it or any item at Amazon through this web site, Amazon will make a donation to the Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center.


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August - September 2007 Valley Gay Press Book Review


Review by Liz Bradbury




Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
by J.K. Rowling
$34.99

Something For Everyone

I was all set to read this book for a review in time for the Aug-Sept VGP. I especially ordered it to be delivered right to our house on the day it was released. And it came right on time. The trouble was that we had two ten-year-old boys visiting us for four days. I read them the first two chapters, and I was looking forward to reading the rest of the book. Here's the glitch though. One of the kids, the one who had already read the first six Potter books snagged my copy and wouldn't give it back! He read 200 pages that day and I realized I wasn't going to get to read it unless we bought him his own copy. So we did and he'd nearly reached the end of the 759 page book 2 1/2 days later when he left for home. I finished my copy the next day. In a nut shell, it was a great read. You can't read any of the series of these books without seeing that a major theme is acceptance of differences. When muggles expect Harry to ignore who he is - it's not hard to imagine they are telling him to not be gay. Wouldn't it be great if being gay included the ability to cast spells and fly on brooms? Maybe it does. Don't tell the muggles.

Want to buy this book? If you buy it or any item at Amazon through this web site, Amazon will make a donation to the Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center.



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July 2007 Valley Gay Press Book Review



Review by Liz Bradbury
“Gayellow Pages”
edited by Frances Green

$16.95

Essential Guidebook To Anywhere You Want To Go
The Gayellow Pages is an GLBT information institution. It's been around for nearly 35 years, giving GLBT people and their friends ready access to information on what kind of gay friendly services are available in every US State and Canada. Easy to follow data is arranged alphabetically by state and then city. Each location includes a list of businesses and organizations arranged alphabetically by type. There are separate sections especially for women only, ethnic/multicultural, and Canada. The company also produces international and regional guides.

Sure, one could always search on-line and probably find even more specific GLBT data, but there's a portability and readability about the Gayellow Pages that makes it essential for any GLBT traveler, even if it's just for a day trip. Moving to a new community? Going away to college? Visiting the relatives for the Holidays? Grab the Gayellow Pages to tell you what's there and what's welcoming. Keep it in your glove compartment for easy access.

And on the other side of the coin, any organization can list themselves for free in the Gayellow Pages by contacting the editor and then just filling out a form. 1000s of organizations, businesses and groups are listed.

Want to buy this book? If you buy it or any item at Amazon through this web site, Amazon will make a donation to the Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center.



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June 2007 Valley Gay Press Book Review

Review by Liz Bradbury
“Psycho Kitties”
by Nicole Hollander

Sourcebooks
Paperback: $9.95



Laugh Out Loud

Like a pair of inseparable wily twin felines, Psycho Kitties's diverting collection of deceptively simple drawings is teamed with razor sharp, wickedly witty text.

If you know any cats personally, you'd know these are just the kinds of things they'd say. Example: Cartoon titled "Insincere Apologies of Cats" shows a smart alec kitty knocking off the wedding couple ornament, as he sits on top of the cake, saying, "I'm sorry, were you saving this cake for a special occasion?"

Nicole Hollander's work is definitely 5 star, my only criticism with this book is mechanical. The reproductions of the cartoons are a bit faded looking, as though the printer was running out of toner. Or maybe it's
just that the cartoon images are a little small. Maybe it was just the copy I received.

But there's a laugh on every page of Psycho Kitties, what could be a better recommendation than that? Get it and snicker.

Want to buy this book? If you buy it or any item at Amazon through this web site, Amazon will make a donation to the Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center.



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May 2007 Valley Gay Press Book Review

Review by Liz Bradbury

“Count Me Out”
by Farley Granger with Robert Calhoun
St. Matin’s Press
Edition: Hardcover $26.95

Deep Dish

Farley Granger’s detailed and well written autobiography chronicles his journey from Hollywood to the New York stage by way of exciting European cities and early TV theatricals, but it’s the people he meets or parties with or sleeps with that make this book fascinating. And the honesty about his same-sex experiences, especially in the first half of the book is refreshing. Perhaps he’s more veiled in the second half because more of the characters are still alive.

Each of the detailed remembrances sets a scene that makes you feel as though you were there, if you know who the people are he’s talking about. Granger dishes on big stars like Barbara Stanwyck, Joan Crawford and Danny Kaye, and flays the foolishness of studio mogul Sam Goldwyn. But when Granger talks about how interesting it was meeting Kay Medford and Maurice Evans when he was in the navy during the war, and when he mentions bumping into Stella Adler and how she was an important influence in his life, though I happen to know who those people are, I couldn’t help but wonder whether those younger than I and with less interest and awareness of the period, would be lost.
  
Well, so what...this is a book for middle-aged movie queens who live for 1950s Hollywood and New York theater dish. I certainly fit into that category.

Want to buy this book? If you buy it or any item at Amazon through this web site, Amazon will make a donation to the Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center.



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April 2007 Valley Gay Press Book Review

Review by Liz Bradbury

"Is It A Date Or Just Coffee?"
by Mo Brownsey

Edition: Hardcover
Price: $11.16



A Side Dish of Laughs
A step by step guide to "gay girls" dating, sex and romance. Just broke up or got dumped? You need this book, because good advise is better served with a side dish of laughs.

Check out the chapter: Test Your Readiness to Date IQ by picking the statement that best describes you in questions like
#6. A woman asks you out. You:
(a) Stutter that you have plans. no matter what date she suggests. And you do have plans: the bathroom, the pets, the reruns of Law and Order...
(b) Are attracted to her, so you suggest “coffee” instead.
(c) Are very attracted, and your libido and pheromones kick in so fast you're scared they're visible.

Mo Brownsey, long time comedian and lesbian studies college professor writes a humor filled book, packed with information lesbian and bisexual women really need, that rings as true today as it did when the book came out in 2002. Speaking from vast experience, she starts right out with sage `after-breakup' advice: “Take her number off the speed dial!” She goes on to deftly cover: baby dykes (yes, they're too young for you), on-line dating (why it frequently doesn't work), the L-word (love), polyamory (not for Mo) and a host of other topics.

Brownsey is the kind of friend who'd not only grab you by the lapels and exclaim, "Snap out of it," but she'd explain how over pizza until you felt better. If you don't have a friend like that, get this book.

If it's your bff who just got dumped and you can't be this kind of direct to the point pal for her (or you want to reinforce your efforts to get your friend off the couch and out of the house), give this book as a holiday gift. You can laugh (and maybe cry) over it together.





Want to buy this book? If you buy it or any item at Amazon through this web site, Amazon will make a donation to the Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center.



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March 2007 Valley Gay Press Book Review


Review by Liz Bradbury

Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic
by Alison Bechdel

Edition: Hardcover
Price: 19.95



"Lesbian Literature at its Best and Most Creative"

Moving story, snort out loud humor, fascinating literary tie-ins, confidential honesty and excellent drawings that sweep you along like a flood swollen river. This amazing autobiographical graphic novel by Alison Bechdel, well known lesbian cartoonist of "Dykes to watch Out For" fame, is so intensely compelling that you'll have to buy two copies, because you'll want to lend it to friends and they won't want to give it back. Bechdel's "flashback style" recounting of the story of her funeral director/ literate english teacher/ gay/ father's "accidental" death and moments from her past that unfold as she discovers and deciphers their true meanings will appeal to any reader, but will strike a resonate chord with GLBTA people that probably no other novel has ever come close to reaching. Don't miss this wonderful book.



Want to buy this book? If you buy it or any item at Amazon through this web site, Amazon will make a donation to the Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center.




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Review by Liz Bradbury

Jayson: Best of the 80s and 90s
by Jeff Krell

Edition: Paperback
Price: $9.95



"Gay Funnies"

Two cartoon anthologies by Jeff Krell, "Jayson, Best of the 80s" and "Jayson, Best of the 90s," have just come out for Christmas (2005). You may remember the Jayson series which started in the Philidelphia Gay News and was featured in Gay Comix and Meatmen.

Jeff Krell's drawings have the visual gesture of vintage "Archie," with the crispness of "Tin Tin." The stories that follow Jayson and his friends, Arena Stage and Robyn Ricketts through big city adventures in Philly, to Jayson's narrow-mided hometown "Farmville," to a promiscuous outer space stop over, amuse and engage. If you're looking for a "mature audience" stocking stuffer that's both naughty and nice, check out Jeff Krell's Jayson.




Want to buy this book? If you buy it or any item at Amazon through this web site, Amazon will make a donation to the Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center.




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Review by Liz Bradbury

I'm the One That I Want
by Margaret Cho

Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.66



"Deep, Hard, Moving...and Funny"

Margaret Cho's autobiography, a deeply personal and revealing journey through her life and career, draws you in and fascinates you. The book, written in 2001, candidly chronicles some of the most painful events imaginable. Anyone who has ever been discriminated against can relate. Cho, who is (for the most part) straight but remarkly and sincerely supportive and part of the queer community, felt the sting of anti-woman and anti-Asian prejudice from pre-school on and endured astonding "body-type" discrimination as well. She openly presents her pain, and her drug and alcohol abuse reaction to it, in a remarkably direct and frequently funny way. It's one of the few autobiographies ever that doesn't insist at the end that all the problems have been solved (autobiographers usually write that whether it's true or not.) Yet, there is a strength in Maraget Cho's words that makes the reader feel hope. "I'm the One That I Want."


Want to buy this book? If you buy it or any item at Amazon through this web site, Amazon will make a donation to the Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center.







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Review by Liz Bradbury

The Intimate World of Abraham Lincoln
by C.A. Tripp

Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.71


"Text Book for Queer Theory"

Most art, literature and history is studied from the straight, white, male perspective. If a famous man professed his undying devotion to a woman and slept with her for years, SWM academic theory would presume the couple was sexually involved and use that as proof of heterosexuality. C.A. Tripp simply looks at the facts of Lincoln's intimate life from the position of a queer theory scholar. Interpreting findings from a queer point of view takes this book beyond the genre of biography and helps us understand how all historical theory about any minority has been skewed to fit a mainstream mold, disregarding history as it most probably was.


Want to buy this book? If you buy it or any item at Amazon through this web site, Amazon will make a donation to the Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center.






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Review by Liz Bradbury

The Case of the Not-So-Nice Nurse:
A Nancy Clue and Cherry Aimless Mystery
by Mabel Maney

Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.66




" Laugh Until You're Gay"


Here's what it would have been like if Carolyn Keene had written Nancy Drew stories set in a 1950's gay and lesbian world, where the all the unattractive people were far right heterosexual bigots and all the heroes were GLBT. Read this series of three hilarious books that match nurse Cherry Aimless with Nancy Clue, discovering mysteries in caves, convents and under the sheets, when you need to escape. The Hardy boys even make a flaming appearance in the third book. Funny, even if you haven't read the old series, but best if you have.


Want to buy this book? If you buy it or any item at Amazon through this web site, Amazon will make a donation to the Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center.





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Review by Liz Bradbury

Summer Cruising
by Dave Benbow

Edition: Paperback
Price: $10.17



"For Boys Only"

A series of hot, shirtless guys with perfect bodies cavort on an all-gay cruise ship touring the Mediterranean, while a serial killer lurks behind the scenes. Soap opera style romance weaves through the cast of characters, punctuated by graphic and often sticky sex scenes.

The simple plot reads like a James Bond thriller that requires little effort to guess the mysterious bad guy. Yet the characters, and there are quite a few of them, are easy to visualize, as are the lush and luxurious settings.

Summer Crusing is a book for gay men to put on their summer escapist reading list, or to read now, when the weather outside is frightful and readers long for a sexy vacation for the imagination.


Want to buy this book? If you buy it or any item at Amazon through this web site, Amazon will make a donation to the Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center.




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Review by Liz Bradbury

Tipping the Velvet
by Sarah Waters

Edition: Paperback

"This Novel Will Spoil You!"

Read Tipping The Velvet and your enjoyment of "straight" novels may be spoiled forever. Sarah Waters' captivating, literate story of a young lesbian's adventures finding love and herself in late Victorian England is fast paced, personal, historically interesting and very gay. This is the book you should have been able to read when you were a teenager. It not only affirms there are and always have been "people like us" but that the discovery and affirmation of our identities is essential. The story is full of fascinating scenes and characters, bawdy and romantic moments, and a storyline that draws you in and hold you to the last word. You may want to read Tipping the Velvet several times, but be careful when lending it to friends, you may never get it back.



Want to buy this book? If you buy it or any item at Amazon through this web site, Amazon will make a donation to the Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center.



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Review by Liz Bradbury

The Complete Saki (Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics)
by H. H. Munro

Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.56




"A Fine Collection"

For a perfect summer read try picking up an old favorite... this collection of the work of Saki (real name: Hector Hugh Munro) includes over 130 short stories, three novels and three plays and sports an introduction by Noel Coward. Though written 100 years ago, this vast body of work is amazingly fresh and contemporary. Many of the stories are under four pages long, but they manage to paint amusing pictures of the privileged class as seen through the eyes of an obviously gay, brilliant and somewhat bored young man who uses a sharp knife to pry up the upper crust and expose what's beneath. Sample the stories - his work is available on line.


Want to buy this book? If you buy it or any item at Amazon through this web site, Amazon will make a donation to the Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center.




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Review by Liz Bradbury

The Good Parts: Pure Lesbian Erotica
by Nicole Foster

Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.21




"But...Are They Enough?"


This book of "pure lesbian erotica" (as it says on the cover) is a 250 page collection of 59 very very short story vignettes that just cover the sexual encounters between two (or more) women and nothing more. The idea of cutting out everything but the "good parts" may have seemed like a good plan, (it did to me me at first) but, though the excerpt-like contributions by 59 different authors are well written, most lack the sexual tension and emotional build up an actual story or novel would have. Every character always "gets lucky" within one page. No surprises, no hot dialog, no hints, no chance that the page might end without every character getting laid. This book makes you realize that the actual sex acts aren't what makes a good story really erotic.



Want to buy this book? If you buy it or any item at Amazon through this web site, Amazon will make a donation to the Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center.

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