Wednesday, July 30, 2014

summer travel bug

Next month’s Genre Reading Group meeting will be Tuesday, August 26th at 6:30pm in the Library’s Conference Room and the topic of discussion will be WWII/VE Day.  So read, watch, or listen to the material of your choice and come tell us about it!

GRG met last night to discuss travel, vacations, national parks, road trips, etc.  It was a very summery meeting, quite fun, and made me want to take an extended vacation to some of these places!


The Lewis and Clark Expedition by Harry William Fritz
(powells.com) Fritz demonstrates how a series of unrelated events converged to make the Lewis and Clark expedition—and America's dream of westward expansion—a reality. Maps guide the reader along the routes taken by Lewis and Clark, and a detailed timeline gives readers an easy-to-use resource for looking up important dates and events. Biographical sketches of major figures conclude the work. An extensive bibliography and index make this an ideal first stop for anybody interested in learning more about this truly remarkable expedition.

William Clark and Meriwether Lewis are widely credited with exploring the American West and paving the way for settlement. Yet if Thomas Jefferson's bid for president in 1800 had failed, the expedition probably would not have ventured west. Furthermore, if Napoleon had not been dealt a severe blow by a Haitian slave rebellion, France might never have sold the Louisiana Territory to the United States. The expedition also relied heavily on the goodwill of Native Americans peopling the explored territory.


Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven by Susan Jane Gilman
(powells.com) They were young, brilliant, and bold. They set out to conquer the world. But the world had other plans for them. 
Bestselling author Susan Jane Gilman's new memoir is a hilarious and harrowing journey, a modern heart of darkness filled with Communist operatives, backpackers, and pancakes.

In 1986, fresh out of college, Gilman and her friend Claire yearned to do something daring and original that did not involve getting a job. Inspired by a place mat at the International House of Pancakes, they decided to embark on an ambitious trip around the globe, starting in the People's Republic of China. At that point, China had been open to independent travelers for roughly ten minutes.

Armed only with the collected works of Nietzsche, an astrological love guide, and an arsenal of bravado, the two friends plunged into the dusty streets of Shanghai. Unsurprisingly, they quickly found themselves in over their heads. As they ventured off the map deep into Chinese territory, they were stripped of everything familiar and forced to confront their limitations amid culture shock and government surveillance. What began as a journey full of humor, eroticism, and enlightenment grew increasingly sinister-becoming a real-life international thriller that transformed them forever.

Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven is a flat-out page-turner, an astonishing true story of hubris and redemption told with Gilman's trademark compassion, lyricism, and wit.


Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
(powells.com) In April 1992 a young man from a well-to-do family hitchhiked to Alaska and walked alone into the wilderness north of Mt. McKinley. His name was Christopher Johnson McCandless. He had given $25,000 in savings to charity, abandoned his car and most of his possessions, burned all the cash in his wallet, and invented a new life for himself. Four months later, his decomposed body was found by a moose hunter. How McCandless came to die is the unforgettable story of Into the Wild.

Immediately after graduating from college in 1991, McCandless had roamed through the West and Southwest on a vision quest like those made by his heroes Jack London and John Muir. In the Mojave Desert he abandoned his car, stripped it of its license plates, and burned all of his cash. He would give himself a new name, Alexander Supertramp, and, unencumbered by money and belongings, he would be free to wallow in the raw, unfiltered experiences that nature presented. Craving a blank spot on the map, McCandless simply threw the maps away. Leaving behind his desperate parents and sister, he vanished into the wild.

Jon Krakauer constructs a clarifying prism through which he reassembles the disquieting facts of McCandless's short life. Admitting an interest that borders on obsession, he searches for the clues to the drives and desires that propelled McCandless. Digging deeply, he takes an inherently compelling mystery and unravels the larger riddles it holds: the profound pull of the American wilderness on our imagination; the allure of high-risk activities to young men of a certain cast of mind; the complex, charged bond between fathers and sons.

When McCandless's innocent mistakes turn out to be irreversible and fatal, he becomes the stuff of tabloid headlines and is dismissed for his naivetĂ©, pretensions, and hubris. He is said to have had a death wish but wanting to die is a very different thing from being compelled to look over the edge. Krakauer brings McCandless's uncompromising pilgrimage out of the shadows, and the peril, adversity, and renunciation sought by this enigmatic young man are illuminated with a rare understanding--and not an ounce of sentimentality. Mesmerizing, heartbreaking, Into the Wild is a tour de force. The power and luminosity of Jon Krakauer's stoytelling blaze through every page.

GENERAL DISCUSSION:  The film adaptation of Krakauer's book is very well done and stars Emile Hirsch, William Hurt, Vince Vaughn, and Marcia Gay Harden among others.


Carsick: John Waters Hitchhikes Across America by John Waters
(powells.com) John Waters is putting his life on the line. Armed with wit, a pencil-thin mustache, and a cardboard sign that reads “I’m Not Psycho,” he hitchhikes across America from Baltimore to San Francisco, braving lonely roads and treacherous drivers. But who should we be more worried about, the delicate film director with genteel manners or the unsuspecting travelers transporting the Pope of Trash?

Before he leaves for this bizarre adventure, Waters fantasizes about the best and worst possible scenarios: a friendly drug dealer hands over piles of cash to finance films with no questions asked, a demolition-derby driver makes a filthy sexual request in the middle of a race, a gun-toting drunk terrorizes and holds him hostage, and a Kansas vice squad entraps and throws him in jail. So what really happens when this cult legend sticks out his thumb and faces the open road? His real-life rides include a gentle eighty-one-year-old farmer who is convinced Waters is a hobo, an indie band on tour, and the perverse filmmakers unexpected hero: a young, sandy-haired Republican in a Corvette.

Laced with subversive humor and warm intelligence, Carsick is an unforgettable vacation with a wickedly funny companion and a celebration of America’s weird, astonishing, and generous citizenry.


Charm City: A Walk Through Baltimore by Madison Scott Bell
(powells.com) With a writers keen eye, a longtime residents familiarity, and his own sly wit, acclaimed novelist Madison Smartt Bell leads us on a walk through his adopted hometown of Baltimore, a city where crab cakes, Edgar Allan Poe, hair extensions, and John Waters movies somehow coexist. From its founding before the Revolutionary War to its place in popular culture, thanks to seminal films like Barry Levinson’s Diner, the television show Homicide, and bestselling books by George Pelecanos and Laura Lippman, Baltimore is America, and in Charm City, Bell brings its story to vivid life.


First revealing how Baltimore received some of its nicknames, including “Charm City”, Bell sets off from his neighborhood of Cedarcroft and finds his way across the city’s crossroads, joined periodically by a host of fellow Baltimoreans. Exploring Baltimore’s prominent role in history (it was here that Washington planned the battle of Yorktown and Francis Scott Key witnessed the “bombs bursting in air”), Bell takes us to such notable spots as the Inner Harbor and Federal Hill, as well as many of the undiscovered corners that give Baltimore its distinctive character. All the while, Charm City sheds deserved light onto a sometimes overlooked, occasionally eccentric, but always charming place.

GENERAL DISCUSSION: Charm City is part of the Crown Publishing’s Crown Journeys series. Publisher’s Weekly describes the series: “When visiting a new city, one of the best ways to learn more about the place's history and people, as well as discover its heralded hot spots and hidden treasures, is to ask a native. This idea is at least part of the inspiration behind the Crown Journeys series of books and audiobooks, which features authors writing and reading about cities they love.”  Among the notables are James McPherson, Kinky Friedman, Edwidge Danticat, Michael Cunningham, Chuck Palahniuk, and Christopher Buckley.


Insight Guides South America
(powells.com) Insight Guide South America is the most illustrated, full color travel guide to the continent on the market, and its lively narrative and stunning images provide both inspiration and information to plan a memorable trip to South America. The Best Of section highlights the unmissable sights and experiences - from Perus breathtaking citadel of Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail, the number one South American trek on most travelers wishlists, to vibrant Rio with its famous Carnival and beaches, sophisticated Buenos Aires, and the jungles of the Amazon, home to the greatest biodiversity on the planet. Lively features focus on South Americas history and culture, while the Places chapters show you where to go in South America, with beautiful photography, insightful descriptions of all the main attractions, and detailed, full color maps for easy orientation. The Travel Tips section provides practical information for planning a trip and getting around once you're there, along with our independent reviews of selected hotels and restaurants throughout South America.



Delacroix and the Matter of Finish edited by Eik Kahng
(powells.com) This groundbreaking publication centers on a previously unknown variation of Eugene Delacroix’s (1798–1863) dramatic masterpiece The Last Words of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius, published here for the first time.  This book offers a compelling reassessment of the relationship of the artist, widely considered a primary exemplar of Romanticism, to Neoclassical themes, as demonstrated by his life-long fascination with the death of Marcus Aurelius.  Through this investigation, the authors reinterpret Delacroix’s lineage to such fellow artists as Jean-Auguste Dominique Ingres (1780–1867) and Jacques-Louis David (1748–1825).  Playing on the various interpretations of the word “finish,” the book also offers a fascinating account of Delacroix’s famously troubled collaboration with his studio assistants, his conflicted feelings about pedagogy, and his preoccupation with the fate of civilizations.


GENERAL DISCUSSION:  The GRGer who brought in the Delacroix book declared that it wasn’t the book he was really pointing out, but rather how much of the world travels to YOU when you visit a museum.  I believe the Delacroix exhibit brought material from 18 countries right to the heart of Birmingham.  I myself have seen exhibits there showcasing Egyptian gold, the Pompeii artifacts, the terra cotta soldiers of the First Emperor of China, and the ongoing Lethal Beauty samurai exhibit, among others over the years.  The Birmingham Museum of Art has wonderful galleries with art from all points of the globe, go visit!


Route 66: Lives on the Road by Jon Robinson
(powells.com) From the rise of the automobile in the United States until the 1960s, Route 66 was the byway of choice for cross-country travel. Connecting Chicago and Los Angeles, the "Mother Road" was not only filled with vacationers and travelers, it was also lined with businesses that offered these pioneering motorists a variety of services. This nostalgic, illustrated guide presents the stories of people who lived along Route 66, traveled it, and made their living there over the course of five decades. Along with stories of Route 66 travels, the book examines the entire range of Route 66 vocations: gas, food, and lodging; museums; souvenir shops; law enforcement; wrecker operators; and more. Fans of this American icon will enjoy the tales of the folks who made the road a legend, as well as the hundreds of period and modern color photographs which illustrate their stories.






Sunrise to Paradise: The Story of Mount RainierNational Park by Ruth Kirk
(powells.com) On clear days, the mammoth volcano Mount Rainier dominates the Seattle and Rainier dominates the Seattle Tacoma skylines and can be seen from Whidbey Island to Yakima and the central Washington wheat fields. "The Mountain's out!" is a cheerful local greeting, especially after a long spell of overcast weather. Sunrise to Paradise explores the rich history of this symbol of the Pacific Northwest and the national park that preserves it.Mount Rainier is the fifth highest peak in the United States outside Alaska, and it soars higher above its immediate base than does any other in the lower forty-eight. Sunrise to Paradise describes its geological and glacial origins and current ecological health, and the century-old stewardship of Mount Rainier National Park. Its stories include accounts by Native people such as Saluskin and Wapowety, climbers from John Muir and Fay Fuller to Willi Unsoeld and Lou Whittaker, and entrepreneurs from the Longmire family to Paul Sceva. Here, too, are the tales of scientists and tourists, park rangers and volunteers. Numerous illustrations span the decades. Some of the photographs were taken from albums of the 1912 and 1915 Mountaineers outings; others are by noted photographers of the past like Imogen Cunningham and Asahel Curtis and by contemporary photographers including Ira Spring. There are paintings by Abby Williams Hill and George Tsutakawa and a series specially created by Dee Molenaar.



Welcome to Mount Rainier National Park by Pamela Dell
(bn.com) School Library Journal Grades 3-5-These titles feature attractive layouts, color photographs, and engaging texts. Maps with icons pointing out various items of interest, such as hiking trails, lodging, campgrounds, and ranger stations, are interspersed throughout. An explanation of national parks, a brief history of each region, and a narrative tour of the park are provided. A list of "fast facts," including the size, elevation, tourist activities, weather, and number of annual visitors, is appended. Redwood includes Native peoples, and the flora and fauna. The fast facts for Mount Rainier lists the area as 365 square miles, but the national park Web site states it as 378. Teton gives tips for bear safety, and includes information on Jackson Hole. Hawai`i discusses the legend of Pele, the goddess of fire, and the settling of the islands by the Polynesian people. There is brief mention of individual volcanoes, such as Mauna Loa and Kilauea. These colorful and informative titles are similar in content to, but aimed toward slightly older readers than, those in the "New True Books" and "True Books" series (Children's Press). They are better for browsing than for reports. Buy where needed.-DeAnn Okamura, San Mateo County Library, CA Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.


Now That’s Big: Mount Rushmore by Kate Riggs
(bn.com) Children's Literature - Amie Rose Rotruck
In South Dakota, an enormous sculpture is carved in a mountain. This is Mount Rushmore, with a carving that depicts the heads of four American Presidents: George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, and Theodore Roosevelt. Gutzon Borglum is the artist who envisioned the design for Mount Rushmore. The mountain is made of granite which is so hard that the workers had to use dynamite to break up the rock and sculpt it. The work was finished in 1939. And among the interesting facts are the noses on Mount Rushmore which are 20 feet long! Nearby another sculpture is in progress, this one is of Chief Crazy Horse. These two monuments make the Black Hills region of South Dakota a popular tourist attraction. More than 2 million people visit Mount Rushmore every year. In addition to the awe inspiring carving, visitors can also see a lot of wildlife such as deer and chipmunks. This entertaining and informative book includes many wonderful photographs and a glossary. Part of the "Now That's Big" series. Reviewer: Amie Rose Rotruck


Mount Rushmore by Julie Murray
(bn.com) School Library Journal Grades 2-3-These books feature large type, interesting photographs, and fun facts relating to each site. The vocabulary is advanced for younger readers, but the scope is narrow enough to provide basic information about the background, individuals involved, and construction of the structure or monument for reports. Attractive starting points for assignments.-Krista Tokarz, Cuyahoga County Public Library, OH Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.



Visit Mount Rushmore by Mary O’Mara



National Parks of America by Michael Brett
(powells.com) For tourists, family campers, and serious lovers of the outdoors, this beautiful reference describes more than 50 national parks, sites and seashores that stretch from Cape Hatteras on the Atlantic coast to Glacier Bay in Alaska. Full color.


500+ All American Family Adventures by Debbie Hardin
(powells.com) Here's THE guide to iconic America: those places that offer insight into uniquely American culture, whether they be national parks, quirky roadside landmarks, sporting opportunities, or cultural or historical sites. How about going to the Alabama Deep-Sea Fishing Rodeo; taking in some summer bobsledding at Lake Placid; visiting the Spy Museum in Washington, D.C., or Carlsbad's Legoland; or tripping fantastic to Dorothy's House and the Land of Oz in Kansas? Organized in easy-to-reference state-by-state chapters for all fifty states and the District of Columbia, the guide features family-friendly sites which provide insight into the history and culture of the American experience offering a memorable visual or participatory experience. Each listing contains complete information detailing directions, the best time to visit, prices and contact information, historical background, events and fun activities.


Where are your armchair travels taking YOU this summer?
Holley



Wednesday, July 2, 2014

GRG Recap - LGBT History Month

The next Genre Reading Group meeting will be Tuesday, July 29th at 6:30pm in the Library's conference room and the topic of discussion will be travel, vacations, and national parks!  Read, watch, and/or listen to anything within that topic range and come tell us about it!

Last week, we met for a discussion of books and films about LGBT History month.  GRG members brought in a great diversity of material to talk about and I'm excited to share it with you here!


American Savage: Insights, Slights, and Fights on Faith, Sex, Love, and Politics by Dan Savage
(Powell's) On the heels of his Emmy-winning It Gets Better campaign, columnist and provocateur Dan Savage weighs in on such diverse issues as healthcare, gun control, and marriage equality with characteristic straight talk and humor.

Dan Savage has always had a loyal audience, thanks to his syndicated sex-advice column “Savage Love,” but since the incredible global success of his It Gets Better project — his book of the same name was a New York Times bestseller — his profile has skyrocketed. In addition, he's written for The New York Times, Rolling Stone, The Onion, GQ, The Guardian, Salon.com, and countless other widely read publications. Savage is recognized as someone whose opinions about our culture, politics, and society should not only be listened to but taken seriously.  Now, in American Savage, he writes on topics ranging from marriage, parenting, and the gay agenda to the Catholic Church and sex education.


Jacob's New Dress by Sarah and Ian Hoffman, illustrated by Chris Case
(Powell's) Jacob loves playing dress-up, when he can be anything he wants to be. Some kids at school say he can't wear "girl" clothes, but Jacob wants to wear a dress to school. Can he convince his parents to let him wear what he wants? This heartwarming story speaks to the unique challenges faced by boys who don't identify with traditional gender roles.


Totally Joe by James Howe
(Powell's) Meet Joe Bunch. Lovable misfit and celebrity wannabe from Paintbrush Falls, New York. Like his longtime best friends Addie, Skeezie, and Bobby, Joe's been called names all his life. So when he's given the assignment to write his alphabiography — the story of his life from A to Z — Joe has his doubts. This whole thing could be serious ammunition for bullying if it falls into the wrong hands.

But Joe discovers there's more to the assignment — and his life — than meets the eye. Especially when he gets to the letter C, which stands for Colin Briggs, the coolest guy in the seventh grade (seriously) — and Joe's secret boyfriend.  By the time Joe gets to the letter Z, he's pretty much bared his soul about everything. And Joe's okay with that because he likes who he is. He's Totally Joe, and that's the best thing for him to be.
Here is an exuberant, funny, totally original story of one boy's coming out — and coming-of-age.


See You at Harry's by Jo Knowles
(Powell's) Twelve-year-old Fern feels invisible. It seems as though everyone in her family has better things to do than pay attention to her: Mom (when shes not meditating) helps Dad run the family restaurant; Sarah is taking a gap year after high school; and Holden pretends that Mom and Dad and everyone else doesnt know hes gay, even as he fends off bullies at school. Then theres Charlie: three years old, a "surprise" baby, the center of everyones world. Hes devoted to Fern, but he's annoying, too, always getting his way, always dirty, always commanding attention. If it wasnt for Ran, Ferns calm and positive best friend, thered be nowhere to turn. Ran's mantra, "All will be well," is soothing in a way that nothing else seems to be. And when Ran says it, Fern can almost believe its true. But then tragedy strikes- and Fern feels not only more alone than ever, but also responsible for the accident that has wrenched her family apart. All will not be well. Or at least all will never be the same.

GENERAL DISCUSSION: A reader made mention of a great online resource for children's books, The Cooperative Children's Book Center (http://ccbc.education.wisc.edu/ccbcnet).  In their archives she found a great list of LGBTQ literature for children and teens.  You must be a member to access the archives but, if you are interested, that seems as easy as providing your email address and making up a password.


Travels with Lizbeth: Three Years on the Road and on the Streets by Lars Eighner
(Powell's) When Travels with Lizbeth was first published in 1993, it was proclaimed an instant classic. Lars Eighners account of his descent into homelessness and his adventures on the streets has moved, charmed, and amused generations of readers. As Lars wrote, “When I began writing this account I was living under a shower curtain in a stand of bamboo in a public park. I did not undertake to write about homelessness, but wrote what I knew, as an artist paints a still life, not because he is especially fond of fruit, but because the subject is readily at hand.”

Containing the widely anthologized essay “On Dumpster Diving,” Travels with Lizbeth is a beautifully written account of one man's experience of homelessness, a story of physical survival, and the triumph of the artistic spirit in the face of enormous adversity. In his unique voice; dry, disciplined, poignant, comic; Eighner celebrates the companionship of his dog, Lizbeth, and recounts their ongoing struggle to survive on the streets of Austin, Texas, and hitchhiking along the highways to Southern California and back.


The Gay 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Gay Men and Lesbians, Past and Present by Paul Russell
(Powell's) At once uplifting and heart-wrenching, these 100 portraits capture the real people behind the legends and affirm that gay men and lesbians have been an integral part of history from ancient times through the present day--ensuring that those who will follow in their footsteps face a future that is brighter than ever before. 100 photos.


A Little Gay History: Desire and Diversity Across the World by R. B. Parkinson
(Powell's) "Through meticulous research and compassionate narration, British Museum curator Parkinson (Voices from Ancient Egypt) brings to light a collection of art objects from the British Museum's collection that illustrate same-sex desire, many of which had previously been censored or concealed from historians. These 40 objects come from various civilizations and eras, some being clear-cut examples of same-sex love, such as Grecian urns decorated with homoerotic scenes, the poetry of Sappho, and the Roman Emperor Hadrian's well-documented affair with the young Antinous. Other pieces are more ambiguous: artistic renderings that suggest love between Samurai warriors; an Ancient Egyptian tomb that may have been made for a same-sex couple; and Shakespearean sonnets that allude to 'bisexual' relationships. The book also includes brief, captivating profiles of gay and lesbian artists, including the sculptors Hedwig Marquardt and Augusta Kaiser, and novelist Virginia Woolf. The long history of intolerance is interwoven through the artwork as well, and while facts surrounding the persecution and execution of 'sodomites' are unsettling, the book is not overtly political. Parkinson successfully shows that same-sex love and desire are an integral part of human history: 'On a long view, no one occupies the centre. It belongs to all of us.' 80 color photos. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


The Normal Heart by Larry Kramer
(Powell's) A searing drama about public and private indifference to the AIDS plague and one man's lonely fight to awaken the world to the crisis. Produced to acclaim in New York, London and Los Angeles, The Normal Heart follows Ned Weeks, a gay activist enraged at the indifference of public officials and the gay community. While trying to save the world from itself, he confronts the personal toll of AIDS when his lover dies of the disease.


The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
(Powell's) The Picture of Dorian Gray was a succès de scandale. Early readers were shocked by its hints at unspeakable sins and the book was later used as evidence against Wilde at the Old Bailey in 1895.
Enthralled by his own exquisite portrait, Dorian Gray makes a Faustian bargain to sell his soul in exchange for eternal youth and beauty. Under the influence of Lord Henry Wotton, he is drawn into a corrupt double life, where he is able to indulge his desires while remaining a gentleman in the eyes of polite society. Only Dorian's picture bears the traces of his decadence.  A knowing account of a secret life and an analysis of the darker side of late Victorian society, The Picture of Dorian Gray offers a disturbing portrait of an individual coming face to face with the reality of his soul.


The Secret Lives of Somerset Maugham by Selena Hastings
(Powell's) He was a brilliant teller of tales, one of the most widely read authors of the twentieth century, and at one time the most famous writer in the world, yet W. Somerset Maugham’s own true story has never been fully told. At last, the fascinating truth is revealed in a landmark biography by the award-winning writer Selina Hastings. Granted unprecedented access to Maugham’s personal correspondence and to newly uncovered interviews with his only child, Hastings portrays the secret loves, betrayals, integrity, and passion that inspired Maugham to create such classics as The Razor’s Edge and Of Human Bondage.

Hastings vividly presents Maugham’s lonely childhood spent with unloving relatives after the death of his parents, a trauma that resulted in shyness, a stammer, and for the rest of his life an urgent need for physical tenderness. Here, too, are his adult triumphs on the stage and page, works that allowed him a glittering social life in which he befriended and sometimes fell out with such luminaries as Dorothy Parker, Charlie Chaplin, D. H. Lawrence, and Winston Churchill.

The Secret Lives of Somerset Maugham portrays in full for the first time Maugham’s disastrous marriage to Syrie Wellcome, a manipulative society woman of dubious morality who trapped Maugham with a pregnancy and an attempted suicide. Hastings also explores Maugham’s many affairs with men, including his great love, Gerald Haxton, an alcoholic charmer and a cad. Maugham’s courageous work in secret intelligence during two world wars is described in fascinating detail—experiences that provided the inspiration for the groundbreaking Ashenden stories. From the West End to Broadway, from China to the South Pacific, Maugham’s restless and remarkably productive life is thrillingly recounted as Hastings uncovers the real stories behind such classics as “Rain,” The Painted Veil, Cakes & Ale, and other well-known tales.
An epic biography of a hugely talented and hugely conflicted man, The Secret Lives of Somerset Maugham is the definitive account of Maugham’s extraordinary life.


The Marriage Act: The Risk I Took to Keep My Best Friend in America, and What It Taught Us about Love by Liza Monroy
(Powell's) After her traditional engagement to her high school sweetheart falls apart, Liza Monroy faced the prospect of another devastating loss: the deportation of her best friend Emir. Desperate to stay in America, Emir tried every legal recourse to obtain a green card knowing that his return to the Middle East — where gay men are often beaten and sometimes killed — was too dangerous. So Liza proposes to Emir in efforts to keep him safe and by her side. After a fast wedding in Las Vegas, the couple faces new adventures and obstacles in both L.A. and New York City as they dodge the INS. Their relationship is compounded further by the fact that Liza's mother works for the State Department preventing immigration fraud. Through it all, Liza and Emir must contend with professional ambition, adversity, and heartbreak and eventually learn the true lessons of companionship and devotion. This marriage that was not a marriage, in the end, really was.
The Marriage Act is a timely and topical look at the changing face of marriage in America and speaks to the emergent generation forming bonds outside of tradition — and sometimes even outside the law.


The Greeks and Greek Love: A Bold New Exploration of the Ancient World by James Davidson
(Amazon) For nearly two thousand years, historians have treated the subject of homosexuality in ancient Greece with apology, embarrassment, or outright denial. Now classics scholar James Davidson offers a brilliant, unblushing exploration of the passion that permeated Greek civilization. Using homosexuality as a lens, Davidson sheds new light on every aspect of Greek culture, from politics and religion to art and war. With stunning erudition and irresistible wit–and without moral judgment–Davidson has written the first major examination of homosexuality in ancient Greece since the dawn of the modern gay rights movement.


Sappho and the Greek Lyric Poets translated and annotated by Willis Barnstone
(Barnes & Noble) Willis Barnstone has augmented his widely used anthology of the Greek lyric poets with eleven newly attributed Sappho poems, making this the most complete offering of Sappho in English. Two new sections -- "Sources and Notes" and "Sappho: Her Life and Poems" -- provide the student with the classical sources and an appraisal of this greatest of Western women poets.

Barnstone's lucid, elegant translations include a representative sampling of all the significant Greek lyric poets, from Archilochus, in the seventh century B.C., through Pindar ("prince of choral poets") and the other great singers of the classical age, down to the Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine periods. William McCulloh's introduction illuminates the forms and development of the Greek lyric. Barnstone introduces each poet with a brief biographical and literary sketch. The critical apparatus includes a glossary, index, bibliography, and concordance.  (The reader focused on Sappho's life from a poetic and prose perspective instead of a biographical perspective)


The Kids Are All Right (2010 feature film)
(IMDB) Nic and Jules are in a long term, committed, loving but by no means perfect relationship. They have two teen-aged children, Joni and Laser, Nic who is Joni's biological mother, and Jules who is Laser's biological mother. Although not exact replicas, each offspring does more closely resemble his/her biological mother in temperament. Joni and Laser are also half-siblings, having the same unknown sperm donor father. Shortly after Joni's eighteenth birthday and shortly before she plans to leave the house and head off to college, Laser, only fifteen and underage to do so, pleads with her to try and contact their sperm donor father.


The Codes of Hammurabi and Moses: With Copious Comments, Index, and Bible References by W. W. Davies
(Powell's) The discovery of the Hammurabi Code is one of the greatest achievements of archaeology, and is of paramount interest, not only to the student of the Bible, but also to all those interested in ancient history. (The reader focused on one of the first written documentations of lesbians (called "daughter-men" in the text) having equal rights as men; well before the Old Testament was codified.)

"Hir," a poem about transgendered youth (Youtube, http://youtu.be/IRLSgPQG0c4)


Boy Meets Girl, transgender comedy with filmmaker Eric Schaeffer (Youtube, http://youtu.be/LtT1UfrvLDg)  Boy Meets Girl is a very poignant, human, sexy, romantic coming of age comedy about three twenty year-olds living in Kentucky: A boy, his best friend, a transgender girl, and the debutante they strike up a friendship with. It is sex/human positive and identification with it's story crosses all gender, race and sexual orientation lines. [Unreleased so far.]  Lead actress, Chelle Hendley's YouTube channel, https://www.youtube.com/user/NoNittaWigg/featured.

What are YOU reading?
Holley