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    $26.00 $0.84
    1. Stitching a Revolution - The Making
    $5.45 list($20.00)
    2. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
    $17.16 list($26.00)
    3. The Fabulous Sylvester : The Legend,
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    4. The Operator : David Geffen Builds,
    $19.95 $15.44
    5. Freddie Mercury: An Intimate Memoir
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    6. On The Up And Up: A Survival Guide
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    7. Just Add Hormones : An Insider's
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    8. Stranger at the Gate: To Be Gay
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    9. Major Conflict : One Gay Man's
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    10. The Kid: What Happened After My
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    11. Lush Life: A Biography of Billy
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    12. Zami: A New Spelling of My Name
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    13. Isherwood : A Life Revealed
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    14. The Truth Is . . . : My Life in
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    15. Walt Whitman: A Gay Life
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    16. Genius and Lust: The Creativity
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    17. Before Night Falls
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    18. Memoir: Delaware County Prison
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    19. What Becomes of the Brokenhearted
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    20. An Underground Life: Memoirs of

    1. Stitching a Revolution - The Making of an Activist
    by Cleve Jones, Jeff Dawson
    list price: $26.00
    our price: $26.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0062516418
    Catlog: Book (2000-04-01)
    Publisher: HarperSanFrancisco
    Sales Rank: 345755
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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    There can be few American stories more inspiring than that of the tremendous 43,000-panel AIDS quilt, a national memorial as powerfully symbolic as the Vietnam War Memorial--but made from a material as fragile and ephemeral as human life. The quilt is predicated on a simple concept: putting names to those who have died of AIDS humanizes the statistics and forces those who visit the quilt to look beyond the stigmatized categories of gayness and contagious disease that cling to the popular image of AIDS. Cleve Jones stitched the first panel in his backyard in February 1987 as a memorial to his best friend, Marvin. He has been speaking in public about the quilt for many years now, and his narrative in Stitching a Revolution is smooth and engaging. Perhaps his best quality as a storyteller is his generous recognition of others, shown in his memory of Rosa Parks in her Sunday hat: "When she handed me the quilts she'd made for her neighbors," Jones recalls, "she wanted to relish only their lives, not the divisions--just memorialize her friends and what they'd meant to her. You're doing a wonderful thing, young man, she'd said. There were no tears in her eyes, just a message for me to continue. Did my fatigue show? Did she see that the death threats and potshots had taken their toll? Dismiss them, she seemed to say, and grow old. A challenge. I brighten and feel combative." --Regina Marler ... Read more

    Reviews (6)

    5-0 out of 5 stars An Emotional, Moving Memoir
    For those of us who were fortunate enough to be in Washington on that cold morning in October, 1987 and see the entire AIDS Memorial Quilt unfurled for the first time, we should thank Cleve Jones for both his idea of the quilt as a memorial to those who died of AIDS and this wonderful book he has written. The quilt has almost become a cliche for some of us now-- we have seen it so many times in so many different variations and sizes-- that I did not believe I could be so moved and relive that intensely emotional and poignant day in October. I was wrong. I was taken by Mr. Jones' sincerity and utter lack of egotism. He is remarkably candid about his own life as he takes the reader through his own experiences as a young gay activist in San Francisco, his role in the history of the quilt and his own diagnosis with HIV.

    Mr. Jones reminds me of things I had forgotten or repressed: a lot about the heroism of Harvey Milk, for example, the awfulness of Anita Bryant, the indifference of the first President Bush who was too busy to see the quilt, of President Clinton, along with Mrs. Clinton and the Gores, who was not too busy to pay tribute to those who had fallen. We get to see some of our national celebrities in a new light: the gentle Rosa Parks, the beautiful Elizabeth Taylor frightened at making a speech, and finally Jane Fonda who can only be described as totally silly in her adoration of Tom Hayden.

    A friend of mine who has seen the quilt in its entirety many times and is active in the Names Project in his hometown in Maine says that he can only read this book a little at a time. Yes, it's very viseral, sometimes painful, and it will make you cry.

    In the Epilogue Mr. Jones writes: "My hope is that one day AIDS will be over and we will have to look upon all its different aspects: how it drew a country together from across cultural, ethnic, and religious divisions, and how it was, like the Holocaust, a crucible of definition. I think the Quilt will have a role in this discussion and a place in our history as memory is preserved and recreated imn this symbol of our natural desire for commuity."

    And you, Mr. Jones, will have a place in that history. Many Americans cannot thank you enough for that.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A great history lesson
    Cleve Jones has done many wonderful things for the gay community.Now he adds this wonderful, heartfelt memior.This volume is more than "just" a memoir, it's a rich and rewarding history lesson, an eye witness account.Throught the past twenty-five years Jones has been a witness to murder, a victim of hate crimes, an activist for gay rights, a rioter, a mourner, a survivor and a an ambassador of hope and good will.This is the story of the AIDS Quilt, from its beginnings to its eventual recognition as an international symbol of peace, reconciliation and unity.Cleve Jones takes a refreshingly candid, warts-and-all approach to telling his story.He depicts himself as an ordianry man responding to extraordinary circumstances in the only way he knew how.Past imperfect, but always willing to do whatever was necessary to bring his message to the people, Cleve helped to put a human face on AIDS.

    5-0 out of 5 stars You Can Make A Difference - Read Cleve Jones' Odyssey
    The AIDS Memorial Quilt has been the most humanizing, uplifting and unifying symbol of the battle against the AIDS virus.As an activist, viewer of the Quilt, and twice a volunteer, I read Mr. Jones book greedily. People need to know what he has to say.People need to know the impacttheir actions can have on world perceptions; that they can make adifference.People need to knowthe history of the epidemic - reflectedin the experiences of a person immersed in the culture impacted first: howthe gay community, so brutally attacked, fought back and set up theprotocols now being used by all sectors of society all over theworld.

    The book is a good read, very accessible, as simple as the conceptof the Quilt and as insightful.I thank Cleve Jones for giving humanitythe Quilt and this telling of how it came to be.

    5-0 out of 5 stars "Stitching A Revolution" Must be read!
    As an AIDS activist, I would implore everyone to read this account of how one man can take an idea and turn it into a world-wide reality.

    Cleve Jones writes honestly and from the heart - not about sex, not about dirt,but about the true experience of growing up as a gay man, coming out, anddealing with AIDS from the beginning up until now.

    His vision in makingthe Quilt a reality, and the many stories that go with it bring tears andlaughter, while pointing out the universality of both AIDS and The AIDSMemorial Quilt.

    If his book tour comes to your town - run to that bookstore.His speaking skills are extrordinary as well.

    If only this couldbecome required reading for our youth - the generation that most needs tohear the message and is frighteningly under-educated about a disease whichcan end their lives.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Transforming Journey
    While the emotion of experiencing the Quilt cannot be confined to mere words, this inspiring journey to activism and openness is a fascinating read.

    In 1995, while in San Francisco to say a heartbreaking goodbye tomy dearest brother, I entered the NAMES project offices and was instantlyoverwhelmed by the raw emotion--not just sadness, which is the obviousresponse, but also a healing, a unity and a strength.I have never been somoved--until I traveled to DC to witness the 1996 display.

    A part of metravels with my brother's panel wherever it goes, and this book was acathartic reliving of some of my most grueling and gratifyingmoments.

    'Stitching a Revolution' is a treasure, a reminder that we oftenforget the power of one voice, and the staggering, wondrous results ofbringing together disparate peoples. ... Read more

    2. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly : A Memoir of Life in Death
    list price: $20.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0375401156
    Catlog: Book (1997-05-13)
    Publisher: Knopf
    Sales Rank: 252788
    Average Customer Review: 4.65 out of 5 stars
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    We've all got our idiosyncrasies when it comes to writing--a special chair we have to sit in, a certain kind of yellow paper we absolutely must use. To create this tremendously affecting memoir, Jean-Dominique Bauby used the only tool available to him--his left eye--with which he blinked out its short chapters, letter by letter. Two years ago, Bauby, then the 43-year-old editor-in-chief of Elle France, suffered a rare stroke to the brain stem; only his left eye and brain escaped damage. Rather than accept his "locked in" situation as a kind of death, Bauby ignited a fire of the imagination under himself and lived his last days--he died two days after the French publication of this slim volume--spiritually unfettered. In these pages Bauby journeys to exotic places he has and has not been, serving himself delectable gourmet meals along the way (surprise: everything's ripe and nothing burns). In the simplest of terms he describes how it feels to see reflected in a window "the head of a man who seemed to have emerged from a vat of formaldehyde." ... Read more

    Reviews (78)

    5-0 out of 5 stars life worth living
    In December of 1995, Jean-Dominique Bauby, 43 year old editor in chief of Elle magazine in France, suffered a stroke which severely damaged his brain stem. After several weeks in a coma, he woke to find that he was one of the rare victims of a condition called "locked-in syndrome" or LIS, which had left his mind functioning but his body almost completely paralyzed. In a perverse sense he actually got fairly lucky because, unlike most victims, he was still able to move one eyelid. This allowed him to work out, with a speech therapist, a system of communication which entailed winking as someone slowly read through the alphabet. By using this code, he could painstakingly spell out words, sentences, paragraphs and, finally, this memoir.

    The title of the book refers to the metaphors he uses to describe his situation. The physical paralysis leaves him feeling as if he was trapped within a diving bell, as if there is constant pressure pinning his body into immobility. However, at the same time, his mind remains as free as a butterfly and it's flights are as random. In fact, he calls the chapters of this book his "bedridden travel notes" and, indeed, they eloquently relate his journey through memory.

    Although Bauby's situation is obviously unique, this book has universal resonance because his condition is itself an apt metaphor for the human condition. It is the essence of Man's dilemma that our infinitely perfectible minds are trapped within such weak containers of flesh and blood. For most of us, at most times, this frustrating dichotomy, between that which makes us godlike and that which makes us mortal, lurks in the background; but the author has it thrust rudely into the foreground, where it necessarily dominates his existence. This makes it all the more remarkable that Bauby is able to "write" about his life with such great humor and generosity of spirit and with so little bitterness.

    Public opinion surveys reveal an interesting contrast in modern opinions on the "right to die." Contrary to the accepted wisdom, the so-called right is favored by those who are young and healthy, but opposed by those who are old and sick. The very premise which underlies such a right is the belief that the quality of life experienced by the aged and the ill is so inadequate that they would willingly choose death instead. In fact, the evidence suggests that--despite the anecdotal horror stories with which all of us are familiar--people generally cling to life even in the face of suffering which seems unendurable to the well.

    Bauby's book, for all the horror that we naturally feel at his status, is wonderfully optimistic and life affirming. Sure, there are a few moments of well earned self pity, but they are almost completely drowned out by the author's enduring hopes and dreams and memories. Jean-Dominique Bauby died two days after this book was published, but in it's pages, he left behind one of the great testament's to the splendor and majesty of the human spirit. In these times when people tend to complain about the pettiest matters, he reminds us that even when life is genuinely difficult, it is still quite beautiful and invaluable and well worth living.

    GRADE: A+

    5-0 out of 5 stars A captivating testament to a spirit that could not be broken
    At the age of 43, Jean-Dominique Bauby (former editor-in-chief of the French magazine "Elle") suffered a massive stroke that left him almost completely paralyzed. His mind, however, remained intact. A victim of "locked-in syndrome," the only part of his body that he could still move was his left eyelid. Unable to communicate in any other way, he and his therapists devised a system whereby Bauby could blink out what he wanted to say, letter by letter. In this way, he managed to compose his memoir, with his speech therapist carefully transcribing Bauby's coded blinks. The book was published just two days before Bauby's death in 1996.

    I became aware of this book when I learned that Johnny Depp will star in a movie of "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" in 2006 (playing Bauby himself). Intrigued, I decided to read up beforehand. What I discovered was a poignant and inspirational expression of a man with an incredibly strong spirit. Though he expresses frustration and sadness at his condition, Bauby does not wallow in the trap of self-pity. His observations of the world are sharpened and given new perspective as he is forced to deal with paralysis. Bauby is even able to look at elements of his predicament with a wry sense of humor, as in the time a nurse woke him up to ask if he wanted a sleeping pill.

    The book is not written as a linear story - in fact, we don't read about the day of Bauby's stroke until near the end - but rather it is a collection of vignettes. In some he offers insights and observations of his daily life in the hospital. In others he reflects on various memories, with both fondness and, at times, regret for missed opportunities. And in still other chapters he shares with us the dreams he has had since his stroke. He also reflects on his last day as a normally functioning person, and on some of the plans he had in his life before - plans that he never got to fulfill. Bauby has dedicated the book to his children, and it is clear that he misses being a regular father.

    "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" is a very easy read, and well worth the time. It is only 132 pages in length, but I can't help imagining just how tedious it must have been for Bauby to blink out even one page, let alone over one hundred. That, and the amazingly beautiful, fluent language in which the book is written has given me an overwhelming respect for this remarkable man. We have here a window into a soul that refused to die, even while trapped within a body that could no longer move. I would heartily recommend this book to anyone, as it sparks in the reader a more complete awareness of the world and a fuller appreciation for the little things in life.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Suffocating!
    This book was like being underwater.... with no life support. Death was a blessing.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Wonderful is Painstakingly Evident
    This could be the only book of its kind. I ran across this 1998 or '99 and read it faster than I read most books. I was enthralled and engaged fully by Bauby's vivid imagination. I wound up raving about this book for years to anyone who would listen.

    When all you left is imagination and you are gifted with the ability to describe your visions and dreams, you wind up 'writing' a book like this. The kinds of dreams, hopes and emotions Bauby experiences is so incredibly deep, honest and telling. The gift he leaves the reader is their ability to genuinely feel the alienation and abandonment of the world all while feeling at one with body, mind, earth, life, love and death. The thing that you walk away from, after reading this book, is nothing short of an amazing epiphany.

    UPDATE: I saw that Universal announced they will make this into a movie. To top it off, Johnny Depp will be Bauby. It won't be coming out for two years or so, but it will be worth the wait.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Stunningly beautiful glimpse into a nightmare.
    Wow. This book is beautiful and haunting. You begin the book with the knowledge of Mssr. Bauby's fate. He proceeds to share with us his eloquent and striking observations post-accident. This book is beautifully and concisely written - it's as tight as a drum - and that is a testament more to Bauby's journalistic talents than his impaired condition. An intellectual with a love for opera, music, writing, and food, he comes to life in these pages despite the brevity of the book. We get a decent sense of him prior to his stroke: a man with a full appetite for life. At times, I had to suck in my breath and set the book down to pause, it was so profoundly heartbreaking. He shares with us his deepest, raw thoughts about his daily life, his former lifestyle, his children, the blessings he misses and the pleasures he now looks forward to, as well as the torment he cannot control. A key point, I think, is that throughout the book he sprinkles his persistent sense of humor, and a feeling of hope. It's amazing considering that he is experiencing something we all agree is our worst nightmare. There is no bitterness on these pages, it's more of an honest wistfulness. Like when he says he would have cheerfully killed one of his caretakers for the neglect he suffered at his hands. I will never forget the irony of the photograph from his childhood sent to him by his father; the description of his last day of normal life; the story of Mithra-Grandchamp; the bleakness of his Sundays and how they lend perspective to his other days (and ours); and his trip to smell the French fries. The meaningfulness and importance of the small, everyday events, abilities, and choices we make are cast in a new light after reading this book. But the experience is like having someone open you up and rip out your heart, such is the sympathy we feel for Bauby. In fact, I will likely be haunted by his descriptions of life, both breathtakingly beautiful and immensely sad. What a man. What a book. ... Read more

    3. The Fabulous Sylvester : The Legend, the Music, the 70s in San Francisco
    by Joshua Gamson
    list price: $26.00
    our price: $17.16
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0805072500
    Catlog: Book (2005-03-01)
    Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
    Sales Rank: 591461
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    Book Description

    A journey back through the music, madness, and unparalleled freedom of an era of change-the '70s-as told through the life of ultra-fabulous superstar Sylvester

    Imagine a pied piper singing in a dazzling falsetto, wearing glittering sequins, and leading the young people of the nation to San Francisco and on to liberation where nothing was straight-laced or old-fashioned. And everyone, finally, was welcome-to come as themselves. This is not a fairy tale. This was real, mighty real, and disco sensation Sylvester was the piper. Joshua Gamson-a Yale-trained pop culture expert-uses him, a boy who would be fabulous, to lead us through the story of the '70s when a new era of change liberated us from conformity and boredom. Gamson captures the exuberant life, feeling, energy, and fun of a generation's wonderful, magical waking up-from the parties to the dancing and music.

    The story begins with a little black boy who started with nothing buta really big voice. We follow him from the Gospel chorus to the glory days in the Castro where a generation shook off its shame asSylvester sang and began his rise as part of a now-notorious theatrical troup called the Cockettes. Celebrity, sociology, and music history mingle and merge around this endlessly entertaining story of a singer who embodied the freedom, spirit, and flamboyance of a golden moment in American culture.
    ... Read more

    4. The Operator : David Geffen Builds, Buys, and Sells the New Hollywood
    by Tom King
    list price: $25.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0679457542
    Catlog: Book (2000-03-07)
    Publisher: Random House
    Sales Rank: 298868
    Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars
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    DreamWorks cofounder David Geffen, as portrayed by Wall Street Journal reporter Tom King, is in various ways a saint, a visionary, and an absolute maniac. In his saintly mode, Geffen both raises and gives record-breaking sums of money to AIDS foundations, advises and supports the President and progressive causes, and races to visit old friends stricken with grief or illness (even the washed-up agent Sue Mengers, whose friendship could do him no earthly good).

    As a visionary in the music, movie, and Broadway theater industries, Geffen orchestrates the sale of his record companies, which made him a billionaire, and brings you Laura Nyro; Cats; Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young; Tom Cruise; the Eagles; Nirvana; Bob Dylan; John Lennon; Guns N' Roses; Saving Private Ryan; and Joni Mitchell (who immortalized his deepest yearnings in her tune "Free Man in Paris").

    But the most impressive and detailed portion of King's landmark biography is Geffen's performance as an entertainment entrepreneur, and in this capacity he is apparently a visionary and a maniac at the same time. Not only does he discover all manner of talents and works of art and hire the best hit-sniffers in the business, he also masters the fine Hollywood art of the Machiavellian tantrum. Geffen allegedly softens up his prey in a business deal by offering up disarming gossip about his own life--his traumatic courtship of Cher, or Marlo Thomas, perhaps, or the male prostitute he is said to have boasted about being in bed with the night John Lennon was shot. At some point, minutes or decades into an apparent friendship, Geffen is shown betraying anyone, even best friends and mentors, in his relentless quest for winning a deal. King's book provides a ringside seat; it's fascinating to watch Tinseltown's titans slug it out in championship bouts, maneuvering, lying, reuniting, and seizing power like crazed Renaissance princes.

    In one memorable encounter, Geffen protests that Sid Sheinberg of MCA is displeasing his DreamWorks colleague, Steven Spielberg. "David, stop screaming," says Sheinberg. "I'm not screaming!" Geffen screams. "David, you know what would make me happy?" says Speilberg. "Stop screaming." It turns out that Geffen doesn't even know the details of the deal in question. But nobody knows how to strike a deal--with mind and maniacal heart--like David Geffen. --Tim Appelo ... Read more

    Reviews (50)

    2-0 out of 5 stars more like a melodramatic laundry list and less like a novel
    I work in Hollywood and when this book came out, word on the street was that Tom King had published a well-researched, well-written, no-holds-barred and blistering account of David Geffen's life and work. Now that I've read this 600-plus-page monster, I'll go along with the well researched and call it a day. Maybe I've worked around too many moguls for too long, but I didn't find anything in here that I found particularly shocking, much less revelatory. I don't doubt the veracity of anything King has written (especially re: Geffen's own childish behavior - his tantrum over this innocuous publication bears that out), but even with Geffen's amazing achievements I closed the book wondering what the hell had made me pick it up in the first place. Geffen's world certainly contains the time-tested elements of a fascinating life - he started from less than nothing and now has a number of careers, fortunes and empires to his name while lacking any essential emotional connections. King has reported all of those elements faithfully, but what separates "The Operator" from great biography is the book's lack of any compelling rationale behind Geffen's behavior. Of course, even the most megalomaniac among us (another title for which Geffen certainly qualifies) don't live our lives thinking about what it's all going to look like when some enterprising reporter commits several years of his life to putting it down on paper. However, if you are that reporter, you had better be able to find the essential threads that knit together the disparate elements - otherwise, you have something that reads more like a melodramatic laundry list and less like a novel (something that my favorite bios, like George Plimpton and Jean Stein's "Edie," certainly resemble). A much better read is David O. Selznick's "Memo From Selznick" - a book that is exactly what it sounds like and yet is still fascinating. I'm not sure if it's still in print, but it's worth the search.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Mogul Mania
    This is one of the better biographies around, whether or not you end up liking David Geffen (aka "the prince of pain"). It is full of great inside stories about legendary artists of the music business...Phil Spector, Dylan, the Band, Cher, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Jackson Browne, the Eagles, Laura Nyro, Joni Mitchell, Linda Ronstadt, John Lennon, George Michael, Donna Summer etc., etc. King keeps the narrative flowing, and he provides plenty of authentic detail without ever falling into the biographer's trap of being too academic. Of course Geffen is a very interesting subject...having powered his way to the very top of the entertainment business through sheer drive and cunning...and without having the "golden ear" or creative judgement of his competitors. The stories about his interaction with(and abuse of)fellow moguls like Ovitz, Eisner, Ross, and Davis were jawdropping. I found myself shaking my head at the deals he cut, for example talking Steve Ross into giving him back his music label for free after Ross had bankrolled he whole thing! But don't get the impression that The Operator is all about The Dark Side of fact King balances the book nicely by reporting on the many philanthropic and other positive projects in Geffen's life. All in all, a very entertaining read, and well worth having on your shelf, especially if you're fascinated by the entertainment industry.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book
    This book is almost impossible to put down. Geffen's life has been truly extraoridinary and it provides an excellent story. Buy this book if you have any interest in the entertainment industry or business in general.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Well Researched
    I have followed David Geffen's carrer for many years. I have even written a school paper on his Record Company (Geffen Records), which I have had the pleasure of visiting. This book is very well detailed and gives a vast amount of insight and information.

    2-0 out of 5 stars CHER, MARLO AND MARKY MARK ... AND QUITE THE BORE
    Long before he flung open the closet door back in 1992 and declared his homosexuality, David Geffen made news. Big news. Really big news. His is the life --- from college drop-out to mailroom clerk to founder of record labels and a movie company --- that makes a biography such as the one Tom King has written so lengthy ... and often lumbering. King had access to Geffen and hundreds of people in and outside of Geffen's circle of power. This is Superman as Supermogul: Saving pal Calvin Klein from bankruptcy (it was Geffen's idea to out Marky Mark in that series of memorable underwear ads), paying for experimental surgery for dying pal Dawn Steel, wooing (and almost marrying) galpals Cher (whom King says was Geffen's "first fully-functional heterosexual relationship") and Marlo Thomas to finally settling boy with assorted boytoys, unselfishly donating some of his $3 billion to fight AIDS. So many details, so little substance. This is a meticulously researched, though ultimately superficial, look at the bravo and bullying, the temper and talent that have made David Geffen the builder, buyer and seller of the New Hollywood. ... Read more

    5. Freddie Mercury: An Intimate Memoir by the Man Who Knew Him Best
    by Peter Freestone
    list price: $19.95
    our price: $19.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0711986746
    Catlog: Book (2001-12-01)
    Publisher: Music Sales Ltd
    Sales Rank: 38016
    Average Customer Review: 3.38 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (16)

    4-0 out of 5 stars The man behind the music
    I have been a long time fan of Freddie's and when someone bought this for me I was thrilled and yet scared. Scared because I have tried on Many occasions to read biographies and failed miserably. Luckily this book was really well done and the topic was close to my heart.

    The biography is written by a man who obviously loved Freddie and was very close to him in life and affected immenly by his personality. The book covers who Freddie really was to his friends, family and fans. It covers several albums and inspiration behind the music. It also covers his very sad sickness and I must admit I cried quite a bit.

    I only have one qualm about this book and this is the time line as it jumps around quite a bit. But it is still followable and you can piece it together.

    However in the end I was left feeling like I really did know Freddie and it gave me a warm feeling inside. Now when I listen to his music it brings back parts of the book to me and helps me build a better picture of the artist that Freddie really was.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Pleasant Memories of Freddie Mercury...
    I truely enjoyed reading this book. I have, for many years been a Freddie Mercury fan and great admirer of his music. I was very apprehensive about buying this book, as most often books as such are rarely kind to the individual whom they are written about. But I felt that this book characterized Freddie Mercury more as a "person" rather than this huge "rock star" (which he was) and gave some delightful and colorfull insight into his daily life. The book is filled with many stories and incidents that depict his life style more in terms of his love of music, the band, his friends, his home and his cats. There are stories demonstrating his sensitive character, as well as his over all kindness and generousity. The fact that he was gay is secondary in this book, but it was not ignored either. If you are a Freddie Mercury fan I know you will enjoy this book very much. The photo section in the book is good...but for Freddie Mercury fans there are never enough pictures.

    I myself have reread my book several times and enjoy it just as much each time, sometimes reading something I missed before. Peter Freestone remembered his friend kindly.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Diamond in the rough? Not likely!
    I am searching high and low, for a book that wasn't as badly written as this one. I have been a fan of Queen and Freddie for over ten years and from time to time I get into my collecting bug. For example, tapes, cd's obviously, very rarely would I be able to find a book! Back in the day when the internet wasn't as fast, as commonly used, or for that matter things were as easy to find..I would be on it constantly looking for bits and pieces of information about my favorite, although somewhat defunct Queen. Now, with this plethora of information I have now, etc., I was still surprised to find this book at my local bookstores, not once but twice! Go figure, not taking any chance at all, I bought it. I was a little hesitant at first, being that because of all the information I didn't know about Freddie, personally I mean, he didn't give many interviews, etc. would this shatter my naivte about his personal life? Would it effect the way I viewed him? Well, the answer to that my friends is no. I will tell you why, because this book went into depth about nothing. From here to there it was a list of Freddie's friends and lovers, nor does it disspell so many rumors at all, they're was maybe a page about that.. until this choppy, "safely written" memoir, basically goes on about the bars, clubs and people they frequented all over the world. It doesn't go into much about really freddie at all. It seems that this book is a bit superficial, at the end is probably the most infomation you'll get out of it.. well, perhaps the beginning as well, but as for the middle, i say, read the first twenty, then the last twenty pages you just about have the book summed up.

    2-0 out of 5 stars An Intimate and UNabriged Memoir
    This book could easily have been condensed to 1/4 of the pages. Each event or memory written about goes on and on, and on... - impatient readers beware.

    While the author does a great job of providing every little detail, it is amazing to believe that he could remember everything in this much living colour, and doubtful that at the time he carried around a notebook to record everything happening around him.

    Generally the writing is poor to midland at best and it is obvious the author is not a professional writer. The book also could have been organised a bit better, for it is not chronological, nor are chapter headings or topics given.

    The reader will sense that the author wrote this book out of memory for his friend, Freddie Mercury, rather than out of primary interest in the royalties. Overall, this book is for only the most fanatical of Queen fans and for those supremely interested in Freddie Mercury.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Last Twelve Years -- 1979-2001
    I will say, on the one hand, I am not a "die-hard" Queen fan, nor am I a "die-hard" Freddie Mercury fan. On the other hand, I do enjoy Queen's music.
    The intent on buying this book, as in any biography, is to learn about the birth, career, and so on of the person in which the biography is based. That is not the case for this book.

    At first, I was a bit dissapointed to discover that I would not learn about Freddie's birth, childhood, his early carrer, the founding of Queen as a band, as well as the birth of Queen's successes.

    The book opens in 1979. That is when the author, Peter Freestone, began working for Queen; his original job was to make all the costume changes ready, during Queen's concert performances. His job descriptions, and responsibilities increased as time went on, and he began working solely for Freddie, himself.
    'I was Freddie's chief cook and bottle washer, waiter, butler, secretary, cleaner..and agony aunt',writes Peter Freestone (quoting from the back cover, to give an insight as to the various responsibilities he had while employed by Mercury.)
    'I travelled the world with him, I was with him at the highs and came through the lows...I acted as his bodyguard when needed and in the end, of course, I was one of his nurses.'

    This is, indeed as the title states, an intimate look at the man who is Freddie Mercury, written by someone who became one of Freddie's closest, most trusted friends.
    But, it only covers the 12 years that Freestone knew, and worked for him.
    The last 2 chapters are especially touching. Peter Freestone was there when Freddie passed away, in 1991, and he shares a very personal account of the goings on before, during, and after his death.

    What I learned, and appreciated about this intimate memoir, was how generous, and giving Freddie was. He was a loyal friend. He treated those who worked for him as close friends.

    This book was excellent reading, for what it was; and what it was, was an intimate portrait, getting to know Freddie Mercury on a personal level (kinda like getting a backstage pass, so to speak), learning things that would be, otherwise private. ... Read more

    6. On The Up And Up: A Survival Guide for Women Living with Men on the Down Low
    by BRENDA STONE BROWDER, Karen Hunter
    list price: $21.00
    our price: $14.28
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0758210752
    Catlog: Book (2005-02-01)
    Publisher: Dafina Books
    Sales Rank: 10232
    Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (5)

    3-0 out of 5 stars NOT AT ALL WHAT I THOUGHT IT WOULD BE........
    I was looking for all sorts of dramatic revelations....this story really disappointed me. While uplifting to some degree and a great saga detailing a woman's journey into the positive, I don't think it was helpful with regard to assisting women in identifying the signs of a man who is living a double life.I was left wondering why she didn't take the gloves specifics regarding how she caught "Jimmy," other than some obscure reference to an inscription on a piece of jewelry.In fact, her version of how the revelation takes place is vastly different from his. His book was the bigger success because it was "no holds barred."Too bad she could not follow suit.


    1-0 out of 5 stars Totally disappointed
    I read this book along with my bookclub and we were totally disappointed with the stories that were told by Mrs. Browder, she never fulfilled any topic for which she was talking about. It was almost as if she was reading on the down low and responding to that book without giving any true feelings or emotions of her own. The book offered no survival skills for women in this situation. My book club members have all returned the books to the store for a full refund.

    3-0 out of 5 stars On the Up&Up:An PeoplewholoveGoodBooks Review
    On the Up and Up by Brenda Stone Browder is the response to the book "On The Downlow by JL King", Ms. Browder is the ex-wife of JL King and this is her story, her side of events.She talks about the DL signs and the health risks that women should be aware of if found in that situation.What I liked most about this book, is that she explains to those found in the same situation, is that it's NOT your fault.I think if Black America were more accepting of those who are "different", there may not be men on the "down-low".This is a story that needs to be told and deserves to be heard.Reviewed by Shay C of PeoplewholoveGoodBooks

    2-0 out of 5 stars Disappointed
    I was truly disappointed with this book. I read this book for my book club, along with On the Down Low, and I must say that my expectations were not met. She addressed some things J.L. King spoke about in his book, but not enough. Ms. Browder went into long tirades about faith and conversion (not sure I agree) and other things except how to help women who have lived with or currently live with men on the down low. She never explained how she helped her children get through it and it seems like she, at times, defended her ex-husband's behavior. I'm not sure who Mrs. Browder is helping to survive, herself or other women.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Spiritually Uplifting
    This book is an honest, open, very real story of a woman who went through something too many women have had to endure--a lying man. She overcame and now gives us all hope that there is a better tomorrow.

    I was sick of the down low stuff. But it's a reality. And now there is another side to consider.
    ... Read more

    7. Just Add Hormones : An Insider's Guide to the Transsexual Experience
    by Matt Kailey
    list price: $21.95
    our price: $14.93
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0807079588
    Catlog: Book (2005-06-15)
    Publisher: Beacon Press
    Sales Rank: 252200
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    Book Description

    Matt Kailey lived as a straight woman for the first forty-two years of his life, and then he changed. With the help of a good therapist, chest surgery, and some strong doses of testosterone, Kailey began living life as the man he"d always wanted to be. Now, in Just Add Hormones, Kailey uses humor and humility to explain his journey toward accepting himself as neither a woman nor someone born male.

    Kailey answers all the questions you"ve ever had about what it"s like to live as a transsexual. From the fear of public restrooms to deciding whether to "pack" his pants, he explains what the world looks like from his new male vantage point. More than a memoir, Just Add Hormones is full of advice for those who may be questioning their gender while also offering valuable insights to the family and friends of those who have started a transition.

    People frequently ask Kailey "Are you done?" In Just Add Hormones, Kailey reassures readers that being a transsexual is about more than some operation: it is a state of mind, a place between the two genders that can cause us all to consider—and even laugh at—our own notions of what being a man or a woman means.
    ... Read more

    8. Stranger at the Gate: To Be Gay and Christian in America
    by Mel White
    list price: $16.00
    our price: $10.88
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0452273811
    Catlog: Book (1995-04-01)
    Publisher: Plume Books
    Sales Rank: 143648
    Average Customer Review: 4.16 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    As seen on 60 Minutes.Until Christmas Eve 1991, Mel White was regarded by the leaders of the religious right as one of their most talented and productive supporters.He penned speeches for Ollie North, was a ghostwriter for Jerry Falwell, worked with Jim Bakker. What they didn't know is that Mel White--evangelical minister, committed Christian, family man--is gay.In this book, White details his twenty-five years of being counseled, exorcised, electric-shocked, prayed for, and nearly driven to suicide because his church said homosexuality was wrong.His salvation--to be openly gay and Christian--is much more than a unique coming-out story.

    "Fascinating... harrowing... a remarkable and important story." --Dallas Morning News ... Read more

    Reviews (45)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A must read for those who are Christian and Gay and others
    Stranger at the Gate: To Be Gay and Christian in America by Mel White is a compelling story that is a must read for anyone who has lived (or is living) the inner conflict of being Christian and Gay, and for any family member of such a person. Although there exist many ministry leaders and Christians who do not want to understand what the inner torment is like for us, for those of you who do, this book will give you insight (ask yourself W.W.J.D.?). You will see how the church has driven us into despair and many to suicide. You will see that we are real people with real emotions and are productive members of society who are also deeply loved by God. You will laugh and you will cry with the author. I have shed many tears, happy and sad, while reading this book. Although there are numerous differences between the author and myself, there are also all of the similarities of growing up in a conservative Christian church, living our youths and beyond with our deep secret and with no one to talk to or guide us, becoming married and having beautiful children and seemingly normal lives -- all the while wearing a mask, hiding and living with prejudice and hatred from within our own little unsuspecting circle and church.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Goes to the 'heart' of the issue for Christian Homosexuals
    Mel White's book, Stranger at the Gate" is the first book which I have read on the struggle of the Christian homosexual with which I could identify. Our daughter has come out to us and we are constantly searching for resources to educate ourselves and help us to deal with the spiritual issue of homosexuality. Mel White comes across as a sincere Christian who tried to live his life according to his biblical upbringing which taught him that homosexuality was a sin. Mel shares his epic struggle to understand and interpret the scriptures which are so often quoted to "bash" homosexuals. The intensity of Mel White's beliefs add to his inner struggle and it is the intimate sharing of this struggle with the reader which gives the book its power.

    This book is a must read for those who are trying to understand why a person is gay and in the process of educating yourself, you will come to realize the need for compassion and understanding rather than judgment and rejection.

    I do not agree with all of Mel's statements 100% but I do believe in his tenent that a person can be christian and homosexual and live a meaningful life while making a positive contribution to the community.

    We all need to extend our limits of compassion and erase the ignorance that rejects another's liefestyle simply because we do not understand it. There is still a lot that I do not understand, but I am continuing to learn through insightful, courageous writers like Mel White.

    5-0 out of 5 stars inspiration for everyone
    I found Dr. White's journey to be inspiring for anyone who is struggling with a seemingly impossible situation. Considering all the people and beliefs involved, he resolved everything very gracefully, in my opinion. I feel that I can't say much in favor of the book that hasn't already been said, so I'll address a few of the criticisms. Some have said that it's overly-emotional and redundant, and though this is true of some parts, it isn't hard to understand why. The life of someone who goes back and forth from denial to acceptance is bound to be a bit repetitive, and certainly dramatic. I think he provides the reader with the whole story, and that story is often frustrating and painful for a reader who has experienced pain almost identical to his. Some have said that this book does not examine the Biblical passages that refer to homosexuality very thoroughly. I beg to differ, since I don't think there is all that much to say to begin with. The Bible never addresses sexual orientation specifically, and shows no understanding of what we know as homosexuality in modern times. Also, White points out that the infamous verse in Leviticus is right alongside numerous absurd verses that are impossible to honor in this day and age. Aside from that, the idea of taking the entire Old Testament literally is absurd in itself, as it would require discounting science, such as the fact that the Earth does indeed revolve around the sun. Some reviewers have criticized White for divorcing his wife without hesitation, when, in fact, he stayed with his wife for many years after he was already aware of his homosexuality. Some might have left the marriage abruptly and without remorse. Instead, White supported his wife as much as possible, and remained supportive of his family even after he was divorced and had a partner. He was as faithful to his wife as any gay man should be expected to be.

    I constantly encounter people who are completely unaware that there is a such a thing as gay Christian, and that is why this book and others like it are so important. I've also encountered many gays who might practice Christianity, but have come to believe that Christian gay or Christian lesbian is an oxymoron. I hope that White can and has convinced readers otherwise. Even those gays who do not identify with Christianity or any other religion should be able to relate to White's struggle. And you don't have to be gay to be able to relate to a battle that is fought by every human being at one time or another--to accept yourself for who you are in the face of a society that can be unwelcoming of anything remotely unordinary.

    4-0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed the story
    I enjoyed the story. I was fascinated at how so many people can think like the Religious Right. I didn't necessarily like the writing. Some parts were fast-moving and other parts seemed repetitious.

    5-0 out of 5 stars ~ how things REALLY are for Gods gay children ~
    I recently finished this great book. It made me laugh, cry ... filled me with hope, and fear too. It caught my eye at a bookstore (seeing how I'm a gay Christian). I thank God for Mel White and his courage! I hope to meet his someday. This book is a GREAT read of anyone affected by the oppression of his or her local church. ... Read more

    9. Major Conflict : One Gay Man's Life in the Don't-Ask-Don't-Tell Military
    list price: $24.95
    our price: $16.47
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0767918991
    Catlog: Book (2005-03-08)
    Publisher: Broadway
    Sales Rank: 34975
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (9)

    5-0 out of 5 stars An important book by an eloquent man.
    Jeff McGowan has added an important voice to the national debate over Don't Ask, Don't Tell."Major Conflict" is both affecting and effective -- an earnest, insightful account of the ethical and emotional compromises that our military demands of gay and lesbian soldiers on a daily basis.It is also a personal memoir of one man's coming of age, first as a citizen and soldier, then as a lover and spouse.The story is well told and, at times, beautiful.I have done extensive scholarly work on Don't Ask, Don't Tell, interviewing scores of gay and lesbian soldiers in the process.McGowan's book ranks among the most powerful of the stories that I have encountered.

    We all have a responsibility to understand the impact that our government's irrational and discriminatory policy has upon the gay and lesbian citizens who serve in the defense of our country.Jeff McGowan's book brings us a step closer to that understanding.I recommend it highly.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Joanne's Chi
    What a poignant story! To experience the personal journey and struggle of Major McGowan, provided an insight into the life of a gay soldier. It is hard to imagine the inner turmoil he experienced. For a man to make the sacrifice of defending his country, what difference does it make to be gay or straight? This is a well told story about the life of one very brave, strong and genuinely honest human being.
    A must read for all Americans.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Very interesting account
    This book is an honest account of coming to terms with being who you are. It is inspirational reading for anyone who has ever struggled with their identity. It is especially interesting because of its timeliness, because of the war we are currently engaged in. McGowan traveled a long road and followed the light at the end of the tunnel, eventually becoming, with his partner, the first same sex couple to be married in New Paltz. The issues surrounding being gay and being in the military are salient for anyone who is concerned about what is happening in our world, whether or not they are gay. I would congratulate McGowen and anyone like him who kept their struggle honest and didn't give up until they were satisfied with their life. By writing his story, he offers hope to others.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Major Conflict
    "Major Conflict " is highly readable...moving and inspiring.
    It is a book for all audiences.
    McGowan draws you into this well written honest read.
    I admire his courage, integrity, and his self awakening humanity.

    It's astonshing how our government can discriminate against gay
    people who are willing to serve and die for this country.
    I recommend anyone who is interested in a changed government to
    please pick up the book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars reframing
    Jeff McGowen reframes the entire issue of "Don't ask, don't tell".We talk about sacrifice and yet ask some to sacrifice more than others.No one should have to lose themselves and feel the kind of isolation Jeff had to endure while serving this country's military.Jeff McGowen's book is both a serious discussion of a policy doomed to failure, an insider's view of the war machine and a closely intimate account of one man's battle to be honest, open and truthful in an army where he would quickly become the enemy despite excellent soldiering.Great book!Everyone should read it, gay straight, old and young. ... Read more

    10. The Kid: What Happened After My Boyfriend and I Decided to Go Get Pregnant : An Adoption Story
    by Dan Savage
    list price: $14.00
    our price: $10.50
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0452281768
    Catlog: Book (2000-06-01)
    Publisher: Plume Books
    Sales Rank: 58228
    Average Customer Review: 4.45 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Dan Savage's nationally syndicated sex advice column, "Savage Love," enrages and excites more than four million people each week. In The Kid, Savage tells a no-holds-barred, high-energy story of an ordinary American couple who wants to have a baby. Except that in this case the couple happens to be Dan and his boyfriend. That fact, in the face of a society enormously uneasy with gay adoption, makes for an edgy, entertaining, and illuminating read. When Dan and his boyfriend are finally presented with an infant badly in need of parenting, they find themselves caught up in a drama that extends well beyond the confines of their immediate world. A story about confronting homophobia, falling in love, getting older, and getting a little bit smarter, The Kid is a book about the very human desire to have a family.

    "A disarmingly frank, wickedly funny account of an ultimately successful quest to adopt a baby." --People

    "Very funny . . . Compelling and moving." --Newsday
    ... Read more

    Reviews (111)

    5-0 out of 5 stars As Heartfelt and As Funny as It Gets.....
    Having heard Dan Savage's reading on NPR on how having a kid enables him now to be able to cruise straight men, I was at first irked at Savage for using a baby as a writing prop. Or, maybe I was just irked because I didn't do it first. Anyway, amidst shopping in Provincetown for baby clothes for my partner's and my own impending adoption, I picked up this book, however begrudgingly. Dan, all is forgiven. "THE KID" is so laugh-out-loud funny, poignant and heartfelt that my only regret is that I didn't read it sooner. If you're gay or straight and even considering adopting, this book should be required reading as Savage bravely sets up to the plate with extreme candor about all of the things over which adopting parents fret endlessly. Not to mention all of the things that fastlane big city boys and circuit queens fret (or should be fretting) over endlessly -- aging, one's purpose in the universe, and what the heck do we do now with our lives other than stand around listening to trance music. My boyfriend thought I was insane while reading the book, one minute laughing hysterically and the next minute weeping uncontrollably. Now that he's reading it, he's doing the same. Even if you're not adopting, buy this book as Savage is the new homo heir to Shirley Jackson's wonderfully funny "Life Among the Savages". Highest recommendation.

    4-0 out of 5 stars A very touching book - a good read
    First I admit that I am a Dan Savage fan. I try to read every SAVAGE LOVE column in my local alternative paper and I love his columns in gay periodicals.

    I was shocked that the tone of this book was more serious than i expected and I have to admit being a little concerned about Dan's reasons for adopting. I.E. A hobby and to get fat etc. but he does make the point that straight couples often have babies totally on accident for no reason whatsoever.

    Then I really was into the book learning all about the intricate adoption process and by the time there was a birth mother in the story I was hooked.

    Then I started laughing along with Dan and by the end of the book tears were streaming down my face. Lots of em.

    I did not expect to be touched by something written by Dan. I highly highly recommend this book!

    For the negative comments left by other readers - One of them obviously didn't read the book and is just homophobic and the other tries to make the point that gays break up alot so they shouldn't adopt. Shouldn't this person push for gay marriage then? How can you blame us for breaking up when we don't have the support of our families, church or community that you do through marriage. Give me a break.


    1-0 out of 5 stars Narcissistic idiot's tale about HIMSELF, not his kid
    Leave it to uber-jerk Dan Savage to give the rest of us homosexuals a black eye once again. The emotionally-arrested biological terrorist (look into his hateful, patently illegal stunt to throw a monkey wrench into a fringe presidential candidate's campaign, all for an article on makes all sorts of simply bone-headed proclamations in this book. It reads as though it wasn't professionally edited, and is overlong by about 30%.

    You'll find all sorts of dunderheaded pearls of wisdom in Dan's relentless tale about HIMSELF and HIS OWN wishes. For example, the man who often advocates infidelity in his sex-advice column informs us here that closed adoptions are ALWAYS wrong. That's right -- because he feels his experience was the right way to do things, anyone who wants to keep a kid from knowing about a horrendous situation they were adopted out of is an amoral cretin.

    Dan Savage is a judgmental narcissist. I'm a gay guy who's been contemplating adoption with my partner, but I feel dirty for having read this thing. It's crass, self-absorbed and terribly, terribly self-righteous.

    By the way, I don't believe for one second that some of those other 1-star reviews are from actual Christians. A la Moby, there are a lot of deluded people out there aping fundies' opinions to make them look bad in forums like this. Sad. But Dan's us-vs-them mentality only reinforces those weirdos' delusions that they're helping their own cause.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A birth mother's story
    I loved Dan Savage's personal account of adoption, but what really haunts me afterward is his touching description of Melissa, the young "gutter punk" birth mother of his adopted son. In the book, Dan's writing talent shines through as he tells her story. I'm a mother myself, and I found myself sobbing as I read Dan's account of those last moments in the hospital as Melissa says goodbye to her baby. I bet you'll cry, too, if you read it. Now, six years after this baby boy was born, I am so curious to know how Melissa is doing, and if she still has a close relationship to Dan and Terry and their son, D.J. Melissa, wherever you are, I admire you.

    5-0 out of 5 stars I laughed! I cried! I LEARNED!!!
    This book is funny, moving and educational. As a mother of two, I found myself identifying with Mr. Savage...a parent is a parent regardless of sexual orientation. Quotes taken out of context may sound alarming but anyone reading the entire book realize that the humor gives way to heart felt emotion at the gravity of parenthood. Of course, it's unusual for conservatives to quote books out of context... ... Read more

    11. Lush Life: A Biography of Billy Strayhorn
    by David Hajdu
    list price: $27.50
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0374194386
    Catlog: Book (1996-06-01)
    Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
    Sales Rank: 427642
    Average Customer Review: 4.89 out of 5 stars
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    The myth has always been that Billy Strayhorn and Duke Ellington shared an identical approach to music. In Lush Life: A Biography of Billy Strayhorn, David Hajdu dismisses that notion from the very beginning. Schooled in Debussy and Ravel, Strayhorn brought a sensitivity and complexity that was missing in the Ellington oeuvre. Although he had talent enough for a career without Ellington, Strayhorn lacked the confidence. Being both black and gay forced him to take a back seat to his partner's celebrity. Denied greater public recognition, he sought solace in a "lush life" of his own, smoking and drinking himself to an early death in 1967. ... Read more

    Reviews (9)

    5-0 out of 5 stars very detailed book
    i find myself always enjoying Books on People&this is no exception.very well detailed Book on a Important Composer&His Many Demons&Surroundings.I heard a few years back that Will Smith was considering doing the Bio Movie on Billy would be really interesting to see how things would come out on the Big screen.this book reflects on Music Talent&whole Life.very well done book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A very enjoyable read
    This book has a lot going for it. Do you like music, swing and jazz? Do you like intersting people? Did you live through the 30's, 40's and 50's? Do you enjoy reading about that era? Do you enjoy reading a well written biogratphy? If the answer to any of these is yes, you'll like this book, it the answer is yes to several of these questions then you'll LOVE this book. David Hajdu has done an exemplary job of documenting the life of Billy Strayhorn. I really felt like I knew the man after reading this. He has done his research and he also writes with a very smooth style that keeps you intersted. I love music and I've read bios of Miles Davis, Dave Brubeck, BB King, Chuck Berry, Led Zepplin, Allman Bros. on and on. This is one of the best if not the best music bio I've read.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The World of Ellingtonia
    Great Book... if you're an Ellington fan and like "Strays" music this is an absolute must. Very informative and interesting and also great reading. The author was here in Seattle for an Elllngton concert with Earshot Jazz and I met and chatted with him.... a very charming and informed man. cmm

    5-0 out of 5 stars Well Rounded Review
    Hajdu really does a nice job of summarizing the life of a songwriter. He keeps his story moving with pacing, characters, travel, and yes, even drama! Racial prejudice, sexual prejudice, loneliness and alcoholism did nothing to stop this little man from Pittsburgh who knew he was destined to a "lush life" and wrote about it in his fantasies, such as the title song begun at age 19 in Pittsburgh.

    He grew up poor, effeminate, and misunderstood; but he loved the theater, and he knew where he belonged. Off to New York where his awesome talent so impressed Duke Ellington that he was immediately hired into the organization, where he would thrive and struggle and live and write for the rest of his life. He died of cancer, after penning and arranging much of Ellington's later work.

    The book tells his story with panache that would make him proud!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Understated Genius
    Billy Strayhorn's contribution to the work of Duke Ellington is immeasurable--at last he is given his full due in David Hajdu's perceptive and insightful portrait of this largely unsung genius of 20th century music. Hajdu's sensitive biography, derived from countless interviews with friends, family and fellow musicians, reveals Strayhorn as a complex, creative individual who preferred to stay discreetly in Ellington's shadow throughout much of his life. It also provides a telling portrait of a man who lived his life as a gay African-American musician completely out in the open during a time in this country when it was both difficult and dangerous to do so. Hajdu has given us telling portraits as well of many of Strayhorn's contemporaries such as Lena Horne, Ella Fitzgerald, Johnny Hodges, Ray Nance and the Duke himself who loved "Swea-Pea" (Strayhorn's nickname) as a part of himself. Not only a portrait of a creative, intellectual genius, "Lush Life" also gives us an insightful look into the world of jazz and African-american popular music that grew out of an age of racism and discrimination. The concluding chapters that chronicle Strayhorn's involvement in the civil rights movement of the early '60's and his friendships with Martin Luther King and Medgar Evans and his own battle with the throat cancer that cut his life short (at age fifty-one) are especially powerful. Throughout the book, Hajdu provides lively anecdotal writing while remaining a respectful journalist and chronicler of his subject. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in jazz history, popular culture, or purely for a portrait of an understated genius. ... Read more

    12. Zami: A New Spelling of My Name (Crossing Press Feminist Series)
    by Audre Lorde
    list price: $16.95
    our price: $11.53
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0895941228
    Catlog: Book (1983-12-01)
    Publisher: Crossing Press
    Sales Rank: 161982
    Average Customer Review: 4.25 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Lorde's self-named "biomythography" ... Read more

    Reviews (8)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Memorable Portrait of a Difficult Life Shaped By Zami
    In "Zami: A New Spelling of My Name: A Biomythography," Audre Lorde writes that "[e]very woman I have ever loved has left her print upon me." Thus, "Zami" serves as a window into Lorde's experiences with other women-especially her mother-who informed and shaped her life from childhood into adulthood within the context of romantic links and friendships, especially during turbulent and conflicting periods in American history. For example, Lorde describes a difficult childhood at school and at home during the poverty ridden 1930s. Especially revealing about this moment in time is Lorde's fascination with her mother's strength and courage amidst racial discrimination-which, according to Lorde, went unnamed. As a result, she grew up in a world where difference was much more assumed rather than defined and interrogated.

    Consequently, this colored Lorde's world later as she formed special bonds with other women, which she termed "The Branded," a group of Lorde's "sisterhood of rebels," who used difference as a bond to challenge the status quo. This form of difference became pronounced, in addition to racial and gender difference, when sexuality became a threat during an intense anti-communist hysteria in the 1950s, which equated homosexuality with communist affiliation. In sum; to be black, female and queer in white McCarthy Amerika was a triple threat from which loneliness would emerge as a central factor plaguing Lorde's life.

    However, Lorde's romantic links and friendships with other women would shape her survival and leave an everlasting legacy for later generations of lesbian women, especially black lesbian women. Tragically, some of Lorde's experiences with love and friendships were shattered by loss and mourning. Nevertheless, the collected instances of intimacy with other women shaped her life as a queer woman of color defining "Zami," a term specifying women working in unison as lovers and/or friends.

    Lorde meticulously unfolds her narrative by using imagery and symbols as a way from which to tell her life story on an intimate level. The choice of words and images are compelling. For example, her trip to Mexico is described so vividly that I almost feel as I am there. Her description of New York gave me a sense of what life was like during a poverty ridden period in an urban setting. The description of clothes, faces, and bodies-especially within an erotic context-are remarkable. In sum, Lorde was a poet genius in her prose alongside her poetry.

    "Zami" is an excellent read for courses in Women's Studies, Women's History, Women's Autobiography, African American Studies, Queer Studies, Lesbian and Gay Studies, and ethnic studies.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, but also commonplace
    A strong voice in both African-American women's literature and lesbian literature, Audre Lorde is likely someone as alien to my experience as anyone could possibly be. Well, at least someone who was born and raised in the U.S. At first, I found this biography fascinating, but it began to tire me about halfway through. I don't know what I was expecting, but I felt like everything was commonplace, rather than distinct and unique.

    But then, maybe that's her point. That lesbians, blacks, women, or what-have-you, are commonplace. That they are no more objects for sensationalism or titillation than yourself. Yes, there might be some individuals who live exciting lives, but the vast majority of them are the same vast majority of all of us, living quiet lives of trials and joys, successes and failures. This is likely the reason why Lorde does not talk about her success as a poet or writer, instead trying to focus the reader on her life as a life of the ultimate minority in society, who has the same humanity as anyone, but suffers under the present system.

    For further reading, I would like to check out Lorde's poetry, to see if that is more appealing to me in its artistry.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Worthless Dravel Masking Itself As A Book of Substance
    The Dipper is offended. A slightly "odd" friend of mine recommended this book as an example of "why written words were invented". With that rather nebulous review in mind when I found this book in the nickel bin at a local flea market, I sat down to give it a try. See, The Dipper, is "open-minded"!!! Within the first few pages, the miasma began floating in the air. Soon, I was rummaging in my closet for my hip-wader boots! "Biomythography"? Is that a wasting disease? "Zami"? Should I say "gesundheit" after someone makes that sound and hand them an anti-bacterial tissue with lotion? The most ludicrous waste of ink and paper was the part where a character spent time with a mortar and pestle grinding spices while blubbering on about something else. This sent the Dipper off to the copy machine at work to photostat many copies of a smiling Rudy Guiliani. I read a few more pages to confirm that this book was in fact the piffle I suspected. Upon quick confirmation, I snuck out a side door at the office with the Rudy pictures, the offending "Zami, a New Spelling of My Name", a metal wastepaper basket, and a Zippo lighter. Audre Lorde's best work went up in flames by the dumpster as Smiling Rudy looked on in approval and your's truly did the Dipper VooDoo Dance around the basket. Recycling is a great thing and Dipper is proud to do his part! Save your nickel!!!

    5-0 out of 5 stars An essential American life story
    In "Zami: A New Spelling of My Name," poet Audre Lorde has written a text she calls a "biomythography." I think of "biomythography" as a literary form that blends elements of autobiography, the novel, and personal mythology. But however you define the word, "Zami" is a powerful and beautiful text which illuminates the life of an African-American lesbian in the mid-20th century.

    "Zami" begins with the young Audre and her parents, a Black immigrant couple who had settled in New York City. Lorde writes in detail of her cultural heritage from the Caribbean island of Grenada. From her childhood in Harlem to her young adulthood, the book is full of fascinating episodes and poetic language. Lorde's description of using her mother's traditional mortar and pestle to grind spices in the Caribbean style is a particular tour-de-force of sensuous language.

    Lorde describes the roots of her life as a poet. She also vividly recalls what it was like to be a young Black lesbian in the 1950s. This particular aspect of "Zami" gives the book a special historical value. Lorde's narrative captures many of the cultural and political particulars of that era.

    Audre Lorde attained a distinguished literary reputation as both a poet and essayist. But serious readers of Lorde must not miss her extraordinary "biomythography." This is an essential American life story which ranks up there with those of Benjamin Franklin, Harriet Jacobs, Malcolm X, and other important figures. Whether you're interested in the Caribbean-American experience, African-American literature, lesbian studies, or mid-20th century United States history, you will want to explore "Zami."

    In this book Audre Lorde writes, "Every woman I have ever loved has left her print upon me." If you read "Zami," Lorde just might leave a lasting print upon you.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Zami is amazing! Yet another reason to love Audre Lorde!
    One of the things I loved about this book was how descriptive Audre is about everything. She has the amazing ability to really put me right in the scene, because her attention to details paints such a vivid picture. You can almost taste what she is eating, touch what she is touching and so on... Audre's work often makes people hold her up as if she was more then human, this book let's you know how very human she was and for me, it let's me know how important it is to be "doing my work," as she put it in the "Transformation of Silence." Hey, are you doing yours? ... Read more

    13. Isherwood : A Life Revealed
    list price: $39.95
    our price: $26.37
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1400062497
    Catlog: Book (2004-12-07)
    Publisher: Random House
    Sales Rank: 29578
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    14. The Truth Is . . . : My Life in Love and Music
    list price: $13.95
    our price: $11.16
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0375760261
    Catlog: Book (2002-06-11)
    Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks
    Sales Rank: 87427
    Average Customer Review: 4.29 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Since she first burst onto the international music scene, Melissa Etheridge has released seven albums that have sold more than 25 million copies worldwide, garnering not only public adoration for her uncompromising honesty but numerous critical awards, including two Grammys and the prestigious ASCAP Songwriter of the Year award. The Truth Is . . . is a highly charged autobiography—a bold and unflinching account of an extraordinary life that Melissa describes as only she can: from her Kansas roots, through her early love of music, to her brilliant rise to superstardom in a male-dominated rock world. Melissa openly discusses the massive impact of her publicly coming out, a revelation that only increased her popularity, making her a highly visible spokesperson for the gay and lesbian community. The Truth Is . . . shares Melissa Etheridge’s fascinating story with unprecedented candor and insight. ... Read more

    Reviews (114)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Melissa paints and open, honest, brave&crazy self-portrait
    Often times in life we hide our truths to place others in a comfort zone. We hide our pain through smiles, our fears through laughter. Although we are essentially individual human beings, the feelings that we have and hide are universal, unbiased to money, fame, mediocrity, latitude and longitude...etc. I bought this book expecting another typical biography/autobiography which tells half truths...enough of a bite to keep you interested but guarded as to not offend, to not shock, to hide the essential person. I have admired Melissa Etheridge for her honesty in her sexuality and her wonderful raspy voiced, from the heart musical gift. So I bought the autobiography. Let's face it, would you expect this to be anything other than a Norman Rockwell Painting? Melissa is an open, accepted lesbian woman, she had a long-time partner(whose breakup with shocked the hell out of me), 2 beautiful children, and the career she chose(or chose her)had rocketed her to stardom. Was this going to be page after page of "don't you wish you could be me" and "isn't my life wonderful?" I read this book in a little over an evening...I could not put it down. Her book was actually...honest. From her emotionally disconnected family, her resentful older sister who abused her, her careless sexual relations, her music dreams and aspirations, and her relationships which held a lot of pain masked by smiles, to the point she is at with her children...she was honest. Brutally, at times. This book brought the lesbian mega-rock star down from Goddess to human. She shares the same emotionally draining problems that we all do. She shares of her desire for a monogamous relationship(which in the lesbian world seems to be hard to come least I've found it to be). She talks skimmingly about Julie's displeasure with her weight and her clothing selection(which frankly...huh? who could belittle anything physical about her..but anyway). It is just a very candid book that will surely be appreciated by her fans...or anyone needing to feel their feelings aren't unusual. Money and fame can't buy you love, or happiness, or self-validation. Maybe this book was a form of therapy for her and because of her honesty, her frankness about herself, the book itself massages the feelings of alone and although doubtfully intended, is a form of therapy for the reader. I highly recommend this book to her fans, her admirers, and anyone just wanting to hear a saddly missed art...honesty. When Melissa came out to the world, I just wanted to run up hug her and say thank you for making me feel like I'm ok, after reading the book I want to run up and hug her and say, "you're human...and you're ok."

    4-0 out of 5 stars The master in her own words.
    As soon as I heard this book was to be released I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. Coming from a small town in rural Australia I had to order it into store so the wait was longer than expected but the book was definately worth the wait, even if it was a very short read.
    Melissa's strong voice & poingnant lyrics helped me survive the 90's. They made me cry, they made me hurt & they made me stronger. I believe if music can make you feel anything the lyricist or performer is doing something right.
    Melissa's honesty abouth her life in the book is to be commended although I felt she was still holding back something, but who really wants to share the most personal feelings & emotions with the world. Even in an autobiography some things must remain sacred.
    As a hetrosexual woman I commend Melissa for writing a book which neither promotes homosexuality nor condemns it, she simply shows you that the important things in life are love, family, friends, compassion & music that makes you feel something. Sexuality is personal and your personality makes you who you are.
    I reccommend this book to anyone who appreciates Melissa Etheridge as the master lyricist & performer that she has proven to be over the past decade.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Melissa's truth brings insight into her music to her fans
    A very good read. Melissa has had her share of ups and downs, and she shares them with her audience. I liked reading about her songs, why she wrote them, what they mean to her, and having the lyrics included in the book.

    Melissa is very open about her past, her affairs, and the end of her 12 year relationship with Julie (the love of her life). Melissa shares her life lessons in this memoir and I would recommend this book to others. I rate this book 4 out of 5 stars.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Fantastic Read.
    A true insight into a very talented women who has never been afraid to share her life and her feelings. As a long time fan of Melissa, I found her honesty refreshing. Again, she is not afraid to share her true feelings.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Wonderful
    I rarely read a book in two days, but I did this one. I was a fan of Melissa's before I read the book, but now I have a much deeper appreciation for her and her music. It was a very easy read, and honestly once I started reading, I couldn't stop. She expressed herself very well pretty much laid her life out like an open book. I highly recommend this book! ... Read more

    15. Walt Whitman: A Gay Life
    by Gary Schmidgall
    list price: $32.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0525943730
    Catlog: Book (1997-09-01)
    Publisher: Dutton Books
    Sales Rank: 417354
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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    Walt Whitman's place in U.S. letters is unchallenged: he is the poet of America, democracy, and individual freedom. Yet Whitman and his work have been misrepresented by scholars and critics during the 20th century, and it is only recently that they have begun admitting the poet's homosexuality and examining its effect on his work. Gary Schmidgall's bold and well-researched Walt Whitman: A Gay Life presents abundant and irrefutable evidence of the poet's vibrant sexuality and details Whitman's sexual and romantic affairs. More important, however, he explains how Whitman's attraction to men was at the root of his poetic vision: in Whitman's work the "body electric" is more than a metaphor. Walt Whitman: A Gay Life is a vital addition to Whitman studies and critical work on American literature. ... Read more

    Reviews (5)

    3-0 out of 5 stars I... don't really think Whitman wanted us to ponder this
    In a world where historical figures as prominant and as influential as Walt Whitman are thought to be Homosexual, its very unfortunate for people who study Modern American literature like myself that "Historians" jump to outrageous conclusions, spurred on by desire for fame and a savage media, as in this book.

    Didn't Walt Whitman want his readers to be captivated by his beautiful use of the English language and criticize events such as the American Civil War? These overprivalaged "hisorians" need not take out frustrations on such great men. The fist of Satan on America and the rest of the world is tightening, especially with the reelection of an international terrorist in November and our little "War on Terrorism" which enters its 4th year in September. What we need is a War on Poverty, a War on Ignorance, and a War on Men such as Bush who do an excellent job of speeding up the decline of the American Empire. "Bread and Circuses" and constant warfare with people like the Carthaginians in the Punic Wars contributed to the fall of the Roman Empire. I think America will go out in a classical style and fear that another Middle Ages will haunt generations which will come a few hundred years after this is published.

    Mr. Schmidgall, I must applaud you for trying to bring Whitman to another generation but I personally think you might've taken the words of Ginsberg a little too seriously...

    5-0 out of 5 stars A landmark work of literary scholarship
    This is a wonderful tonic for those cynics who profess to believe that "history is bunk."History is far from that; it's a serious profession where serious discoveries can be made.And Gary Schmidgall's landmark work is a beautiful example of this.

    In the long run, historical truths are assessed in the same way as scientific truths: if there is significant evidence to support your thesis, and NOT ONE bit of contradictory evidence, your thesis stands.Schmidgall's thesis: Walt Whitman was gay.And Schmidgall's book is stuffed with all the evidence to support it: manuscripts, the historical record, love letters to and from Walt, photographs and biographies of his lovers, all the way from Peter Doyle to Billy Duckett.There is absolutely massive evidence to support Schmidgall's thesis, and not ONE BIT of contradictory evidence!

    Of course, one has to use the historical method in weighing the evidence.Whitman once got exasperated with the Englishman Edward Carpenter, who had been pestering him for years with letters demanding that Whitman admit his homosexuality.Whitman was not about to be forced out of the closet by any snooping Englishman, and finally fired off a letter stating that he had married and fathered six children! ("Put THAT in your pipe and smoke it!")The claim was a preposterous lie, of course.A wife and six children don't just "vanish mysteriously," especially when you're the most famous poet in the country.

    All in all, a fantastic piece of work.It is interesting to notice that some of the dim lightbulbs in Eng. Lit. are incapable of recognizing a historical fact even when it slaps them in the face: one professor Karen Kerbiener cites Schmidgall in her bibliography, yet continues to regard Whitman's homosexuality as a mere "possibility."

    Yeah, right, and Tchaikovsky was straight, and Beethoven liked to appear in drag. :-0

    Highest possible recommendation!!!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Walt would love this...
    One of the things that people often do is to take their heroes and try to see within that person themselves. It's only natural. It's through someone else's greatness that we experience it, and often, find our own. So it's not surprising that many Whitman biographers have passively denied Whitman's homosexuality, or out right refuted it. It's also not surprising that Gary Schmidgall takes a different view, and sees Whitman through the eyes of a gay man, writing an impressive, passioned look at Whitman's life called "Walt Whitman: A Gay Life".

    Based on a look on Whitman's poetry, letters, and other sources, Schmidgall tells a tale of a gay Whitman. This isn't a biography, however, which Scmidgall admits right away. His book attempts to describe Whitman during different phases in his life, particularly important ones that would have shaped his gay identity. Therefore, the focus is not broad across the span of Whitman's many years, but very intensely focused specific times, for example, Whitman as an opera lover.

    Schmidgall admits upfront the task before him which is enormous; being that in all of Whitman's known correspondances, interviews, archival evidence, details on his sexuality and sex life is scanity at best. We have no big true confessional, and when asked directly about the sexual content of "Leaves of Grass", his pat answer is to let the work speak for itself. However, Schmidgall does an awesome job reconstructing Whitman, looking at everything through the eyes of a gay man, bringing the poet alive much more than other biographies which I've read.Schmidgall liberally uses the words like "imagine, think, suppose" when talking about his points, but you forgive him. The task is daunting, but well done.

    Whitman is alive in this book as he never has been before. Whereas more scholarly books fail to adequately persue Whitman's sexuality, this one brings it alive, and therefore, brings Whitman alive in a wonderful sense. You can almost hear the poet chuckling in the background as you read some of the passages. Whatever the effect, Whitman has been drawn closer to my heart because of this book, and I highly recommend it.

    4-0 out of 5 stars not the only book on whitman, but...
    this is a great book to add to the growing collection of whitman biographies. don't make this the only one you read, however. that said, it does an amazing and passionate job that i think whitman would appreciate.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Finally, the Truth About Whitman
    Undoubtedly, the most amazing thing about the many Whitman bio's (and there's certainly no shortage of them), is their denial of hishomosexuality.This is why Schmmidgall's work stands head and shouldersabove them all (including Jerome Loving's seemingly exhaustive bio thatdoesn't present Whitman as being gay).The trouble with Loving and therest who would deny Whitman's sexuality is that they are either terriblyhomophobic, or that they never read any of Whitman's poetry.The onlyreason I gave the book a three star rating, is because I don't feel it's agood first-Whitman-book to read for the uninitiated.Rather, I would startwith his actual poetry, maybe read a popular bio, and then end up withSchmidgall's "Gay Life". ... Read more

    16. Genius and Lust: The Creativity and Sexuality of Cole Porter and Noel Coward
    by Joe Morella, George Mazzei, Joseph Morella
    list price: $32.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0786702370
    Catlog: Book (1995-09-01)
    Publisher: Carroll & Graf Pub
    Sales Rank: 299920
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    17. Before Night Falls
    by Reinaldo Arenas, Dolores M. Koch
    list price: $14.00
    our price: $10.50
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0140157654
    Catlog: Book (1994-10-01)
    Publisher: Penguin Books
    Sales Rank: 26093
    Average Customer Review: 4.59 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (39)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A bold memoir of oppression and defiance
    "Before Night Falls," the autobiography of Cuban writer Reinaldo Arenas, is an astonishing book. Arenas notes that he dictated part of the book into a tape recorder, and it was later transcribed by a friend. This format probably accounts for the book's intimate tone; I could imagine Arenas sitting in front of me and telling the whole story over coffee. The book has been translated into a forthright English by Dolores M. Koch.

    "Before Night Falls" begins with Arenas' childhood in rural Cuba. It details his life as a writer, his many sexual exploits as a gay man, and his sufferings under the regime of Fidel Castro. It is amazing to read how Arenas had to struggle to exist as a writer in a police state; he tells how he was forced to hide manuscripts and how friends smuggled his writings out of Cuba for publication in foreign countries.

    The book contains many shocking and painful episodes, such as his accounts of his own imprisonment and exile. But his life story also contains moments of humor and hope. Particularly interesting are Arenas' accounts of his friendships with other gay Cuban writers, such as Virgilio Pinera and Jose Lezama Lima. Overall, the tone of the book reflects Arenas' many moods: sensuous, angry, joyful, outraged, wry, melancholy, and--above all--defiant. His writing is rich in colorful personalities and fascinating anecdotes.

    An interesting companion volume to Arenas' autobiography would be the book "Eminent Maricones: Arenas, Lorca, Puig, and Me," by gay Colombian-born writer Jaime Manrique. Manrique knew Arenas personally, and "Eminent Maricones" contains an account of Arenas' last days as he worked to complete "Before Night Falls" while dying of AIDS-related complications. Having read that book made me appreciate Arenas' achievement even more.

    At one point Arenas recalls advice given to him by Jose Lezama Lima: "Remember that our only salvation lies in words: write!" Reading this book, I get the sense that Arenas achieved his own personal "salvation" through his literature, and in particular, through this autobiography. "Before Night Falls" is an amazing human testament that moved me deeply. If you are interested in Latin American literature, gay studies, the art of autobiography, or human rights issues, I strongly recommend this book to you.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Different than, but equally as good as, the film
    Reinaldo Arenas, Before Night Falls (Penguin, 1993)

    Arenas' memoir of life in Cuba has recently been made into one of the finest films extant by Julian Schnabel. Schnabel did an excellent job with the book; while his interpretation of the text was loose in places, he managed to capture in images the style of Arenas' writing.

    In other words, if you saw the movie before reading the book, you're going to be somewhat surprised. Some of Schnabel's more memorable scenes are mentioned in passing (if at all) in the book, and one of the film's central sequences, the balloon escape, gets one sentence. Where Arenas and Schnabel intersect is in the lushness, the ability to find celebration and remarkable beauty inside the ugliness of the Castro regime (and, for a few years' worth, the Batista regime before it).

    Arenas' memoir is also likely to shock more than a few in its sexual explicitness (another aspect Schnabel rather shied away from, which I found a tad surprising while reading the book), but so be it. There is nothing gratuitous about either Arenas' promiscuity or his literary descriptions of it; it's no different than using the language of excess to describe the beastliness of a life that involves hand-to-mouth poverty and political censure. And throughout, more than anything (and perhaps this is what makes the book so powerful), Before Night Falls is a celebration, both of Arenas' life and the lives of many other Cuban writers persecuted as dissidents in the latter half of the twentieth century. **** 1/2

    5-0 out of 5 stars Before Night Falls
    It is sad to read how a human being is treated in a communistic
    country. When freeom is taken away from your soul the body
    disintegrates and fortunate for Reinaldo Arenas writing was a gift from above. If you put aside his homosexuality, this mans
    literacy will touch everyone that reads it. It's hard to imagine
    how many Arenas have been destroyed by Coummunisum. Unfortunately
    this still goes on today.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Explore the Sexual, Political, and Artistic Life of Arenas
    Reinaldo Arenas' Before Night Falls is a sexually driven account of the author's life which encapsulates the journey of a homosexual artist and the violent opposition to his very existence, as well as how he survives such opposition. Arenas gives a fascinating perspective concerning masculinity, Castro, and artistic purpose. His style is simple, honest, and detailed. In addition to Arenas' straightforward approach he has a great ability to place the reader in his shoes. Considering the tale is given with such a personal angle the reader can understand the complications and contradictions of homosexual masculinity. Moreover, anyone who is curious about the artistic and political experiences of a homosexual in Cuba this memoir will serve them like a well-balanced meal. You will fall in love with Reinaldo and the way that he experienced life.

    4-0 out of 5 stars hot homo-sex
    Reinaldo Arenas' Before Night Falls is a sexually driven account of the author's life which encapsulates the journey of a homosexual artist and the violent opposition to his very existence, as well as how he survives such opposition. Arenas gives a fascinating perspective concerning masculinity, Castro, and artistic purpose. His style is simple, honest, and detailed. In addition to Arenas' straightforward approach he has a great ability to place the reader in his shoes. Considering the tale is given with such a personal angle the reader can understand the complications and contradictions of homosexual masculinity. Morever, for anyone who is curious about the artistic and political experiences of a homosexual in Cuba this memoir will serve them like a well-balanced meal. You will fall in love with Reinaldo and the way that he experienced life. ... Read more

    18. Memoir: Delaware County Prison
    by Reginald Hall, Reginald L. Hall
    list price: $12.95
    our price: $11.01
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 097038033X
    Catlog: Book (2003-12)
    Sales Rank: 134473
    Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (5)

    3-0 out of 5 stars wish it had a little more-but killer nontheless
    i had the chance to meet the author in one of the most unusual circumstances & found him to be a really nice guy. he gave me a copy of this book & when i started to read it, i couldn't put it down. how he speaks of the prison system & how they work things in there is right on point. the beatings, the unfair treatment because of color & sexual preference, and the lack of cooperation from the people who were suppose to be helping him made me want to cry for this guy. having had first hand experience with the prisoners & the prison itself, i felt kind of bad for the author. i don't care what he did to get in there (robbery maybe?), it doesn't make it right for him to be treated that way & besides, there are straight, white, rich men who do much worse & get much less time & punishment. the system sucks.
    it was strange to see names that i recognized in the book as well as old friends. i just wish he would have wrote more about how he got in there & why he had the detainers. i'm hoping a second book comes out explaining what happened to him after he left the prison & how his life changed because of it. "Memoir" is not bad for a first book.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Still hunger
    I am not sure how I came about this book. I believe I requested one book to review and somehow was given this one and another. Considering it was offered to me I felt compelled to read it and write a review.

    I found Mr. Hall's debut to be quite interesting, but a slow story that never landed. While reading it I kept thinking something is going to happen but it never did. I am not sure what the authors attempt was. Maybe a memoir was not the way to go, possibly fiction?

    I guess I expected something like this show on HBO called "Prisoner Cell Block H" gritty raw and ACTION PACKED. Memoir had no luster it lacked history and reasoning. I hope the authors next attempt "Smoking Cigarettes" has a much better story line.

    5-0 out of 5 stars MEMOIRS?
    i brought memoirs two days after i heard reginald hall on power 99 in philadelphia. I wanted to know first hand what actually goes down in jail..a few people i know that have done time just come out and say "oh it was cool" or they don't say anything. i know for a fact that if someone was locked down for a nice minute they probaly have did some freaky stuff in jail. i know of dudes that came home with aids..the book was amusing but he could have went a lil' deeper into actual events that happened. i would recommend it though

    5-0 out of 5 stars An Emotional Rollercoaster
    This book is a rollercoaster for a laughs and cries. I recommend this book to women and men.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Very Disappointed
    I heard Reginald on the radio and I ran right to get his book and I was very disappointed with the book because he really didn't go into detail about what really happened while he was in Delaware County Prison. Because he is not really telling what went on in the prison as far as him talking about straight men that he turned out. ... Read more

    19. What Becomes of the Brokenhearted : A Memoir
    list price: $22.95
    our price: $16.07
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0385502648
    Catlog: Book (2003-07-08)
    Publisher: Doubleday
    Sales Rank: 32236
    Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    For almost a decade, beloved storyteller E. Lynn Harris has welcomed you into his family with his passionate, warm and trail-blazing novels. Now, he invites you into the most intimate world ever--his own.

    Since his first book Invisible Life was published in the early 1990s, New York Times bestselling author E. Lynn Harris has wowed, charmed and romanced millions of readers.As a master storyteller, E. Lynn Harris has created an intimate and glamorous world centered around his signature themes of love, friendship and family. People all over the world have fallen in love with his characters and laughed and cried with them.

    Now, in his most daring act yet, E. Lynn Harris writes the memoir of his life–from his childhood in Arkansas as a closeted gay boy through his struggling days as a self-published author to his rise as a New York Times bestselling author.In What Becomes of the Brokenhearted, E. Lynn Harris shares an extraordinary life touched by loneliness and depression, but more important, he reveals the triumphant life of a small-town dreamer who was able through writing to make his dreams–and more–come true.
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    Reviews (40)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Page-Turner Destined to Be a Book Club Hit
    E. Lynn Harris's novels about black middle class homosexual and heterosexual life have captured the fancy of thousands of readers. His success is remarkable because his honesty about gay, bisexual and "confused" African American men hasn't turned off women readers and has sparked discussion about male secrecy, sex and lies.

    Many of his readers, myself among them, have wondered about the relationship between Harris and Raymond Tyler, the protagonist of his first novel and some of his subsequent work. Because the novels are written in such a straightforward, conversational tone, it's easy to imagine that the author is telling his own thinly-veiled story.

    With his new memoir, WHAT BECOMES OF THE BROKENHEARTED, Harris both dispels and confirms the questions about whether or not Raymond is really his doppelganger. As Harris tells it, Raymond's perfect middle class upbringing with loving parents is a far cry from his humbler and, often, more cruel beginnings. But the character's life experiences closely mirror those of the author's adult life, including their search for love, sex, and a path out of depression.

    Like his popular novels, Harris's memoir is a page-turner that feels more like a long, confessional letter or an all-night conversation. Its principle merits are as a record of the modern gay black man's experience and an insider text for his legions of fans.

    Having read all of Harris's novels, I was very curious about the who's who aspect of his memoir and pleased to meet some of the real-life people who inspired his fictional characters. However, his conversational style was sometimes disappointing because the memoir occasionally fails to fully explore various experiences. And while it seems he wrote some of the last pages earlier this year, Harris chooses to keep some secrets to himself. Unfortunately for the reader, he only hints at the happiness he has found in the last decade and keeps those tales undercover.

    His honesty about battling depression and "lying Lynn" are also important aspects of his story. As his novels forced women to face facts about male sexuality and gave gay black men their own serial, his memoir will help raise the veil from the issue of depression.

    Harris's first nonfiction work will likely be another book club and talkabout hit. Hopefully, it will also open hearts and minds as his novels have for the last decade.

    --- Reviewed by Bernadette Adams Davis

    5-0 out of 5 stars What Becomes of the Brokenhearted : A Memoir
    Harris is one of America's top writers, chronicling the experiences of gay and heterosexual African Americans through books such as Invisible Life and Just as I Am. His first nonfiction offering provides listeners with a glimpse into his life, starting with his childhood in Little Rock, AR, with an abusive father and loving mother. The author discovers his sexual identity in high school and college and has bouts with depression and alcohol abuse. Harris pulls no punches, and listeners will want to reach out and touch the little boy who must deal with the daily whippings from the man who turns out to be his stepfather; the young man who wants to find love with another man but must hide his feelings from other blacks at his college; the man who goes into sales at IBM and deals with the pain of disastrous relationships with drinks and late-night parties; and the man who realizes that writing his story can help his people learn the truth about the homosexuals they live with and love. Read by Richard Allen, this wonderful book is full of passion and joy and provides a message of hope to those within the gay community and those fighting depression. For all libraries, especially those with collections in African American, gay, lesbian, and transgender studies and in mental health

    3-0 out of 5 stars Humble beginnings
    E. Lynn Harris gives the reader a thorough background understanding of where he was born, to whom, and his struggles to overcome feelings of inferiority & insecurity. What's missing is how he became a writer and what drove him to write. Most of his adult career was as an IBM and computer sales rep, which was a surprise, but it's not until near the end that he discusses writing and publishing.

    The first half of the book is very engrossing, as he talks about his two fathers and his mother. But the second half does not divulge much about the man. He discusses going to college, dating, and successes as a school office holder. His homosexuality is widely known. He recounts chance encounters, pickups, lovers, heartbreaks, it's almost like reading a romance novel. Surprisingly, he glazes over the AIDS epidemic and how it effected he and his friends. Only 1 page is devoted to AIDS. The second part could have been more poetic and in-depth.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A BOOK YOU DON'T WANT TO PUT DOWN
    This is the first E. Lynn Harris book I've read - I TOTALLY ENJOYED IT!! I am always looking for a GOOD book that I just can't put down and this was it. It gave me more of an understanding about the "Gay" life. It also MAKES ME WONDER -ARE THE MEN I SEE EVERDAY THE MEN I THINK THEY ARE?:-) BUY IT!

    5-0 out of 5 stars ALL THAT AND A BOWL OF GRITS & BACON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    20. An Underground Life: Memoirs of a Gay Jew in Nazi Berlin (Living Out)
    by Gad Beck, Frank Heibert, Allison Brown
    list price: $24.95
    our price: $24.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0299165000
    Catlog: Book (1999-10-01)
    Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press
    Sales Rank: 638867
    Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    "This book makes it possible to gain a genuine look at the daily task of survival and at Jewish life in the just about hopeless situation at the edge of the Holocaust."-Der Tagesspiegel

    "Vividly written. . . . An excellent antidote to the stereotyping of Germans under these conditions."-George Mosse

    That Gad Beck, a Jew in the Berlin of Nazi Germany, lived through the Holocaust at all is surprising. The fact that he lived through it as a homosexual Jew who spent the entire war funneling food, money, and clothing to hidden Jews and helping smuggle others out of the country is amazing.

    It was love that gave him both the impetus and the strength to fight. The rise of National Socialism was tearing his family apart, destroying his school, thwarting his dream of emigration to Israel. Then the Nazis came for Manfred Lewin, Beck's first love, and for his family. Gad's love for Manfred gave him the courage to don a three-sizes-too-large Hitler Youth uniform, march into the transit camp where the Lewins were being held, and demand-and obtain, to his astonishment-the release of his lover. But Manfred would not leave without his family, and so went back into the camp. The Lewins did not survive.

    Coming of age as a gay man during the war and maintaining a series of romantic relationships while carrying on his resistance work, Beck reveals a tenacity and irrepressible spirit that is his real legacy. His determination to keep loving, living, and believing in every human possibility without compromise-even in the face of the unthinkably monstrous-makes this quite a different story of the Holocaust.

    Publishing history: First published in German in 1995 by Edition Dia as Und Gad Ging Zu David.More than 14,000 sold. ... Read more

    Reviews (3)

    5-0 out of 5 stars It captured me the first few pages
    Gad Beck brought to life not only the cruelty to the jews but also the cruelty of the gay and lesbian people of the Nazi Era. I had to do a research paper for a Holocaust in Literature class I took my junior year in high school...and I was entralled the whole time I read this book. It shocked me, it horrified me...and I loved it.

    4-0 out of 5 stars A Triumph of the Gay Spirit
    Beck gives us a glimpse of a gay man's coming of age in Nazi Berlin. It is not only erotic but holds up a light by which all aspects of love should be measured. Once again, the Gay Spirit has triumphed over bigotry, intolerance, and in this case even the holocaust.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Unparalleled love of life and indomitable spirit!
    That any Jews survived Hitler's holocaust in Germany is remarkable; that they did it in the capital of the Third Reich is astonishing and that some of them were gay is almost unbelievable. Gad Beck's book starts out a bit slow, not quite dull but you hope it picks up its pace. Indeed, it does. Living in the underground, sought by the Gestapo (just being a Jew became illegal and transport to death remained a priority with the Nazis even as their regime was invaded and bombed) helping one another and living and loving as they best could is a gripping story. Told with humor and frankness, it's an excellent story. I can't wait for the next set of memoirs from Beck to be published. ... Read more

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