CHRISTOPHER ISHERWOOD- Library Committee Featured Author
His keen eye for detail made Christopher Isherwood one of the most influential observers of gay life and culture in the Twentieth Century. “I Am a Camera” is even the title of one of his best stories. His books are compelling reads in every genre. Isherwood was born in England in 1904. The compelling memoir of his early life in Europe, Christopher and His Kind, frankly recounts the sexual openness of pre-Nazi Germany, his male lovers, and the rise of the Third Reich. Isherwood was associated with many influential people, including sexologist Magnus Hirschfeld, poets W.H. Auden and Stephen Spender, and novelist E.M. Forster.
Isherwood turned his life into compelling fiction. Clashes with his mother inspired The Memorial. His stays in European boardinghouses were immortalized in The Berlin Stories. These stories were first adapted for stage and cinema as I Am a Camera and eventually became the hit musical Cabaret. Prater Violet was written from his work in the film industry. More recently, Tom Ford directed a dazzling film adaptation of the 1962 novel A Single Man, the powerful story of a man whose lover has passed away.
RITA MAE BROWN - Library Committee Featured Author
Rita Mae Brown does not compromise. She does things her way, and for more than 40 years she has succeeded on her own terms in a male-dominated industry. She writes in every genre imaginable and has published countless novels, essays, screenplays, volumes of poetry, cookbooks, a memoir, and most famously, mysteries.
Brown was born in Hanover, Pennsylvania, and grew up in Florida. In the 1960s, Brown attended Broward Community College and the University of Florida but transferred. In New York, earned degrees in classics and English and cinematography. Brown also holds doctorate degrees in literature and political science.
James Baldwin Biography
James Baldwin wrote fiction and essays in the mid-Twentieth century, on racial and sexual issues, as well as family dynamics. He was a fierce advocate of equality before there was any mainstream societal acceptance. Baldwin wrote specifically of the nascent civil rights movement and of the deep and sick prejudices against minorities that prevailed in white America.
Just About My Head Review:
James Baldwin’s last published novel takes us full-circle through his trademark themes of racial, sexual and family dynamics. This exquisitely written tale of a gay man’s life is told through the eyes of his older brother, who shows us how standing by one’s beliefs no matter what, makes you a hero. It’s also the heartbreaking story of an enduring romance between two black men in a time before Civil Rights. Epic and powerful, Just Above My Head will make you laugh and cry and applaud the bravery of its characters.
The Center library currently has several works by Baldwin for you to check out:
If Beale Street Could Talk
The Price of the Ticket
Just Above My Head
He is also has an essay in Growing Up Gay and is featured in Like a brother, Like a Lover: Male Homosexuality in the American Novel and Theater from Herman Melville to James Baldwin
Amazon Wish List:
Did you know that the library has an Amazon.com wish list? There are several important works by Baldwin that we don't have in our collection. Great titles by James Baldwin are currently at the top of our list. http://amzn.com/w/3VL425110EMN2
One of the great things about being on the Library Committee is the exposure to the intelligent, well-read, highly-opinionated people who make up this committee. It makes picking out the next book to read so very easy. For example. a couple of weeks ago Daniel Severin reached into the shelves, pulled out a copy of An Arrow's Flight by Mark Merlis. He handed it to me, saying "You'll like this, it has a hustler in it." Now, what made him think that? He was right . It does, I did. SPOILER ALERT: The hustler is the off-spring of a Greek god, but, really, aren't they all? If you like a lusty account of the happenings during the Trojan War, this is a fun read. It definitely kept my spirits high during the holidays. Thanks for the recommendation, Daniel.
On a side note, Daniel is volunteer of the month this January.
My Top 10 Favorite Illustrated Children’s Books
by Luis Martinez-Iller
1 - And Tango Makes Three - Written by Justin Peterson and Peter Parnell, Illustrated by Henry Cole
The amazingly true story of two male penguins who fall in love and build a nest together. Even more amazing is the fact that they successfully hatch an egg and raise a chick together. Sadly “And Tango Makes Three” was one of the most banned books in America from 2006 to 2010.
2 - Father and Son: A Nativity Story - Written by Geraldine McCaughrean, Illustrated by Fabian Negrin
The story of the birth of Jesus is retold from the point of view of his earthly father Joseph. This lovely interpretation is thought provoking in a way that leaves me in awe of God’s miracles. Although this story is not specifically LGBT friendly it does remind us that even Jesus had 2 daddies.
3 - Where the Wild Things Are - By Maurice Sendak
A young boy’s imagination takes him to places far beyond his own room.
4 - The Giving Tree - By Shel Silverstein
The touching story of the relationship between a boy and a tree. A classic!
5 - Corduroy – By Don Freeman
A teddy bear in a department store longs for a home and a family.
6 - The Paper Bag Princess –Written by Robert N. Munsch, and Illustrated by Michael Martchenko
The most resourceful, assertive story book princess you’ll ever meet sets out to find her prince.
7 - How the Grinch Stole Christmas - By Dr. Seuss
A Christmas classic!
8 - Go the FUCK to Sleep - Written by Adam Mansback, Illustrated by Ricardo Cortés
This story is not for little ears!
9 - The Sissy Duckling – Written by Harvey Fierstein, Illustrated by Henry Cole
This duckling is a sissy and proud of it!
10 - Miss Nelson is Missing - By James Marshall and Harry Allard
You don’t know what you have until it’s gone.