Best Gay Books of 2002

From gluttony in America to young Irish boys

The good news is that the number and quality of queer books published each year by increasingly mainstream publishers seems to continue to grow. The bad news is that independent gay bookstores continue to struggle. All won’t be lost if the community’s historic bookstores close down, but a large piece of the queer social fabric will be forever irreplaceable. So while picking up some of the year’s best books, why not buy them at Creative Visions or Oscar Wilde instead of at a chain store. The following favorites didn’t necessarily garner the most press this year, but they are quite wonderful nonetheless.

Fiction

My Loose Thread

by Dennis Cooper (Canongate) The story of Larry, his incestuous affair with his younger brother, murder for hire of one of his high school classmates, and a school-shooting rampage. Told in Cooper’s trademark banal yet multi-layered teen speak. You Are Not a Stranger Here

by Adam Haslett (Doubleday) A dazzling debut collection of short stories with tender and perplexing gay characters and themes like the damaged high school boy who aches for the brutal attentions of the class bully or the gay son who fears he may have inherited his father’s bi-polar disorder. Fingersmith

by Sarah Waters (Riverhead)

Water’s third novel of gripping, Victorian lesbiana is a melodramatic wonder of underworld characters. Its also a stinging indictment of turn of the century sexual values.

Non-Fiction

Normal by Amy Bloom (Random House)

Critically acclaimed writer Bloom’s first non-fiction book discovers her exploring transgendered individuals, communities and events across America.

Sex Crime Panic by Neil Miller (Alyson)

A fascinating true story of anti-gay hysteria in 1955 Iowa that results in the arrests and incarceration of several innocent men who were perceived as sexual threats. Miller spins his fine research into a most readable story. Skipping Towards Gomorrah: The Seven Deadly Sins and the Pursuit of Happiness in America

by Dan Savage (Dutton)

Irreverent sex columnist Dan Savage takes on our great country’s sexual hang-ups in a series of insightful and opinionated essays as he sets out across America to observe and commit each of the seven deadly sins.

Biography

Ridiculous! The Theatrical Life and Times of Charles Ludlam

by David Kaufman (Applause)

The backstage story of a theatrical genius who plied his queer aesthetic straight into an unsuspecting mainstream audience. Being ridiculous has never been the same since Charles Ludlam and Kaufman’s biography brings him back to life. Ramon Novarro

by Andre Soares (St. Martins)

At last the truth about this legendary film star’s even more legendary death. No exotic dildos but male hustlers are involved.

Art/Coffee Table Books

A Hidden Love by Dominique Fernandez (Prestel)

A rich, big book tracing gay imagery in the arts from the ancient Greeks through the East and up to present day artists. Leigh Bowery Looks

by Fergus Greer (Violette Editions)

A large selection of quality studio photos of the late great club icon and truly outrageous creator Leigh Bowery in a dazzling array of his otherworldly creations.

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