“Just Kids” by Patti Smith

I'd only heard a few Patti Smith songs before reading this book (after it was endlessly recommended to me). Covering her friendship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe in boho 60's and 70's New York, it's a story of dependence and the inevitable forks in the road laid by success. Smith has such an exquisite, knowledgeable mind …

“Was” by Geoff Ryman

As devout a Judy Garland fan as I am, I've never been much of an admirer of "The Wizard of Oz." I always found it to be a wash of superficial bubbliness. I think that's why I adore Was. Jumping from the "real" Dorothy in 1890's Kansas to a dying gay actor in the 1980's (with a …

“All About ‘All About Eve'” by Sam Staggs

This is a rigorous look into the origins, development, and subsequent influence of one of my favorite movies ever. Though it feels somewhat like a tabloid at moments and Staggs occasionally grasps at straws to make connections that aren't there, it's exhaustively researched and I've never watched "All About Eve" the same since.

“Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay Male World 1890-1940” by George Chauncey

It's sometimes frustrating to me that gay history pre-Stonewall is routinely treated as less relevant than the decades after the riots set forth a nearly linear surge of progression. So reading George Chauncey's exhaustive documentation of how gay people forged a culture in New York before World War II was riveting. Chauncey details the secret …