Tag Archives: Nonfiction

4 stars for Out — A Courageous Woman’s Journey by Lou Anne Smoot #FF #NonFiction #Memoir

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Title: Out — A Courageous Woman’s Journey
Author Name & Publisher: Lou Anne Smoot (Sapphire Books)
Publication Date & Length: May 1, 2016 — 294 Pages

Synopsis

Lou Anne fell in love with Karen in 1956 when they were both 17 and freshmen at Baylor University. Her parents told her the relationship was sinful and unacceptable. Seeing no other option, she followed their direction, married, and remained faithful to her husband for 37 years.
At age 60, after an incident in her Baptist Sunday School class, Lou Anne could no longer pretend to be straight. Her struggles to reconcile her faith with being gay take her into the depths of depression. After divorcing and ?coming out,? Lou Anne remained in her Baptist church for an additional fifteen years both to be true to her faith tradition and as an example of a gay Christian. She emerges as an outspoken advocate for gay rights.

This story of a retired teacher, mother of four, grandmother of six is told in an unprecedented, brutally honest manner.

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Review

FourStars

A very honest account by an extremely brave lady. Written in such a forthright and genuine way it read almost as a conversation.
The letters between the author and her children brought tears of utter respect to my eyes. I feel this book will be appreciated and help all christian’s  who may be having personal difficulties in coming to terms with their own sexuality.
I found the letters sent to the author asking for her help at the end of the book particularly meaningful and poignant.
I can almost acknowledge how perplexing it must have felt for Ms Smoot to comprehend some section of the church and it’s complete ignorance regarding homosexuality. As a non practicing christian I can’t possibly understand how she was treated in such a way by supposed Christians.
There were some parts that I could not comprehend or grasp, like her fear of having a daughter and the length of time her acceptance of herself took. I appreciate this might be due to my lack of knowledge or awareness of such a religious fundamentalist community.
Certainly a thought provoking and sincere book well worth reading.
~Chris

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5 Stars for Bi Any Other Names: Bisexual People Speak Out by Lani Ka’ahumanu and Loraine Hutchins #Bisexual #NonFiction

1.5

Title: Bi Any Other Name: Bisexual People Speak Out
Author Name & Publisher: Lani Ka’ahumanu & Loraine Hutchins (Riverdale Avenue Books)
Publication Date & Length: September 23, 2015 – 436 pgs

Synopsis

“I am part of the generation that came of age when Bi Any Other Name was already in print. This groundbreaking anthology gave me the language, courage and sense of community I needed as a young queer woman.” —Daisy Hernández, A Cup of Water Under My Bed
The 25th Anniversary Edition
Bi Any Other Name: Bisexual People Speak Out first debuted in 1991. This groundbreaking book helped catalyze a national movement for bisexual identity, justice and equality. Often dubbed “the bisexual bible,” Bi Any Other Name was on Lambda Book Review’s Top 100 GLBT Books of the 20th century and became a beloved reference text in many classrooms, doctors’ offices, libraries, and pulpits. A 2007 Mandarin translation was published in Taiwan. The new 2015 introduction of this book updates readers to the enormous changes the past quarter century has brought – for bi people, the larger society and the sexual rights and liberation movement of which we are a part.
When did you know? How did you come out? What was your experience? The coming out stories in this book speak to the many ways bisexuals embrace realities outside rigid either/or categories throughout the passage of our lives. Everyday stories of women, men, transgender bisexuals, teenagers to octogenarians, from many different cultures and family arrangements. The fierce truth of these lives made visible puts a check on bisexual erasure, exposing the binary constructions of gay/straight and male/female as oversimplifications that reduce spectrums to mere opposites.
Caught between the mainstream culture’s persistent discounting of bisexuality, the sensationalizing characterizations presented in media, and the sexual liberation movement’s continual disregard of bisexuality as a serious identity, bisexual people are often not seen or heard when they speak out. There is a vital need for these earnest voices to be heard in the new century. Enormous cultural changes have occurred in the past 25 years, yes, but understanding bisexualities has just begun.

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Review

FiveStars

If you are a bisexual (or other multisexual) person or an ally to the bi community, or if you simply want to understand bisexuality better, this book is a necessity for your collection. It is its own self-contained library of information, resources, and personal stories by and about bisexual people.

One of the things that struck me is that as a person who has only recently connected with the community, I still found so many way in which the stories resonated. While the world has changed–and new ways of looking at sex and love have emerged–a lot of things have remained the same.

The book is divided into sections, each addressing a different aspect of bi life. These are deeply personal stories about relationships and love and navigating the world. Most people will be able to find something in here to relate to.

There is no possible way to rate each and every story. Some made me want to stand up and scream, “Yes! This exact thing!” Others didn’t resonate with me, and that’s all right–it’s not because they weren’t any good, and I know someone else would be able to relate. In any case, each story was a learning experience for me, being able to read about the lives of these wonderful people.

Some readers may be surprised both by places where gender-inclusive language is used to describe attractions and by places where it is not. Be aware going in that there is a wide range of perspectives represented, and no one experience should be used to measure an entire vast community of people. Nor should any one story be used as “proof” of what the bisexual community is or is not.

I am simply blown away by the time, effort, and care given to putting this collection together. What a fitting way to celebrate twenty years! Many thanks to all the people who devoted themselves to this project, particularly Lani and Loraine.

5 stars (and I fervent wish that I could give it more)

Amy M.

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4 Stars for Out & About Dad: My Journey as a Father with all its Twists, Turns, and a Few Twirls by Jim Joseph #NonFiction #MM @OutAndAboutDad

1.5

Title: Out & About Dad: My Journey as a Father with all its Twists, Turns, and a Few Twirls
Author Name & Publisher: Jim Joseph (Mascot Books)
Publication Date & Length: September 8, 2015 – 256 pgs

Synopsis

Out and About Dad chronicles my personal journey as a father, raising my children in what was at the time a very unconventional home. It’s a raw and honest portrayal of life as a gay father back in the day…the only sugar coating is on the gingerbread houses we made one year for Christmas.

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Review

FourStars

This is an excellent story about a man and the love he has for his children while also trying to achieve his own goals of career success (which I think he totally made happen). The amount of sacrifices he made to be there for his children was amazing. Having a parent that was single and had to work hard to provide for their children, I know what it’s like to be on the other end of that type relationship. However, I can’t say that my parent made the same type of sacrifices as this author did. It really astounded me what he was willing to do to be the best parent he could for his children while also trying to handle the new and unexpected situation he found himself in after discovering that he was gay.
There were many times early in the book that I felt so back for the author as he felt so alone as he tried to navigate his way through being not just a parent, but a single gay parent.
While the book was well written, I found that there was a lot of repetition that was unnecessary and had my mind starting to wander away from the topics. However, I think this is a great story for those struggling with how to balance everything in life.
Renee

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4 Stars for Finding Masculinity: Female to Male Transition in Adulthood by Alexander Walker and Emmett J. P. Lundberg #Trans #NonFiction

1.2

Title: Finding Masculinity: Female to Male Transition in Adulthood
Author Name: Alexander Walker and Emmett J.P. Lundberg
Publication Date & Length: May 12, 2015 – 358 pgs

Synopsis

“Living out something you’ve spent countless hours daydreaming about and wondering about is an experience that isn’t easily put into words.” – Will Krisanda

Finding Masculinity is a collection of stories from a small cross section of the transgender male community that shares insight into the diversity of life experiences of transgender men, beyond the traditional narrative.

This anthology examines the many facets of life that transition impacts; transitioning on the job, emotional and spiritual growth, family, navigating the medical community, as well as romantic relationships. The stories within come from scientists, teachers, fathers, veterans, and artists who share how being visible as the masculine humans they identify as has developed, changed, and evolved their sense of masculinity.

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Review

FourStars

This is a collection of essays by trans men on various elements of their coming out and becoming the men they were meant to be. It is a good and important read for anyone who wants to begin to understand what it’s like to have been designated female at birth and come to understand oneself as male.

As much as I enjoyed the anthology, and as much as I believe it should be read widely, I did have a few issues. The first was that the format did not work for me at all. It felt as though these men were sent a list of interview questions and instructed to answer it school-essay style. I felt that some of what appeared in the section introducing the contributors was restated in their later sections, and I found myself skimming at times. It would have worked far better for each person to simply have told his story in one complete chapter. They felt a bit too blog-post for my taste, and not all were particularly well-written (barring Mitch Kellaway, who was an absolute delight to read).

The second thing I noticed was that it was overwhelmingly representative of straight/opposite-sex-partnered, white, middle-class, exclusively male-identified people between mid-twenties and early forties. I found that (again, except for Mitch Kellaway–specifically his essay on fatherhood and transition) there was a focus on a particular type of masculinity rather than a broad range of what makes a man or how one develops manhood. There was a heavy emphasis on medical transition as well. Perhaps the experiences of the editors sculpted the book’s landscape, or perhaps they have in mind to continue their work. I would love to see follow-ups that focus on men of color, non-binary male-spectrum people, men who chose not to medically transition, youth, and men who came out/transitioned late in life. Hopefully, if this book gains traction, that can become a reality.

Despite those concerns, I still strongly recommend this as a first step book on the experiences of trans men. This is one of many necessary books on the subject of what it’s like to be trans in current western society.

Amy

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3.5 Stars for Denial, Deceit, Discovery by J. James (AUTHOR INTERVIEW) #MM #NonFiction @je1author

Book cover

Title: Denial, Deceit, Discovering
Author Name: J. James
Publication Date & Length: May 31, 2013 – 364 pgs

Synopsis

Denial, Deceit, Discovering is the heart-rending story based on true events in the life of Jack Ellis; a young Catholic man deep in denial of his own homosexuality. It tells the story of how his own denial and the denial of his loved ones forced him to conform to the straight world, resulting in his marriage to his high school sweetheart. After years of cruising gay porn sites, chatting online with endless guys and intimate encounters with close friends, Jack was pulled into a life of deceit with a string of sexual partners.

The story explains the pain and suffering of those around him as his secrets unfold and honesty rises up. The torture endured as Jack struggles to piece together the complex story of his own sexuality is truly moving. Escaping the shame, Jack flees to Bangkok with his gay lover where a much greater world of deceit and discovery awaits them both.

Denial, deceit, discovery will make you laugh, cry, cringe and blush as Jack’s story unfolds from a life of shame to one of hope and acceptance for homosexual men.

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ReviewThreeandHalfStars

First I have to say this is not erotica. Not at all. It might be a bit too vivid for some but as an avid erotica reader, I can tell you this isn’t it. However, that being said, It felt like real life for me. The times sexual situations are encountered, they are normally quite brief and simply describe what the character himself was going through and why he was in that particular situation.
I felt like at time the pacing was off as some parts I could read fast enough and other times I found myself wanting to skip ahead.
As important to him as his family’s approval (or disapproval) of his coming out, I also felt like the story could’ve been more focused between his wife and him (and the men in his life).Then again, I can absolutely say that I didn’t like his wife at all. I felt like she was incredibly selfish even before she found out he was gay. Their relationship really felt like both of them just settled because they’d been together for so long and it just was the next step to take. (Look at the wedding). Then again, I don’t think it was at all right for him to do as much for his wife as he did just because ‘it was all his fault’ because I feel like if she’d been a better wife or more attentive wife, she would’ve noticed something was going on with him long before she did.
I will say that for some gay men out there, they might find this resonates a lot more with them because of some of the trials he goes through. I felt sorry for him and his inability to see the people that would’ve supported him long before he finally found the courage to come out.Then again, the one friend (Nathan) that he thought he could count on being there for him wasn’t and the friend he worried most about (Michael) was most supportive.
This was a great book that needed a good dose of editing. The lack of capitalization bothered me immensely. As there seemed to be no rhyme or reason to it as it would be ‘Uncle sam’ and ‘aunt Jess’.. Ryan wasn’t capitalized but Maria was. There was also quite a few grammar errors and a few spelling mistakes as well. However, the story had a decent flow so I tried to see past that all.
Also, and maybe this is a personal thing so I didn’t deduct stars for this, but to say that there is no ‘real’ bisexuality bothered me. Along with stating that women should have babies because men can’t. There were a few other blanket statements like that that really bothered me and I don’t think I’d be the only one bothered by such things. However, since it is simply my opinion, I’ll leave it at that.
Renee

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Spotlight: Denial, Deceit, Discovery by J. James (AUTHOR INTERVIEW) #MM #NonFiction @je1author

Book cover

Title: Denial, Deceit, Discovering
Author Name: J. James
Publication Date & Length: May 31, 2013 – 364 pgs

Synopsis

Denial, Deceit, Discovering is the heart-rending story based on true events in the life of Jack Ellis; a young Catholic man deep in denial of his own homosexuality. It tells the story of how his own denial and the denial of his loved ones forced him to conform to the straight world, resulting in his marriage to his high school sweetheart. After years of cruising gay porn sites, chatting online with endless guys and intimate encounters with close friends, Jack was pulled into a life of deceit with a string of sexual partners.

The story explains the pain and suffering of those around him as his secrets unfold and honesty rises up. The torture endured as Jack struggles to piece together the complex story of his own sexuality is truly moving. Escaping the shame, Jack flees to Bangkok with his gay lover where a much greater world of deceit and discovery awaits them both.

Denial, deceit, discovery will make you laugh, cry, cringe and blush as Jack’s story unfolds from a life of shame to one of hope and acceptance for homosexual men.

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