Throughout the year, we’ve been featuring new memoirs from LGBT authors as part of our TowleREAD series. We were thrilled to have so many authors reads excerpts from their book and talk to Towleroad about what inspired their stories.
Wrapping up our look at some of the best classic and LGBT books on Audible.com, we decided to provide a round-up of some of the LGBT memoirs we’ve profiled over the past year. Which were your favorites? Take a look below and share your thoughts in the comments.
Shawn Binder’s book Everything is Embarrassing: A Memoir About the Times I Outed Myself, and Other Cringeworthy Moments is all about the pain and the power of embarrassment. In this series of essays, Binder recounts his own awkward life’s history in what he calls a “love letter written for all the people who have ever farted in front of their crush, or tripped in front of a crowd of bullies.” Binder told Towleroad,
“When I first set out writing Everything is Embarrassing, I was 19 and had just signed my book deal. I was living in Chicago at the time being paid very little as an intern for a start-up and was really finding my own or whatever they call the first time you’re away from your family. The collection of essays started off being a project about all the times I had humiliated myself. I think I figured if I could make people laugh with me maybe I could learn to laugh at myself a little more.”
Listen to Binder read his essay “Bad at Being Gay” about his experience trying to figure out where he fits within the gay community, below.
In Bobby Wonderful, author Bob Morris comes to terms with the death of his parents and comes to see his relationship to them in a whole new light. Bob struggles to find a way to handle his parents’ death while living his own life. Speaking with Towleroad, Morris said of his memoir,
“As a gay man who doesn’t have children, my relationship to my parents always felt especially primary and profound…I couldn’t shake the scenes in my head around the last months of their lives. That’s why I wrote this memoir about the end of the people who gave me my beginning. Well over 75 million baby boomers are facing the deaths of parents right now and my hope is that this little book about a big thing that happens to all of us will provide some laughs, perspective and inspiration. We struggle to give our parents the best deaths possible, even when we have no idea what that means.”
Listen to Morris read from his memoir, below:
Body Counts: A Memoir of Activism, Sex, and Survival by POZ Magazine founder Sean Strub gives an eyewitness account of what it was like to live in New York when the AIDS epidemic struck in the 1980s. Strub recounts the harrowing times and recalls how he found himself attending “more funerals than birthday parties.” From the publisher:
“Scared and angry, he turned to radical activism to combat discrimination and demand research. Strub takes you through his own diagnosis and inside ACT UP, the organization that transformed a stigmatized cause into one of the defining political movements of our time. From the New York of Studio 54 and Andy Warhol’s Factory to the intersection of politics and burgeoning LGBT and AIDS movements, Strub’s story crackles with history.”
Listen to actor/playwright/director David Drake read an account of ACT UP’s demonstration disrupting mass in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, below.
David Crabb’s Bad Kid: A Memoir teems with teen angst and tells of Crabb’s experience growing up gay in the 90s. He shares his experiences coming out to his family, making his first gay friend, bonding with his first “fag hag” and his plunge into the world of drugs.
Speaking of the portion of his memoir he read for Towleroad, Crabb says,
“In the early portion of the book I’ve been struggling with fitting in, which for me meant disappearing. I would don my usual middle school costume: white sneakers, khaki pants, and a pressed button-down shirt. My hair was always perfectly gelled and parted. I looked less like a fun-loving, 13-year-old boy and more like someone who would knock on your door with a handful of Watch Tower magazines. But during my Freshman year I met Greg in gym class. He was the first boy who I felt a connection to and affinity for that didn’t threaten me. For months I kept my true self a secret from Greg. Then one night over a Ouija board, while listening to Depeche Mode and casting vampire spells, I decided to take a chance.”
Listen to an excerpt from Bad Kid, below.
Kenny Porpora’s memoir The Autumn Balloon chronicles Porpora’s coming-of-age in a family struggling with addiction issues. While living with a heroin-addicted uncle and an alcoholic mother, Kenny turns to writing to save himself. Of the at-times dark content of his narrative, Porpora told Towleroad,
“Some readers and reviewers have found the book’s details of addiction and poverty to be harrowing, and I can understand that, but I prefer to focus on the story’s funnier side — the outrageous and often absurdist and (hopefully) funny characters that populate this story. I can’t deny the book has darkness and sadness and loss; it does. But that’s what my family was — they were sad and funny, messy and ridiculous, they were fuck ups and addicts, but they were also hopeful in the face of bleak madness, they were mothers and brothers, fathers and uncles, and ultimately, they were too broken to survive the many addictions that plagued them.”
Listen to Porpora read from Autumn Balloon, below.
Click below for Audible links related to the memoirs profiled above.
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