Books Hub

Closeted College Lacrosse Player Publishes Book Of 420 Love Poems Written To His Boyfriend


College lacrosse player Christ Chrysler - a pseudonym as he's still in the closet - engaged in a private project with his long-distance boyfriend when the two went off to college in neighboring states: each day for 420 days in a row, Chrysler would write a poem for him.

As Chrysler writes over at OutSports, he confided his project in his faculty mentor Dr. Jason Paulien, who convinced Chrysler to take the finished product and publish it. Paulien felt that it "could serve as a fascinating object of study, not just for the many issues of sexuality, sex, gender roles, and romance that are raised, but also for people to see the evolution of his writing over a year and a half of practice every day."

Chrysler agreed, and after reading an online article by a gay college student bemoaning the impossibility of traditional romance and fidelity in gay romances he felt that he needed to provide a counterpoint. He was living the very thing the unnamed author said didn't exist.

As for the author's decision to remain anonymous and closeted, he says:

The reason I have used a pseudonym for this book is to keep from being a distraction on my team, again, not because I’m gay, but because of the relationship in general, and to protect the privacy of my relationship. Also, I don’t want a personal, private aspect of my relationship to impact my future writing career. This is a side-project that I am sharing for reasons other than literary career advancement. The goal is more about exploring issues of romance in a modern gay relationship.

So, for your reading enjoyment, you can pick up a copy of LOVE 420: High on Romance from your favorite online bookstore.

Kevin Sessums Reads from His New Memoir 'I Left It On The Mountain': LISTEN

Today we're thrilled to be launching a new TowleREAD author reading series on Towleroad, in which LGBT authors (and other authors, if they have relevant books) read excerpts from their works.

MountainToday's reading comes from Kevin Sessums, veteran celebrity interviewer, Towleroad's one-time theatre critic, and now editor of the SF-based national gay glossy FourTwoNine magazine.

I Left It On The Mountain, Sessums' follow-up to his memoir Mississippi Sissy, arrives on bookshelves this week. We asked him to introduce it to you.

Sessums tells Towleroad:

My memoir I Left It on the Mountain is being published today, February 24. It is about a lot of things – among them the depths of my meth addiction, my spiritual journey toward recovery, my Mississippi childhood, and my life in the fast lane as a name-dropping Vanity Fair writer. I was told by my publisher St. Martin’s Press not to read the advance reader reviews on Amazon, but I’m an addict and couldn’t resist the quick fix of a quick click to see what people were saying about the book in the weeks leading up to its publication date. Most of them were very kind. But one person had some problems with it. She wrote: “The graphic sex scenes were just too off-putting to me. He could have told about them without all the details. I didn’t like how he described a whore on the bed the exact same way he described himself as a boy getting spanked. It just felt too intentionally mind-messing. And once I’m picturing him having coke inserted up his bottom hole it’s kind of hard for me to go back to caring about his spiritual journey.” It was the first time I’d read anything that made me want to read my own book.

When Towleroad asked me to do a podcast reading from the book I thought perhaps I’d read a section about Madonna or Courtney Love or Hugh Jackman or Daniel Radcliffe. There’s a whole chapter devoted to my meeting Radcliffe for a lunch at the Algonquin Hotel after my being up all night on a sex and drugs binge. I thought about reading an excerpt that included some of that sex, some of that drug use, some of that debauchery.

K_sessumsBut then I thought better of it. I’ll let you read about that if you decide to read the book yourself. I decided to focus more on the heart of the book which is my relationship with my dogs Archie and Teddy, two terrier/Chihuahua mixes, for this book is finally a spiritual memoir not just one about carnality. One of the reasons I have such dogs in my life as an adult is that when I was a child my father decided to have as our family pets two Chihuahuas named Chico and Coco with whom I desperately bonded in my innate neediness. They, suddenly being the outsiders in my family, made me feel like less of an outsider myself.

This reading is from the chapter titled “The Dogged.”

Listen to the reading, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Kevin Sessums Reads from His New Memoir 'I Left It On The Mountain': LISTEN" »

Christian Publisher Cancels Book Deal After Evangelical Author Comes Out: VIDEO

Destiny Image, a book publishing company that claims its mission is to make "authors easily accessible to the Christian body around the world," has canceled a book deal with one of its writers after the young author's recent coming out. 22-year-old evangelical Christian Brandan Robertson had signed the book deal with Destiny Image last spring. Last month, he came out as a queer in a Time magazine article.

RobertsonIn a new Time piece published this week, he reveals that the publisher notified him on February 19 of their decision to terminate his forthcoming book about faithNomad: Not-So-Religious Thoughts On Faith, Doubt, and the Journey In Between.

According to the article, Robertson claims that Destiny Image had asked him if he would agree with the publisher's official statement on homosexuality, something he refused to do. That statement reads in part:

“Destiny Image accepts the Holy Scriptures as the infallible word of God and answers all questions concerning life and godliness. We do not condone, encourage, or accept the homosexual lifestyle. Destiny Image renounces this lifestyle as ungodly and completely contrary to the Kingdom of God.”

A rep for the company refused to address Robertson's sexuality and explained that their reason for canceling the book deal was a financial one: "There is much consideration for every book, every author, but the final determination is financial viability."

Since at least last year, Robertson has written about various gay issues, including marriage equality, on his evangelical blog Revangelical.

Watch an interview from 2014 where Robertson has a LGBT faith discussion with author and pastor Rob Bell (who was featured on Oprah's Soul Food Sunday last week talking about his support for gay marriageAFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Christian Publisher Cancels Book Deal After Evangelical Author Comes Out: VIDEO" »

Anti-Gay Former Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran Files Discrimination Lawsuit: VIDEO


Former Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran, who was fired last month by the city’s Mayor Kasim Reed for publishing a controversial book labeling homosexuality as a “sexual perversion,” has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit, reports

6a00d8341c730253ef01b7c70f613f970b-800wiCochran was initially suspended from his position last November after employees came forward to complain about the anti-gay opinions he had expressed in self-published book Who Told You That You Are Naked?, which also compared homosexuality with bestiality and pederasty.

Cochran will be represented by Christian litigation group Alliance Defending Freedom, an organization known for actively spreading anti-gay hate around the world.

Late last month, Cochran filed a federal discrimination complaint contending religious discrimination. City spokeswoman Anne Torres said at the time that it intends to fully defend Reed's decision.

Reed has said that the firing was not a direct result of homophobic comments in the book, but because of Cochran's ability to manage the department and his failure to get clearance to write the book.

Watch a report on the case, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Anti-Gay Former Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran Files Discrimination Lawsuit: VIDEO" »

Helen Humphreys’ ‘The Evening Chorus’: Book Review


In the Lambda Award-winning Humphreys’ luminous new book, the Second World War serves as a grand backdrop for the intimate dramas of three interconnected lives. But the war has surprising effects in this lyrical and deeply compassionate novel: for all its tragedy, it also offers unimagined opportunity, even freedom, which Humphreys’ characters will later remember with longing.

EveningchorusIn the book’s first pages, James Hunter, a young pilot shot down on his first mission, parachutes into the English Channel, where he’s quickly found by a German boat and taken prisoner. As in Tatamkhulu Afrika’s powerful Bitter Eden, the indignities and deprivations of the prison camp—cold, hunger, boredom—are rendered with sometimes startling vividness.

The men are afflicted with lice, and one day James finds a man naked in their freezing bunkhouse, weeping and unable to bear putting his infested clothes back on. “With the same precision that would have been used to sew that jacket, [James] holds each seam over the flame, moving along the stitch just before the fabric catches fire. The swollen bodies of the lice make a small pop as they burst their cargo of blood above the candle.”

More difficult to defend against is the unpredictable, brutal violence the men suffer at the hands of the guards—violence that’s all the more harrowing for being leavened by equally unpredictable gestures of humanity. One of the moving aspects of these scenes is that Humphreys forces us to see all of the men in this world—most of them boys, really—as imprisoned, thrust from lives as bakers or teachers into their roles as prisoners or guards, in neither case by their own will.

While many of his fellow prisoners attempt hopeless escapes, James takes refuge from the boredom and misery of the camp by keeping meticulous notes on the behavior of a family of birds nesting just outside the camp’s perimeter. (In a note, Humphreys says that this detail is based on the real-life John Buxton, who published a book of his prison-camp observations after the war.)

James finds in this pursuit both solace from the camp and a passion that will continue after the war—a passion he was only able to discover through captivity. “Back in that other life,” Humphreys writes, "which seemed to fade more with each passing day, he didn’t have much time to watch the world. He was too busy moving through it.”

James has left behind a young wife in England, and she too finds a kind of paradoxical happiness among the misery of the war. Rose works as a bomb warden, making nightly rounds to ensure that her neighbors have fully drawn their blackout curtains. Her days are aimless and solitary, a dog her only company. “The abandonment of routine is a response to loneliness, she thinks. But it is also far less unpleasant than one would think to live in this new unstructured way.”

This idyll is interrupted when James’s sister, Enid, joins Rose in her country cottage after Enid’s London apartment is bombed. At first, Enid is distressed to find herself in the country, where “there is nothing but vegetation and few brainless hens.”

Helen-HumphreysBut then she starts to explore, beginning a kind of survey of the countryside she at first dismissed. Like her brother, Enid finds in the beauties of nature something more than solace, a value that goes beyond her own suffering:

“Each little flower has a history and cultural references, is a superstition or cure for something. Everything is its own world, and if Enid stays there, in these worlds, she won’t have to break the surface of the large, terrifying world she actually lives in.”

Humphreys’ novel follows these characters over a decade, and we see how the tensions and revelations of the weeks Enid and Rose spend together will affect the large patterns of their lives. “It’s so hard to get life right,” Enid thinks years later. “All the small balances are impossible to strike most of the time. And then there are the larger choices. It’s hopeless.”

And yet this is finally a very hopeful book, as full of joy and small redemptions as it is of grief. This is the first of Humphreys’ novels I’ve read, and I feel at once baffled to have taken so long to discover her work and grateful to have all of her previous novels ahead of me. Quietly profound and gorgeously written, The Evening Chorus is among the most moving new novels I’ve read in years.

Previous reviews...
Kim Fu’s ‘For Today I Am A Boy’
Joyce Brabner’s ‘Second Avenue Caper
Shelly Oria’s ‘New York 1, Tel Aviv 0’
Colm Tóibín’s ‘Nora Webster’

Garth Greenwell is the author of Mitko, which won the 2010 Miami University Press Novella Prize and was a finalist for both the Edmund White Debut Fiction Award and a Lambda Award. His new novel, What Belongs to You, is forthcoming from Farrar, Straus and Giroux in early 2016. He lives in Iowa City, where he is an Arts Fellow at the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Connect with him on Facebook and Twitter.

Latina Supermodel Patricia Velasquez Comes Out in New Memoir: 'I Want to At Least Start a Dialogue' - VIDEO

Velazquez bernhard

VelaThe world’s first Latina supermodel Patricia Velasquez has come out as a lesbian in her new memoir Straight Walk, reports the New York Post.

In the book, Velasquez says she felt compelled to come out because of anti-gay prejudice in the Latin community.

She describes her time in the South American beauty pageant system, her rise to fame - and how her life changed when she met Sandra Bernhard backstage at a fashion show.

The supermodel explains that she felt an instant connection with Bernhard, with whom she was “was deeply in a way I’d never experienced before.”

Velasquez doesn’t go into details about the relationship but writes that the “cried for two years over Sandra” when the relationship came to an end.

Watch backstage interviews with Velasquez and Bernhard from 1994, with Bernhard waxing lyrical about the model, AFTER THE JUMP...


Continue reading "Latina Supermodel Patricia Velasquez Comes Out in New Memoir: 'I Want to At Least Start a Dialogue' - VIDEO" »


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