There’s nothing we love more than curling up on a cool, crisp autumn afternoon with an apple cider in one hand and a good book in the other. And, lucky for everyone, there are lots of great books out this season. Whether you’re in the mood for a salacious biography about an expensive male prostitute, or an endearing travelogue featuring a man and his dog, serious literary fiction, or something more fluffy and fun, we’ve got all the bases covered.
Check out these eight great reading recommendations to scratch your literary itch this fall. Happy reading!
Damage Control: A Memoir of Outlandish Privilege, Loss, And Redemption by Sergei Boissier
Sergei Boissier’s new memoir Damage Control starts out seeming like just another gay man’s narcissistic ramblings about his many sexual conquests, his unending quest for love, and his emotionally unstable, borderline abusive mother. But it quickly unfolds into something much deeper, and much more poignant. It is a story of tremendous loss, a coming-of-age tale of outrageous excess, entitlement and grand delusion, and the story of a mother and son finding each other again after years of estrangement, all set against a backdrop that takes readers from pre-Castro Cuba to the lavish French countryside to the metropolitan streets of New York City. Ultimately, Damage Control offers a fascinating and disturbing portrayal of one man and his family that is compulsively readable, infuriating, laugh-out-loud funny, and deeply moving all at the same time.
Gathering Storm by James Currier
Inspired by true events, James Currier’s latest novel A Gathering Storm begins in a small university town in the South when a gay college student is brutally beaten. As the young man struggles to survive in a hospital, residents of the town and the university find themselves at the center of a growing media frenzy. Using details and elements from actual hate crimes committed against gay men, Currier weaves personal and spiritual layers into a timely and emotional story that will have you turning the pages right up until the dramatic conclusion.
Travels With Casey by Benoit Denizet-Lewis
A moody Labrador and his insecure gay human embark on a cross-country RV trip into the heart of America’s relationship with dogs. Travels With Casey is a delightful blend of memoir and travelogue coupled with a thoughtful exploration of a dog-loving America written by bestselling author Benoit Denizet-Lewis. It takes readers on an unforgettable trip from New York to California, with stops in Appalachia, Missouri, and more, and introduces them to a colorful cast of canine characters. Think Marley & Me but less cheesy and sad, and starring a gay man. Seriously, this is a fun one.
Rebel Souls: Walt Whitman and America’s First Bohemians by Justin Martin
In the shadow of the Civil War, a circle of creative radicals in a rowdy Manhattan saloon changed American society and helped set Walt Whitman on his path to poetic immortality. Justin Martin’s Rebel Souls is the first book ever written about the colorful group of artists — regulars at Pfaff’s Saloon in New York — rightly considered America’s original Bohemians. It is a vibrant and well-researched tale that shows how this first bohemian culture seeded and nurtured an American tradition of rebel art that continues to this day.
Butterflies in Heat by Darwin Porter
Originally published in 1976, Butterflies in Heat was Darwin Porter’s celebrated first attempt at a novel. A scorching cult classic of the bizarre, the flamboyant, and the corrupt, it chronicles the misadventures of a beautiful blond hustler named Numie Chase. Down on his luck, Chase travels to Tortuga, searing southernmost point in the Continental U.S, where he arouses passions in six decadent but vulnerable people, whose lives melt together under the scorching hot, blood-red sun. It remains one of the best-selling gay novels of all time and is a must-read for any fan of LGBT fiction.
The Best Kept Boy In The World by Arthur Vanderbilt
In the mood for a smart, gossipy literary biography? Check out Arthur Vanderbilt’s The Best Kept Boy In The World, the first ever biography of Denny Fouts, arguably the most famous male prostitute of the 20th century. Fouts slept his way through mid-century Europe, bedding princes, barons, lords, shipping tycoons, and countless others. More importantly he enchanted and served as a muse to gay literary giants Truman Capote, Gore Vidal, and Christopher Isherwood, all of whom used the young gigolo in their fiction. Here is the story of an American original, a story with an amazing cast of unforgettable characters and extraordinary settings.
Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh by John Lahr
If you’re looking for something slightly less salacious (note the emphasis on the word “slightly”), consider picking up Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh by celebrated New Yorker drama critic John Lahr. It’s been heralded as the “definitive biography of America’s greatest playwright.” The epic 800-pager leaves no stone unturned, detailing Williams’ unique upbringing — which, naturally, included a belittling father and puritanical mother, as well as a demented sister who was lobotomized at the age of 33 — as well as his successes (and failures) in his career, his many torrid gay love affairs, and his bruising relationships with Pancho Gonzalez and Frank Merlo. It is a biography of the highest order: a book about the major American playwright of his time written by the major American drama critic of his time.
My Story by Marilyn Monroe
What gay man doesn’t love and/or identify with Marilyn Monroe in some way or another? She was used, underappreciated, and misunderstood, yet she still managed to soldier on and defy all the odds. Whether or not the movie star penned this short memoir (we think she did) remains a mystery, but it nevertheless offers a fascinating and, at times, haunting portrait of a gifted actress who is more famous today than she ever was during her lifetime. My Story reads more like series of reflections or diary entries than a memoir, with readers being treated to Monroe’s musings on her childhood as an unwanted orphan, her early adolescence, her rapid rise in the film industry, and her marriage to Joe DiMaggio. The book was never actually completed and so, like her life, it suddenly ends without warning, leaving the reader to wonder what could have been had she had the opportunity to finish it.