To read the full list, visit OUT
In Felice Picano’s delightful new memoir, Nights at Rizzoli (now available), he conjures a New York that was fabulous, bohemian, and gay. We asked the man of letters to share his 10 favorite titles from 2014, and it's as eclectic as Picano himself. Here they are, in random order.
To read the rest of the article, visit The Daily Beast
Bianca Jagger was a regular. Often Mick would perch on those back stairs, perusing art books as he waited for her. Elton John needed to furnish a chateau in the south of France, and the Dubuffet upholstered living room set and the many Dalís in the art gallery proved to be the right decor.
In one corner of the shop, regulars like Israel’s ambassador to the U.N., Abba Eban, would discuss photography with Senator George McGovern, while Anthony Quinn and Gregory Peck looked over fiction.
Eventually, among my own private customers were author S.J. Perelman, Dalí, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and her mother-in-law, Rose Kennedy. Carolyn had her own customers, mostly art and craft mavens like Blanchette Rockefeller.
To read the rest of the article, visit Dazed
The Sochi Winter Olympics threw a glaring light on Russia this year – a good year, then, to publish a book of testimony from LGBT Russians living and loving, at home and in exile. Homophobia is state-endorsed in Russia, but individuals daily enact the extraordinary bravery of continuing to exist as their ordinary, authentic selves. A remarkable collection.
Another B-moviemaker has his own, incredibly unique book out this year: Ed Wood. The late cross-dressing director of "Plan 9 From Outer Space" published horror stories in the pulps, sometimes under a pseudonym. They've been collected in the anthology "Blood Splatters Quickly" (OR Books, $45), being issued for the holidays in a special angora edition. While the stories won't be the most literary fiction of the year, the book is certainly the only one adorned with a tiny fluffy faux-angora pink sweater.
Which is all the sweater Angelenos will need for our Southern California Christmas.To read the rest of the article, visit LA Times
Assange "showed us the breadth and reach of the secret state. In When Google Met Wikileaks (OR Books, £10) Assange comments on what he thinks of Google but also provides a transcript of a conversation between himself and its CEO, Eric Schmidt, when they met up in England during Assange’s house arrest. He comments that Eric’s team of people was 'one part Google, three parts US foreign-policy establishment'. An intriguing and pithy analysis of Google’s relationship with the US government."To read the rest of the list, visit The Independent
Regardless of what one thinks of Finkelstein’s stance on a solution to the conflict, or his view on BDS, he remains one of the most perceptive critics of Israel’s increasingly barbarous occupation of Gaza and the West Bank. It would be a minor tragedy if his latest book were to be ignored because his views on a solution to the conflict are out of fashion.To read the rest of the article, visit TeleSUR
There are a lot of recent attempts to cross section the vicissitudes of life in New York City in an essay collection. This is the best of them, and, perhaps, the only one that succeeds.— Jonathon SturgeonTo read the rest of the article, visit Flavorwire
Patrick Cockburn of The Independent won the foreign affairs prize for his coverage of the emergence of ISIS.
The judges said: “Patrick Cockburn spotted the emergence of Isis much earlier than anybody else and wrote about it with a depth of understanding that was just in a league of its own. Nobody else was writing that stuff at that time, and the judges wondered whether the Government should considering pensioning off the whole of MI6 and hiring Patrick Cockburn instead.
“The breadth of his knowledge and his ability make connections is phenomenal."To read the rest of the article, visit Press Gazette
To read the rest of the article, visit The New York Times
The very concept of the Internet — a single, global, homogenous network that enmeshes the world — is the essence of a surveillance state. The Internet was built in a surveillance-friendly way because governments and serious players in the commercial Internet wanted it that way. There were alternatives at every step of the way. They were ignored.
John Freeman in his introduction tells us that he set out to collect stories about life in New York that focus on the human consequences of inequality of wealth, which ‘is at its most acute in the ‘world cities’ where the rich choose to live (or invest their fortunes in real estate).’ What does it ‘feel like’ to live side by side with people who are vastly richer and/or vastly poorer than you are? Some of the thirty stories are true accounts of experiences in the authors’ own lives. Others are fictional, but these too are meant to be true to life. About half of the authors dwell on matters that have no direct bearing on the theme of economic inequality. This is not a complaint: their stories are also of interest.
To read the rest of the article, visit the Socialist Standard
"If anyone can tell us how it was once for gay writers, it is Felice Picano. [...] I am just amazed at the accuracy of his memory and in awe of his storytelling."
To read the rest of the article, visit Amos Lassen's website
"Why an Angora sweater? If the recipient of your gift is an Ed Wood fan, she’ll know."To read the rest of the gift guide, visit Flavorwire
Cockburn surveys the Middle East with a tried loupe, serving as a correspondent there for more than 30 years, first with The Financial Times and presently with The Independent. His slim and beautiful The Jihadis Return: ISIS and the New Sunni Uprising benefits immensely from that practiced eye. In a fleet retelling of the most tumultuous geopolitical theater this millennium, Cockburn vivisects Middle Eastern political, religious, and military movements—an incestuous relationship, in many cases—since 9/11 to arrive at the present tangled day.To read the rest of the article, visit Paste Magazine
Inferno—the second of the five books we judges are naming to the Slate/Whiting Second Novel List—is about a young woman, Eileen Myles. She’s plunged into the downtown scene of the ’70s, ferociously determined to write, desiring other women, stomping around town. The book feels like it was put down in gusts of inspiration, between drinking and sex and poetry readings. It can be read that way, too: between meals, on the toilet, or standing under an awning waiting for a break in the rain. Or you can sit with it for a while, in the wintry light of an apartment cased in steam heat, looking out the back window. But the streets are its true territory; its weather is the storm of language.
Read the full nomination on Slate
To read the rest of the interview, visit Windy City Times
"I've led an extremely adventurous life… as I only discovered a few years ago. I've met all kinds of extraordinary people and so essentially that's what I'm doing: writing about people, places, and things and less about myself," said Picano. "I'm like the character watching all this happen."
Carlos T. Mock, who was on the group book tour with Picano similarly expressed: "One of the nice things about the books—the reason I really like them—is they not only tell his story but he tells the story of gay culture during the 60s and 70s."
Nights and Rizzoli depicts a life through the lens of a gay man in New York who lucked into a job at the elegant Manhattan bookstore—Rizzoli—that captures Picano's life as well as the lives of many others.
"The object in a Creditocracy is to keep us on the hook as long as possible as debtors, till the day we die."