With the winter holidays upon us, it’s a good time to think about gift-giving ideas.
Now more than ever, with book bans being a constant threat, books make great gifts for readers of all ages.
For the younger readers
The hit animated series “Little Ellen” may be canceled, but the titular character, Gramsy, and her friends live on in the book “Little Ellen” (Random House, 2022) by Ellen DeGeneres with illustrations by Eleanor Michalka.
As part of the ongoing Lyricpop book series, “Shiny Happy People” (Akashic Books, 2022) with song lyrics by R.E.M. (featuring queer front-man Michael Stipe) and illustrations by Paul Hoppe with ShinYeon Moon, turns the irresistible tune into a story of love and acceptance in the face of adversity.
Queer playwright Winter Miller’s first children’s book “Not a Cat: A Memoir” (Tilbury House, 2022), illustrated by Danica Novgorodoff, introduces us to Gato, who is “many things and can never be confined to a narrow box,” as a means of highlighting “the power of being yourself.”
For the drag devotees
A long overdue tribute and celebration, “Legends of Drag: Queecans of a Certain Age” (Cernunnos/Abrams, 2022) by Harry James Hanson & Devin Antheus, is part coffee table book, part reference/history book, and all glamour. Including a prelude by Miss J Alexander and a foreword by Sasha Velour, the book features legendary queens from 11 states, providing a wondrous cross-section of talent and radiance.
Milwaukee, one of the cities incorporated in the book “Legends of Drag: Queens of a Certain Age,” takes center stage in “A History of Milwaukee Drag: Seven Generations of Glamour” (The History Press, 2022) by Michail Takach & B.J. Daniels, with both books spotlighting Daniels, Karen Valentine, and Shannon Dupree.
The cleverly titled “Caught in the Act” (Pantera Press, 2022) by Australian “RuPaul’s Drag Race” sensation Shane Jenek aka Courtney Act is a revealing and heartfelt memoir, following Shane/Courtney’s journey from Brisbane to Sydney to “global fame.”
For the musically inclined
Is there anything that queer icon Janelle Monáe can’t do? She sings, she writes her own songs, she dances, and she acts. With her book “The Memory Library and other stories of Dirty Computer” (Harper Voyager, 2022), she has entered the literary world with a story collection in which she collaborated with five writers.
Renowned lesbian musician, actress, and activist Adele Bertei has also turned her attention to writing. Her second book “Why Labelle Matters” (University of Texas Press, 2022), part of the Music Matters series, follows the legendary musical trio, featuring Patti LaBelle, out lesbian Nona Hendryx, and the late Sarah Dash, as they transformed themselves from the Bluebelles to Labelle, leaving an indelible imprint on music, as well as LGBT culture.
“Some New Kind of Kick: A Memoir” (Hachette, 2022) by musician Kid Congo Powers with Chris Campion follows the queer, Mexican-American musician’s journey as a member of the band Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, the Cramps, and The Gun Club, as well as his lengthy solo career, and features several timeless photos.
Released in time to coincide with the 20th anniversary of her passing, the “2022 edition” of “Miss Peggy Lee” (peggylee.com, 2022), edited by Iván Santiago, is a new edition featuring the “privately printed” 1953 poetry collection “Softly – With Feeling,” as well as a new cover, a thorough discography, an epilogue by Will Friedwald, and a foreword by Lee’s granddaughter Holly Foster Wells.
For the poetry patrons
In the author’s note for “Boomerang / Bumerán” (Beacon Press, 2022), Cuban-American lesbian writer Achy Obejas describes her bilingual poetry collection as “a mostly gender-free text,” featuring poems spanning a period of more than 25 years.
“Digging to Wonderland: Memory Pieces” (Turtle Point Press, 2022) by prolific gay poet and educator David Trinidad is a showcase for his prose poetry, as well as fashions, fads, films, and ephemera from the past that will surely inspire a sense of nostalgia in readers.
Said to be “inspired by French autofiction,” gay poet Richie Hofmann’s second poetry collection “A Hundred Lovers” (Knopf, 2022) has been praised by Eduardo Corral, Jericho Brown, and Garth Greenwell.
Productive gay poet, publisher, and editor Raymond Luczak blends Greek myth, biblical times, and nature, in “Lunafly” (Gnashing Teeth Publishing, 2022), in which he writes about Adam and Eve, David and Goliath, Zeus and Apollo, and others.
“So Tall it Ends in Heaven” (Tin House, 2022), the debut poetry collection by queer Southern writer Jayme Ringleb, “explores sexuality, estrangement, and the distances we travel for love,” over the course of 28 poems.
With publication credits including “Poetry Magazine” and “The Paris Review,” Omotara James makes her full-length poetry collection debut with “Song of My Softening” (Alice James Books, 2022), described as “a queer, fat, love song of the interior.”