In our monthly book club, we discuss whatever we happen to be reading and ask everyone in the comments to do the same. What Are You Reading This Month?
I’ll be honest, these days, you won’t find me desperately clinging to RuPaul’s Drag Race or any of its offshoots like I have in the past. However, I remain hungry for the various fruits that have dropped from that profoundly fertile tree, like the abiding friendship between alumnx Trixie Mattel and Katya, which has spawned multiple webseries and an upcoming book, Trixie And Katya’s Guide To Modern Womanhood. The Drag Race superstars have managed to boil down their collective, unmatched charisma to a series of essays—a working mix of satire and earnestness—that offer up advice on beauty, relationships, self-love, and friendship. A somewhat tongue-in-cheek play on the etiquette books of yore, there is no part of this breezy read that isn’t thoroughly engaging, from the color-popped fashion magazine aesthetic (complete with an appropriately fun, mildly intrusive photo spread) to the conversational banter that has always been key to the pair’s shared success. It arrives on bookshelves on July 14—a fitting premiere for an ideal summertime read. [Shannon Miller]
For reasons that perhaps need no explaining, I’ve found it difficult to read literature lately. My attention glances off anything that isn’t news or commentary, what I feel like I need to know right now. That can make it challenging to latch onto more ruminative works like Harry Dodge’s peripatetic My Meteorite: Or, Without The Random There Can Be No New Thing (March 17, Penguin). In his first book, the interdisciplinary artist—and co-founder of San Francisco’s one-time queer coffeehouse and performance space The Bearded Lady—roams from subject to subject, and back and forth in time: his father dying; his mother dying; meeting his birth mother; his partner, Maggie Nelson, publishing The Argonauts. As Dodge considers the idea that “reality multiplies… when an event takes place… that it peels off into infinite other universes, splits, decorticates, in order to accommodate both (or many) versions of the present,” his language also expands. The prose takes on an ecstatic, shouting-from-the-rooftops energy reminiscent of the Beats (e.g., “I had grown tendrils to every cosmic iota and was not at all certain that I wanted a name, beyond EVERY”). Reading My Meteorite is to bear witness to an individual whose heart is at once so hungry and so full that it seems constantly on the edge of bursting. It can make for an overwhelming experience, but Dodge argues for keeping oneself so open, for all the possibilities it creates. “Proliferation is the hammer,” he writes, “the force that makes the bulges we were unable to imagine ourselves.” [Laura Adamczyk]