I'm Looking Through You
Growing Up Haunted A Memoir
Jennifer Finney Boylan
From Jacket Description: From the bestselling author of She’s Not There comes another buoyant, unforgettable memoir -- I’m Looking Through You is about growing up in a haunted house...and making peace with the ghosts that dwell in our hearts. For Jennifer Boylan, creaking stairs, fleeting images in the mirror, and the remote whisper of human voices were everyday events in the Pennsylvania house in which she grew up in the 1970s. But these weren’t the only specters beneath the roof of the mansion known as the “Coffin House.” Jenny herself -- born James -- lived in a haunted body, and both her mysterious, diffident father and her wild, unpredictable sister would soon become ghosts to Jenny as well.
I've been on a memoir kick lately and this one by Jennifer Boylan is quite enjoyable. Boylan's irreverent wit knows no boundaries, and her candid descriptions of what it was like to grow up as a boy wishing to be a girl revealed to me a heretofore unimagined life. Boylan's plight struck me as heartbreaking - yet her courage and perseverance are ultimately inspiring. What is this life but our search to uncover who we really are and who we really want to be? At its core, Boylan's memoir is an unconventional coming-of-age tale you won't soon forget.
I did not know quite how to assimilate Boylan's numerous encounters with spirits, mists, and otherworldly bumps in the night. In hindsight, even Boylan questions if she really experienced something supernatural, or if it was herself she was haunting all along:
Was it possible, I thought, as I looked at the woman in the mirror, that it was some future version of myself I'd seen here when I was a child? From the very beginning, had I only been haunting myself? (249)
Whatever the case, whether you take the hauntings as literal or metaphorical, Boylan's honesty about her experiences gives the memoir a unique texture that left me questioning my own beliefs in the possibility of an afterlife.
About the Author:
Jennifer Finney Boylan is Professor of English at Colby College and the author of the bestseller She’s Not There, as well as the acclaimed novels The Planets and Getting In. A three-time guest of The Oprah Winfrey Show, she has also appeared on Larry King Live, Today, and 48 Hours. She lives in Belgrade Lakes, Maine.
The view from here: conversations with gay and lesbian filmmakers, by Matthew Hays, 2007
"A romp through sixty years of queer film history, respectfully situating trash, indie esoterica, Hollywood compromise, porn, documentary realism, and political activism all within the same rich mosaic. Hays’s interviews are unflinching and upfront but also generous and respectful, bringing out the best in all of his well-chosen subjects, from Almodovar to Waters. This fine book rescues the voice of the filmmaker from the banality of celebrity, rediscovering courage, inspiration, imagination, longing, solidarity¯and perversity¯as twenty-first-century queer virtues."
¯Thomas Waugh, author, Out/Lines, Lust Unearthed, and Hard to Imagine
Independent queer cinema: reviews and interviews, by Gary Kramer
"A celebration of gay and lesbian films and filmmakers Film critic Gary M. Kramer has always looked to films as a mirror to see how gay and lesbian life is represented. Independent Queer Cinema collects 100 of Kramer's reviews and interviews (from 1999 to 2004) that celebrate the latest queer wave of actors, writers, and directors. These are films and filmmakers to be discovered and discussed..." (Amazon.ca)
101 must-see movies for gay men, by Alonso Duralde, 2005
"In this comprehensive must-have guide to queer film, Advocate deputy arts and entertainment editor Alonso Duralde presents 101 films that will resonate soundly with gay audiences for reasons good, better, and outrageous! Whether it's Pee-wee's Big Adventure (for redefining the idea of a movie hero), Mommie Dearest (for making Joan Crawford campier than she already was), or Two for the Road (because some-times you have to glean insights about gay relationships from straight movies with great banter), Duralde brings a quick wit, a gift for analysis, and a lifelong love affair with the -movies to each film recommendation. Along the way, he even outs Casablanca as a gay love story!" (Amazon.ca)
Pride '09 - a week of events in which our GLBT (gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgendered) community celebrates diversity, equality and tolerance - kicks off on June 14th and runs for the whole week, culminating in a joyous and boisterous parade on June 20th.
The Regina Public Library supports the GLBT community by providing recreational and resource collections. Throughout the week we will highlight some books and DVD selections on our non-fiction that we hope will be of interest to the community.
Bulletproof faith: a spiritual survival guide for gay and lesbian Christians by Candace Chellew-Hodge, 2008.
Chellow-Hodge, a United Church of Christ minister, founder of the online magazine Whosoever by GLBT Christians, and former television and radio journalist, guides the reader through a process of becoming "bulletproof" - calm and assured when condemned and persecuted by "the other side", the voices of the religious right. She describes the bulletproof "vest" as a "shield of faith" that must be strong enough repel these vitriolic attacks.
Androphilia: a manifesto: rejecting the gay identity and reclaiming masculinity, by Fack Malebranche.
Malenbranche, who has been, by turns, an office manager, burger
flipper, go-go dancer and nightclub promoter (to name only a few), articulates a rejection of gay identity in favour of an “apolitical sexual desire and the sexualized appreciation for masculinity as experienced by men”. Believing that “gay” has never described homosexuality, but rather a “prepackaged, superficial persona”, his manifesto urges a greater appreciation of a more manly and self-reliant gay male image.
Intriguing and controversial…
Muscle boys: gay gym culture by Erick Alvarez.
This is an inside look at the world of
the most influential of gay male sub-cultures – the gym scene. The author examines the history and influence of bodybuilding, male body image and “beefcake media”, and it’s role in modern gay life.
Boyfriend 101: a gay guy’s guide to dating, romance, and finding true love,by Jim Sullivan.
In a humourous, chatty style, Sullivan leads the reader through the steps necessary to finding a man. There are practical tips, from icebreakers to first-date protocols to negotiating safe sex. The author is a dating and relationship coach with degrees in counseling and religions studies.
The future of marriage by David Blankenhorn.
Blankenhorn, founder and president of the Institute for American Values, argues that same-sex marriage will change parenthood for all families, weaken culture and eliminate the idea that children need a mother and a father. He asks the reader to decide, on the basis of his argument, if the social institution of marriage will become weaker or stronger, and if we as a society regard the preservation of traditional marriage as a “worthy and urgent goal”.
Gay marriage: why it is good for gays, good for straights, and good for America by Jonathan Rauch.
The argument here is that marriage between two people who love and care for each other strengthens community and the institution of marriage. He grounds this argument in mainstream values, articulating why the institution of marriage gains strength when it is available to all citizens. His position provides a contrast to that of conservatives, who while defending marriage, would make it available only to a specific segment of the population.
Commitment and healing: gay men and the need for romantic love by Richard A. Isay.
Psyciatrist Isay has worked for many years with gay patients, and has found that the issue of romantic love almost always arises. By relating case histories drawn from his experience, Isay examines the origin of the issues gay men may have with expressing a need for love. He writes of the long-term loving relationship as “the antidote for the loneliness and the rejection most gay men have experienced in their lives.”
First person queer: who we are (so far)
This title is a collection of wide-ranging essays in which
contributors write candidly, and from their own experience, about contemporary queer life. The essays represent the incredible diversity and complexity of GLBTQ lives. Among the more than 30 contributors are Kate Bornstein, Ivan E. Coyote, Sky Gilbert, Stan Persky, and Andy Quan.