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From Phyllida's Desk

Recommended Novel: Louisa Meets Bear

Louisa Meets Bear: Linked StoriesLouisa Meets Bear: Linked Stories by Lisa Gornick

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Generous, Compassionate, Beautifully-Written Novel of Linked Stories

Lisa Gornick's third published novel, Louisa Meets Bear, is that trickiest of formats: a collection of "short" stories (some novella-length) that are linked through connections between some of the characters.  Read More 
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In Praise of Boredom

A friend, one of those rare, almost mythical beings who reads fiction but has no desire to write it, once asked me if was true that a writer needs to have a boring life.

I said yes.

In the past couple of days there have been several articles in the NY Times that reminded  Read More 
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Original Romantic Adventure Story

The Girl With 2 HeartsThe Girl With 2 Hearts by T.T. Thomas

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Honestly, I didn't expect to love this novel, just to like it. But T. T. Thomas is that kind of versatile writer: capable of producing subtle New Yorker-worthy short stories as in her series Sex on a Regular Basis; sophisticated comedies like Two Weeks at Gay Banana Hot Springs; beautifully-written historical romances like her last novel, A Delicate Refusal--and now this, a jaunty Young Adult adventure.  Read More 
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Review of Nora Olsen's Maxine Wore Black

Maxine Wore BlackMaxine Wore Black by Nora Olsen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It takes a gifted writer like Nora Olsen to pull off a mash-up like this. From the reviews so far, it appears that Daphne du Maurier's timeless classic Rebecca (1938) has reached its sell-by date. Too bad, because if you haven't read it (or even heard of it) and are unfamiliar with its iconic gothic plot, you're not going to get Maxine.  Read More 
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An Earl Like I

(with apologies to Grace Burrowes and Anita Loos)

"Good morning, brother! ... Dare I hope that you, like I, are coming home from a night on the town?" (The Heir, by Grace Burrowes. Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks Casablanca, c2010, p. 85)

"Are you talking to me?" the earl of Westhaven said.

"I don't see anyone else in the road," said his brother, Valentine.  Read More 
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Reading and Performance, April 6, 2014

New York City offers amazing opportunities for writers and artists, even as prices are forcing many of us out and as bookstores are closing. A new queer bookstore opened earlier this year with the tongue-in-cheek name of Bureau of General Services--Queer Division. Located on the real Lower East Side of Manhattan, at 83A Hester St., BGSQD shares its space with a performance group called CAGE.  Read More 
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Best Bi Short Stories


Back in 2006, when the self-published Phyllida and the Brotherhood of Philander was a few months old and I was working on a new novel, bisexual activist Sheela Lambert had the idea for an anthology of bisexual-themed short stories.  Read More 
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Rears and Vices

In the last JASNA-NY (Jane Austen Society of North America, New York region) discussion group, the topic was deceptively simple: What character do you identify with? Only Elizabeth Bennet was off limits, considered too obvious a choice--unnecessarily as it turned out.

The runaway favorite was  Read More 
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Review of Bi: Notes for a Bisexual Revolution by Shiri Eisner

Bi: Notes for a Bisexual RevolutionBi: Notes for a Bisexual Revolution by Shiri Eisner

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a terrific book, one that goes far beyond most of what has been published on bisexuality and bisexual activism--which is not to belittle the great work that has preceded it. It's a book that could not have been written until now, when the definition of bisexual is expanding to be more inclusive, and when the concept of bisexuality is moving beyond the limited idea of attraction to "both" sexes. Because this is nonfiction, and political, I will not be discussing the writing style, except to say I think Eisner did an excellent job of writing clearly and avoiding jargon. I am giving the book four stars, not five, because I think there is one substantive flaw in Eisner's approach, which I'll discuss at the end of my review. Read More 
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Over to the Dark Side

That's where I've gone.

A week after my righteous denunciation of the siege-warfare scenarios in Angry Birds, I am knocking down ever more complex buildings and killing regiments of green disembodied pigs.

So what changed me from a sensitive recruit into a battle-hardened veteran? I guess the first thing was getting to the next  Read More 
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