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Martha Miller


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Martha's Book Reviews

Martha's book reviews published in the Illinois Times and by the Gay and Lesbian Review.
Also Books for Boomers.

>>Angel of Death Row

>>Breaking Out
>>The Man Who Emptied Death Row: Governor George Ryan and the Politics of Crime

>>Salt and Paper: 65 Candles

>>Map of Ireland
>>Rooms of Our Own


Titles for Boomers,I’m always happy to find books that appeal to my age group. I’ve listed a few below.


Any Nick Norwack Mystery. By Marshall Thornton. The Boystown Mysteries (Boystown is New Town in Chicago) feature a gay detective named Nick Nowak. I have just ordered the 4th in the series. I am hooked. The first book contains three novellas that are well written, noirish, and hot. Yes. Each novella contains some really hot sex--M on M but stimulating for this lesbian as well. They are not erotica or porn but gritty, hardboiled detective stories. If Raymond Chandler's character Phillip Marlow was gay, Nick Nowak would be the guy.  


Breaking Out of Bedlam.  Leslie Larson.  Crown/Shaye Areheart Books.  Hardcover: 320 pages. $24. ISBN-13: 978-0307460769. Aging is  not for the faint of hart, but interesting things can still happen. (see full review under Illinois Times Reviews.)

In One Person, John Irving, Simon and Schuster. It isn’t often a mainstream writer who has a successful career, goes off and writes a book about a lover of transgendered men. Billy grows up amid sexual confusion (he keeps the bra of his first girlfriend under his pillow and sometimes he puts it on. This book is funny, as you would expect from Irving and it’s risky in what it exposes. 

Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake, Anna Quindlen, 2012. Memoir of aging. Sharp and funny, Quinndleni looks back and ahead in this honest portrayal of the events of her life. Readers find the downsides as well as the satisfying wisdom and perspective of our age group.

 Michael Tolliver Lives (PS.). by Armistead Maupin. (2008). If you liked Tales from the City, you’ll enjoy catching up with these characters again as they mature. A great story about relationships with family of origin and of choice. What it’s like to be in your 60’s and take a new lover. And so on.

Mulligan, by K G MacGregor. Bella Books, 2005. A woman whose retirement dreams are shattered by the death of her partner.

Sara Paretsky’s V I Warshawski mysteries. Unlike her female-PI-writer counterpart, Sue Grafton, Paretsky is letting her character age. So she now lives in a world of cell phones and lost teens. Her latest books have been wonderful. Most recently Hard Time (2009) my personal faveroite, Hardball (2009), Body Work (2010), Breakdown (2012). 

 The Raid. By Lee Lynch. Bold Strokes Books. In 1961 the Old Town Tavern is more than just a gay par. It’s a home to strangers who have become family. They drink, they dance, they fall in lust and in love. This book will resonate with boomers who remember what went on when we made our way with the help of each other, because that was all we had.

Ravelstein, by Saul Bellow. Penguin, 2001. Dying of AIDS, internationally renowned professor, Abe Ravelstein commissions his friend, Chick, to write his biography in the form of a memoir. A bold and brash novel, Ravelstein is reminiscent of Humboldt's Gift; each contains an admiring narrator and each is based on actual persons in Bellow's life. 

May Sarton has several titles that boomers will find of interest. Always well written and introspective she’s published several memoirs on cancer and aging. In fiction, Mrs. Stephens Hears the Mermaids Singing (1965) involves a woman in her 60’s who learns a lot about herself, and The Education of Harriet Hatfield (1989) are a couple of my favorites.

Touchwood by Karin Kallmaker. Naiad Press, 1991. Kallmaker is one of the best writers of lesbian romance. Here she tells the story of a May/December romance.

High Desert: A Kate Delafield Mystery,  by Katherine V Forrest. Spinsters Ink, 2013. Kate Delafield is back and better than ever, that is if better is alone and retired and drinking too much. In this we see some old characters and some new. Kate is still the smart, aggressive girl we have known, but there's a slight slip in her halo that renders her endearing.  

An American Queer: The Amazon Trail   This collection of Lee Lynch's columns chronicles over a quarter century of queer life in the United States, from the last decades of the twentieth century into the twenty-first. 

Olive Oil & White Bread. Georgia Beers. Baywater Books. 2014. What happens to lovers after the happy-ever-after moment? What goes on behind the closed doors of a relationship once the commitment is made? What does romance turn into when the hands of time keep turning? Olive Oil and White Bread is a novel that dares to answer those questions.

Hold of the Bone. Baxter Clare Troutman. Baywater Books, 2015. Things are great for LAPD Lieutenant Franco; she's sober, loved, eligible for retirement—and bored absolutely out of her mind. On cold case, the evidence unexpectedly leads Frank into the untamed wilderness of the Santa Lucia Mountains where she confronts the victim's daughter,


Autumn Spring. Shelley Thrasher. Bold Strokes Books. Romance in a small town this book offers a new perspective on mature relationships.


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