New Books, Book signings: Maddow, Cordova and Brown

From the LA Times:

Rachel Maddow is on the warpath about her book ‘Drift’

“By many measures, Maddow, the 39-year-old star of a popular self-titled MSNBC news show, who self-identifies as “not a TV anchor babe” but “a big lesbian who looks like a man,” is the most revered figure in progressive media today, especially now that Keith Olbermann, who first brought Maddow to MSNBC as a substitute host, has taken an involuntary hiatus from the airwaves.

Her national profile is likely to rise further this spring with the publication of her first book, “Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power.” The book, essentially a 261-page reported essay arguing that, over the last half-century, a feckless U.S. Congress has surrendered its constitutionally granted war-making powers to the president while the American public has been systematically blinded to combat’s gruesome realities, entered the New York Times bestsellers list this week at No. 1.”

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From the Dallas Voice:

Rita Mae Brown may be a queer literary lion, but she prefers a different cat

“Thirty years ago, Rubyfruit Jungleentered the ranks of the lesbian must-read curriculum, one of the most acclaimed gay books ever. That’s great for its author, Rita Mae Brown — but she’d rather talk about the secret lives of animals.

“I don’t feel any pressure by that sort of reputation,” she says. “If someone wants to read it, then that makes me happy. I think we can learn from every single thing out there even if our primary sense is sight. But animals can sense so much more and they get to really experience life. We don’t as much.”

Brown not only has a penchant for all animals, she’s even credited her cat Sneaky Pie as co-author on a popular series of cozy mysteries. They just released their 20th book, The Big Cat Nap.”

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From the Press-Telegram:

Outlaw’ Jeanne Cordova to speak at The Center Long Beach Friday

LONG BEACH – Jeanne Cordova calls herself an outlaw and wears it as a badge of honor.

Her crime was being a lesbian during the 1960s and 1970 s in Los Angeles.

“We were criminalized back then with sodomy laws,” said Cordova, 63, during a telephone interview from her Los Feliz home. “There were bar raids by the police. People were arrested for being gay or looking gay.”

Cordova also is considered an outlaw by some people because in the 1970s she helped start a battle to end discrimination against gay and lesbians in Los Angeles.

The activist will speak in Long Beach at 6:30 p.m. Friday at the local Gay and Lesbian Center.

Cordova wrote about her life as a “radical lesbian” during the early cultural struggle for gay rights and women’s liberation in her new memoir, “When We Were Outlaws.”

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Jeanette Winterson and Alison Bechdel’s Memoirs About Mothers

New York Magazine Book Review:

“Now, almost twenty years later, two of that generation’s leading lights have produced memoirs that trace their own early literary influences, their origins as writers, and—especially—their relationships to their mothers. The first of these, Winterson’s Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?, came out this month. The second, Alison Bechdel’s Are You My Mother?, will be published in May.

Until recently, Bechdel was best known as the author of Dykes to Watch Out For, a comic strip of uncommon political, interpersonal, and visual acuity. (Imagine a collaboration among Rachel Maddow, Charles Addams, and Charles Dickens, and you’ll get the gist.) Then, in 2006, she published Fun Home, a graphic memoir about her father—a distant, demanding, closeted gay man who pursued underage boys and died of an apparent suicide when Bechdel was in college. Fun Home became a national best seller and met with widespread acclaim; Time magazine, which does not anagram to “mainstream mag” but feels like it should, named it the best book of the year. Are You My Mother?, also a graphic memoir, is Bechdel’s maternal follow-up.

My initial reaction to Bechdel’s and Winterson’s new books was astonishment at their surface similarity: two mom- focused memoirs by literary lesbians who rose to prominence in the eighties, published almost simultaneously. In fact, though, what’s most remarkable is how different they are.”

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