Rainbow Reads

Rainbow Communities Tasmania is in partnership with the State Cinema Bookshop to bring you blurbs on good Rainbow Reads. These are available for purchase from their shop adjoining the State Cinema in Elizabeth Street, North Hobart.

This page will be updated on a regular basis, so please keep return to it periodically to read the latest blurbs.


State Cinema Bookshop

373 Elizabeth Street, North Hobart
03 6234 6318
Open 10:30am until late 7 days including public holidays

Book Blurbs

The Story of the Night

The Story of the Night by Colm Toibin

November 2013
A daring and deeply moving novel set in Argentina in the time of the Generals--a time when the streets are empty at night, and people have trained themselves not to see. Richard Garay lives with his mother, hiding his sexuality from her and from society. Stifled by his job, Richard is willing to take chances, both sexually and professionally. But Argentina is changing, and as his country edges toward peace, Richard tentatively begins a love affair. The result is a powerful, brave, and poignant novel of sex, death, and the difficulties of connecting one's inner life with the outside world.


The Animals: Love Letters Between Christopher Isherwood and Don Barchardy by Katherine Bucknell

November 2013
Christopher Isherwood was a celebrated English writer when he met the Californian teenager Don Bachardy on a Santa Monica beach in 1952. They spent their first night together on Valentine's Day 1953 and defying the conventions, the two men began living as an openly gay couple in an otherwise closeted Hollywood. The Animals provides a loving testimony, through the pair's letters to one another, of an extraordinary relationship that lasted until Chris' death in 1986, surviving affairs (on both sides) and a thirty-year-age-gap. Candid, gossipy, exceptionally affectionate, The Animals is a unique interplay between two creative spirits, confident in their mutual devotion.

Love Alters

Love Alters by Emma Donoghue

November 2013
In this anthology of lesbian short stories, Emma Donoghue assembles a broad array of twenty-nine writers, from South Africa to Trinidad, Australia to Ireland and Jamaica to New Zealand. The worldwide perspectives provided in Donoghue's collection reflect the variety of style and subject matter that is reflected in lesbian fiction, and with a clear focus upon new authors and new stories, Love Alters ensures that not only the household names are represented. Portraying themes such as adolescent sexuality, family life and cultural confidence in the GLBTI community, Love Alters is a wonderful anthology that celebrates the influential and expanding world of lesbian writers.

A Queer History of Fashion

A Queer History of Fashion: From the Closet to the Catwalk
by Valerie Steele

November 2013
From Christian Dior to Yves Saint Laurent and Alexander McQueen, many of the greatest fashion designers of the past century have been gay. Fashion and style have played an important role within the LGBTQ community, as well, even as early as the 18th century. This provocative book looks at the history of fashion through a queer lens, examining high fashion as a site of gay cultural production and exploring the aesthetic sensibilities and unconventional dress of LGBTQ people, especially since the 1950s, to demonstrate the centrality of gay culture to the creation of modern fashion.

Death in Venice

Death in Venice By Thomas Mann

May 2013
Thomas Mann was the Nobel Prize Laureate in 1929 and is best known for his epic novel 'The Magic Mountain.' 'Death In Venice' (1912) tells the story of an aged German professor, Von Aschenbach, who is on holiday during a miasmic summer in Venice. Von Aschenbach is desperately yearning and hopelessly in love with a fourteen year old Polish boy, Tadzio. The story develops in a poignant and intense manner. The illicit, not so-subtle and unrequited lusting of the Professor is told alongside the story of a torrid summer, in which Venice is consumed with a plague that sends many tourists home early, but not Von Aschenbach. This book is a major influence on Robert Dessaix's beautiful 'Night Letters,' which includes a character which strongly references Von Aschenbach. Best read in contemporary translation, this work is as fresh as it would have been 100 years ago.

Death in Venice (original Italian title: Morte a Venezia) is also a 1971 film directed by Luchino Visconti and starring Dirk Bogarde and Björn Andrésen. The film is based on the novella Death in Venice, first published in 1912 as Der Tod in Venedig by the German author Thomas Mann.

Lost Cat

Lost Cat - A True Story of Love, Desperation, and GPS Technology by Caroline Paul

May 2013

This is a gorgeous book and a true story of recovery and of cats. It takes place in San Francisco. Caroline Paul was recovering from a bad accident when her beloved cat, Tibia, disappeared. She and her partner, illustrator Wendy Macnaughton, mourned his loss but weeks later Tibby waltzed back into their lives. Caroline and Wendy asked themselves 'where did Tibby go?' – and decided to find out. The book, filled with paintings, drawings, annotated photos and fantastic maps that Tibby made with the help of a GPS that tracked her movements, tells the story of Caroline's recovery and of Tibby's fantastic journeys.

Tipping the Velvet

Tipping the Velvet by  Sarah Waters

May 2013
Nan falls in love with Kitty, a 'masher' or male impersonator in Victorian England and travels with her to London, eventually joining her on stage as part of the act. Nan decides to return to her country home but misses Kitty. She returns to London to find Kitty in bed with their former manager. Heartbroken, Nan is hired by a rich woman who keeps her as a plaything for her and her friends. Nan is dressed by the rich woman in the most exquisite men's wear and known as Neville, until the relationship deteriorates and Nan finds herself torn between Kitty and another woman. 'Tipping the Velvet,' which is obscure Victorian slang for cunnilingus, engages the senses and takes the reader on a well-researched exploration of late Victorian London.


Voss by Patrick White

May 2013
Patrick White is one of the best writers in the history of Australian literature and 'Voss' is a perfect example of his exceptional style and story-telling. Loosely based on the story of the explorer Ludwig Leichhardt, the strange and eponymous Voss leaves the strictures of late 1800s Sydney to cross the country in an exploratory capacity. Though not overt, he maintains a subliminal contact with Laura Trevallyn, a young woman who herself does not 'fit' into the society of picnics, dresses and prospective marriages that Voss has left behind. The beauty of White's prose and his ability to turn a phrase that make the story really sing, combined with a rich narrative, remind the reader why it is that White won a Nobel prize for literature. White, despite all the references to his 'literary qualities', makes for an eminently enjoyable and accessible read.

The Fry Chronicles

The Fry Chronicles by Stephen Fry

March 2013
Stephen Fry's second autobiography embodies the humour of his stage presence, and as he discusses his screen relationships with figures such as Emma Thompson and Hugh Laurie. The audience is given an even greater insight than in the discussion of his early teenage years in Moab is my Washpot. The Fry Chronicles details one of the more tumultuous periods in Fry's life and, arguably, the least well known. Fry is as clever a writer as he is comedian, actor and director and, if The Fry Chronicles delights, have a peek at his fictional novels, such as The Liar and The Star's Tennis Balls.


Arabesques by Robert Dessaix

March 2013
Following on from his first autobiographical novel, A Mother's Disgrace, Arabesques combines a travel memoir with his personal exploration of love, marriage, sexuality and religion. His journey begins with discovery of 20th Century French writer Andre Gide's childhood home and, as a result, sparks Dessaix's desire to recapture that which was so entrancing about Gide to both his teenage and adult self. Along the way, Dessaix converses with fellow travellers, creating an informative and probing examination of travel and its relationship to self.

When You;re Engulfed In Flames

When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris

March 2013
David Sedaris is known for his collections of personal essays, and gained his rightful place in the autobiographical community with Me Talk Pretty One Day and Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim. The dry, sarcastic humour that embodies his collections is replicated in When You Are Engulfed in Flames, as the audience is shown the pleasures and downfalls of working and living in France with his boyfriend, Hugh. Awkwardly hilarious, yet simultaneously thought-provoking, David Sedaris is an incredible writer and story-teller.

By Nightfall

By Nightfall by Michael Cunningham

March 2013
From the author of The Hours, By Nightfall tells the story of Peter and Rebecca Harris, happily married, and the envy of others for their seemingly perfect life. Rebecca's much younger look-alike brother Ethan (known in the family as Mizzy, "the mistake") shows up for a visit. Mizzy is a beautiful, beguiling twenty-three-year-old with a history of drug problems; wayward, at loose ends, looking for direction. And in his presence, Peter finds himself questioning his artists, their work, his career - the entire world he has so carefully constructed.

The Line of Beauty

The Line Of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst

January 2013
A huge critical success on first publication in 2004, the novel went on to win that year's Man Booker Prize. It was adapted for television and broadcast on BBC2 in 2006. It is the summer of 1983, and young Nick Guest, an innocent in the matters of politics and money, has moved into an attic room in the Notting Hill home of the Feddens: Gerald, an ambitious new Tory MP, his wealthy wife Rachel, and their children Toby and Catherine. As the boom years of the mid-80s unfold, Nick becomes caught up in the Feddens' world, while pursuing his own private obsession, with beauty -- a prize as compelling to him as power and riches are to his friends. An early affair with a young black council worker gives him his first experience of romance; but it is a later affair, with a beautiful millionaire, that brings into question the larger fantasies of a ruthless decade.

Victory: the triumphant gay revolution

Victory: The Triumphant Gay Revolution
by Linda Hirshman

January 2013
"Victory" is the story of how a band of extraordinary individuals brought on a revolution that, in forty years, has transformed American life and our notions of human identity: how we find love and reproduce. When the modern struggle for gay rights erupted most notably at a bar called Stonewall in New York City's Greenwich Village, in the summer of 1969, most religious traditions condemned homosexuality; psychiatric experts called people attracted to others of the same sex crazy, and forty-nine states outlawed sex between people of the same gender. Drawing on rich archival material and in-depth interviews, political columnist Linda Hirshman chronicles the Gay Rights movement, viewing it within the tradition of American justice and freedom. Hirshman shows how the fight for gay rights has changed the American landscape for all citizens - blurring rigid gender lines, altering the shared culture, and broadening our definitions of family. Moving from the streets of New York to the disease-ridden jungles of Zaire to the Supreme Court of Massachusetts, covering issues from the Stonewall Uprising to the AIDS crisis to the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. This is how a despised minority pushed back, beat death, found love and changed the world.

Christipher and his kind

Christopher And His Kind
by Christopher Isherwood

January 2013
In November 1929, Christopher Isherwood - determined to become a 'permanent foreigner' - packed a rucksack and two suitcases and left England on a one-way ticket for Berlin. With incredible candour and wit, Isherwood recalls the decadence of Berlin's night scene and his route to sexual liberation. As the Nazis rise to power, Isherwood describes his dramatic struggle to save his partner Heinz from the persecution the Third Reich.

Oranges are not the only fruit

Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit
by Jeanette Winterson

January 2013
This is the story of Jeanette, adopted and brought up by her mother as one of God's elect. Zealous and passionate, she seems destined for life as a missionary, but then she falls for one of her converts. At sixteen, Jeanette decides to leave the church, her home and her family, for the young woman she loves. Innovative, punchy and tender, "Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit" is a few days ride into the bizarre outposts of religious excess and human obsession. Also available by Jeanette Winterson is Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?

How to be Gay

How to Be Gay by David Halperin

October 2012
No one raises an eyebrow if you suggest that a guy who arranges his furniture just so, rolls his eyes in exaggerated disbelief, likes techno music or show tunes, and knows all of Bette Davis's best lines by heart might, just possibly, be gay. But if you assert that male homosexuality is a cultural practice, expressive of a unique subjectivity and a distinctive relation to mainstream society, people will immediately protest. Such an idea, they will say, is just a stereotype - ridiculously simplistic, politically irresponsible, and morally suspect. The world acknowledges gay male culture as a fact but denies it as a truth.

David Halperin, a pioneer of LGBTQ studies, dares to suggest that gayness is a specific way of being that gay men must learn from one another in order to become who they are. Inspired by the notorious undergraduate course of the same title that Halperin taught at the University of Michigan, provoking cries of outrage from both the right-wing media and the gay press, How To Be Gay traces gay men's cultural difference to the social meaning of style. Far from being deterred by stereotypes, Halperin concludes that the genius of gay culture resides in some of its most despised features: its aestheticism, snobbery, melodrama, adoration of glamour, caricatures of women, and obsession with mothers. The insights, impertinence, and unfazed critical intelligence displayed by gay culture, Halperin argues, have much to offer the heterosexual mainstream.


Liberate by Marcus Mok

October 2012
Renowned Singapore photographer Marcus Mok, whose works have been collected by the Singapore Art Museum and The Kinsey Institute in USA, celebrates a decade of work in this rich volume of images of sensuously and suggestively photographed male nudes, interspersed with thought-provoking quotations on the quest for personal liberty. Marcus Mok will be auctioning off prints from this book at the Rainbow Dinner on the 1st of December.


Transition by Chaz Bono

October 2012
The world first met Chaz Bono as Sonny and Cher's cherubic blonde daughter. But Chaz feels no connection with that little girl. Instead, he remembers growing up in the public eye feeling that his whole existence was a lie. Even after coming out as a lesbian, Chaz still felt unfulfilled. Finally, after struggling with gender confusion, failed relationships, the loss of a parent, drug addiction and a slow journey towards sobriety, Chaz began taking hormones to begin his transition from female to male. An inspirational and riveting tale.


Dorian Gray

The Uncensored Picture of Dorian Gray
by Oscar Wilde

October 2012
More than 120 years after Wilde submitted The Picture Of Dorian Gray for publication, the uncensored version of the novel appears here for the first time in a paperback edition. This new volume restores the original material, including graphic homosexual content, removed by the novel’s first editior who feared it would prove to be to ‘offensive’ to readers of the time.


The Essential Guide To Gay & Lesbian Weddings by Tess Ayers and Paul Brown

October 2012
It leads couples through topics from the philosophical to the practical, and answers the tough questions such as: Now that you can get legally married, should you? And why bother having a wedding, especially where it's not yet legal to do so? It also includes: sharing the news with your family; the latest trends in gay engagement rings; how to place same-sex wedding announcements in newspapers; tips on cutting down that enormous guest list; how to navigate tradition and still make your celebration your own; what to carry down the aisle if you don't feel comfortable carrying a bouquet; and making the Internet your wedding resource.


Gaysia by Benjamin Law

September 2012
Benjamin Law considers himself pretty lucky to live in Australia: he can hold his boyfriend’s hand in public and lobby his politicians to recognise same-sex marriage. But as the child of migrants, he’s also curious about how different life might have been had he grown up in Asia. So he sets off to meet his fellow Gaysians.

Law takes his investigative duties seriously, going nude where required in Balinese sex resorts, sitting backstage for hours with Thai ladyboy beauty contestants and trying Indian yoga classes designed to cure his homosexuality. The characters he meets – from Tokyo’s celebrity drag queens to HIV-positive Burmese sex workers, from Malaysian ex-gay Christian fundamentalists to Chinese gays and lesbians who marry each other to please their parents – all teach him something new about being queer in Asia.

Law, Love & Life

Michael Kirby Law, Love & Life
by Daryl Dellora

September 2012
For most of his life, Michael Kirby has been a man on a tightrope. A person of strong views working in a world governed by objectivity, he has had to balance the potent, sometimes contradictory impulses of passion and duty, honesty and discretion, advocacy and neutrality.

He had to hide his real self from the world for decades, while being the public voice of countless human-rights and legal issues. And his thirty-five years as a federal judge afforded him tremendous authority and power, but often demanded silence and impartiality on matters closest to his heart.

This intimate biography takes us behind the bench to explore the personal, moral and spiritual convictions of one of our most beloved and brilliant citizens, a man who made the law accessible, humane and interesting, a man who was never blown along by the prevailing political winds. It draws on a wealth of previously unavailable letters and papers, as well as interviews with Kirby, his family, friends and – for the first time – Johan van Vloten, his partner of more than forty years.

Michael Kirby: Law, Love & Life looks back on a controversial career of dedication and success, and a private life of great love, secrecy and, finally, openness.

Labels are Gay

Labels are Gay by Alice Hansen

September 2012
Labels are gay - love is for all is a book with a simple message. Love is love - no matter who it is between. It does not matter if it is between two men, two women or a man and woman. What is most important is the bond that two people share and the happiness this brings. Each page celebrates this love; some pages with a sprinkle of humour, other pages with a bundle of serious love. Put it on your coffee table or share the book with a loved one ... that's what labels are gay is all about!

The Trapeze Artist

The Trapeze Artist by Will Davis

September 2012
A man will endlessly torture his muscles until they shriek and complain. But he will not give in. He will take a hammer to his ceiling until neighbours begin to watch from the window and journalists knock at the door. He will continue to train and hack away at the house until it is finished and the trapeze is in place.

Although his parents thought he was nice and kind-hearted and teachers saw him as a good boy, secretly he hated his drab, ordered world and longed for more. Then, when he was fourteen, a new boy arrived at his school. Edward exuded the coolness of a latter-day Oscar Wilde. Edward listened to Patti Smith, watched Fassbinder films and knew the writings of Gore Vidal, and one evening, would kiss him in the moonlight.

Forty years old and fleeing from a life he can no longer handle, he stumbles upon the circus. Not knowing why, only that he must, he gets in his car and follows after it, refusing to listen to the doubts that plague him, determined to build a new home and family.

The Trapeze Artist draws together the past, present and future of one life to create a work of startling dexterity and vision - a haunting and heartbreaking account of a child, a boy, a man, desperate to free himself from the suffocating weight of his desires, his family and his grief. It speaks of what it is to grow up gay in a straight world, to be unable to communicate with those you love, of the sweat, passions and tempers of circus life, and above all, the longing to break free, and to swing higher and higher.