Out in Print’s Favorite Books of 2022

Every year brings new reading adventures, and even after thirteen years of reading and writing for this blog–with the help of my current crop of guest reviewers: Andrew J. Peters, Keith John Glaeske, and Tom Cardamone–I’m always discovering new authors, new books, and new imaginations to marvel at. And 2022 was no different. So, without any more boring introduction from me, here are my favorite books of 2022 (in chronological order):

The Rebellious Tide – Eddy Boudel Tan (Dundurn Press)

This story of Sebastian Goh’s search for his father is interesting on a variety of levels: family history, Goh’s progression from stalker to sympathizer, and his politicization in the face of authoritarian rule among the crew of a cruise ship–where he finds his father. Like Tan’s first novel, After Elias, this has masterful plotting that defies expectations. You never know where it’s going, and that’s a wonderful gift.

Ghost Light Burn – Stephen Graham King (Renaissance Press)

The fourth book of the Maverick Heart Cycle is just as thrilling a ride as the other three. King’s sentient spaceship, the Maverick Heart, takes his all-too-human crew on yet another adventure, investigating grift and corruption on a mining planet. Great characters, exciting action scenes, and clever banter should put this at the top of your spec-fic want list. I hope the series never ends.

That Boy Of Yours Wants Looking At – Simon Smalley (Butterworth Books)

Although Simon Smalley’s childhood and adolescence are far more positive than those of many gay men, his memoir is a fascinating look at being gay in a rough part of Nottingham at a time when gender-bending wasn’t nearly as common as today. Tightly constructed and well-written, Smalley’s story is both engaging and inspirational.

Dear Miss Cushman – Paula Martinac (Bywater Books)

Seemingly effortless historical fiction from one of our finest writers puts us in 1850s Manhattan as we follow Georgiana Cartwright, an aspiring actress who wants to play men’s roles (“breeches parts”) like her heroine Charlotte Cushman. Totally immersive and wickedly funny in spots, this mid-nineteenth century love letter to actors and the art of the stage is sure to keep you turning pages.

The Grand Sex Tour Murders – Daniel M. Jaffe (Rattling Good Yarns Press)

Daniel M. Jaffe has written extensively about the Jewish diaspora, but here he changes tacks to bring us an erotic thriller about a serial killer following a bunch of hot studs on a bathhouse tour of Europe as they compete to win a reality show for horny gamblers. Funny, insightful, and totally outrageous, this is (yet another) tour de force from Jaffe.

Dead Letters from Paradise – Ann McMan (Bywater Books)

Books about old discarded letters have always intrigued me, and leave it to the author of Beowulf for Cretins to spin this involving yarn about mysterious missives, an herb garden, racial bigotry, and coming out. McMan drives her vibrant characters through a plot that runs as smooth as well-oiled clockwork.

I Wouldn’t Normally Do This Kind of Thing – Marshall Moore (Rebel Satori Press)

Basically the polar opposite of the aforementioned Simon Smalley memoir, Marshall Moore takes a tortured childhood and displays all of its anger, futility, horror, and despair, but he does so with enough aplomb and detachment to bring out the universal aspects to which so many gay men can relate. Harrowing at times, but brilliant.

The Feast of Panthers – Sean Eads (Queer Space/Rebel Satori Press)

Who else but Sean Eads could recast Oscar Wilde and his wife, Constance, as well as his beloved Bosie (and Bosie’s father, the Marquis of Queensberry) from historical figures to time and dream travelers charged with defeating the Egyptian queen Bast from taking over London? Inventive and twisted, this historically inaccurate but deliciously wicked book will leave you salivating for more.

Desire Lines – Cary Alan Johnson (Querelle Press)

Cary Alan Johnson’s debut novel is an interesting, gritty look at New York City in the 80s as seen through the eyes of a young Black man. As the epidemic seizes the city and the nation, the narrator escapes to Africa, but one of his biggest lessons is that you can’t outrun yourself.

Invisible History – Philip Clark & Michael Bronski, eds. (The Library of Homosexual Congress/Rebel Satori Press)

This wonderful collection (whose title I had to shorten to fit) is the inaugural release by a terrific new imprint dedicated to resurrecting classic gay literature. And what a way to start! Borawski’s work is seminal, influencing many of today’s gay poets, so having it in one volume is a feast indeed.

And there we have it – the best of 2022 (as seen by me, anyway). Any or all of them would make great stocking stuffers, so click on the links provided and shop to your seasonal heart’s content. Out in Print will be going on hiatus for the rest of the year–I’m reading for the Ferro Grumley Award as well as doing a revamp of my personal website, so I won’t be far. Wishing you a wonderful holiday season, I’ll see you in 2023.

JW

© 2022 Jerry L. Wheeler

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