“Dear Queer Self: An Experiment in Memoir” by Jonathan Alexander
Title Informatio
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Title: Stroke Book: Dear Queer Self: An Experiment in Memoir
Author: Jonathan Alexander
Genre: Nonfiction, Memoir
Publisher: Acre Books
Publication Date: March 15, 2022 
Price: $19.00
ISBN: 9781946724465
BISAC: SOCIAL SCIENCE /LGBT Studies / Gay Studies (SOC012000), BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY /Medical (incl. Patients), (BIO017000), HEALTH & FITNESS /Diseases / Nervous System (incl. Brain)(HEA039110)
Binding: Paperback
Format: 5 1/2 x 8 1/2
Extent: 188 pages
Illustrations: None
Territorial Rights: World
Sales/Orders: Nicola Mason, masonnf@ucmail.uc.edu

Links
Jonathan Alexander Popular Publicity Project Page
Events: NYC, LA, online book events for Jonathan Alexander
Press Release: DEAR QUEER SELF author: I wish I knew now what I knew then!
DOWNLOAD folder of high resolution cover art, author photos by Carla Wilson. (forthcoming)
LGBTQ media Inquiries: Andy Reynolds at Popular Publicity. andy@popularpublicity.com

Purchase Link
Acre Books

Events
06.17.22: Bureau of General Services–Queer Division, NYC with Jonathan Alexander and Edmund White. TBC.
06.07.22: Book Soup, Los Angeles. 7 p.m. with Jonathan Alexander
04.28.22: Page Against The Machine, Long Beach, CA. 7 p.m. Book event with Jonathan Alexander and writer and artist, Myriam Gurba. See Jonathan’s interview with Myriam for his “Writing Sex” series for the Los Angeles Review of Books here.
03.22.22: Mercantile Library, Cincinnati. 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. Free. Dear Queer Self Book Launch. with Jonathan Alexander and publisher Acre Books is based in Cincinnati.

While Jonathan Alexander’s books are available at the major online retailers, we strongly urge readers to support their favorite queer and independent bookstores, such as the Bureau of General Serviced–Queer Division in New York and Skylight Books in Los Angeles, both of which are supporting Jonathan with online events in November. Check “56 LGBTQ-Owned Bookstores You Can Be Proud to Support” (organized by state) from Oprah Daily to find a queer book shop near you.

Praise

“I can’t recall the last time I was so moved as I was while reading Dear Queer Self.  With unvarnished frankness, Jonathan Alexander pens these letters to his younger queer self about the messy borders that exist between love and obsession, loneliness and acceptance, during moments in history marked by uncertainty and upheaval. What emerges is a striking account of the ways we draw strength from tragedy and learn to face our past transgressions with equal parts humor and resilience.” — Alex Espinoza, author of “Still Water Saints,” “The Five Acts of Diego León,” and “Cruising: An Intimate History of a Radical Pastime.”

“Dear Queer Self is an intense, daring coming-of-age—and coming out—memoir.” — Foreword Reviews. Read the full review here.

Jonathan Alexander’s searing memoir, framed as an interrogation of his past self during crucial years of his life, offers a deeply honest portrait of life as a complicated young man in the eighties and nineties, and reaffirms the isolation queer people still feel in a world that gestures its acceptance while withholding its substance. The writing is deeply affecting, brutal in its self-evaluation, evocative in its mapping of Alexander’s search for self-acceptance. The book is most valuable for its refusal to adhere to simple categories; sexuality here is complicated, variable, quixotic, and tenacious. Much like the author’s vision. I am deeply grateful to have encountered this book.Jim Grimsley, author of, among others, “Dream Boy,” “Boulevard,” and the forthcoming “The Dove in the Belly” (May 3, 2022). 

Jonathan Alexander discusses “Dear Queer Self” on Matt Baume‘s brilliant “The Sewers of Paris” podcast. Listen to “Southern Decadence (Ep 372 – The Chronicles of Narnia/Jonathan Alexander)” here.

More:

4.07.33: Jonathan Alexander interview for <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="http://&lt;!– wp:paragraph –> <p>Jonathan Alexander Foreword Face-Off interview.</p> Foreword Face-Off
03.17.22: “Dear Queer Self” is Foreword Review’s Book of the Day

Synopsis

“Dear Queer Self” Synopsis (via Acre Books)
“Dear Queer Self” is an unvarnished accounting of one man’ struggle toward sexual and emotional maturity. In this unconventional memoir, Alexander, who grew up in the Deep South during the 1970s and ’80s, addresses wry and affecting missives to a conflicted younger self. Focusing on three years—1989, 1993, and 1996—the book follows the author through the homophobic heights of the AIDS epidemic, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the election of Bill Clinton and the steady advancements in gay rights that followed. With humor and wit afforded by hindsight, Alexander relives his closeted college years, his experiments with his sexuality in graduate school, his first marriage (to a woman), and his budding career as a college professor. 

As he moves from tortured self-denial to hard-won self-acceptance, the author confronts the deeply uncomfortable ways he’s implicated in his own story, grappling with the fact that he not only rejected his erotic interests but convinced himself (and others) that his uncle had sexually abused him, a lie that explained his attraction to men. More than a coming-out story, Dear Queer Self is both an intimate psychological exploration and a cultural examination, a meshing of inner and outer realities—and a personal reckoning of how we sometimes torture the truth to make a life. It’s also a love letter, an homage to a decade of rapid change, and a playlist of the sounds, sights, and feelings of a difficult—but ultimately transformative—time.  

“Dear Queer Self” Comparisons

“A Boy’s Own Story” and “The Beautiful Room Is Empty” by Edmund White
“How We Fight For Our Lives” by Saeed Jones
“In The Dream House” by Carmen Maria Machado

About the Author

Jonathan Alexander is a writer living in Southern California where he is Chancellor’s Professor of English at the University of California, Irvine. He is the author, co-author, or editor of twenty-one books. His cultural journalism has been widely published, especially in the Los Angeles Review of Books (LARB) for which he is the Special Projects Editor. He is also the host of LARB’s “Writing Sex,” a YouTube series of short interviews with contemporary writers on sex and sexuality. (Previous guests include Garth Greenwell, Andre Aciman, and Dennis Cooper.) LARB founding editor Tom Lutz has called Alexander one of “our finest essayists.” He lives with his husband and cat, and when not writing, dabbles in watercolors and plays piano in a music ensemble with friends. For more about Jonathan Alexander and his books please visit www.thecreeptrilogy.com and www.the-blank-page.com.

Excerpt (forthcoming)



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