9 Reasons

9 Reasons Why You SHOULD Attend the 6th Annual New York Rainbow Book Fair, Saturday, March 29, 2014 at the Holiday Inn Midtown, 440 W. 57th Street.

1. It is the largest LGBT book event in the US. Now that gay and lesbian, or LGBT, bookstores are close to extinct, the opportunities to see a huge selection of books published especially for this community are getting smaller . . . and smaller.

2. You can meet a lot of writers in one place. Lots of them, some of them your favorites. And others just waiting to be discovered by guess whom? You. The relationship between writers and readers is a magical one. Writers are the rabbit you pull out of the hat of your own imagination—they make you realize that your own imagination is working, something we need in these uptight hard-sell times. So let yourself relax and be seduced by the magic of words, writers, and the accidental meetings that a big book fair easily brings about.

3. Readers share things, too. Like their own hearts with each other. Reading is one of the most intimate of all human activities. In fact, all of our ideas about romance—every friggin’ one of them—come from reading. And books. Even if you’re not into queer romance books (and there will a couple of hundred of these titles at the RBF), we know you are into romance. So if you’ve been striking out in that department, start reading—fast—and meet other readers. As a group, few people are as adventurous, exciting, and interesting as readers.

4. New York is the cultural capital of America, so what better place to showcase our own queer culture than New York? But this does not mean that the New York Rainbow Book Fair is only about New York books. There will be writers, publishers, and readers from all over the US, Canada, and Europe. They will be coming in from Little Rock, Ark; from small towns in the South and Midwest, and big ones like Atlanta, from Chicago and California, from Florida and Toronto. The important thing is that our tired New York-centric view of life, like we’re the hot-crap Center of the Universe, gets infused by lots of fresh blood, fresh faces, and new ideas.

5. Oh yes, bargains books. Most presses want you to buy their books at the Rainbow Book Fair big time. So if you’ve been putting off buying books because you don’t want to part with the dough-re-mi, a little of it can go a long way here, and you’ll get to impress your friends with stuff they won’t find at K-Mart or even at Barnes & Noble sometimes.

6. If you only read books electronically, as in Kindle or Nook, a lot of presses will be giving out free coupons to get you discounts on these, too. But the important thing is that you will be discovering books—browsing like a starved antelope on fresh grass, bumping into people and asking, “What’s that you’re looking at?” and getting a buzz just from the sheer excitement of so many people discovering new wonders in books.

7. Holden Caulfield (of The Catcher in the Rye) said that when he read a book he liked, he wished he could just call up the author and talk to him. Well, you almost can at the RBF. At least you can hear him or her talk. There will be close to a hundred authors and poets reading from their work, and also appearing on panels about topics that range from “Sappho and Whitman’s Children”—about what makes a poem one of ours—to “Investigating Queer Boyhood.” That’s a lot of men and women talking to you, and wanting to hear what you have to say to them.

8. People have this cockamamie idea that queer books are only about sex—I know, even now. But they really are about everybody’s life, including us queers. So you’ll find art books, books written by all sorts of cultural minorities, from Southeast Asians to South Bronxians, from women and men who want to dig into your heart and not just your crotch—not that there’s anything wrong with that. A lot of people actually come out with books. They read before they ever venture into kind of gay relationship or venue. Some of them are still kids, or adolescents, and you will find books for them, or for you, if you’re one of them.

9. Where else can have such a great time for $3? And that’s just a door donation. No one will turned away from the New York Rainbow Book Fair for lack of three bucks. But we hope you’ll be generous, because it takes a lot of cash to keep something like this going in New York, even if it is the true Center of the Universe.


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