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Photographer Richard Renaldi is out with his second book, a simple, bare-bones photo book that packs some emotional punch. Fall River Boys is part sociology study, part art class, but more than anything, compelling.—JK

INSTINCT: Why choose the boys of Fall River? RICHARD RENALDI: I vacation annually on Cape Cod. To get there by car from New York City, you must drive past Fall River. As I passed through Fall River year after year, I was so intrigued by it that one day I stopped on my way home from Provincetown to make some photographs. I was initially interested in the old brick factories from Fall River’s heyday as one of the largest cotton-milling towns in the United States, but I ended up shooting more kids that day than mills. The focus on young men came out of my desire to portray what it is like to be a young man coming of age in a fairly depressed New England town with limited opportunities. And to capture some of the machismo, bravado and awkwardness of life as a teenage boy. Was there a particular photo or subject that really struck you? The old mills are hauntingly beautiful, as well as the classic New England architecture, Victorian homes and water that surrounds the town. What do you hope people take away from the project? I hope people who know Fall River think that I have captured a sense of what it feels like to grow up there. As far as the book’s wider audience, my hope is that they connect to my photographic vision. But as for what they take away specifically, I would prefer to leave that up to the viewer.

text | BRIAN ANDERSEN, JOHN HOBBS, JEFF KATZ & SEAN MCGRATH

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WORD

mix

Behind the Lens

MY DIVA Edited by Michael Montlack University of Wisconsin Press

They say behind every man stands a great woman. My Diva proves it. The collection of 65 short stories includes odes written by gay men (from a variety of backgrounds and ages) to the women “who have shaped their lives, inspired them to come out, given them strength, acted as role models for them or just plain made them laugh.” In other words, these ladies are simply fierce! Don’t expect a bunch of sappy love letters to old standbys like Babs, Madonna or Judy Garland. The writers cover a whole lot of ground, from Sappho to Margaret Cho, Elizabeth Taylor to Taylor Dane, Queen Elizabeth to the queen of hip-hop soul, Ms. Mary J., and so on. Whether you find your diva in here or not—unfortunately no Amanda Woodward from Melrose Place—this book is sure to inspire. And who doesn’t need that from time to time? —JH

SKINNY BASTARD

I TOLD YOU SO

BLUE BOY

Rory Freedman & Kim Barnouin Kate Clinton

Rakesh Satyal

Running Press

Kensington Publishing

Beacon Press

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith Quirk Books

While flab-to-fit advice books are often a tad dry when it comes to content, Skinny Bastard is written to be easily understood, in a tell-it-tome-straight tone. “Straight” being an operative word here, as the writers often refer to tips as working to help attract women. Pronouns aside, their blunt delivery on “liquid Satan” and the myths about protein actually work. Now, being told how to get lean by two skinny bitches: not quite always as successful. —JK

Whether you hate or love politics, there’s plenty of wit and whimsy for everyone in this winning collection of essays. With equal parts political smarts and pop-culture fluff, Kate Clinton uses insightful, colorful humor to explore deep sociopolitical truths while never coming off highminded or boring. Any book that can capture the fancy of a Gossip Girl-loving, anti-news-watching, shallow queen (like us!) deserves an award—or at least a round of applause. —BA

Post Slumdog mania, this debut novel lets us peer at the world through the big, brown, fabulously mascaraed eyes of Kiran, a 12-yearold gay IndianAmerican boy whose love of makeup and ballet makes him an outsider. He rationalizes his “difference” by—what else?—imagining himself the reincarnation of a gender-bending, bluefaced Hindu god! Delusions of grandeur aside, Blue Boy is hilarious and offers insight into what it means to be gay in the still very conservative Indian culture. —JH

Ah, for the idyllic country life of the Bennet sisters! Dinners with the family. Playing the pianoforte well into the evening. Maintaining one’s Shaolin training and warrior honor by fighting the zombie plague that ravages all of England. You know: the simple pleasures. While a bit boggy in the middle, Pride And Prejudice And Zombies nevertheless scores high with both the inner horror geek and lit nerd. All the classics should be reimagined in the Zombie Apocalypse milieu. —SM MAY 09 INSTINCT

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Book Reviews: Blue Boy, My Diva  

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