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Queer Book Club: "Gay Bar: Why We Went Out" by Jeremy Atherton Lin

A reading group focusing on literature through a queer lens, hosted monthly at Chicago’s premier bookstore for the LGBTQ community. Alternating between the “classics” of gay fiction and contemporary, historically underrepresented voices, we read to explore queer experience across literary genres and eras! Join us in a friendly discussion once a month! For questions about this book club, email Matt at matt@unabridgedbookstore.com.

This month the Queer Book Club will meet to discuss Gay Bar: Why We Went Out by Jeremy Atherton Lin on Wednesday, July 20th at 7:30pm.

As gay bars continue to close at an alarming rate, a writer looks back to find out what's being lost in this intimate, stylish, and indispensible celebration of queer history.

Strobing lights and dark rooms; throbbing house and drag queens on counters; first kisses, last call: the gay bar has long been a place of solidarity and sexual expression--whatever your scene, whoever you're seeking. But in urban centers around the world, they are closing, a cultural demolition that has Jeremy Atherton Lin wondering: What was the gay bar? How have they shaped him? And could this spell the end of gay identity as we know it?

In Gay Bar, the author embarks upon a transatlantic tour of the hangouts that marked his life, with each club, pub, and dive revealing itself to be a palimpsest of queer history. In prose as exuberant as a hit of poppers and dazzling as a disco ball, he time-travels from Hollywood nights in the 1970s to a warren of cruising tunnels built beneath London in the 1770s; from chichi bars in the aftermath of AIDS to today's fluid queer spaces; through glory holes, into Crisco-slicked dungeons and down San Francisco alleys. He charts police raids and riots, posing and passing out--and a chance encounter one restless night that would change his life forever.

The journey that emerges is a stylish and nuanced inquiry into the connection between place and identity--a tale of liberation, but one that invites us to go beyond the simplified Stonewall mythology and enter lesser-known battlefields in the struggle to carve out a territory. Elegiac, randy, and sparkling with wry wit, Gay Bar is at once a serious critical inquiry, a love story and an epic night out to remember.

Jeremy Atherton Lin is an Asian-American essayist based in Los Angeles and East Sussex, England. His work has appeared inthe Times Literary Supplement, the Guardian, GQ, Artforum and The Yale Review, for which he was shortlisted for a National Magazine Award. Jeremy's debut book Gay Bar was listed in the New York Times Critics' Top Books of 2021 and received the National Book Critics Circle Award for Autobiography. His next cultural memoir, Deep House, will bepublished in 2024.

 
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Gay Bar: Why We Went Out Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780316458757
Availability: Available, order here for delivery or pickup.
Published: Back Bay Books - May 31st, 2022

Event date: 

Wednesday, July 20, 2022 - 7:30pm

Event address: 

Unabridged Books, Inc.
Chicago, IL 60657
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