The Seattle Gay and Lesbian Book Club meets at SASG on Capital Hill
(previously Dunshee House) every Wednesday, 6-7:15pm.

We read one book each month and discuss that book all month.
Some members come every Wednesday; some join us once or twice a month.

For busy people, four opportunities means not having to worry about missing out! And spreading the discussion over a month allows us to approach  topical questions in depth, for readers to dive back into the text and  explore thoughts different from their own.


Second Avenue Caper: When Goodfellas, Divas, and Dealers
Plotted Against the Plague

Joyce Brabner

You’ve seen the author of this month’s selection, Joyce Brabner, portrayed by Hope Davis in the movie AMERICAN SPLENDOR, where she’s the wife of Harvey Pekar, one of the great movers-and-shakers in the world of graphic novels.

For those who pooh-pooh graphic novels: in SECOND AVENUE CAPER: WHEN GOODFELLAS, DIVAS, AND DEALERS PLOTTED AGAINST THE PLAGUE, one of the characters turns to Joyce and asks, “So what’s the difference between a comic book and a graphic novel?” and Joyce answers, “One is spaghetti. Sometimes spaghettios. The other is pasta.”

second ave caper cove smallr

This graphic novel is pasta. It’s two friends remembering the horror years together. It’s beautiful and powerful. The author and illustrator are part of the experience, and are characters in the story.

Joyce sits down with her friend Raymond, who was a registered nurse in 1981 when AIDS first struck the American gay community. Ray becomes an activist delivering ribavirin (and pot) from Mexico. Joyce's powerful retelling of Ray’s story feels unmanipulated and honest, a chronicle of friends demanding answers and finding solutions. Mark Zingarelli’s stark, complex and subtle illustrations pack their own wallop, and together with Brabner they bring to life with remarkable clarity that terrifying era of fear, death and reliance on your friends.

Both our May selection and our June selection will be accompanied by movie showings at SASG, while at the same time Seattle International Film Festival takes over the city in our annual cinema binge with so many good gay movies you’re going to have a hard time choosing.

Accompanying SECOND AVENUE CAPER, we’ll be watching in weekly chunks the brilliant little biopic, AMERICAN SPLENDOR. It’s so good! And along with our June selection, Oliver Sacks’s ON THE MOVE, we’ll watch Robin Williams portray him along with Robert De Niro as his patient in the film AWAKENINGS. What a feast of movies and reading we have ahead!

The author and illustrator are part of the story being told and SECOND AVENUE CAPER is about as honest as a book can get. Feel otherwise? Love to hear everyone’s opinion at our Wednesday meetings at SASG at 6 pm.

Thanks to all of you who have made the recent meetings so exciting!



List of previous books

Come join us any Wednesday, 6-7:15pm at

303 17th Avenue East
Seattle 98112

(on Capitol Hill, near Group Health Hospital)

SASG phone: (206) 322-2437

Feel free to just show up, whether you’ve finished the book or not.

For more information, contact Nick at

Read the SGN interview with Nick about the club

Read all about SASG, our hosts


Previous books


Breakfast with Scot Michael Downing

Orange Are Not the Only Fruit Jeanette Winterson

I Am Not Myself These Days John Kilmer-Purcell

The City and the Pillar Gore Vidal

The Price of Salt Patricia Highsmith

Fun Home Alison Bechdel

Queer William Burroughs

A Fairly Honourable Defeat Iris Murdoch

The Thief’s Journal Jean Genet

Wild Dogs Helen Humphreys

The Gifts of the Body Rebecca Brown

Death in Venice Thomas Mann


The Immoralist Andre Gide

A Single Man Christopher Isherwood

The Pure and the Impure Colette

The Last of the Wine Mary Renault

Satyricon Petronius

Maurice E. M. Forster

Leaves of Grass Walt Whitman

Dog Years Mark Doty

Portrait of the Addict as a Young Man Bill Clegg

Confessions of a Mask Yukio Mishima

Stuck Rubber Baby Howard Cruse

My Father and Myself J. R. Ackerley


Hindoo Holiday J. R. Ackerley

The Line of Beauty Alan Hollinghurst

Dry Augusten Burroughs

We Think the World of You J. R. Ackerley

Just Kids Patti Smith

The Counterfeiters Andre Gide

Union Atlantic Adam Haslett

Teleny and Camille Jon Macy, adapted from Oscar Wilde and His Circle

Moffie Andre Carl van der Merwe

The Ladies Doris Grumbach


The Stranger’s Child Alan Hollinghurst

We the Animals Justin Torres

Jack Holmes and His Friend Edmund White

Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? Jeanette Winterson

Are You My Mother? Alison Bechdel

The Swimming-pool Library Alan Hollinghurst

Mars Vs. Maple School Nick DiMartino

Goodbye to Berlin Christopher Isherwood

Christopher and His Kind Christopher Isherwood

The Picture of Dorian Gray (uncensored) Oscar Wilde

Mr. Fortune’s Maggot Sylvia Townsend Warner

Changes: In A Little Gay Bar Nick DiMartino


Becoming A Man Paul Monette

Borrowed Time Paul Monette

Heaven’s Coast Mark Doty

The Gallery John Horne Burns

Stories for Boys Gregory Martin

Money Boy Paul Yee

The End of San Francisco Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore &
Toast Nigel Slater

The Story of the Night Colm Toibin

The Dream of the Celt Mario Vargas Llosa

Rough Music Richard Gale

The Two Hotel Francforts David Leavitt

The Devil in Love Nick DiMartino


Fairyland Alysia Abbott

Vainglory Ronald Firbank

Our Lady of the Flowers Jean Genet

Tell the Wolves I’m Home Carol Rifka Brunt

The Normal Heart Larry Kramer

Firefly Noel Coward

Young Torless Robert Musil

The Poetry of C.P. Cavafy

Arctic Summer Damon Galgut

The Life to Come E.M. Forster

Pale Fire Vladimir Nabokov

Sea Baby Scarlett Phelan


The Golden Handcuffs  Nick DiMartino

Totempole  Sanford Friedman

The Days of Anna Madrigal Armistead Maupin

Bettyville George Hodgman

Second Avenue Caper: When Goodfellas, Divas, and Dealers
Plotted Against the Plague
Joyce Brabner