From Gay to Z: A Queer Compendium

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Pub Date 10 May 2022 | Archive Date 09 May 2022

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This illustrated compendium celebrates LGBTQIA+ history and culture, written by and according to culture icon Justin Elizabeth Sayre!

Based on Sayre's five-part show in New York City, From Gay to Z is a humorous collection of the rich legacy of gay culture, told through the letters of the alphabet. From ABBA to addiction, hair and makeup to HIV, Fannie Flagg to fierce, Sayre offers their own perspective on the things that have influenced gay culture today, including iconic figures, historical moments, ongoing issues in the LGBTQIA+ community, and everything in between. As gay culture is always evolving and different for everyone, this book does not serve as a definitive guide—instead, Sayre encourages readers to use this knowledge to reflect on the things that have informed their personal identities. Engagingly written and beautifully designed, From Gay to Z is a distinctive and dynamic look at gay culture for LGBTQIA+ readers everywhere.

This illustrated compendium celebrates LGBTQIA+ history and culture, written by and according to culture icon Justin Elizabeth Sayre!

Based on Sayre's five-part show in New York City, From Gay to Z...

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EDITION Hardcover
ISBN 9781452178028
PRICE $24.95 (USD)

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Average rating from 18 members

Featured Reviews

This book is a great non-fiction book for anyone who has an interest in learning about gay and overall queer culture. This book is a great way to connect with and learn about the history of the LGBTQ community. I gave this book 4 stars and I would recommend it. Thank you, NetGalley for a free e-arc exchange for an honest review.

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This is a great introduction to many things queer, whether that's people, media or events that have happened. Truthfully, I skimmed a lot of this and zeroed in on things that looked particularly interesting to me or I hadn't heard of before as there was some humor mixed in that just wasn't my cup of tea. But other than that, I think it has a lot of good information and would be a good starting point for someone who doesn't know a lot about the queer community or history.

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From Gay to Z is a great guide for anyone interested in Queer studies or Queer life. Filled with great art and written with love and a wonderful sense of humor, everyone will find something in this fun new book.

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Fun read but the formating of a book like this on a Kindle is impossible to enjoy. I loved all the information and how it was laid out but it's definitely a book better suited for print.

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“From Gay to Z: A Queer Compendium” by Justin Elizabeth Sayre is a non-fiction guide to all things queer. It is full of LGBTQIA+ actors, activists, actresses, artists, authors, bars, Broadway stars, camp, celebrities, choreographers, club kids, comedians, cult classics, dancers, designers, DJs, directors, drag kings, drag queens, E, fashion designers, filmmakers, Judy Garland, gay rights, H, icons, J, K, locations, movies, musicians, novels, O, party promoters, performance artists, philanthropists, photographers, playwrights, poets, queers, rappers, reality stars, sports players, television shows, U, V, writers, words, X, Y and Z. This book is the next best thing to Justin Elizabeth Sayer discussing the Gay-B-C’s. Thanks to NetGalley #NetGalley and Chronicle Books for the ARC. Pre-order a copy wherever books are sold.

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I received this book for free for an honest review from netgalley #netgalley

Extremely helpful and well written.

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Thank you to NetGalley and Chronicle Books for the opportunity to read and review an e-ARC of this book. I was really excited about the premise of this title, but found it to be a bit confusing as a concept and hard to read. I could see this being a successful gift for a friend, or a type of coffee table book. It would work well if you flip to a specific page and see the people, places, and events depicted there. Then, the mix of pop culture references could really work. But to sit down and read it from beginning to end is a challenge, due to the encyclopedic type formatting and the mix of included topics. The inclusion of non-LGBT celebrities because they're part of the "gay canon," for example, would be fun if you are flipping through and notice an Adele reference or Cardi B or something. But when they're filed between historical figures or activists they seem misplaced. I also think some of the more controversial figures included are confusing, because it would require way more explaining than this text style could offer - otherwise seeing certain names included seemingly among otherwise greats is triggering.

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This truly is a compendium, a dictionary of everything that has contributed to queer culture as we know it. But don't get me wrong, it may be a dictionary but it has some personality.

I really enjoyed this! There were many names I already knew, many names I had heard but didn't know, and yet more that I did not know at all and I enjoyed learning about them (and gleaning some recs in the process).
While this is a collection of queer references, I would say it has some general cultural references that, again, I had heard but did not knoow.

Thank to this I FINALLY know what poppers, thanks!

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Thank you to NetGalley and Chronicle Books for an eARC of From Gay to Z: A Queer Compendium in exchange for an honest review.

From Gay to Z is formatted in encyclopedic entries, presenting information about gay icons and symbolism interspersed with intricate and thoughtful line drawings, beautifully depicting revered LGBTQIA+ individuals. This book was so well researched and serves as a helpful resource for those wanting to learn more about LGBTQIA+ culture, or those who want to learn more about the history of the community. This is a book that I will have to come back to periodically, as it is so jam packed with information that I could not possibly have absorbed it all on the first reading. Unfortunately, I was unable to give this book a full five stars because the format of the electronic edition made reading it quite a challenge. There were several times when the entries did not match with the title of that entry, and/or the text did not continue seamlessly onto the next page (i.e. continued text may have been two or three pages forward in the file). I hope this formatting will be resolved before publication!

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Today's Review is From Gay to Z: A Queer Compendium by Justin Elizabeth Sayre

Life experiences are hard to compile. I'm living my life so my influences, my history, my inspirations all can be different from someone miles away from me, in a different state, or a different country. From Gay to Z: A Queer Compendium to me is like an adult version of the atlas books I read as a kid about history and science. Instead of teaching me what NASA was or who George Washington is, the Queer Compendium does it's best to cover a general scope of queer topics. Whether it's artists, writers, politicians, entertainers, or just terminology, the Queer Compendium provides facts with wit.

This book can tell you the difference between Fortune Feimster and Ross Matthews. Now you'll know the difference between your Chelsea Handlers from your Chelsea Mannings. For me, I learned some random facts like how Annie Proulx wrote the original short story of Brokeback Mountain. Or that former porn star turned mainstream actor Brent Corrigan is pretty much the same age as me (I'm a month older and look what I've got to show in my life... *sigh*...).

The book is a cute read, one of those types where you can flip through pages, read one topic, and go, "oh yeah, that's so and so." Then you could put the book down and go back to it in a few days. There are moments where this book's author Justin Elizabeth Sayre shines with some classic gay wit and sass. Generally they succeed. Once in a while they fall flat. One example I have is there is a entry for "black girls" and it says that it's the originator of gay culture. I'm pretty sure that gay men were the originator of gay culture. I imagine gay Romans or Egyptians being weirdly gay. Or that rumor that Da Vinci was gay and I doubt black girls had anything to do with them. The "Black Girl" entry is just one of the points where the jokes miss.

My challenge with this book is two-fold. The first challenge is: when do you stop writing about a person? I understand succinct, but then when is short too short. Is that a gay stereotype of bigger is better? For example, I think Anderson Cooper is an amazing guy. The book mentions that he hosted the reality show The Mole, but then decides not to mention that he's been a contributor for 60 minutes. Remember that time Anderson asked Lady Gaga if she had a penis? How is his time on 60 minutes not iconic enough to be mentioned.

The second challenge is that there are still a lot of topics missing. Everyone growing up has different things influencing and inspiring them and what people think are important topics and what are not. Personally, one of the biggest blaring omissions is that author Augusten Burroughs is not mentioned. I read Running with Scissors and watched the film adaptation and that novel should be part of the LGBT Library of Congress. I mean, my favorite Young Adult book of all time Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan gets a shout out, why isn't Scissors?

Here are two other omissions:

Daniel Franzese is mentioned but not Jonathan Bennett. Jonathan Bennett was also in Mean Girls in a bigger role, has prominently hosted baking competitions and married a gay Chippendale that competed on the Amazing Race.

Tim Gunn is mentioned but not Christian Siriano. Probably the most successful designer to come out of Project Runway and he became the new Tim Gunn when Tim and Heidi moved to Amazon.

Don't worry, I have at least eight or nine other topics or people that I thought could also have made the book and I'll mention them in the podcast review.

Again, this book is a good overview, but I think it's more of a starting point than an "end all, be all" book of Queerness. I thought there would be a page with a chart of what the Hanky Code was, but there wasn't. That's so gay, with coding for safety. There was a chart of successful RuPaul's Drag Race Contestants. One other phrase I'm surprised wasn't here was "friend of Dorothy." I could have sworn that made it in. I'm thinking more of Queer terminology (I can only think of gay terms as a gay man) could have helped bolster the helpfulness of the book.

I applaud Justin Elizabeth Sayre for making the attempt and Justin notes in his introduction that trying to get every little bit of information of Queer culture would be impossible. It's just impossible to get everything in one book without it becoming the size of a house. Justin is a humorist and some of the jokes land, some don't. Some of the history lands, and some do not.

Grade: C+

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Thanks to NetGalley and Chronicle Books for the free e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.

From Gay to Z by Justin Elizabeth Sayre is well, a queer compendium as the subtitle suggests. It reviews famous queer icons, iconography, and historical movements. I think it's interesting what merited entry and what didn't, but it's obviously impossible to encompass the entire queer canon. Some entries I found a bit lacking, especially for, say, Lady Gaga who is bisexual, but that isn't mentioned? She's listed seemingly as a queer icon who is straight? Odd. There are likewise some other strange omissions or entries for people that I think would need an asterisk or two.

On the whole, this is a fun coffee table book.

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Thank you to NetGalley and Chronicle Books for an ARC of this book. All opinions in this review are my own.

This was an interesting book to receive and read through. I appreciate the disclaimer at the beginning that this is just what Justin decided to include in this compendium, as there is so much history and so many options in the LGBTQIA+ community that could be added in something like this. It was fun to read through the different letters and see what Justin picked out and the short little blurbs explaining what the different topics were. Things ranged from Alexis Arquette to Gay Bars (just in general) to Rent (the musical), all with varying degrees of detail in their explanations, but year markers where appropriate. It was a nice little snapshot into different topics, and the full published version should have pictures as well (mine didn't because it was a digital copy). I think this will be a really cool coffee table book and a nice conversation piece. It would also be interesting to see an expanded edition, or second edition maybe 10 years down the line with new information as things in the community change and more details arise for some of the people who are still alive and are listed in this book.

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