Some of the hottest gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and otherwise queer books have long been found on the shelves of Sam Weller’s Bookstore, one of the state’s oldest and most revered independent bookstores.
And since 2008, the store has also been home to Queereads, one of the valley’s only — if not the only — discussion group for books by and about queer people and their allies.
The book club was created a year ago by then-Sam Weller’s employee Adam Streeter and following his move to Oregon, taken over by employee Liz Shattler. On her watch, the club has discussed such books as Audre Lorde’s Zami: A New Spelling of My Name, about a young black woman’s coming out as lesbian in the turbulent 1950s; gay and AIDS activist Larry Kramer’s semi-autobiographical 1978 novel Faggots; and October’s pick, Diablo Cody’s Candy Girl about her life as a stripper.
Books scheduled for the rest of 2009 include Wanting Seed, Anthony Burgess’ dystopic novel about overpopulation and the discrimination against heterosexuals that comes with it, and Baby Remember My Name, an anthology of “new queer girl writing” edited by Michelle Tea.
The book of the month can be purchased at Sam Weller’s for 20 percent off its cover price.
“We read the book beforehand and then we discuss what we thought about it, and how it applies to the theme of the club: Why is it queer, why did I pick this, what did you think about it?” said Shattler, adding that she prefers the group to discuss the book rather than use the time for a question and answer period.
Since its inception, however, attendance at Queereads meetings has been small and somewhat sporadic, although Shattler noted that the group does have some die-hard regulars. Unless attendance picks up, Shattler said that the group will likely disband and the book “just end up being my pick of the month.”
Currently, however, Queereads meets on the third Wednesday of each month at Sam Weller’s Bookstore, 254 S. Main St. in Salt Lake City, at 6:30 p.m. Its next meeting is scheduled for Oct. 21.
For more information call Shattler at (801) 328-2586.