Friday, April 05, 2013

On My Nightstand

Just finished reading Eric Myers' Uncle Mame: The Life of Patrick Dennis (New York: St. Martin's Press, 2000). The book is a biography of Edward Everett Tanner III, better known to the reading public  by his pseudonym Patrick Dennis and the author of the popular book, Auntie Mame. As Myers' outlines there is sadly little biographical work on Dennis and his book seeks to fill that void. It is a readable book filled with lots of biographical information on Dennis, fleshed out with interviews with those who knew him and sections from his novels to fill in those blanks in his life. He is a fascinating subject for biography and while Myers makes an effort to capture his story, his writing really doesn't do Dennis' life justice. That being said, it is an important book because nothing else covers the life of Dennis. As Myers argues Dennis introduced camp to middle America and gave the developing queer community an icon and a language to express themselves. For anyone interested in popular culture during the 1950s and 1960s, or queer identity before Stonewall this would be an interesting read. 

Lying in Wait:
Bess Lovejoy, Rest in Pieces: The Curious Fate of Famous Corpses (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2013)
Harvey Luskin Molotch, Against Security: How we go wrong at Airports, subways, and other sites of ambiguous danger (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2012)

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