Category: Uncategorized

Book Review: “Monstrilio,” by Gerardo Sámano Córdova

What do monsters have to do with queer books? From Frankenstein’s monster to Nosferatu to the most obscure of X-Files cryptids, monsters are threats to “normal” straight society. There’s definitely rich analysis to be had about the historical associations between queerness and monstrosity. But monster media is also so much fun. Any Jennifer’s Body devotee knows that some of the best queer media plays up the thin line between fear and desire. Who doesn’t want the adrenaline rush of thinking they’re going to be eaten by Megan Fox?

While Frankenstein might be the first book we think of as the “monster novel,” its queer descendants are taking up the inhuman body to explore queer sexualities and life. If you’re chasing the thrill of reading authors like Carmen Maria Machado, Gretchen Felker-Martin, or Shirley Jackson, put Monstrilio at the top of your reading list. 

When eleven-year-old Santiago passes away, his mother doesn’t cry. Instead, Magos does what feels natural: she cuts open Santiago’s body and extracts a piece of his lung, storing it in a jar for safekeeping. The lung becomes her secret stowaway, accompanying Magos to her mother’s home in Mexico City, where she retreats to grieve. On little but a folktale and a hunch, Magos spoons some chicken broth into the jar, watching for signs of life. Remarkably, the tiny piece of tissue grows and grows into a little creature, affectionately named Monstrilio. But the more the “grief creature” grows, the more his family struggles to satisfy his hunger. 

Monstrilio is Gerardo Sámano Córdova’s debut novel. Divided into four parts, the story dedicates a section to each of its four central characters: Magos, Lena (the woman who is in love with her), Joseph (Santiago’s father), and a mysterious “M.” A writer and artist from Mexico City, Córdova’s affection for gothic images shines through his work. In Monstrilio, a family’s love for such a terrifying monster mirrors their struggle to reckon with their own queerness and deviance–the monster uncovers the monstrous within.

Grief might be where Monstrilio begins, but the story isn’t exactly a tear-jerker. Córdova’s writing is detached–the novel is ruled by an otherworldly logic from Magos’ very first cut into her son’s body. It’s the kind of dreamlike state when a loss is just so overwhelming that the pain becomes ambient, and nothing feels real. For Magos, if Santiago can be dead, maybe none of the rules of the world make sense. These logical slips give way to intimate, weighty realizations about grief that Córdova sneaks in between the more action-packed moments of the novel. The beats are quieter, but they’re certainly there. If you’re interested in reading about grief, Monstrilio offers a beautiful, human portrayal of how far a person will go to avoid confronting such an immense loss.

But as the moves forward, it becomes clear that Monstrilio is also built for fans of horror. Monstrilio’s uncontrolled hunger is made way more terrifying by his pointed fangs, jaw that can unhinge to the width of his body, and extra long limb built for swinging from branch to branch while he hunts. His family desperately tries to figure out how to contain him as he feasts on basement rats, neighborhood pets, and threatens to graduate to larger beasts. Córdova’s horror winks at genre conventions, but the way he writes gore is so visceral and inventive that it doesn’t land as redundant.

By the final section, Monstrilio has matured into a teenager, and his family encourages him to pass as human. He’s going to restaurants, working in a bookstore, and venturing onto dating apps to meet boys. As Córdova adopts M’s perspective, we realize that M doesn’t just feed on pets because he misses a meal, M is always hungry. Witnessing M’s desire to eat is so satisfying after reading three characters who repress their feelings so forcefully. Who can blame M? He wants to eat men! He was born this way, baby! 

There’s an obvious parallel between M’s desire for men and his desire for human flesh. Córdova flirts with a commentary on social deviance that will resonate with queer readers, but it’s not overbearing. Rather than divorcing M’s queerness from his monstrous hunger, Córdova takes the likeness further, taking us through M’s teenaged dating app escapades as he tries to find – a boyfriend? A victim? The clever tension between cruising and hunting makes for a kinky, terrifying, and thrilling fourth act. It’s also what might align Monstrilio not with Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, but with Susan Stryker’s. Córdova doesn’t reinvest in “human” as a category any more than he invests in the straight or cis. In this book, the monster speaks back, and he doesn’t want to assimilate. — Leo

May New Releases

May 2 Releases

Now in paperback!

May 3 Releases

May 9 Releases

May 16 Releases

May 18 Releases

May 20 Releases

May 23 Releases

Now in paperback!

May 30 Releases

National Poetry Month! — queer & feminist poetry

Happy National Poetry Month! T.S. Eliot says that “April is the cruellest month, breeding / Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing / Memory and desire,” and whether or not you agree with him, surely reading some queer poetry can help you navigate the delirium and rebirth of Spring. Here is a list of 30 outstanding books of queer & feminist poetry, one for each day of April. From ancient fragments to contemporary experimental poetry to searing canticles of resistance, these poets display the ever-replenishing possibilities of a queer poetics enjambed and emblazoned in the now. I’ve added captions to my special favorites for your perusing pleasure — xoxo happy April — John

Part dream diary, part cultural critique, Jackie Wang’s debut book of poems first delighted me with its whimsical intelligence, and then overwhelmed me with its brilliant examination of mounting existential and political conflicts. I admire how many voices Wang includes throughout this collection, gathering a living index without compromising the singularity of her voice. This book is so infectiously cool and smart it invited me make a list of all the philosophers, filmmakers, and writers Wang references. Get on her level!
Atsuro Riley is a sound-wizard (much like his queer ancestor, Gerard Manley Hopkins) who handles words with a reverence for their sonic and material qualities. Each word here is wielded with deep knowledge of its etymological and musical possibilities: as pulled from the mythological room under the earth where the roots of every word are bound together. Writing a queer poetics while eschewing limited categorizations, Riley channels a series of songs from a chorus of outsiders in a small community of the South Carolina back-country.
Jos Charles’ second groundbreaking collection creates a new (and olde) language with a thrilling mixture of text-speak and Middle English. This kind of linguistic time-warp allows Charles to build an alternate space to explore trans worldliness and embodiment. Her forms invoke old maps, obliquely drawn, that still have the power to lead you somewhere. They are “canopies to return to”, refracting worlds of thought & affect in the reverb of what’s not spoken.
“We regret our early books for their lack of innate distortion,” confesses Cedar Sigo in this, his latest book of poems. He no longer has to worry: throughout “All This Time” Sigo uses distortion as aesthetic reckoning, one of many red threads that pulls his readers deeper in the labyrinth of his poems. With his twisted syntax and jarring line breaks, Sigo gets in your head. His dazzling collage technique unburies his readers from linear time and the chokehold of settled narratives, holding space for queer and Native American futures.
In this winding, searing lyric essay, Simone White writes the longest lines of her writing life. Given White’s new formal investment, each of her lines is able to contain a multitude of registers and moods. She is not afraid to engage with a range of conversations: personal writing, critical race theory, trap music, economics, feminism. Her poems are so analytically complex and tensile yet can still be slippery, holding intimacy and intellectual rigor in the same measure.
This is still my favorite translation of Sappho. I love how Carson uses inverted brackets to suggest the fullness of the lyric that’s been lost to time.
It creates a disintegration-effect without interrupting the power and strangeness of the fragments that remain. Poets often make the best translators of poetry, and Carson’s obsessions perfectly meet the torqued erotics of Sappho’s voice. Carson extracts the essence of these serrated edges while still respecting every ambiguity.
Alejandra Pizarnik has become an almost mythological figure in Argentinian literature. Extracting the Stones of Madness displays her inimitable style and obsessions in their full range: metaphysical questions of silence, death, and rebirth are balanced against frightening images of wounds, dolls, and ruined paradise. These poems are bound to haunt you with their visceral compression, queer transformations, and musical explorations in Duende, the dark spirit that guarantees the poet is writing from “the edge of the well,” where a knowledge of death informs every line.

May Theme Table: AAPI Heritage Month

This month we’re putting the spotlight on authors of Asian-American, Pacific Islander, and Native Hawaiian heritage!



Young Adult


Graphic Novels

Biography and Memoir

Coming May 30th!

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, and Horror

April New Releases

April 4 Releases

now in paperback!
New printing!

April 11 Releases

New edition!
Now in paperback!

April 15 Releases

April 18 Releases

April 25 Releases

April 26 Releases

GUEST POST: Nathan Tavares of A Fractured Infinity

Hey PAT @ Giovanni’s Room folks!

My name is Nathan Tavares and I’m the author of A Fractured Infinity, which came out last year from Titan Books. It’s my pleasure to temporarily usher you into an alternate reality—or at the very least take the reins of the blog for this guest post, where I’ll talk a little about my queer sci-fi debut novel, which I hope you’ll love.

For as long as I can remember, I have been a huge fan of all things sci-fi and weird, from the Goosebumps books I devoured as a kid, to Greek mythology, to superhero TV shows (namely, running around and trying to be like Xena). As I got older and figured out I was gay (Surprise! Somebody please tell my husband.), I noticed a big lack of queer people like me in sci-fi stories. What, you could have aliens and robots in these different and thrilling worlds, but no queer people? Weird.

Before I started writing A Fractured Infinity, I was adrift. The magazine I worked for in Boston had closed shop, I was still licking my wounds after a novel I had been working on for years didn’t get picked up by a publisher. I had the idea to just write the kind of book that I had always wanted to read, filled with queer people with big messy lives that weren’t plagued by coming-out trauma. I threw my favorite things in a big blender—fourth wall breaking, sarcasm, and robot drag queens, with a touch of theoretical physics (or a dumbed-down version that my liberal arts major mind could understand, anyway)—and got to writing. My wonderful agent and I pitched the story as “the film Arrival but make it gay,” and I’m thrilled that it’s now on bookshelves.

A FRACTURED INFINITY is near-ish future sc-ifi story about a washed-up filmmaker named Hayes who just can’t catch a break. One day, the physicist Yusuf shows up at his doorstep and whisks Hayes away to a secret research facility, where he learns that he’s somehow connected to a strange predictive device from another universe. And an alternate version of Hayes built it and sent it to our world. Soon, Hayes and Yusuf fall in love, and they must go on the run to save Yusuf’s life—even if that means sacrificing the whole multiverse.

I was really inspired by the cerebral sci-fi films I love so much, namely Contact, Arrival, and Interstellar. Besides those films, I looked to my favorite books to keep me going. Here are a few of them that I hope you’ll love as much as I did.

I reread this book all the time as a reminder of, “oh, that’s how a book should make you feel.” Between the character development, how Atwood weaves time around, and just the beauty of the language, Oryx and Crake is my favorite book ever. My copy is dog-eared and underlined everywhere. I once got a note that my writing in A Fractured Infinity was too pretty at times, and that sci-fi readers want more workmanlike language. I look to Atwood as proof of just the opposite. Sci-fi and speculative prose can still be beautiful and succinct at the same time.

I first read this novel maybe twenty years ago, and it’s stuck with me ever since. When I was thinking up alternate settings and world histories, it was a huge inspiration on how a few different decisions or events could alter a world so drastically. The Lathe of Heaven reminded me a lot about authority and trust you put in an author, too. In grad school workshops, you spend a lot of time picking apart stories and storylines, like “I didn’t buy that decision” or “I’m having a tough time believing this.” Le Guin reminded me with this book, “You know what? Sometimes an author makes a decision with an outlandish concept, and you just have to go along for the ride.”

I love Mastai’s original take on alternate universes and time travel. I read this when I was about halfway through the very first messy draft of A Fractured Infinity, and it inspired me in a big way. It sparked a big light-bulb moment that I needed to dive in and have my characters directly explore other worlds, and meet different versions of themselves.

I used to not write many queer characters in my stories when I was younger. I was probably still dealing with those last bits of shame about being gay, and wasn’t sure how large of an audience for queer stories there was. Reading Baldwin and other queer writers made me remember, “I want to read queer stories, so of course a lot of other people do.” He helped me dive in and write from the queer experience. I also love the conversational style of this novel. One thing that distracts me sometimes when I’m reading is overly-formal language, especially when a book is in the first person. This definitely helped me think of A Fractured Infinity as a like a conversation between my main character and the reader.

How do you pick one of Octavia E. Butler’s books? The world-building here (and the book in general) is so brutal and devastating, balanced out by the perspective of a main character who’s so perseverant. And talk about some scarily accurate predictions. I thought about Parable of the Sower when I was dreaming up a broken, de-United States of America that’s ravaged by climate change and social problems. A Fractured Infinity is definitely way, way less bleak, but the nightmares in Parable of the Sower helped me land somewhere between a dystopia and a technological utopia. Is mid-topia a thing?

Nathan Tavares is a writer from Boston, Massachusetts. He grew up in the Portuguese-American community of southeastern Massachusetts and developed a love for fantastical stories at an early age, from superheroes to mythology. He studied English in college and received his MFA in creative writing from Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His editorial work celebrates queer culture and historically excluded communities, with pieces appearing in GQ, Out, and elsewhere.


Oh my god, it’s already April.

Look, we gave you March to be messy: now you have to get it together. The next thing you know 2023 will be over. What did you do with your time?

Here is this month’s table of books that will let you know how to figure things out, get things done, and a couple of memoirs from people who managed to do just that.

 Winter is over; it’s time to get going.

March New Releases

Greetings, March! It’s a huge month for queer new releases, from gay scammers to the latest Angela Davis biography (as a comic!) to sapphic tales of deep sea creatures. Take advantage of the warmer weather and take a stroll down to shop these titles as they arrive in store, or order online to get your new favorite book delivered to your door.

We’ll be updating this list throughout the month, so check back for more!

March 7 Releases

Calling all queer ne’er-do-wells! Dream of scamming, scheming, and queering the system with this gay caper.
Sex, drugs, and… unflinching honesty? This vibrant, brave memoir shines a light into dark – yet surprisingly tender – corners of queer life.
Filled with fierce, indulgent trans fantasies, this novel is for those longing for interdimensional intimacy at the edge of reality.
For those who linger in the shifting boundaries between grief, beauty, and monstrosity: queer horror for the literary set.
Mean Girls meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer in this underdog adventure! The Ojja-Wojja is a romp for misfits and teen demon-hunters alike.
Hey, Greek mythology buffs! Lies We Sing to the Sea is The Odyssey with a lesbian fantasy twist.
For those who loved Wild – finding ourselves and falling in love on the Pacific Crest Trail.
now in paperback!

March 14

For those who know that queer, Black, feminist poetry is a “vital necessity of our existence.”
Taking enemies-to-lovers to a whole new level, this work of historical fiction is for those who know that war is, well, kinda gay.
Desire and danger; hunger and haunting; lust and limbo: this sensuous book is as disorienting as it is erotic.
Life’s tough as a queer teen – but these stark musings will remind you of the poignancy and the beauty in growing up gay.
The Parent Trap meets Clueless – but make it gay!
For those who know that trauma changes you, but not in the ways you expect.
For those who long to dance on the grave of a capitalist world.

March 21

Grief, technology, and identity combine in this puzzle-box of a novel evocative of Everything, Everywhere, All at Once.
A bus accident; a colonial past; a world of boundaries and judgments: Trace Evidence is for queer survivors of all kinds.
For those who have always wondered: what if Lizzie Bennet wrote her own gay ending?
Ever wondered how well you *really* know your big love? What it’d be like to rewrite the story of the person closest to you?
For teens who aren’t afraid to seek out the scariest, secretest answers when everything feels uncertain.

March 24

March 28

For the Pisces sun drawn to the deep – and dark – depths of the water.
For those in search of further evidence that Greek mythology was always, indeed, very gay.
Hey, even powerless Normies can change the world! Pick up Strictly No Heroics to find out how everyday people can make a big, big difference.
What flourishes in the desert at the edge of the world? Into the Light reveals that there’s so much more life there than one might imagine.
Where does revolutionary poetry come from? Psychiatry, poetry, and prophesy combine to give a surprising answer in this rendering of a generational queer poet.

March 2023 Theme: GAY BETRAYAL*

*aka all the queer heartbreak, murder, and mystery

Welcome to this month’s themed post! In March of 2023, our thoughts turn to queer traitors, turncoats, teases, temptresses, and other tempestuous gay drama. We’ve made it official: March is the month of messy bitches.

Be sure to check out our in-store display of these titles, on the second-floor table in front of the fireplace. Or use the links below to order directly from us, either for home delivery or in-store pickup.

New Releases: February 2023

From cozy romances just in time for V-day to thrilling mysteries and spooky hauntings, these queer books are here to get you through the cold days and dark nights of February!

We keep updating this page throughout the month, so keep it bookmarked!

February 5 Releases

February 7 Releases

February 10 Releases

February 14 Releases

February 21 Releases

February 28 Releases

now in paperback!
now in paperback!