Sylvester's time in SF was quite a bit before mine, but Gamson brings the singer to flamboyant life in this bio, tracing Sylvester's roots with the LA Disquotay drag queens to his move to the Bay Area to join the Cockettes and his eventual rise to disco fame. Many other San Francisco luminaries (like Patrick Cowley!) make appearances, and anyone interested in the city's recent cultural history will eat this up with a spoon.
The Leftovers - Tom Perrotta
The jury's still out on whether or not I want to watch the new HBO series, but in the meantime I can heartily recommend the book it's based on. You might already be aware of the premise (it's a killer one): a seemingly random cross-section of the world's population has been "raptured", while those who remain search for ways to deal with their loss and grief. Perrotta develops at least half a dozen storylines as he imagines the strange cults and groups that spring up in the aftermath, and I was turning the pages as fast as I could to find out what happens next.
The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
Finally read this for the first time (somewhat counterintuitively) while I was traveling through my own Very Dark Place, but believe me when I say it was a true help and reassurance to me. Plath is just a genius at demonstrating how depression sneakily overtakes her protagonist and derails her creativity and ambitions. There are hilarious and insightful moments aplenty too, along with the tragic. If only Plath had been able to emerge from the bell jar herself.
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks - E. Lockhart
Over the last year or so I've been delving into the world of contemporary young adult fiction, and this is a fine example of what makes it such an exciting genre right now. The story follows Frankie through a very fateful year in her high school career as she uses her considerable smarts to navigate dating and the class system at her boarding school. Basically this is exactly the type of book I hope my teenage godchild is reading too.
It's Not You: 27 (Wrong) Reasons You're Single - Sara Eckel
Sara Eckel had me wiping away tears before I even finished her beautiful introduction. And she's a student of Buddhism too. Enough said.