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LGBT Books for Gay Pride

The local indie Book Smith has a fabulous display of LGBT literature in observance of Gay Pride Month in San Francisco. Click on this link to like Book Smith on Facebook.

And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson, illustrated by Henry Cole (Children’s Book)
(R) The book is based on the true story of Roy and Silo, two male Chinstrap Penguins in New York’s Central Park Zoo. The book follows the six years of their life when they formed a couple and were given an egg to raise. This book had been reportedly banned in public libraries across the country.

Valencia by Michelle Tea
(W) Valencia is the fast-paced account of one girl’s search for love and high times in the drama-filled dyke world of San Francisco’s Mission District. Through a string of narrative moments, Tea records a year lived in a world of girls.

Why Are Faggots So Afraid of Faggots? edited by Matilda Berstein Sycamore
(W) This book plumbs the most important question facing queers in the 21st century: how the hell did we go from forming a crucial part of the ’60s ‘lib’ rainbow, and from mastering, refining, and successfully deploying nonviolent resistance with ACT UP, only to end up creating for ourselves a world of martial and marital law every bit as sterile, constricting, and amoral as the world we once fled like the plague?

Straight: The Surprisingly Short History of Heterosexuality by Hanne Blank
In this surprising chronicle, historian Hanne Blank digs deep into the past of sexual orientation, while simultaneously exploring its contemporary psyche. Illuminating the hidden patterns in centuries of events and trends, Blank shows how culture creates and manipulates the ways we think about and experience desire, love, and relationships between men and women. I mentioned that LGBT books are under-represented in the blogging community, I hope bloggers should take advantage of Gay Pride Month to celebrate with us.

The Letter Q: Queer Writers’ Notes to their Younger Selves by Sarah Moon
In this anthology, sixty-three award-winning authors such as Michael Cunningham, Amy Bloom, Jacqueline Woodson, Gregory Maguire, David Levithan, and Armistead Maupin make imaginative journeys into their pasts, telling their younger selves what they would have liked to know then about their lives as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, or Transgendered people. Through stories, in pictures, with bracing honesty, these are words of love and understanding, reasons to hold on for the better future ahead.

Tales of the City by Artmistead Maupin

Close to the Knives: A Memoir of Disintegration by David Wojnarowicz
Wojnarowicz gives us an important and timely document: a collection of creative essays — a scathing, sexy, sublimely humorous and honest personal testimony to the “Fear of Diversity in America.” From the author’s violent childhood in suburbia to eventual homelessness on the streets and piers of New York City, to recognition as one of the most provocative artists of his generation—this book is his powerful and iconoclastic memoir.

Invisible Monsters Remix by Chuck Palahniuk
Palahniuk’s fashion-model protagonist has it all—boyfriend, career, loyal best friend—until an accident destroys her face, her ability to speak, and her self-esteem. Enter Brandy Alexander, Queen Supreme, one operation away from becoming a bona-fide woman. Laced in are new chapters of memoir and further scenes with the book’s characters.

Gypsy Boy: My Life in the Secret World of the Romany Gypsies by Mikey Walsh
Mikey Walsh was born into a Romany Gypsy family. They live in a secluded community, and little is known about their way of life. After centuries of persecution, Gypsies are wary of outsiders, and if you choose to leave you can never come back.

Little Birds by Anaïs Nin
(W) Evocative and superbly erotic, Little Birds is a powerful journey into the mysterious world of sex and sensuality. From the beach towns of Normandy to the streets of New Orleans, these thirteen vignettes introduce us to a covetous French painter, a sleepless wanderer of the night, a guitar-playing gypsy, and a host of others who yearn for and dive into the turbulent depths of romantic experience.

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde Review
Celebrated novel traces the moral degeneration of a handsome young Londoner from an innocent fop into a cruel and reckless pursuer of pleasure and, ultimately, a murderer. As Dorian Gray sinks into depravity, his body retains perfect youth and vigor while his recently painted portrait reflects the ravages of crime and sensuality.

Are You My Mother?: A Comic Drama by Alison Bechdel
Mother: voracious reader, music lover, passionate amateur actor. Also a woman, unhappily married to a closeted gay man, whose artistic aspirations simmered under the surface of Bechdel’s childhood . . . and who stopped touching or kissing her daughter good night, forever, when she was seven. Poignantly, hilariously, Bechdel embarks on a quest for answers concerning the mother-daughter gulf.

When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris
In essay after essay, Sedaris proceeds from bizarre conundrums of daily life-having a lozenge fall from your mouth into the lap of a fellow passenger on a plane or armoring the windows with LP covers to protect the house from neurotic songbirds-to the most deeply resonant human truths.

Sex and Punishment: Four Thousand Years of Judging Desire by Eric Berkowitz
Writer and lawyer Eric Berkowitz uses flesh-and-blood cases—much flesh and even more blood—to evoke the entire sweep of Western sex law, from the savage impalement of an Ancient Mesopotamian adulteress to the imprisonment of Oscar Wilde in 1895 for “gross indecency.” The cast of this book is as varied as the forms taken by human desire itself: royal mistresses, gay charioteers, medieval transvestites, lonely goat-lovers, prostitutes of all stripes, London rent boys. Each of them had forbidden sex, and each was judged—and justice, as Berkowitz shows, rarely had much to do with it.

Dear John, I Love Jane: Women Write About Leaving Men for Women by Candace Walsh, Laura Andre and Lisa Diamond
This book is a timely, fiercely candid exploration of female sexuality and personal choice. The book is comprised of essays written by a broad spectrum of women, including a number of well-known writers and personalities. Their stories are sometimes funny, sometimes painful—but always achingly honest—accounts of leaving a man for a woman, and the consequences of making such a choice.

Batwoman: Elegy by Greg Rucka and J.H. Williams III
Batwoman battles a madwoman known only as Alice, inspired by Alice in Wonderland, who sees her life as a fairy tale and everyone around her as expendable extras! Batwoman must stop Alice from unleashing a toxic death cloud over all of Gotham City — but Alice has more up her sleeve than just poison, and Batwoman’s life will never ever be the same again.

A Queer and Pleasant Danger: A Memoir by Kate Bornstein
Scientologist, husband and father, tranny, sailor, slave, playwright, dyke, gender outlaw—these are just a few words which have defined Kate Bornstein during her extraordinary life. For the first time, it all comes together in A Queer and Pleasant Danger, Kate Bornstein’s stunningly original memoir that’s set to change lives and enrapture readers.

The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith
(W) This is the famous lesbian love story by Patricia Highsmith, written under the pseudonym Claire Morgan. The author became notorious due to the story’s latent lesbian content and happy ending, the latter having been unprecedented in homosexual fiction. Highsmith recalled that the novel was inspired by a mysterious woman she happened across in a shop and briefly stalked. Because of the happy ending (or at least an ending with the possibility of happiness) which defied the lesbian pulp formula and because of the unconventional characters that defied stereotypes about homosexuality, The Price of Salt was popular among lesbians in the 1950s.

Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin Review
Set in the 1950s Paris of American expatriates, liaisons, and violence, a young man finds himself caught between desire and conventional morality. With a sharp, probing imagination, James Baldwin’s now-classic narrative delves into the mystery of loving and creates a moving, highly controversial story of death and passion that reveals the unspoken complexities of the human heart.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth
(W) When Cameron Post’s parents die suddenly in a car crash, her shocking first thought is relief. Relief they’ll never know that, hours earlier, she had been kissing a girl. But that relief doesn’t last, and Cam is soon forced to move in with her conservative aunt Ruth and her well-intentioned but hopelessly old-fashioned grandmother. She knows that from this point on, her life will forever be different—especially after the arrival of a cowgirl.

The Fry Chronicles: An Autobiography by Stephen Fry
Stephen Fry arrived at Cambridge University as a convicted fraudster and thief, an addict, liar, fantasist, and failed suicide, convinced that any moment he would be sent away. Instead, he befriended bright young things like Emma Thompson and Hugh Laurie, and he emerged as one of the most promising comic talents in the world. This is the engrossing, hilarious, and utterly compelling story of how the Stephen the world knows (or thinks it knows) found his way.

In One Person: A Novel by John Irving
(W) A compelling novel of desire, secrecy, and sexual identity, In One Person is a story of unfulfilled love—tormented, funny, and affecting—and an impassioned embrace of our sexual differences. Billy, the bisexual narrator and main character, tells the tragicomic story (lasting more than half a century) of his life as a “sexual suspect.”

Huntress by Malinda Lo
Nature is out of balance in the human world. The sun hasn’t shone in years, and crops are failing. Worse yet, strange and hostile creatures have begun to appear. The people’s survival hangs in the balance. To solve the crisis, the oracle stones are cast, and Kaede and Taisin, two seventeen-year-old girls, are picked to go on a dangerous and unheard-of journey to Tanlili, the city of the Fairy Queen.

Flagrant Conduct: The Story of Lawrence v. Texas by Dale Carpenter
(W) No one could have predicted that the night of September 17, 1998, would be anything but routine in Houston, Texas. Even the call to police that a black man was “going crazy with a gun” was hardly unusual in this urban setting. Nobody could have imagined that the arrest of two men for a minor criminal offense would reverberate in American constitutional law, exposing a deep malignity in our judicial system and challenging the traditional conception of what makes a family. Indeed, when Harris County sheriff’s deputies entered the second-floor apartment, there was no gun. Instead, they reported that they had walked in on John Lawrence and Tyron Garner having sex in Lawrence’s bedroom.

Orlando: A Biography by Virginia Woolf
In her most exuberant, most fanciful novel, Woolf has created a character liberated from the restraints of time and sex. Born in the Elizabethan Age to wealth and position, Orlando is a young nobleman at the beginning of the story-and a modern woman three centuries later.

It’s Okay To Be Different by Todd Parr (Children’s Book)
This book cleverly delivers the important messages of acceptance, understanding, and confidence in an accessible, child-friendly format featuring Todd Parr’s trademark bold, bright colors and silly scenes. Targeted to young children first beginning to read, this book will inspire kids to celebrate their individuality through acceptance of others and self-confidence.

Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson
(W) This is a memoir about a life’s work to find happiness. It’s a book full of stories: about a girl locked out of her home, sitting on the doorstep all night; about a religious zealot disguised as a mother who has two sets of false teeth and a revolver in the dresser, waiting for Armageddon; about growing up in an north England industrial town now changed beyond recognition; about the Universe as Cosmic Dustbin.

This is a wonderful list of books that would contribute to my reading ideas for the rest of the year. (R) denotes books I have read.(W) denotes books I want to read. John Irving is high on my list since I have already had The History According to Grady Harp in my pile. Jeanette Winterson is another author I want to read this year. Flagrant Conduct is also in high priority.

7 Responses

  1. Oh, great list of books! I’ll have to save this and refer back to it🙂

  2. Wow, that’s quite a list! If I may add to it, Sister Outsider, a collection of essays and speeches by black lesbian feminist Audre Lorde, is fascinating and incredibly powerful.

  3. […] posted here: LGBT Books for Gay Pride « A Guy's Moleskine Notebook « Digital Public Library of America faces uncertainty over functions … […]

  4. Thank you for the list!

  5. Thanks for this list/summaries. I’m particularly excited about all the new life writing, especially Bornstein’s and Wojnarowicz’s.

  6. Nice. I’ve read a few of these, have a few in my TBR pile. You’re inspiring me to do my own post about LGBT books!

  7. Thank you so much for posting this! I just missed Pride in Queens (my brother lives there), and I’ve been wanting to read more LGBT lit. I read The Talented Mr. Ripley last week, and it was fantastic. The Price of Salt was next up on my list.

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