The Challenge That Dare Not Speak Its Name (and why I love my library)
First, I love my library because Chimimanda Ngozi Adichie’s new book, The Thing Around Your Neck came out on June 16, or Tuesday. I had already put it on hold while it was still in the ‘to be acquired stage.’ It was available for me to pick up on June 18, or Thursday. How amazing is that for turn-around time?! I’m off today to pick it up (along with, um, a few other books). Now on to the challenge…
Isn’t that the best name for a challenge ever? :) Amanda of Zen Leaf is challenging us to read six books that have either Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgendered (GLBT) themes or are written by GLBT authors. We have from July 1st to December 31st. Y’all know I can never resist the temptation to make a long book list, so I’ll be reading at least six from the following pool: (mainly fiction, but a few nonfiction, and quite a lot of YA)
- Maurice by E.M. Forster: Matt of A Guy’s Moleskin Notebook recommends this classic as a great example of gay lit. I happen to have it on my shelves, in an omnibus with A Room with a View and Howard’s End. I loved the first two, so I’m betting I’ll love this one too.
- The Claudine Novels by Colette : I love Colette! And Claudine has both women and men as lovers, so it fits perfectly with this challenge. :)
- The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde: you didn’t really think I could make a list without Wilde?! I adore him, but I’ve never gotten around to reading his seminal novel. Time to fix that!
- Front Runner by Patricia Nell Warren: anotherMatt recommendation, this focuses on an Olympic athlete and coach. I don’t think I’ve ever read a sports book (lol), so this would be a definite change for me.
- Landing by Emma Donoghue: this sounds kind of like lesbian chick lit. I don’t read a lot of chick lit, but the premise (a flight attendant and airline passenger falling in love) is too cool to ignore. And the cover is just precious!
- Affinity by Sarah Waters: I adored Waters’ debut novel Tipping the Velvet when I read it earlier this year, so I’m happy she’s a lesbian author and I can include her second novel on this list!
- Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin: someone recommended this series of vignettes set in San Francisco to me, although I can’t remember who. Anyway, it centers around the residents of one apartment house.
- The Danish Girl by David Ebershoff: a novel based on the real-life relationship of transgendered Danish painter and his artist wife.
- The House You Pass on the Way by Jacqueline Woodson: I just read my first Woodson earlier this year (on the recommendation of Black-Eyed Susan who also recommended this and the next three titles) and loved it. In this YA novel, isolated Staggerlee finds a friend in her adopted cousin, who’s been sent to live with them in order to stop liking girls.
- From the Notebooks of Melanin Sun by Jacqueline Woodson: another Woodson YA novel, in which Melanin must deal with his mother’s announcement that she’s in love with a woman.
- Down to the Bone by Mayra Lazara Dole: in this YA novel, a Cuban teen must deal with the consequences of coming out as a lesbian, including being kicked out of Catholic school and her home.
- Am I Blue? ed. by Marion Dane Bauer: a collection of YA short stories dealing with gay and lesbian themes.
- Luna by Julie Anne Peters: this YA novel has a beautiful cover! It’s told from the perspective of a teenage girl whose brother is becoming more and more open about his transgendered state.
- My Heartbeat by Garret Freymann-Weyr: a YA novel about a freshman girl who accidently ruins the relationship between her older brother and his best friend by asking if they’re a couple.
- Lucky by Eddie De Oliveira: Memory kindly recommended this YA novel is about a British teen who, his first summer in college, realises he’s bisexual.
- Normal by Amy Bloom: a nonfiction book summed up by its subtitle “Transsexual CEOs, Crossdressing Cops, and Hermaphrodites with Attitude.”
- I’m Looking Through You by Jennifer Finney Boylan: at first I was going to put her first memoir, She’s Not There, about being raised a boy and becoming a woman on this list. But her second memoir is not only about feeling transgendered as a child, but living in a haunted house!!! I have a *thing* for ghosts (and time travel) so this one immediately became top choice.
- Whipping Girl by Jila Serano: another book summed up by its subtitle “A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity.” I read a lot of feminist books back in March and April, and I loved them, so I couldn’t resist putting this on the list. :D
For those keeping count, that’s five books each on gay, lesbian, and transgendered themes (I swear I didn’t plan that!), one book that covers everything, and only one (two now! Thanks Memory!) on bisexual themes. I’m very new to this genre, so if anyone has any recommendations (especially for bisexual books), please share! Oh, and if you’re looking for suggestions, I’ve read two great memoirs this year: Fun Home by Alison Bechdel (lesbian) and Swish by Joel Derfner (gay man).
(P.S.: Have you asked a question to help me write a review yet? I’ll love you forever if you do! And today’s your last chance.)