10 Great LGBT Summer Reads
BY Diane Anderson-Minshall
May 26 2014 4:09 AM ET
Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More by Janet Mock (Atria Books): There are parts of Janet Mock’s book that may surprise some women (how she uses the word “fish” is one), but make no mistake, this is a classic feminist coming-of-age story that’s worthy of your mantel. A transgender journalist and advocate, Mock has become a media fixture in recent months. But her memoir recounts a life that is both hardscrabble and hard-fought, making for a must-read book that is at turns riveting and wonderfully emotionally nuanced. (And it’s a much quicker read than that Burroughs biography.) More information here.
Best Bi Short Stories, edited by Sheela Lambert (Circlet Press):
The first literary anthology that makes visible bisexual characters and lives, Best Bi Short Stories offers up a roster of authors you might identify with other genres, including Katherine Forrest, Jane Rule, and Ann Herendeen. As with all anthologies, the authors range in their literary skills but most pieces stand up to the literary merit and some, like Jan Steckel’s “Alex the Dragon” and “Naked in the World” by Geer Austin, offer unexpected nuance. Is it tongue-in-cheek stereotyping if we say this book offers “something for everyone?” More information here.
Playing by the Book by S. Chris Shirley (Magnus Books):
Jake Powell is a 17-year-old high school newspaper editor and the son of a preacher man at home in Alabama, but when he lands a spot at Columbia University's prestigious summer journalism program, his New York City dreams become real. What New York does for Jake, of course, is to bring all his feelings to the surface, including his burgeoning attraction to a handsome classmate. In his debut novel, Shirley — president of the Lambda Literary Foundation— offers up a optimistic but not overly romanticized look at youth, becoming oneself, and the discomfort and joy that comes from finding out who you want to be in the world, whether your parents like it or not. More information here.
Chopper! Chopper! Poetry From Bordered Lives by Verónica Reyes (Arktoi Books/Red Hen Press):
Written by a self-described Chicana jota (dyke) poet from East Los Angeles, the poems in Chopper! Chopper! takes a wonderful look at the lives and liberties of Mexican-American immigrants, even the queer ones, adding colorful backdrop and lilting, humorous, heartrending words to describe life in the barrio, reinventing prose poetry — or rather inventing what the author calls “marimacha poetry.” More information here.