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Celebrate Pride Month!: A Selection of LGBTQ+ Books to Checkout from HPL

27 Jun

The pride of the LGBTQ+ community can be seen shining bright all year long and all summer long it shines even brighter. From festivals to parades to special events, there are so many different ways to celebrate. We wanted to take the time to highlight some amazing books that are either written by LGBTQ+ authors and/or hold strong LGBTQ+ characters. Check them out the next time you pass by The Hoboken Public Library.

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda (Y.A. Fiction)
By: Becky Albertalli
SimonHomosapiensAgenda
In Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met. Incredibly funny and poignant, this twenty-first-century coming-of-age, coming out story—wrapped in a geek romance—is a knockout of a debut novel by Becky Albertalli.

Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches (Essays)
By: Audre Lorde
Sister Outsider
In Sister Outsider, a charged collection of fifteen essays and speeches, Lorde takes on sexism, racism, ageism, homophobia, and class, and propounds social difference as a vehicle for action and change. Her prose is incisive, unflinching, and lyrical, reflecting struggle but ultimately offering messages of hope. This commemorative edition includes a new foreword by Lorde-scholar and poet Cheryl Clarke, who celebrates the ways in which Lorde’s philosophies resonate more than twenty years after they were first published.

Love! Valour! Compassion! (Play)
By: Terrence McNally
Love, Valour, Compassion
In Love! Valour! Compassion!, eight gay men spend holiday weekends contemplating relationships, AIDS and mortality. McNally has written numerous successful plays, many of which deal with homosexuality, and touch on AIDS. McNally has had major contributions to the queer theatre community and theater itself.

The Art of Being Normal (Y.A. Fiction)
By: Lisa Williamson
Art of Being Normal
The Art of Being Normal features two boys with two secrets.  David Piper has always been an outsider. His parents think he’s gay. The school bully thinks he’s a freak. Only his two best friends know the real truth – David wants to be a girl.   On the first day at his new school Leo Denton has one goal – to be invisible. Attracting the attention of the most beautiful girl in year eleven is definitely not part of that plan.  When Leo stands up for David in a fight, an unlikely friendship forms. But things are about to get messy; because at Eden Park School secrets have a funny habit of not staying secret for long.

50 Queers that Changed the World: A Celebration of LGBTQ Icons (Biography)
By: Dan Jones and Michele Rosenthal
50queers
LGBT people are some of the coolest in history – Freddie Mercury, Divine, Virginia Woolf, Marlene Dietrich, Andy Warhol… the list goes on. Queer subculture has had an enormous impact on style, music, science, art and literature. From Oscar Wilde, who defended his homosexual relationships in court, to RuPaul acting as an ambassador for drag on network television, queer people have fought to express their identities and make a difference. This book celebrates the lives, work, and unique perspectives of the icons who changed the world. Featuring beautifully illustrated portraits and profiles, 50 Queers Who Changed the World is a tribute to some of the most inspirational people of all time.

You can get more great LGBTQ+ books suggestions in some of our previous posts including LGB Memoirs, Lesbian Classics, LGBTQ Favorites, and LGBTQ ebooks.

Written by:
Angelica Cabrera
Library Outreach Assistant

Reading with the Hoboken Public Library Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Club: Revelation Space, Kindred, The Martian Chronicles, When Gravity Fails, and Inferno

7 Jun

The first five months of 2017 have seemed to fly by at rocket speed.  I wanted to take a moment to take a quick look back at the books we have read so far as part of the Hoboken Public Library’s Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Discussion Group. (Click here to read more about this book club.)  The group meets one Monday each month to discuss a Science Fiction or Fantasy book picked by group members.  Before the book discussion we also typically watch either a film adaptation or a movie in a similar genre to the work being read.  On June 19 at 6 PM we will be discussing the Space Epic Leviathan Awakes by James S. A. Corey.  To join our mailing list email hplwriters AT gmail DOT com.

Revelation Space, by Alastair Reynolds

revelation-space
The group started 2017 reading, Welsh author, Alastair Reynold’s Space Opera Revelation Space. Some of the group found it a bit confusing at first how there were several different plots with different characters set during different time periods, in different places. However, all these diverse plots come together in the end for a satisfying read.  Reynolds has a background in astronomy which he used to infuse the novel with realism. I was particularly drawn to his depiction of the one character who was an xenoarchaeologist who was studying an extinct species who had evolved from bird like creatures. Revelation Space answers the question of why humans seem to be alone in the universe. The novel became the first in the Revelation Space series.

Kindred, by Octavia Butler

kindred.jpg
For African American History Month, we read Octavia E. Butler’s time travel classic Kindred. In Kindred, Dana, a modern black women in the 1970s who dreams of becoming a writer, is suddenly pulled back in time where she must save from drowning the white child of a plantation owner. She is returned to her own time, but several times is pulled back again each time to save Rufus who she learns is one of her ancestors. Kindred looks at the complex legacy of slavery that continues to be felt in our contemporary world. Many of Butler’s other novels also deal with issues of race and gender in unique and illuminating ways which will appeal to even those who are not traditionally fans of the Science Fiction and Fantasy genre.

The Martian Chronicles, by Ray Bradbury

martian-chronicles.jpg
The Martian Chronicles is one of Ray Bradbury’s most well-known works. Bradbury combined several short stories along with new materials to chronicle the history of Mars from the first exploration by humans. Some of the group would have preferred to see more of the story centered on the original Martian inhabitants of the novel which are inventively described by Bradbury, however, Bradbury’s beautiful writing style was praised. The group felt the book was fast paced though did feel more like a series of short stories that it started as rather than a cohesive novel.

When Gravity Fails, by George Alec Effinger

when-gravity-fails
Very often cyberpunk novels feel very dated and more reflective of the 1980s than a vision of a future when read today. Effinger’s When Gravity Fails, though published in 1987, the group felt was much more contemporary than other’s in the genre. The novel will appeal to fans of noir mysteries as well as science fiction. When Gravity Fails is set in the Budayeen, a technologically advanced urban ghetto in the Middle East. People can plug in “daddies” to gain new skills like speaking a foreign language and “moddies” to turn themselves into someone else entirely. Many of the characters including the main character’s girlfriend are transgendered. One character has even had surgery to appear as a different race from the one she was born as. This provided interesting topics about identity and responsibility in an increasing technological age. Effinger wrote two other books in the series and started work on his fourth before his death, which a portion of can be read in the short story collection Budayeen Nights.

Inferno, by Jerry Pournelle and Larry Niven

inferno.jpg
For May’s discussion, the group read Inferno, a 1976 retelling of Dante’s version from Jerry Pournelle and Larry Niven.  In this version a science fiction writer, Allen Carpenter, must make his way through the many circles of Hell as he tries to escape.  Carpenter explores his own beliefs and examines his behavior during his life during his journey.  Along the way he encounters some famous figures from history such as Jesse James, Vlad Tepes, and with some dark humor Kurt Vonnegut’s tomb.  Most of the group found the book to be a quick enjoyable read.  The group had read two of Niven’s science fiction works, Ringworld and Protector previously so it was interesting to see a work of fantasy by him and Pournelle.  A sequel to Inferno, Escape from Hell, was published several decades later in 2009.

-Written by Aimee Harris, Head of Reference

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