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

What is Storytelling and What Makes a Good Storyteller?: My Name is Red

20 Jun

MyNameisRed

There’s something so refreshing about perspective. It nods to the juxtaposition between one’s heart and mind: both the reader’s and the writer’s. This is one of the many reason why I find My Name is Red so beautifully fascinating – especially since in its original form it was not written in English.

My Name Is Red is a 1998 Turkish novel by Orhan Pamuk which was translated into English in 2001. You can borrow My Name is Red from BCCLS libraries in English or Korean translations.  It is also available as an unabridged audiobook on CD.  You can check it out as an ebook or a digital audiobook from eBCCLS.

Whilst the “main” layer of Pamuk’s novel leans toward a genre of mystery, it also seamlessly blends romance and philosophical puzzles, causing one to think twice about the true narration within each chapter. The main characters in the novel are miniaturists in the Ottoman Empire, one of whom is murdered in the first chapter. In order to figure out whom is the killer, each chapter of the novel has a different narrator, giving way a different perspective and truth that gets you closer to finding the murderer. Since each chapter leads the way to a deeper and more detailed truth, there are thematic and chronological connections between chapters and because of this, unexpected voices are used. It is these chapters told by different voices, character’s, and “things” that nod to such a question that goes deeper than mind and heart: “what is a storyteller?” We are immediately thrown into a new wave of storytelling when the table of contents reveals each narrator within this novel starting from the corpse of the murdered, to a coin, to then Satan, and curiously even the color red.

The figure of the storyteller and the art of storytelling in My Name Is Red by Orhan Pamuk opens up new ground to the reality that is a storyteller – which also sparks this question “can a color tell a story?” Allowing you to look at things through a more colorful light, it both challenges and excites the reader to experiment with the connection one would have with the narrator.

The book plays with this idea of voice, but every voice is invented. Referencing the title, we are introduced to Red as an actual chapter and narrator in the book as it brags “The truth is I can be found everywhere”. Suggesting a small truth in this story within a story within a story, as this color can be seen everywhere. It is this impossible voice that sparked quite a kindred reaction within me. Not only is red my favorite color, it also gave me this glimpse into the child’s wonder we are initially born with. A creativity that has no bounds – an impossible voice.

Even the thought of being narrated by a color and being introduced as “My Name Is Red” is mind boggling and makes me giggle from the pure genius of the writer. Why can’t colors be storytellers? Its hues are found everywhere and probably know more about what is the truth than any living organism.

So, even though the mystery is solved in the end, it’s the colorful words and creative ways of storytelling that made this one of the most memorable books I have ever read. I am personally not a huge fan of mystery novels, but this particular one is deserving of a chance even for nonmystery fans. The way it was written and how each chapter is broken down, beautifully expands your mind and allows you to think twice about your own opinions.

If you enjoy My Name is Red you can check out several of Pamuk’s other works from the Hoboken Public Library including The Red-Haired Woman, Silent House, and The Museum of Innocence.

Written By:
Sherissa Hernandez
Adult Programming Assistant

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