Tag Archives: lgbtq

Lesbian Classics to Check Out for this Year’s LGBTQ Pride Month

31 May

June is LGBTQ Pride Month!  For this year I decided to celebrate with three classics of lesbian literature, each of which capture a moment in queer history.

The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith

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Patricia Highsmith is probably best known for Strangers on a Train and other suspenseful thrillers, but her 1952 lesbian romance novel The Price of Salt (originally written under the pseudonym Claire Morgan) is considered a classic of the genre and is notable for having a much happier ending than many of the novels with LGBT characters had at the time.  It is set in this area, in both New York City and New Jersey.  It was later retitled Carol which was also the title given to the 2015 movie adaption staring Rooney Mara as the bored stage designer who falls for a suburban housewife portrayed by Cate Blanchett.  You can borrow an eBook or a streaming audio copy of the book from Hoopla. You can also borrow a Spanish language translation from BCCLS libraries.

Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown

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Image via Goodreads

Cozy Mystery lovers likely know Rita Mae Brown as the New York Times bestselling author of the Mrs. Murphy mystery series which she “co-writes” with her cat, Sneaky Pie Brown.  Rubyfruit Jungle is Rita Mae Brown’s 1973 novelization of her own coming of age story of as a lesbian writer and chronicles the journey of Molly from her childhood in small town Florida to New York City.  In 2015 Brown received the Golden Crown Lee Lynch Classic Book Award for Rubyfruit Jungle.  Created in 2004, Golden Crown recognizes and promotes lesbian literature.

DTWOF

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DTWOF or Dykes to Watch Out For was Alison Bechdel’s comic strips published between 1983 and 2008.  You can checkout compilations at BCCLS libraries.  The women portrayed are a diverse group and the cartoon manages to merge politics and the drama of their lives in an engaging and often funny way.  Alison Bechdel’s graphic memoir, Fun Home: A Family Tragic Comic, about her father’s death and her exploration of her own sexuality was adapted into a Tony Awarding winning Broadway Musical (you can borrow the cast recording on CD).

You can read about two of my favorite authors, Jeanette Winterson and Sarah Waters who both have written landmarks in lesbian literature in a previous Pride Month post.

Celebrate LGBTQ History at the Hoboken Public Library!

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Join us for our special Pride Month event on Thursday June 15 at 7 PM!  You can learn about Hidden Heroes of the Gay American Experience and how they made profound contributions to arts, history and culture.  John Catania and Charles Ignacio, producers of In the Life (America’s first and longest running LGBT national TV newsmagazine) take you on an entertaining and provocative journey into the past and explain how these trailblazers’ efforts continue to reverberate to the present and beyond.

-Written by Aimee Harris, Head of Reference

HPL Patrons Can Borrow These LGBTQ Fiction Ebooks Right Now!

22 Mar

At the end of February the miniseries When We Rise premiered, which chronicled the evolution and trials of the LGBT Civil Rights movement.  It is poignant to think back on all that has occurred in the last few decades.  I can remember when it was groundbreaking that Ellen came out back in the 90’s; fast forward to today when there are gay characters in many of shows I watch.  Recently I read three ebooks set during different time periods and I was struck by how the lives of different characters varied with the time of the books’ settings.  Two of these ebooks you can click over and borrow right now on Hoopla Digital if you are a HPL or other BCCLS library card holder and another is available on the tablets and ereaders for loan to Hoboken Resident Library Card Holders.

The Death of a Much-Travelled Woman and Other Adventures with Cassandra Reilly by Barbara Wilson

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The Death of a Much-Travelled Woman is the third in Wilson’s Cassandra Reilly series, which were written and set in the 1990’s.  Cassandra is a translator of Spanish Fiction and her work brings her to many different locations around the world.  Unlike the other three books in the collection, which are novels, this is a collection of short stories.  Wilson often weaves issues of the day into her fiction and it frequently has a feminist perspective, which was refreshing since many of the cozy mysteries I read seem to exist in a reality outside of our contemporary issues.  Cassandra travels all over the world in the stories including Mexico, the English Moors, and Iceland.  My favorites of the stories are one that is set in Maui which revolves around artwork Georgia O’Keefe created while visiting the island, and the other is the last story in the collection which has a very meta twist.  The first Cassandra Reilly novel Gaudi Afternoon was adapted into a movie by the same name starring Judy Davis, Marcia Gay Harden, Lili Taylor, and Juliette Lewis; it can be borrowed from BCCLS libraries.  Barbara Wilson is the pen name of Barbara Sjoholm, who besides translating works in Norwegian and Danish has also written a memoir and several travel books.

Looking for Group by Alexis Hall

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You may remember I previously wrote about Alexis Hall’s terrific Kate Kane mystery series which had been previously available on Hoopla.  Unlike that series which was in the paranormal mystery genre, Looking for Group would be best described as Contemporary New Adult Fiction.  In the story Drew, a college student in England, begins playing an online game (which Hall admits is an homage to World of Warcraft) with a new group of players and feels drawn to one of them who lives nearby.  When he learns that Kit is male and not female like he expected it causes him to do some soul searching about his attraction, but in a way which reflects the fluidity that sexuality is often accepted with today.  The novel also deals with the very modern issue of friends that you spend time with in person versus online friends and the validity of both.  One of my husband’s friends from high school met his girlfriend of 10 years playing World of Warcraft but people who don’t participate in online gaming or take part in online communities can often not understand the dynamics so I liked seeing Hall handled this situation in fiction.  Even being married to a gamer, I found some of the gaming jargon a little confusing at first, but there is a glossary at the back of the story you can jump to if you need help.

Romancing the Inventor: A Supernatural Society Novella by Gail Carriger

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Image via Amazon

I am a huge fan of Carriger’s work and have written about some of her novels in previous posts.  Romancing the Inventor is part of a series of standalone LGBTQ romance novellas that she is self-publishing that are set in the same Steampunk universe as the Parasol Protectorate and Finishing School series.  The first of these, Romancing the Inventor features fan favorite cross dressing inventor Genevieve Lefoux.  However the protagonist in the novel is not Genevieve, but her love interest Imogene who leaves her home to become a maid for a household of vampires, the only place Imogene believes her lesbianism might be accepted.  Too often Steampunk takes the trappings of the Victorian era like corsets and airships but has the social milieu be that of our own era.  Part of what I enjoyed about this work was that despite the inclusion of vampires and werewolves it looked at some of the class issues that were experienced during that time in history in a way that seemed more compelling and authentic than other Steampunk fiction.  Hoboken resident library card holders can check out the story on one of our ereaders or tablets we have to lend at the reference desk.  If you have never experienced an ebook before this a great opportunity to check out some different styles of ereaders and to see if the device is something you’d be interested in investing in.

Read any great LGBTQ fiction recently?  Let us know in the comment section.

-Written by Aimee Harris, Head of Reference

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