Tag Archives: pride month

Celebrating Trans and Non-Binary Speculative Fiction Authors for LGBTQ Pride Month

9 Jun

We’ve read some great Speculative Fiction works as part of our Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Discussion Group by Trans and Non-Binary (sometimes you may also see Non-Binary individuals referred to as enby because of the letters n and b) authors recently, which had been recommended by group members, and I thought Pride Month would be a perfect time to share them with our larger library community. You can borrow their books from the Hoboken Public Library as print or ebooks from eLibraryNJ or Hoopla. Hopefully their success will be an example for other individuals who have not yet felt comfortable acknowledging their own identities, and their work will stand as compassionate depictions of diversity for all readers.

Annalee Newitz
Author of: The Future of Another Timeline
I had written a previous blog about Robots that included Newitz’s first novel Autonomous, which I enjoyed a lot, but I think I liked their 2019 novel, The Future of Another Timeline even more.  We read it for our November 2020 Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Discussion.  In the novel two groups of time travelers, use time machines that seemed to have always excited in certain geological formations, try and work against each other to make small changes that could have big consequences in the future.  A chunk of the action takes place in the grunge scene of the 90’s that had me nostalgic for my own young adult years.  My favorite scenes, however, were those set during the time of the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, which Newitz brought vividly to life.  I appreciated that they included information at the end of the novel about their real life inspiration for historic characters and the historic events that inspired them.  Newitz identifies as being non-binary (Newitz started using they pronouns in 2019) and there is a touching side story about a couple, one of whom is trans and is purposefully removed at one point from the timeline due to her identity.  There are moments of violence which could be triggering to some, but on the whole I’d recommend the book especially to those looking for science fiction with a strong feminist and/or queer perspective. Both their books are available from elibraryNJ (Hoboken patrons have exclusive access when logging in with their barcodes).

Rin Chupeco
Author of: The Bone Witch
Rin Chupeco identifies as being pansexual and non-binary.  They are of Chinese, Malay, Thai, and Filipino descent, but currently live in and grew up in the Philippines.  We read their book Bone Witch for our July 2020 Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Discussion.  Bone Witch is the first in a YA trilogy followed by The Heart Forger, and Shadowglass.  The group enjoyed the story of Tea who comes from a family of witches, but whose talent for necromancy while making her the most powerful also ostracizes her from those she loves.  Several members remarked that it had elements of Memoirs of a Geisha, but beyond those references there is a larger detailed world populated by interestingly nuanced cultures and traditions in this epic fantasy.  One of the side characters, perhaps my favorite in the book, was depicted as possibly being trans.  In a recent social media post, Chupeco mentioned that they plans to have a focus on nonbinary characters as protagonists in their fiction that they are currently writing. You can borrow the Bone Witch series from Hoopla.

Charlie Jane Anders
Author of: All the Birds in The Sky
Charlie Jane Anders was founder and co-editor, with Annalee Newitz, of the science fiction blog io9 and currently the partners have a podcast, Our Opinions are Correct.  We read All the Birds in The Sky for last month’s book discussion.  It definitely ranks as one of my favorites we have read as part of our book discussion group and several of the other members also agreed.  It merges science fiction and fantasy, with Laurence, a robotics genius, and Patricia, a witch, who become friends as outcasts in middle school only to be torn apart and then meet again as adults.  In an interview with the Huffington Post, Anders said, ““The feeling of alienation and of difference is something that is threaded throughout speculative fiction. My experiences as a trans person always come back in my writing,” particularly “the desperate struggle to claim your identity … an identity that people either don’t understand or are hostile to.”  Both Patricia and Laurence want to save the world, but what that looks like for magic and what that looks like for science are two very different things.  Can two such diverse people come together?  I really enjoyed the humor and creativity in the work.  I look forward to reading more works by Anders in the future (her new YA novel Victories Greater Than Death came out in April). You can borrow All the Birds in the Sky from eLibraryNJ (Hoboken patrons have exclusive access when logging in with their barcodes).

Have a favorite book with a positive depiction of a Trans or Non-Binary character, or a favorite author to read for LGBTQ Pride Month?  Share them in our comment section!

If you are interested in our Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Discussion Group you can email hplwriters@gmail.com for more information and to be added to our mailing lists. We read works by a diverse group of authors, everything from classics of early Science Fiction like Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea to contemporary Urban Fantasy like Vivian Shaw’s Strange Practice. You can read some of our past book club blog posts here.

Written by:
Aimee Harris
Head of Information and Digital Services

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

price-of-salt
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

rubyfruit-jungle

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

dykes-watch-out
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!

in-the-life.pngImage source

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

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