So many books, so little reading time. We've highlighted—some with three-word reviews—over 150 books to add to your reading list. From landing a job to having better sex to a land of magical unicorns (seriously), there's something for everyone on this bookshelf.
Literature and Fiction
From the New York Times best-selling lesbian author of Island of Little Girls comes this chilling novel about profoundly human post-college friends caught up in circumstances both of their making and way beyond their control. McMahon’s latest is surely her best. It’s gripping and scary in so many ways.
This is the first in a new series by the author of Lambda award-winning Lillian Bird mysteries. Rita is a single mom and struggling actress with no illusions about her craving for attention. A resourceful woman, Rita takes a job with a high profile lawyer coaching a client in a murder trial, and slowly uncovers the truth about the crime.
Malone’s debut novel garnered blurbs by Val McDermid, Lucy Jane Bledsoe and Ellen Hart. It follows the adventures of a Latin teaching surfer dyke who retreats from the world only to discover love.
Set in Texas during the summer of 1989, this novel revolves around the coming out of three women and the unexpected connections that draws them together.
This historical novel based in Europe in the 15th and 16th century, dramatizes one woman’s fight to retain medical knowledge during the days of witch burnings.
Loving the Difficult, Jane Rule
This final collection of essays from the Canadian lesbian literary pioneer and acclaimed author of seven novels was compiled the year before her recent death. A must-read for lit fans and activists alike, Loving offers an easy backdrop to Rule’s life, doing so with both humor and barely reined contempt and a generous spirit that characterized her life and her writing.
In his latest, Letter from Point Clear, acclaimed novelist McFarland uses comic showdowns between a Bible Belt preacher and New England skeptics—one of whom happens to be a gay man the preacher is bent on ‘saving’—to examine modern families, gay marriage, and the meaning of faith. While the preacher is busy trying to rescue his wife’s gay brother, her siblings are trying to save her from the preacher’s clutches.
Lambda Award finalist Sycamore offers up a thrilling socio-politically transgressive, gender bending queer novel about life in San Francisco. From bad sex to vegan restaurants to NPR and tweaking buddies, Sycamore’s frenetic pace and unabashed solipsism is most refreshing.
Though Halston’s scene setting often feels rudimentary, she writes her main character Charlie, a self-branded “black sheep,” with honesty. Charlie struggles as a Goth teen trying to explore sex and love with a dickhead tattoo artist for a boyfriend. Through fragmented flashes of time she matures—opening her own bookstore and exploring the wet, wild world of sleeping with women. Strong female bonds, witty realistic dialogue and an acute sense of what it’s like to be young today make A Girl Named Charlie Lester a worthwhile read.
Reprint of debut novel about a woman lost in the fantasy of what life will be like when she publishes her book that will be optioned by Spielberg and become a best-selling film.
Kurt Smith just can’t seem to get the hell out of his head. Smith’s everyman anxieties stretch into dramatic, depressive scenes that highlight the irony and emptiness of the New York indie-art world. As an obsession with his ex Billy begins to distort reality, he seems willing to do anything to “feel again.” But murder? Mastbaum keeps us guessing.
This debut novel offers up a rather unusual historical romance in which wealthy scion Andrew Carrington is forced by his family to take a bride, even though he clearly prefers the company of men. So he goes into an arrangement with a feisty, self-educated romance novelist Phyllida, falls for shrewd and hunky Matthew, and in sort of a Jane Austen-esque romance goes 21st century, he gets blackmailed and must figure out what to do. In the end—spoiler alert—he takes a path most unbecoming a man in 1812 London, and indeed, most modern even in 2009, and one in which even our heroine Phyllida is happy.
While the women around 15-year old Ellie are fraying from the pressures of Orthodox Judiasm—her mother needing more self-expression, her older sister planning an escape—Ellie herself is faced with a crisis of faith after she falls for her neighbor Lindsay over summer break. When the duo are reunited, their relationship turns sexual—in prose that’s realistic for hormone-raging teens but never overly graphic—and soon Ellie is left trying to reconcile her emerging sexuality with a faith that condemns it. But just as Ellie grapples with whether there’s a way to be both Jewish and gay, her family offers alternatives that allow her to respect God and herself. This is a rare young adult novel—well-written, moving but never emotionally wrought—in which even the adults (believer or not) can find themselves easily on the pages.
A story of love, friendship and laying ghosts to rest, by award winning author Culpepper.
A few pages into Egloff’s debut novel and you’ll be singing “Ain’t gonna go to rehab, I say no, no, no.” That’s because her protagonist, Claire, is a two-timing, twelve-stepping film geek who has sworn to stay sober, stay away from her ex and get into film school. A brief affair with her prof’s wife probably blew the latter and somehow she ends up volunteering for Sister Hilary at the community center and bada bing, in grand Claire fashion, she’s got the hots for the nun. Perfectly lesbian indeed.
Professional Advice and Travel
In this second edition, subtitled, “Or how to avoid living in your parents’ basement,” the author argues that virtually any life-goal can be reached from virtually any starting point. The importance is doing the plan as early as possible so you can hit the ground running—either after college or the minute you get canned. Some helpful tips include how to prove you have skills that don’t show up on transcripts, how to get experience if you can’t get a job and, for anyone who isn’t a coed, how to hit restart after you’re stuck in a dead end job.
One Year to an Organized Work Life, Regina Leeds (Lifelong Books)
Whether you’re juggling multiple jobs or one big chaotic one, organization is critical, and Leeds best-selling guidebook is a handy week-by-week guide to eliminate office stress for good. The author recognizes that in today’s world the workplace often becomes our second home —and is equally messy. The tasks help readers to learn how to get out from under the crush of paperwork, take back your space, pack for business travel, and even how to ask for a raise (though this may or not be the best time to do that latter thing).
With all the “best of” out there it’s nice to find an anthology that doesn’t overstate it’s reach. In this collection established and emerging lesbian travel writers provide personal stories of adventure and exploration. Authors include Lucy Jane Bledsoe and Leslea Newman.
A first of its kind guidebook devoted to wheelchair-accessible destinations, lodgings and recreational opportunities penned by author of Barrier-Free Travel.
Health, Mind and Body
About 70,000 young adults (in their 20s and 30s) are diagnosed with cancer in the US every year. Survivor Rosenthal spoke with 25 others across the country who share their experiences and offer advice on surviving college, lowered sex drives, intermittent employment, unreliable insurance, having children and facing end of life issues.
Writing about her 23-year affair with the bottle, novelist and Time Out’s sex columnist Clyde also examines why women drink, provides advice on how to stop and offers numerous lists including 11 excuses and 12 benefits of giving up alcohol for good.
How-to book teaches techniques for manipulating and massaging feet to relieve stress and physical illness. Learn to treat heavy periods, infertility, pain, acne and osteoporosis.
At first it may seem counter intuitive to take medical advice from someone like Dr. G who works with stiffs for a living, but she’s learned a lot about what kills people as a medical examiner and she shares that knowledge with humor.
Self-help guide assists survivors of childhood sexual abuse to understand the impact that experience has on their adult lives and consider therapeutic assistance of a mental health professional. The books helps survivors make informed choices about such treatment.
This pocket sized book demonstrates how to use massage techniques on feet to relieve issues throughout the body.
Lesbian social worker Anderson explores the need to connect with the Divine—the ultimate destination where all our journeys end. She provides a blueprint for how connections with the natural world and the creative spirit can heal emotional wounds.
This multilayered critique reveals how the World Bank encourages gender norms through its policies, and illustrates how financial institutions play significant roles in global enforcement of gender and familial expectations.
In this follow up to their book The Myth of Monogamy (in which they demonstrated how rare monogamy is in nature), this husband (an evolutionary biologist) and wife (psychiatrist) team up to examine how biology promotes monogamy in some species.
Though this book is more slender than you’d expect from the names on the cover—contributors range from musician Natasha Bedingfield to Olympic gold medalist Julie Foundy—but it’s a lovely gift for a younger woman and several pieces offer little tidbits that will make you nod, or cringe, in recognition. You’ll enjoy Jessica Alba’s “adults aren’t always right” to Sonya Kitchell’s very wise essay, with this adage: “What you don’t have will allow you to become something that would have been impossible.” Best yet, a one-pager from queer comic artist Ariel Shrag on believing in her dreams.
Cooking, Food and Cocktail Recipes
Finally! Drink recipes for the non drinkers—oh, yeah, and pregnant women. 75 cocktails featuring fresh juices.
Want reasons to stop consuming meat, eggs and milk? Read this book. Hatkoff combines latest scientific and psychological research to demonstrate that farm animals have rich social lives, a range of emotions and problem solving capacities.
Joy explores carnism, a belief system that selects certain animals as meat and is supported by social and psychological mechanisms that can be understood and controlled by consumers.
After award-winning investigative reporter Bourette went undercover in a slaughterhouse, she became a kinder gentler carnivore. As well as sharing her first hand experiences, Bourette examines the history of vegetarians and organized attacks on those who wouldn’t eat meat (citing the Crusades, Inquisition and 60s counterculture).
Food activist Richardson demonstrates how sustainable agriculture offers the only solution to America’s food crisis.
Lesbian author of the acclaimed memoir Hit by a Farm, Friend shows it is possible to be healthy and human carnivores, and provides the resources consumers need to make the best choices.
Responding to the pending food crisis, as well as the current obesity epidemic, the authors argue that the solution lies in backyards and neighborhood plots where we can grow our own sustainable foods.
Finally a book that doesn’t condemn us for eating ourselves happy, but actually provides us the recipes for doing so! Offering such delectables as Not Even a Total Loser Would Sleep with You Oatmeal Cookies and You Got Drunk and Called Your Friend A Slut Cheeseburger Soup.
The tantalizing recipes in this book will have die-hard carnivores turning vegan before breakfast.
You don’t have to be one of the mere five percent of vegetarians in the world to want to reduce your meat consumption, whether it’s for your health or for the planet’s. That’s where Almost Meatless comes in. In it, meat is almost nearly always an accompaniment (rather than a centerpiece) of each recipe. And nearly every recipe looks delicious, from remade American classics (turkey BLT with chipotle avocado) to international cuisine (sweet potato chorizo mole). Both authors know how to keep meat eaters happy with fresh recipes that are simple, too, like the fish tacos (which work excellently in reality).
This easy-to-read manual offers up a 28-day detox program using only raw or living foods (which are those that have been soaked, sprouted or fermented) to cleanse the body of toxins and offer healing nourishment. What’s even better is that even if you aren’t planning to detox—though Kyssa makes a strong argument for it—is that the author offers up 135 recipes that are easy to follow even for a raw foodie novice.
The “wild” in the title of Cerier’s tome is actually the organic vegetarian fare that is usually missing from other veg-head cookbooks, like edible flowers, wild berries and mushrooms, sea vegetables, ancient grains like teff and tangy sheep and goat cheeses. The 150 recipes are tempting and, for the newbies who’ve never eaten a nasturtium, there’s an extensive glossary of ingredients.
If your version of tacos comes straight from a Taco Bell commercial, then you must buy this book. It offers up 75 recipes for taco dishes and accompaniments (including the very best tomatillo avocado salsa I’ve ever crafted). Best yet, the recipes feature ingredients many never think of in a mere taco, with recipes from places from England (lobster and avocado) to New Mexico (chicken with apples and goat cheese) to Mexico (Huevos Divorciados). I get hungry just thinking about it.
This vegan cookbook for the 21st century focuses on whole food ingredients (no processed or refined baddies here) and uncomplicated, animal product free recipes. In the mix are nutritional advice (Steel is a registered holistic nutritionist), detox info, tidbits on ethical consumerism and an some very tasty food, even for non-vegans. Her flax maple cookies and green coconut curry have become staples in our house.
If you have kids, you must check out Lapine’s simple strategies for hiding healthy foods in your favorite meals. Did you know you can add cauliflower to mac and cheese and nobody will know? What about white beans in the chocolate chip cookies? Spaghetti with eight different vegetables? Sounds crazy, but take it from a convert, Lapine’s very excellent recipes will please both kids and adults who want to be healthier but don’t want to give up the comfort foods they’ve always loved.
Beloved by lesbian tourists and locals alike, Sansei Seafood Restaurant and Sushi Bar in Hawaii is one of the hottest spots in the U.S. for cutting-edge, Japanese-inspired Pacific Rim cuisine by chef Kodama. Now some of Sansei’s best recipes and techniques are outlined in this mouth-watering new cookbook, including Foi Gras Nigiri, Mango and Crab Salad hand roll with Thai vinaigrette and Asian rock shrimp cake with ginger-lime chile butter. Even better: the convoluted new techniques are actually quite easy to pick up with Kodama’s guides.
Photobooks and Graphic Novels
Every auto company shows off their cars in distinct ways, but each uses female models as corporate tools at the auto shows. Car Girls is a subversively fun look at gender, power and commodification.
Love, loss and loneliness meet transfigured ideas from this stunning rock star of a visual artist (darkhorse.com).
Chicks were among earliest pioneers of the graffiti movement, since it began to emerge in NYC and Philly in the 1970s. This compilation is the first to survey their work with over 1,000 illustrations (abramsbooks.com).
From the groundbreaking website comes essays, erotica and photos of real bodies—women and men—including stuff from Alice Sebold, Aimee Bender and Jocelyn Elders! (chroniclebooks.com) or (nerve.com).
Another explicit book with both sexes, posits real people in unrehearsed sex acts, with tons of lesbians in the mix (Santilllophotography.com).
Call them freaks, call them champion athletes who are creating new models of femininity—either way, this muscled, complex pictorial is compelling (pondpress.com).
Posters from the (gay adjacent) pop art great who suffered homophobic attacks on his art and a Life mag cover headline asking, “Is He the Worst Artist in the U.S.?” (prestel.com).
A riveting photo essay from the kids at Sylvia’s Place, New York’s first emergency shelter for LGBTQ youth and young adults, with sad facts about trans and queer kids lives (trolleybooks.com).
One of greatest women artists of all time is celebrated in this first of it’s kind book released on the centennial of her birth (merrellpublishers.com).
Digital photo tech called high dynamic range (HDR) imaging allowed Burkholder to create photos that look like paintings, offering a new way of looking at post-Katrina New Orleans (utexas.edu/upress).
Exploring sex and sexuality in ceramics through history offers a enthralling look at works by lesbian, gay and straight artists (acblack.com).
In this fifth volume of Harvey Comics Classics, Cabarga has created a giant graphic novel using 110 classic comics stories featuring the three little girls with big dreams which regaled kids from 1952 to 1962. As comic guru Trina Robbins said, “There wasn’t much out there for girls in the early 1950s. Katy Keene was at least twenty-one, and Patsy Walker was a teenager. Wonder Woman was, you know, a woman. But the Harvey Girls were girls—and what girls!” Enter smart troublemaker Little Audrey, polka dotted Little Dot and the junior plus sized Little Lotta, role models for early girl comic fans that are just as fascinating in the 20th century.
Lauded by the likes of Tom Wolfe, this graphic novel from Britain’s best-loved cartoonist and author of Gemma Bovery follows a year at a writers’ retreat and the disruptions rent by the arrival of sexy gossip columnist Tamara Drewe.
Cartoonist Jones provides a visual biography of feminist icon Duncan who revolutionized dance and fought off conventions before her tragic death. Jones writes, “Some of her liberties we take for granted, like comfortable dress and serial monogamy, but others, in art, education, and motherhood, are still every bit as hard to pull off.”
Illustrated in tabloid fashion, Secret Lives reveals little-known, politically-incorrect, titillating and lurid details about the (mostly male) masters. Georgia O’Keeffe apparently painted in the nude.
The new Q Guide series offers up must-have info on queer topics from Fire Island to Buffy the Vampire Slayer. In Wonder Woman, Pingel follows my favorite Amazon princess to America during World War II for the hit TV series The New Adventures of Wonder Woman. There’s cast and guest star memories, plot summaries, lasso tips and even quotes from a lesbo celeb on which Wonder outfit she’d wear. The Charlie’s Angels vignette is even better with shower scenarios, mean butch villain girls, hair recaps and the usual “gayest moment” summary.
Rubbing Mirrors, Brigitte Lewis (Detour Press)
With her unique blend of poetic form and narrative arc, Lewis truly makes you want to go to the land down under. An example of just how hot this Australian tale of love and lust gets: “She pushes another finger in me/and I realize/I can’t/stay in control/anymore.”
For Chickasaw eco-poet and novelist Linda Hogan smoothing sharp human edges occurs with the recognition of and celebration of the natural world. The longtime single, adoptive mom of two describes the architectural endeavors of insects as though it were the Parthenon. Her lyrical language shares Native American wisdoms like, “the whales are children who died/and didn’t want to return as human.”
Dalglish, a journalist turned women’s studies professor, spent more than 10 years studying Sumerian and Akkadian cuneiform (a visual form of writing dating back to the 30th century BC) to discover early forms of women’s literature. Her new volume, inspired by Enheduanna’s Song to Inanna, infuses the traces of this ancient text with her own jazz riffs and innovates on feminist mythology for a modern age. Dalglish has discovered new possibilities for feminist poetry in these evocative, often daring poems.
Award-winning collection of poems by Joe Pulichino illustrated by vibrant pastels of Julie Higgins.
Remarkable poetry from Lantz—who lost her memory and now struggles to read the poems she wrote before the surgery that nearly cost her life while removing cancer from her brain.
Smith became a National Book Award finalist with this searing collection of poems, which chronicle the devastation of Hurricane Katrina by weaving together vivid depictions of the physical and spiritual crisis the storm brought with a clear-eyed indictment of political and bureaucratic culpability. The poems follow the path of the storm from its earliest gatherings as a tropical depression over the Bahamas to its hellish path through New Orleans and the human and urban ghosts it left hovering in its wake. Smith gives voice to Katrina’s villains, victims and survivors, and her love for the city shines through the storm: “And I crawl/through upturned rooms, humming gospel,/closing tired eyes against my home’s/languid rhythms of rot, begging/my new history to hold still.”
Stonecipher has said she thinks of the “poem without line breaks” as more fugue than prose, and her book-length work reads almost like a newspaper serial, one that gives the reader space to reflect on each individual piece before moving on. This book, a winner of the National Poetry Series, feels at times like a paean to everyday experience even when it depicts the strange or extraordinary: “If you’ve been to a city’s airport, can you say you have been to that city?—It was like being in a silent film, where we spoke to each other with great emotion, but no words at all were coming out of our mouths.”
Motherhood has often been a subject for contemporary poetry, but has rarely been dealt with so inwardly. Sikelianos’s laser-precise poems use the space of the page as a vast and multilayered canvas on which to confront the interface of the body’s clock and the world’s. Her book’s engagement with the experience of pregnancy traces the intimate connections between language and the creation of new life: “World is weird, and so/what? Water this poem and watch it/take shape, it’s layers/of the born/world, heard/world.”
Memoirs and Non-Fiction
O’Hagan provides pithy commentary to accompany photographs of real-life, hand-written notes between roommates covering all elements of co-habitation—from stealing your drugs to putting pee in the fridge.
Writer for The New York Times and author of eight books, Pedersen was once honored as Ten Outstanding Young Americans by President Clinton. Growing up in Buffalo, New York, Laura was a wild child, skipping school to play poker, bet on horses and trade stocks—which led to an illustrious career on Wall Street, where she became youngest person to have a seat on the American Stock Exchange and a millionaire by 21. Like the best memoirs, hers also provides a vivid social history of the 1970s, but at times it verges on I Love the Seventies, mentioning all the right pop icons (Shawn Cassidy, Tiger Beat, etc).
Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, Walker took the advice of a South African medicine woman and gave away 29 gifts in 29 days as a way to take her focus off the negativity and pain and focus on others. Walker has since launched the 29-Day Giving Challenge and continues her own giving cycle each month. This inspirational memoir includes stories of other givers and offers tips for those wanting to do the same.
In this collection of autobiographical essays Gillespie (author of memoirs Bleachy-Haired Honky Bitch and Confessions of a Recovering Slut) shares her experiences as a single mom living in a trailer and trying to escape the hilariously depressing roots from which she sprang.
Reprint of her award winning memoir, chronicling her journey from 24-year-old law student, to sick girl given 10-years to live, to recovering heart implant recipient. Includes new afterword by Silverstein.
Exercise is healthy-until it takes over your life and becomes a compulsion. Friedman’s memoir of life as a exercise bulimic exposes the impact of the disease and how it can take over one’s life.
This memoir describes Prophet’s life in the shadow and influence of her mother, “Guru Ma” and the new age sect she founded—and led into underground bunkers after apocalyptic prophesies. Prophet examines group think, the corruption of power, the future of religion and the impact of having one’s faith shattered.
Gay author Elliot Tiber has written and produced numerous award-winning plays and musical comedies for theater, television and film. In this memoir he recalls the summer of ‘69 when he witnessed the Stonewall Riots and then made history himself by providing a venue for Woodstock near his parents’ upstate New York motel.
From his years as a sickly child in Memphis to being paid thousands to sleep with celebrities, politicians and famous athletes, Bobby Blake, the most successful African-American gay male porn star in history, lays it all bare in his juicy memoir. He doesn’t name names but includes plenty of scandalous, nasty details about the industry and the eventual emptiness that accompanies a life in it.
Nonfiction, Essays and Theory
With a combined 50 years of experience advising people on the ins and outs of polyamory, the authors of this second updated edition of the 12-year old classic argue that traditional marriage is an outdated concept based on the belief that there isn’t enough love and sex to go around. Ethical sluts, according to the authors, believe there’s nothing wrong with sex or pleasure; and no one else should decide whom you can love. The Ethical Slut, the inspiration for a play and upcoming film, provides how-to for resolving conflict, respecting boundaries, raising children, opening an existing relationship and breaking up.
Portland, Oregon writer Kate Lopresti is the editor/author behind the award nominated ‘zine Constant Rider, in which she shares her weird and funny experiences on public buses and trains. This is an expanded, second edition of the collection (the first was self- published) and features comics, book reviews, tips and profiles of Portland politicians.
This new collection of essays by the acclaimed Jamaican-American writer (and partner of Adrienne Rich) is a powerful meditation on a life led at the intersections of national, ethnic, and sexual boundaries. Born in British-ruled Jamaica, Cliff has written frequently on postcolonial identity, but her new book is a startlingly personal approach to history’s violence through her experiences living in Jamaica, England and the United States. “There is no map,” Cliff writes, to “The terrain of my girlhood”; If I Could Write This traces a path through that terrain by “mixing in the forms taught us, undermining the oppressor’s language and co-opting, or corrupting, his style,” depicting personal fragmentation by fraying language’s edges.
Based on the largest-ever survey of sexual fantasies, this book offers an anatomy lesson on sexual desire that reveals that sex fantasies often rise from childhood experiences and later exert a powerful impact on adult emotions, behavior and relationships. Kahr doesn’t shy away from queer content.
Amalgamation Schemes: Antiblackness and the Critique of Multiracialism, Jared Sexton (University of Minnesota Press)
In this academic analysis, Sexton argues the multiracialism—once heralded as the answer to racial conflict—actually stems from conservative forces determined to undo the gains of the modern civil rights movement and destroy black and feminist politics. Sexton maintains that multiracialism reinforces both antiblackness and normative sexuality prescripts; and he demonstrates the relationship between racial and sexual politics in the modern multiracial consciousness.
The Witch’s Flight: The Cinematic, the Black Femme, and the Image of Common Sense, Kara Keeling (Duke University Press)
Expanding on Gilles Deleuze’s notion that cinema produces social reality, Keeling examines black visual culture and describes how the cinematic frames racism, homophobia and misogyny—and denies viewers certain images and ways of knowing. Part of the Perverse Modernities series edited by Judith Halberstam and Lisa Lowe.
Global Bollywood: Travels of Hindi Song and Dance, Sangita Gopal and Sujata Moorti, Editors (University of Minnesota Press)
This academic multidisciplinary collection examines the globalization of Bollywood music, highlighting the global, cultural influence of Hindi film music.
Collection of essays delves into the heart these cross-sexuality friendships. It includes pieces by Sex and the City writer Cindy Chupack, Barneys creative director Simon Doonan and novelist Gigi Levangie Grazer (The Starter Wife).
Simultaneously published as Journal of Lesbian Studies, Volume 10 No. 3/4 in 2006, this collection examines research about lesbians in China, Hong Kong, Korea, and Japan from academics and activists who know them best (many of whom haven’t been published in English). Emphasis is on areas of connection and cooperation across cultures within East Asia.
In this work Abraham, author of Metropolitan Lovers: The Homosexuality of Cities analyzes lesbian writing from those dismissed as pulp to literary geniuses of Gertrude Stein and Virginia Woolf and examines how writers constructed new lesbian narratives.
Historian MacKell explores the history of prostitution in the Rocky Mountain states in this exhaustive tome that illustrates why women were drawn (or forced) into the life, as well as what their lives were like in and after their red light days. Includes black and white photos including of the hot butchy Laura Bullion, who dressed in men’s clothes and ran with the robbing Wild Bunch.
Condensing case studies, biographies and historical accounts, Watts provides a interdisciplinary examination of science, gender and race; and reveals the impact of women on science and the scientific community.
After ten years of research and interviews Butler reveals the lives of those who were the first generation born free and raised by former slaves. Now dead, those she interviewed live on in her inspirational stories that expand our sense of American history.
During the Jim Crow era of the early 20th century, the Bronzeville neighborhood of Chicago was a booming African American metropolis and center of a cultural explosion. After decades of decline, community organizers revitalized the neighborhood in an idealized version of the segregation days. Boyd examines how history was reinvented to meet political goals and how nostalgia contributed to the politicalization of racial identity.
Author of numerous works on gender relations in history, Clark surveys sexuality in Europe from the time of Greeks to the present. Drawing from poetry, novels, pornography, film, court records, personal letters and autobiographies she integrates hetero and homo sexualities and explores the politics of sex, describing twilight moments, activities seen as shameful but tolerated under cover of darkness.
Ah, the caveman defense: rape of women is an unavoidable part of the human male psyche, to be accepted along with bipedalism and language capability. McCaughey strips off the fur unitard of the archetypal club-wielding star of this theory to reveal the same entitled, white, straight dude who had been making excuses for his bad behavior for centuries. She counters with the lived realities of fidelity, sexuality, attraction, and economics in both sexes. If only this book could be the last word on the idea that anyone should be absolved of unacceptable behavior because of something early homo sapiens did. Or didn’t.
Finding Iris Chang, Paula Kamen (De Capo Press)
Journalist Paula Kamen’s book about her friend and colleague Iris Chang is half biography, half personal narrative. In her professional life, Chang became known for her dogged pursuit of the story of the WWII rape of Nanking, while her personal life is recounted as a navigation through bipolar disorder leading to her eventual suicide. Kamen is a brazenly subjective narrator, as kind as she is exacting in speaking to all sides of a woman whose name in print came to signify activist journalism.
Don’t let the subtitle, Intersections of Folklore, Vernacular, Myth, and Queerness in Black Female Culture, imagine this tome from Stallings—an English prof at the University of Florida—is too thinky for non-academics. She does a wonderful job of blending queer studies, women’s studies and African American studies to explore the importance of sexual desire in black women, using the “trickster” figure from folklore to navigate her theories. Though it’s difficult to easily summarize in 50 words just where the representation of black female desire is or isn’t rooted in heteronormative binaries of gay/straight, man/woman, but by using traditional tropes (queer studies, lit texts) and more modern choices (hip-hop, comedy performances), Stallings’ book does it expertly.
Thelma & Louise Live!: The Cultural Afterlife of an American Film, Bernie Cook, Editor (University of Texas Press)
Six noted film scholars examine the reception and impact of the iconic film for female rebellion. An indepth interview with screenwriter Callie Khouri compliments the scholarly analysis.
Paperback version of the award-winning 2003 work examines the recent pop culture and history to demonstrate how today’s gays are pressured to fit in and ‘look normal.' Seidman argues this justifies discrimination against those who can’t or don’t live up to the model gay citizen.
Stratigakos examines the impact of women on Germany’s Berlin between 1871 and 1918, demonstrating women transformed the city—literally and figuratively. There were female journalists, artist and activists reaching women audiences and altering the image of modern women; and there were a plethora of women’s building projects (collaborative efforts between female designers, architects and patrons) that helped shape the modern city.
While soldier stories continue to hold a hallowed space in media and literature, the voices of the women who serve are often subdued or drowned out altogether. Cain and Bowden make a great start toward remedying this in their collection of poetry and prose. From the front lines all the way through the layers of the armed forces, this page-turner is an insider’s look at what it’s really like for women in the military.
Queers with disabilities get little play in LGBT media so this anthology featuring works by dozens of deaf, hearing impaired and hearing queer and trans folks is especially refreshing. Don’t make the mistake though, that it’s audience should be limited to those who are deaf. This compilation is huge and as fascinating as Bi Any Other Name or Body Outlaws, doing for the queer deaf community what those books did for bisexuals and body image activists, respectively—telling their stories in a way so illuminating to outsiders that the book should become a must-have tome for any LGBT reader. At the very least, read it and learn why words like oralist and audism should be in any thinking person’s vocabulary.
Daley draws from a rich array of fields to uncover the biological components that made human-animal bonds possible and paved the way for millions of household pets.
Social critic Niedzviecki (Hello I’m Special: How Individuality Became the New Conformity) dives into social networking sites, spies on his neighbors and tries out for reality TV. Part travelogue, part social history, part diary, explore the emerging fascination with watching ourselves and others and reflects on the implications on entertainment, society, politics and sex.
Through the examination of intersex conditions, Callahan demonstrates what makes someone male or female is not always clear nor is sex always an either-or boy-girl proposition.
In this interdisciplinary look at young women’s lives and modern activism—especially the rather disorganized specter of contemporary feminism—Harris and other emerging scholars argue that young women today have new ways of challenging politics and anti-female cultural issues that are tied to their own identity formation (around class, race, gender, sexual orientation, etc). That they those new ways don’t resemble old school feminism does seem to challenge traditional paradigms, some of the scholars seem to say, but they deserve to be equally recognized for their transformative abilities.
Dr. Mary’s Monkey: How the Unsolved Murder of a Doctor, a Secret Laboratory in New Orleans and Cancer-Causing Monkey Viruses are Linked to Lee Harvey Oswald, the JFK Assassination and Emerging Global Epidemics, Edward T. Haslam (Trine Day)
Yes, that title is for real, and yes, it really does tie the JFK assassination to the AIDS virus through a series of top secret government experiments. Get the eye-rolling out of your system and then crack open this addictive, meticulously researched book. You may not embrace Haslam’s theories in total—much of it is anecdotal, but if you’ve ever found yourself arching an eyebrow at the accepted verbiage behind the global AIDS epidemic, Haslam’s book is a must-read.
Thanks to a new biopic on Amelia Earhart, starring Hilary Swank, interest in the historical influence of women aviators is picking up again. What a fascinating history it is, and it’s all documented in the gorgeous, must-have coffee table tome, Women Aviators. From Queen Bessie, a sharecropper’s daughter who was the first African American to become a pilot, to Harriet Quimby, the first woman to fly across the Atlantic, they’re all documented in this delightful tribute to over 100 aviatrixes who changed the male-dominated field forever.
Moore’s pursuit of the facts around a Las Cruces, New Mexico murder investigation provides for a fascinating read, pulling together the story of corrupt law enforcement, gambling circles, and doublespeak about the victim’s alleged promiscuity. The lack of appropriate response from media and law enforcement to the violent death of an 18-year-old waitress 60 years back appears as a harbinger of the politics and prejudice in headlines today.
Contreras traces the genealogy of modern Chicano/a cultural formations through critical analysis of texts. Her look at the selective appropriation of indigenous myth in literature and histories leaves no stone unturned, from the Zapatista movement’s identification with Indio experience, to the ambiguity of romantic treatments by D.H. Lawrence and to legal tracts from U.S. border states where references to Aztec human-sacrifice are still found. Her closing is a dogged pursuit of the conquista in contemporary gender and race issues, revealing new complications to centuries-old problems.
This formidable volume of essays dips from the latest work in social theory to examine the relationship between crime and society. The authors examine the function of crime as social control, organizing principle, political publicity method, and cornerstone of capitalism. Rigorous academic discourse grounds the facts, figures and narratives within, but casual readers will find the language refreshingly unpretentious and focused. Vogel is to be praised for prioritizing accessibility over academic pomp.
With books like Pistol Packin’ Madams and The Doctor Wore Petticoats Chris Enss has made a name for herself writing books that put women back into the history of the Old West, particularly locating women in traditionally male-dominated fields. Estimated less than 5,000 female miners joined the hordes of men in the 1849 gold rush. Enss introduces readers to 11 lady miners including Nellie Cashman a lifelong bachelor who not only searched for gold in the rugged terrain of the American West, Alaska and Canada (she was frequently the first white woman to venture into an area) but also ran successful boardinghouses and restaurants and was renown as a philanthropist for (among other things) allowing those down on their luck to stay and eat at her establishments for free.
Don’t be confused by the similar title, this has nothing to do with a movie starring Kevin Costner. Instead it’s a surreal, dystopian, turbo-charged epic that plays out over one week in 1980 in New York City. Only this 1980 is the result of an alternate U.S. history and the city is only a simulation of New York; a façade for a military-created refugee camp in Nevada. Nersesian (The Fuck-Up) uses this setting to examine real life issues and actual historical experiences.
Mysteries and Thrillers
Sue Bennet is a whip-smart amateur detective who avoids a close call one day when she loans her car to her friend, Anil. The car is rigged with a bomb, killing him inside. Baffled and angry, she digs to the dregs of criminal society to find out what happened that day. Her determination to get to the bottom of the case doesn’t impress local law enforcement—until she reveals an animal rights-based terror organization with plans for mass violence, money laundering and assassination. A great taste of British contemporary mystery writing that doesn’t skimp on action.
The Torso, Helene Tursten (Soho Press)
When a torso washes up on a Swedish beach, Detective Inspector Irene Huss must try to solve the crime--and an unsolved murder nearby--using the body's only identifying mark: a mysterious tattoo. Huss, a mother in her forties, is a steady and fully realized character along the lines of the Prime Suspect, and The Torso is among the best of the new Swedish crime fiction boom in the U.S. giving the author comparisons to Linda Fairstein. Though this book is a bit older than the rest here, it has a gay link that demands its inclusion. That mysterious tattoo now found on two mutilated and gender ambiguous torsos is actually the logo for a gay sex shop in Vesterbro ("known as Sin Central in Copenhagen") and may belong to the owner's lover.
Grace is enjoying a long, languishing alcoholic meltdown when she sparks to some media coverage about a murder in her hometown. Her wine-muddled observation begins tinged with self-loathing and not without a touch of schadenfreude—or is it envy? But the plight of the murderer soon draws her in, compelling Grace home to face the truth behind the childhood event that threatens to tear her adult life apart. A well-choreographed redemption story that tempers hope with realism.
Think Pedro Almodavor meets Cosmo meets Turkish crime and you get this wildy dark and incredibly clever rom-com-thriller. Something's amiss in Istanbul--a killer is murdering trans women in increasingly bizarre ways. Thankfully, our protagonist is herself a glamourous trans woman (thanks to translation they're all called "transvestitites" inthe book) who is also a glamourous nightclub owner who balances leg waxing, lipstick and stilettos while pursuing the killer.
A Violent Act Alison Joseph (Alison & Busby)
Now a major BBC radio drama, The Sister Agnes Investigates revolves around, you guessed it, a nun named Agnes, who in this book is finally "paid up" on her spiritual dues and no longer confined to the convent. Now living in her own apartment and working at a hostel run by the church, Agnes is plagued by doubts and by death. First, when Abbie is found dead, Agnes wonders whether it is murder or suicide all while enduring an existential crisis over whether she became a nun to avoid real life.
The fifth installment of this Lambda award-winning mystery series finds PI Micky Knight in a Katrina ravaged New Orleans, seeking the child of a dying gay man and dodging her sexy assistant. Like every Redman book, it's a crime lover's must-read.
Finally, nearly ten years after the fact we can access the details of the true life love triangle that pitted married FBI agents against each other when the husband kidnapped and attempted to murder the wife after she had a secret love affair with best selling crime writer Patricia Cornwell.
Set in Newark, “the compost heap of the Garden State,” and employing a blaxsplotation style of 1970s films, this mystery stars Cassandra Slick as a Foxy Brown-like lesbian cop turned P.I. called in to help exonerate a homophobic colleague accused of murdering a prostitute.
The latest installment in the award-nominated Justice series revolves around a human trafficking ring and puts Detective Lt. Rebecca Fry undercover.
One crime scene starts to look just like another for Detective Devon McKinney until her girlfriend is murdered. Full of grief and pain, Devon knows she’s losing it when she starts hearing voices as she continues on the trail of a child murderer. Is someone attempting to contact her in her time of need, or is she just going batty? Add “beautiful forensic anthropology professor Brid Morrigan” to all this, and things really get interesting. Zastrow’s background as an investigator shines through the carefully detailed descriptions of Devon’s crime scene investigation. A tight, pleasurable read.
Set in the Gulf of Mexico of 1702 two women must navigate the perilous world of gypsies, pirates and slave-traders.
Kawana proposes an art history of modern Japan via the detective fiction genre. Gender-based violence, racial tension, and anxiety about mass destruction all find their expression in this popular genre as Japan grapples with a new identity. Kawana lovingly recounts the rise of mystery and crime fiction, the corresponding sensationalism in real crime coverage, and its eventual use as a vehicle for national ideals. With her coverage of events and the quirky personalities involved, Kawana’s enthusiasm becomes contagious.
Author Grace Brophy is a New Jersey girl (who lives in New York and Maine now), but her Commissario Cenni Investigations are set in Italy.This one, in the peaceful village of Paradiso, follows the shocking murder and mutilation of an elderly German woman who happens to be a retired cultural attache.Things get interesting though when Inspector Cenni discovers that the victim was a bisexual swinger with a female lover--and that woman, a young African lesbian and illegal immigrant becomes a scapegoat for the higher ups. Only Cenni wants to solve the crime without letting this woman get railroaded.
Reprint of the 1997 ghost story love triangle by gay literary giant Felice Picano.
Following a treasure map a librarian and investigator stumble upon romance and the mystery of a female pirate who disappeared with her loot.
Just for Fun!
Few lesbian music lovers aren’t familiar with Patti Smith, and her early landmark record, Horses. In this lovely vignette, British lit scholar Shaw details Smith’s early life and career with special emphasis on her underlying poetry and the artistic milieu that surrounded her.
For all those women leading double lives—accountant by day, tough-ass hell on wheels roller derby queen by night—Roller Derby is a perfect gift. Thrill-seeking readers will find a great introduction to derby history from it’s early dance-a-thon days to the ‘70s RollerJam heights to it’s new punk-queer aesthetic in the modern revival. But there’s also player vignettes (from pioneers to modern chicks), rule breakdowns and slang jargon. And lots of pictures accompany Mabe’s (aka Jayne Manslaughter of the Rocky Mountain Rollergirls) semi-fanatical and always fun text.
If your life is even more screwed up than those of the hot mess 20-something model-wannabes that populate America’s Next Top Model, this book is here to save the day. For Tyra fans and hot chicks alike, it'll provide all the empowering you-go-girl advice you crave (rizzoliusa.com).
Punctuated by lists, illustrations and tips, stylist to the stars Far provides advice for mid-life women; highlighting clothing and accessories best suited for for a range of body types (including women with curves).
What is it about geeky yet dreamboaty guys that make them seem so lesbian like? This pocket book doesn’t answer that age-old question but it may revive some school girl crushes.
Got a tyke around? This illustrated dictionary for beginning readers ages 4 to 6 (and perhaps stoned college students) offers up 600 different kid-centric words, sentence example and Curious George as a guide to help make learning fun.
Fur babies are the new children, and since queers love to party, dog birthdays are a match made in Heaven. In Dog Party, PETA co-founder and president provides a detailed how-to for creating dog-focused celebrations, while Bill Maher offers his usual in the introduction.
Unicorn-obsessed Dalton creates a fictional realm where Unicorns are herbalists, magicians, astrologists and nature’s caretakers. Including two pages of unicorn stickers and vivid four-color illustrations, the book hopes to touch the grade school girl in all of us.
To gain the hand of his beloved Sidonie, Imriel is given the task of finding his renegade mother and bringing her to justice. Intrigue, sex and spells weave a story as unkind and complex as Dune—without any hint of its leaden self-importance. Carey’s skillful characterization makes this substantial fantasy a feast.
Book four in the award-winning fantasy series, the Lyremouth Chronicles. This time Jemeryl and Tevi’s relationship is put to the test when Jemeryl is sent on a dangerous mission.
Zane, New York Times best selling author, co-executive producer of Cinemax’s Zane’s Sex Chronicles, and publisher at Strebor Books, edits this collection of lesbian erotica (apparently the first one she edited caused some controversy when several outlets for her other work refused to publish/sell it).
Romance erupts during a simple business transaction and threatens to derail the negotiations between two women.
In this lesbian romance, corporate raider by day, sexy stripper by night, Kelsey’s interest in a karate champ is threatened by an obsessed stalker.
This debut novel is a lesbian romance is set on the campus of Memphis’s black college, Freedom University, and revolves around the choices of four women and their intertwined lives.
Lesbian romantic intrigue revolving around a city attorney and a police officer fighting a wrongful death suit.
A road trip gone awry finds a heart-broken San Francisco lesbian and her beaten-up travel trailer marooned in small-town Texas where she’s easy prey for local Baptists, fried foods and romance.
When Karla Edwards’ life falls apart, she runs to Alaska to meet the sister she never knew. In the process she crosses path with a sexy bush pilot who might just get her to trust again.
Liz Bradbury mixes mystery and lesbian romance and revolves around suspicious death of a gay professor.
FBI agent Terri McKinnon is in a situation where what she knows runs counter to what her heart is telling her.
In this romance, firefighter Kate Chambers follows an arson investigation into an attraction to the prime suspect.
This lesbian romance revolves around three women tied together by fate and passion.
Forbidden romance and a high-profile murder trial.
In this debut novel, fierce business rivalry spirals into lesbian romance.
A romantic adventure revolving around Top Gun instructor flying F-18s with an elite group of pilots.
Hurricane Katrina provides the perfect backdrop for murder in this Cain Casey mystery.
Jamaican transplant Zedde pens another steamy novel, this one revolving around a bisexual club owner in South Beach who risks everything for a relationship with the one person who should be off limits.
This romance revolves around two bitter rivals at a ten-year anniversary.
Romance revolving around ex-lovers giving it a second chance.
Romance set on a college campus and a protagonist who has been disowned by her parents for coming out.
Dames, booze and murder may be the oldest story in the world, but this is a whole new treatment of the tough guy/femme fatale age.
A ski resort provides the perfect setting for a steamy romance.
Can a romance writer find a storybook romance with an actor?
When a vacation turns upside down with a deadly tsunami, two women develop an intense bond—but can it survive in calmer waters?
An erotic romance around a naïve college dropout who gets introduced to the steamy side of internet dating by her gay friend.
This lesbian romance follows a marathoner—on the run from a broken-heart—who can’t outrun Cupid.
High stakes medical drama laced with lesbian romantic tensions.
By Ainsley Drew, Andrea Millar, Diane Anderson-Minshall, Julia Bloch, Nina Lary, Jacob Anderson-Minshall