The LGBTQ Christmas Gift Guide
28th Nov 2013
The Graphic Memoir
Self-proclaimed Portland ‘zinester Nicole J. Georges has been publishing autobiographical comics for several years. Her 2013 memoir Calling Dr Laura has been compared to Bechdel’s Fun Home, however it stands alone as a work of great poignancy and illustrative skill. A story for anyone who reaches their twenties and realizes they don’t really know who they are.
In hir latest collection of essays, S Bear Bergman takes a look at family life from the perspective of a trans parent raising a young son. Blood, Marriage, Wine and Glitter explores Bear’s extended family dynamic and the various members that make up a uniquely queer and loving unit. A fantastic collection of essays offering a fresh perspective on family life for all parents, LGBTQ or otherwise.
For the Activist
The tagline to Julia Serano’s Excluded reads ‘Making Feminist and Queer Movements More Inclusive.’ This short statement sets the premise for an engaging and well-argued evaluation of the tendency of these movements to police gender identity and set the parameters of inclusion and exclusion. A book that asks questions and offers solutions, this is a must read for anyone looking for a new feminist approach that favours inclusivity.
The Award Winner
Polari Prize winning novelist Mari Hannah’s tightly-woven crime novel The Murder Wall will keep any crime buff gripped from cover to cover. The novel opens in a small Northumbrian town before taking a sweeping criminal tour of Britain. If one award winner isn’t enough, try fellow Polari nominee Kerry Hudson’s Tony Hogan Bought Me an Ice-cream Float Before He Stole My Ma, winner of the 2013 First Book Prize.
The Coming of Age Novel
Golden Boy is no ordinary bildungsroman. Max Walker is an attractive and intelligent sixteen year-old. He is the golden boy. However at the novel’s heart is a secret well-known to Max but kept from others; he is intersex. Abigail Tarttelin’s novel is refreshingly unique in that Max’s identity as intersex is not a revelation to him. Max’s struggle comes not from having to accept his identity, but having to learn how to navigate the world around him. In a sense this is a story about coming of age while the world around you is still finding its feet.
The Pulp Antidote
Patricia Highsmith’s 1952 novel The Price of Salt is a refuge amongst the angsty melodrama of mid-twentieth century lesbian pulp fiction. Published under the pseudonym Claire Morgan, the novel tells the story of a young woman Therese who falls in love with the older Carol, a sophisticated and typically bored suburban housewife. This is a novel that offers a refreshing change to guilt-ridden and sensationalised pulp characters and is often credited as the first lesbian novel to hint at the possibility of a happy ever after.
The American Classic
Set amidst the sprawling Nevada desert, Jane Rule’s Desert of the Heart is another novel that offers an alternative to the lesbian pulp of its time. Evelyn Hall is an English professor who travels to Reno to obtain a divorce. There she meets Ann Child, sexually liberated and commitment-phobic, with whom she embarks on a friendship-turned-romance. The vast American landscape acts as a backdrop to this novel’s exploration of convention and freedom and the courage it takes to pursue both. For another American classic, check out Fannie Flagg’s Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe.
From the Master
Gut Symmetries by LGBTQ pro Jeanette Winterson charts the love affair between Jove, Alice and Stella, through a combination of meditation, memory and scientific theory. Winterson’s typically eclectic style shines in this novel and her use of physics as a modern language of love combines all the arbitrariness of attraction with the human drive for understanding.
The Sci-Fi Masterwork
Six time Lambda prize-winning novelist Nicola Griffith is a master of the sci-fi genre. Ammonite, her first novel, evokes an alien world in which men no longer exist and women must fight for their survival. Like all great science fiction novelists, Griffith challenges the reader to make sense of our world by presenting them with a terrifying and dazzling alternative.
Audre Lorde referred to her autobiography, Zami: A New Spelling of My Name as a ‘biomythography,’ a form that takes transgression as its central point. Zami weaves together myth, history and biography to create an epic narrative form. Fast-paced and rooted firmly in the author’s own experiences growing up in Harlem and coming of age in the 1950s, race and sexuality play central roles in Lorde’s exploration growing up and finding your own strength.
Which other books would you add to our LGBTQ list this Christmas?
(Image via The Mary Sue)