Archive for the ‘GLBTQ’ Category

Finding H.F.

April 11, 2012

Author: Julia Watts

Title: Finding H.F.

Genre: GLBTQ, YA

Publication Date: 2001

Number of pages: 165

Geographical Setting: Kentucky, Georgia, Florida

Time Period: Present day

Series (if applicable): N/A

Plot Summary: H.F. is a sixteen your old girl who is living in Morgan, Kentucky and being raised by her grandma.  H.F.’s mother left her shortly after she was born and was never to be heard from again.  H.F. stands for ‘Heavenly Faith’, representing her Memaw’s hopes for her when she was born.  H.F. loves her devoutly Baptist Grandmother, but would not dare let Memaw know she is a lesbian.  After falling for Wendy, the new girl in school, H.F. is sure that an eternity of Memaw’s hell would be worth it to be with Wendy.  Wendy reciprocates H.F.’s feelings for her, but is not ready to accept who she is.  After one night together at Wendy’s house, Wendy tells H.F. to leave and forces her walk across town back to Memaw’s.

H.F. discovers a letter hidden in her Grandmother’s room one night that prompts her to take a road trip to Florida.  She drags along her best (and only) friend Bo.  Bo is an outcast at school and at home for being too effeminate and not living up to his dad’s expectations.  He may also be gay like H.F., but she can’t be sure.  Bo happens to also own an old beat-up Ford Escort.  Together they leave Kentucky for the first time in Bo’s old Ford.  On their way to Florida they make several stops in the towns and cities along the way.  The two friends discover how different and big the world is outside of small town Morgan, Kentucky.

Subject Headings: lesbian fiction, southern fiction, homelessness – youths, homophobia

Appeal: descriptive writing, the south, character centered, religion in the GLBTQ community, class distinctions, optimistic outlook, coming of age, romantic, road trips, lesbian relationships, alcoholism, bullying, self-discovery, adopted children, encouraging

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: coming of age, lesbian relationships, self-discovery

Similar Authors and Works (why are they similar?):

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

Living at the Edge of the World: How I Survived in the Tunnels of Grand Central Station by Tina S. and Jamie Pastor Bolnick

This book is an autobiographical story of a teenage girl who is trying to survive homeless in the city.  This is similar to the story of the three homeless teenagers H.F. and Bo meet in Atlanta.

Ties That Bind: Familial Homophobia and its Consequences by Sarah Schulman

This nonfiction work outlines the cultural problem of the domestic abuse of gay and lesbian youth.  Homophobia in family members is a constant theme in Finding H.F..

Lifeguarding: A Memoir of Secrets, Swimming, and the South by Catherine McCall

This memoir is about the harsh family life of a lesbian girl growing up in Kentucky.  This story also deals with  alcoholism.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden

This book is an award winning classic GLBQ YA novel.  Liza and Annie struggle with the consequences of homophobia in their schools and at home in New York.  This story also deals with class distinctions, as does Finding H.F.

Finding Somewhere by Joseph Monninger

This Ya novel is about two sixteen year old girls who go on a road trip west to save a horse who was scheduled to be euthanized.

Gravity by Leanne Lieberman

This coming of age story is about a teenage girl who struggles with being caught between her family’s Jewish religion and her own sexual orientation.

Name: Noel M.

I Am Not Myself These Days

April 11, 2012

Author: Kilmer-Purcell, Josh

Title: I Am Not Myself These Days

Genre: GLBTQ

Publication Date: 2006

Number of Pages: 305

Geographical Setting: New York

Time Period: 1990’s

Series: N/A

Plot Summary:

The best way to describe this book is by saying it is a very nontraditional love story. The author of this memoir tells of his life in New York City as a young art director in the advertising industry by day and drag queen superstar, Aqua by night. The author Josh has what can only be described as a pretty serious drinking habit, pounding vodkas at night, and starting to sober up at some point in the middle of the next day, only to begin the cycle again that night. After a sixth straight win as New York’s best new drag queen one night, Josh meets a handsome guy at the bar named Jack.  The next day, as he struggles to remember the night before, he recalls waking up in Jack’s apartment. Jack contacts him to meet again, and the romance ensues from there.  Josh quickly discovers that Jack’s beautiful penthouse suite is paid for by his job as a male escort. It is not long until Josh moves into the penthouse and begins his life with Jack.  When Jack starts becoming addicted to crack and Josh is drinking more than ever, their lives being to spiral out of control.  This memoir is full of tragic, touching, heartwarming, and heart wrenching moments. The writing is engaging and extremely humorous throughout the book.

Subject Headings: Kilmer-Purcell, Josh, 1969-, Transvestites — New York City — Biography

Appeals: funny, tragic, sexually explicit, fast-paced, engaging, shocking, flawed characters, bittersweet, violent, romantic, insightful, candid

3 Appeals to best describe book: funny, bittersweet, shocking

3 Fiction read-alikes:

I’ve Got A Feeling We’re Not in Kansas Anymore: Tales from Gay Manhattan by Ethan Mordden. This upbeat novel tells interweaving stories of the lives of a small group of gay Manhattanites, including love stories.

Now is the Hour by Tom Spanbauer. This humorous coming of age story follows Rigby John Klusener as he hitchhikes from Idaho to San Francisco to escape his small minded town. Rigby finds true love in an older man George, and experiences several other adventures along the way.

Mount Appetite by Bill Gaston. This is a witty book of short stories about addiction and the power of it. It focuses on everything from romance to drugs and alcohol. Josh and Jack both deal with addiction in I am Not Myself These Days.

3 Non-fiction read-alikes:

Possible Side Effects by Augusten Burroughs. Both of these stories tell sometimes sad, serious stories in a quirky, darkly humorous way.  They are both stories about the author’s lives, and deal with issues of addiction, the advertising industry, and being a gay man in NYC.  The authors are very candid, witty, and humorous.

Hiding My Candy: The Autobiography of the Grand Empress of Savannah by Lady Chablis. Savannah’s most famous drag queen tells her life story in this humorous and at times heart-wrenching book.  Like Kilmer-Purcell, Lady Chablis goes behind the scenes in the life of a drag queen, and tells the story with heart and wit.

Dandy in the Underworld: An Unauthorized Autobiography by Sebastian Horsley. This autobiography tells of the author’s life from an early age with a dysfunctional family. Later in his life he struggles with a heroin addiction, and has a short career as a male escort, much like Jack.

Fun Home

April 11, 2012

Author: Alison Bechdel

Genre: Autobiography; Graphic novels (Nonfiction); Memoirs; Family and relationships; Adult books for young adults;

Publication Date: 2006

Number of Pages: 232

Geographical Setting: Pennsylvania

Time Period:  1960’s – early 1980’s

Series (If applicable): n/a

Plot Summary: This graphic memoir—graphic as in comic strip, not explicit (though there is an explicit moment)—centers around the author’s slow revelation that she is a lesbian and her relationship with her closeted English teacher/historical house restorer/funeral home director father.  It’s full of references to Greek myths and American novels and plays that will please literary folks and non-literary types as the graphic representations help convey the meaning of the references.  This dark but not depressing multiple award nominee and winner will appeal to readers that like a more mature coming-of-age memoir.

Subject Headings: Bechdel, Alison, 1960 – Comic books, strips, etc.; Father and daughter; Closet gay men; Lesbian teenagers – Coming out; Brothers; English language teachers;  Gay men; Undertakers and undertaking; Parent and child; Children of divorced parents; Funeral homes; Teacher-student relationships; Divorce; Death; Historic preservation; Cartoonists – United States.

Appeal: candid; darker; humorous; introspective; melancholy; moving; moody; poignant; reflective; sophisticated; thoughtful; eccentric; quirky; realistic; sympathetic; well-developed; authentic; character-centered; issue-oriented; literary references; accurate; contemporary; accessible; chatty; conversational; direct; frank; informal; smart; straightforward; witty; award winner.

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: witty; reflective; candid

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

Epileptic by David B.  This is another moving and thoughtful memoir told in a graphic medium.  Epileptic, like Fun Home, is about a family with problems and how the author came out of the experience, though the problems are different.

You’ll Never Know by Carol Tyler.  This moving and thoughtful story is the first book in this 3-part graphic novel/memoir that centers around the author’s relationship with her father and how it affected her later relationships.  Bechdel’s memoir Fun Home is also a moving and thoughtful graphic novel/memoir that focuses on her relationship with her father.

Running with Scissors by August Burroughs.  It’s not a graphic novel but, like Fun HomeRunning with Scissors is a candid, engaging and witty coming-of-age memoir.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

A Family Matter by Will Eisner.  Though this candid graphic novel only covers a day in the life, it too reveals family secrets that include suppressed dark family secrets.

Martin Bauman: or, A Sure Thing by David Leavitt is also a character-driven, moody and witty coming-of-age novel. Though this tale about an insecure writer struggling to come out of the closet may be based on the author’s own life, it seems that Leavitt may have also had a mentor-type figure that strongly shaped the author’s life.

Escape from “Special” by Miss Lasko-Gross is a coming-of-age graphic novel of a girl trying to get through a difficult childhood with hippie parents.  The muted colors of the artwork is similar to Fun Home (Fun Home uses grayish blues and Escape uses smoky grays) in that it evokes a moody tone throughout the darkly humorous story.

Name: Ally C.

Nina Here Nor There: My Journey Beyond Gender

April 11, 2012

Author: Nick Krieger

Title: Nina Here Nor There: My Journey Beyond Gender

Genre: Memoir, GLBTQ

Publication Date: May 2011

Number of Pages: 202

Geographical Setting: San Francisco, California

Time Period: Present

Series: N/A

Plot Summary: In this insightful memoir, Nick tells the story of how he discovered his gender identity did not align with his biological sex and the transition he went through. Nina feels like an out-of-place lesbian but as she learns about gender fluidity and the transgender subculture, she realizes she identifies as a man. The book explores what being transgender means in relation to dating, friendship, and family.  The memoir is humorous, extremely honest, and heartwarming as issues of love and acceptance are explored from a trans man’s perspective.

Subject Headings: Transsexuals — San Francisco, California — Biography, Sexual minorities — San Francisco, California — Biography, Identity (Psychology), Sex role, Transgender persons, Female-to-male transsexuals

Appeal: easy, introspective, quirky, character-centered, complex, steamy, thought-provoking, insightful, contemporary, details of transitioning, humorous, graceful, unpretentious

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: character-centered, insightful, and thought-provoking

Relevant Nonfiction Works and Authors:

The first man-made man: the story of two sexes ,one love affair, and a twentieth-century medical revolution, by Pagan Kennedy.

Readers interested in more stories about being female-to-male transgender might enjoy the story of Laura Dillon. The book explores the medical ramifications of transitioning in the middle of the 19th century as well as the social journey. It is denser but explores the details of physically transitioning in more depth.

Valencia, by Michelle Tea

Readers who enjoyed the detail of being a part of an LGBT subculture in San Francisco may also enjoy Tea’s memoir about the lesbian culture there. Tea’s writing is also straightforward and honest, and definitely maintains a humorous tone throughout just like Kieger.

She’s not the man I married: my life with a transgender husband, by Helen Boyd.

A portion of Nick’s book describes his first romantic relationship while transitioning. Boyd’s book is told from the perspective of the wife of a transgender person. This is actually the second memoir Boyd has written on the subject, and it offers a more humorous look at her life with her male-to-female partner, as well as insights to how her sexuality has changed as a result.

Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

I am J, by Cris Beam

Beam’s book is a popular exploration of one teenager’s realization they were born in the wrong body. J is biologically a girl but feels intrinsically like a boy. The coming-of-age tale explores methods of transitioning J undergoes as well as his first romantic interest. The book is also character-driven and studies interpersonal dynamics between characters.

Written on the Body, by Jeannette Winterson

A complex book about a narrator given neither a name nor gender, and their consuming love affair with a married woman. Readers who are interested in reading more fluid interpretations of gender might want to read this classic story.

Jumpstart the world, by Catherine Ryan Hyde

A teenager falls in love with her next-door-neighbor only to realize he is actually a trans man, leading her on an emotional journey of acceptance. People who are interested in learning more from the perspective of family and friends of trans men might like this engaging novel and the poignant journey it creates.


April 11, 2012

Author – Jackie Kay

Title- Trumpet

Genre –GLBTQ, Literary Fiction

Publication Date – 1998

Number of Pages – 288

Geographical Setting – London & Scotland

Time Period – 1960s – 1990s

Series – N/A

Plot Summary – Trumpet is the haunting and beautiful story of Joss Moody.  Moody, based on real life Billy Tipton, is a famous African American jazz trumpeter who was born female, but identifies as male.  She lives her entire life masquerading as a male, revealing the secret only to her wife, Millie.  The story begins after Moody’s death, when her ‘real’ identity has been discovered through an autopsy.

Touching on themes of identity, love, secrecy and racism, this novel is a captivating and emotional read.  Told from multiple perspectives, readers are given insight into the minds of Millie, Coleman (Moody’s son), the coroner, a journalist attempting to write a tell-all biography on Moody’s life, and many otherss.

Subject Headings – Family Secrets; Identity (Psychology); Jazz; Male Impersonators; Racism; Scotland; Transsexuals; Trumpet Players; Grief

Appeal – Lyrical, Haunting, Thought-Provoking, Poetic, Shocking, Romantic, Intimate, Engaging, Unusual, Multiple Points of View, Quirky, Entertaining

3 Appeal Terms That Best Describe the Book – Thought-Provoking, Unusual, Haunting

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works –

Sexual Metamorphosis: An Anthology of Transsexual Memoirs (Various Authors): This work is a compilation of essays written by transsexuals focusing on their individual quests to find their true selves. Readers who were interested in the transsexual aspect of Trumpet will likely enjoy these first person accounts.

Suits Me: The Double Life of Billy Tipton (by Diane Wood Middlebrook): This book is the biography of Billy Tipton, the transsexual trumpet player who Jackie Kay based Trumpet on.  Trumpet is a fictionalized account of Billy Tipton’s story.  Readers who wish for the factual version of Trumpet will certaily enjoy this biography.

The History of Jazz (by Ted Gioia): This book is a comprehensive history of jazz.  Touching on the origins of jazz, the various styles, the places where the genre evolved, and commentary on the style itself, this work will interest readers who enjoyed the musical aspect of Trumpet.

3 Relevant Fiction Works –

Stone Butch Blues (by Leslie Feinberg) – This novel tells the story of Jess, a woman who lives her life as a man. Throughout the novel she is undergoing a transsexual operation, in secret, as well as searching for a community of her own. Readers who wish for a different book about a woman living her life as a man would likely enjoy this read.

Floating (by Nicole Williams-Bailey) – This book is about a young woman coming to terms with her identity.  As the daughter of a white socialite and a black alcoholic, she is continuously rejected by both the white and black communities. This book would appeal to readers who were interested in the struggles found in Trumpet regarding interracial relations.

The Last Report on the Miracle at Little No Horse (by Louise Erdrich)- This is a lyrical and haunting novel about a dying priest who is asked to prove the sainthood of a woman, while guarding a secret about his identity in the process. This will appeal to readers who enjoyed how Trumpet was written from multiple perspectives, and also for those who liked reading about someone protecting a secret regarding their identity.

The Evening Crowd at Kirmser’s: A Gay Life in the 1940s

April 11, 2012

Title: The Evening Crowd at Kirmser’s: A Gay Life in the 1940s

Author:Richard J. Brown and William Reichard

Genre: LGBT

Publication Date: April 2003

Number of Pages: 155

Geographical Setting: Minnesota

Time Period:World War 2, 1940s

Plot Summary: The author is a naval recruit who is removed from miliatry servive after being discovered as a gay man and is forced to return home to Minnesota. Once there, he finds a small bar named Kirmser’s in St. Paul run by two German immigrants. By day the bar is home to typical blue collar workers but at night it transforms into a meeting place for gays and lesbians after the war. The book follows the author and his friends on a journey of personal acceptance and disapproval from the mass populace.

Subject Headings:

Brown, Ricardo J.
Gay journalists — United States — Biography
Homosexuality — Saint Paul, Minnesota — History
Gay men — Saint Paul, Minnesota — History
The Forties (20th century)

Appeal: Informative, detailed, moving, powerful, inspiring, descriptive, bittersweet, accessible, passionate, thoughtful, tragic, realistic, sympathetic,

3 Appeal Terms that Best Describe the Book: Moving, sympathetic, powerful

Similar Authors and Works (why are they similar?):

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

Stonewall – Martin Baumi Duberman

A good choice for anyone who wishes to learn more about the history of the gay pride movement. Stonewall is half history book and half biography of six men and women personally involved in the Stonewall riots of the 60s when groups of gay men and women fought back against the police.

Coming out Under Fire: The History of Gay Men & Women In World War 2 – Allan Berube

Filled with letters and interviews by gay veterans, the book delves into the standing of gays in the military during this era, as well as how these gay soldiers subsequently changed their government and leaders.

Tales of the Lavender Menace: A Memoir of Liberation – Karla Jay

A memoir of Karla Jay’s life working as a student activist for the women’s liberation movement throughout the 60s & 70s. Perfect for anyone who wants to read about civil rights and the oppressed overcoming bigotry.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

More of This World or Maybe Another –  Barb Johnson

Winner of the Stonewall award for Literature, this novel follows four friends in New Orleans who are dealing with different struggles such as poverty, violence and homosexuality.

The City and the Pillar – Gore Vidal

A contemporary novel about a gay man’s coming of age in post-World War II America. Jim and Bob were childhood friends, but after years apart Jim strikes out on his own in the hopes of finding Bob again and rekindling their friendship.

A Single Man – Christopher Isherwood

George, a college professor, is adjusting to life on his own after the sudden death of his partner and contemplates taking his own life. The book follows a day in his life as he tries to cope with what might be his last day alive while still teaching and going through his daily routine. An excellent film version of this book was made starring Colin Firth and directed by Tom Ford.

Name: Courtney Rose

Boy Meets Boy

April 11, 2012

Author:  David Levithan

Title:  Boy Meets Boy

Genre:  GLBTQ, YA Fiction

Publication Date:  2003

Number of Pages:  182

Geographical Setting:  Small town suburbia

Time Period:  Present Day

Series (If applicable):  N/A

Plot Summary:  Boy Meets Boy is a refreshing antidote to those disturbed by the recent rash of bullying and anti-gay sentiment. In a town that is a little too good to be true, high school sophomore Paul is surrounded by a close-knit group of friends, a supportive family, and a community where the gay-straight alliance is more powerful than the PTA. He feels that something is missing—until he meets Noah. They have an instant connection, and Paul is delighted that he has met someone special. Things start to unravel, however, and little bits of Paul’s perfect life begin to fall apart, when his best friend stops speaking to him, another friend is punished by his fundamentalist family, and an ex comes out of the woodwork. Levithan’s prose is stylistic and teen friendly without relying heavily on jargon, and the story reveals itself in a smooth, conversational tone. Boy Meets Boy is a classic teen love story turned on its ear, and is charming enough to be enjoyed by readers young, old, gay, or straight.

Subject Headings:

Gay Teenagers, Teenage Boys, Infatuation in Teenage Boys, Interpersonal Relations, Teenage Boys, Teenage Romance.

Appeal:  character centered, strong secondary characters, witty, funny, upbeat, engaging, offbeat, GLBTQ, romantic, stylistic, compelling, whimsical, insightful, refreshing

3 appeal terms that best describe this book:  witty, engaging, offbeat

Similar Authors and Works (why are they similar?):

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

Free Your Mind: The Book for Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Youth and Their Allies—Ellen Bass:  This book provides first-hand accounts and advice for young men and women who identify as gay, lesbian, and bisexual. The real world is not as accepting as the world in Boy Meets Boy, so this title attempts to offer support.

Always My Child: A Parent’s Guide to Understanding Your Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered, or Questioning Son or Daughter—Kevin Jennings:  In the book, Tony’s parents are not accepting of his homosexuality. This title helps parents deal when their child isn’t straight.

Smells Like Teen Spirit: Music, Youth Culture, and Social Crisis—Ryan Moore:  Music plays an important role in Boy Meets Boy. This volume explores the way music influences teen culture, and how it plays an important role in shaping identity.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

Weetzie Bat—Francesca Lia Block:  Like Boy Meets Boy, Weetzie Bat follows the journey of two young people in love, and the adopted family that they surround themselves with. It also takes place in an idealized, fairy tale-like world.

Keeping You a Secret—Julie Anne Peters:  An emotional GLBTQ teen love story, this time from the female perspective.

Going Bovine—Libba Bray: A boy fighting mad cow disease takes the road trip of a lifetime and meets some colorful characters along the way. This novel is also about a young man’s coming of age, set in surreal surroundings and populated with outrageous people.

Name: Laura

The Boys on the Rock

April 11, 2012

Author: John Fox

Title: The Boys on the Rock

Genre: LGBT

Publication Date: 1984

Number of Pages: 146p.

Geographical Setting: Bronx, N.Y.

Time Period: 1968

Series (If applicable): n/a

Plot Summary: It’s 1968 in the Bronx and Catholic High School sophomore, swim team star, and narrator Billy Connor is gay and knows it and likes it.  Unfortunately, he has only been able to explore his sexuality in very frequent, detailed, creative, and enthusiastic masturbation sessions that the reader will come to know very well.  Billy, not wanting to be drafted and sent to Vietnam, is a Gene McCarthy supporter who meets Al, the head of the local McCarthy campaign office.  Canvassing soon leads to lingering dinners at a pizzeria, which leads to making out, which of course leads to the sex that Billy has longed for.  Billy is very talented in graphic and detailed accounts of his and Al’s lovemaking, leaving not a thing to the reader’s imagination.  While Billy feels newly free and empowered by his relationship with Al, is it really love?  And is it a love that will last?  With the tumultuous Democratic presidential primary and a colorful cast of neighborhood friends and eccentrics as a constant backdrop, Billy brings the reader along for the first few baby steps he will take onto the path that will lead him to the man he will become.

Subject Headings: Coming of age stories, Gay teenagers, Eroticism, U.S. history–1968, Presidential elections–1968, First love, Homosexuality, Graphic sex–homosexual, Graphic sex–heterosexual, Political assassination, Gene McCarthy, Bobby Kennedy, Bronx, Competitive swimming, Catholic school, Homophobia, Nostalgia, Masturbation.

Appeal: Quick-paced, bittersweet, candid, passionate, adolescent, horny, dramatic, edgy, sexual, graphic, gritty, impassioned, nostalgic, naive, sensual, romantic, unpretentious, foul-mouthed, colorful, unrelenting, rebellious, melancholy, vivid, sexually explicit, steamy, issue-oriented, introspective, retrospective, political, historical detail, urban, colloquial, dialect, direct, unaffected, hormonal, empowering, gay, sweaty, messy, intimate, personal discovery, sexual discovery.

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: adolescent, gritty, sexually explicit.

Similar Authors and Works (why are they similar?):

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

The Joy of Sex: The Ultimate Revised Edition by Alex Comfort

The Joy of Gay Sex, Revised & Expanded by Charles Silverstein and Felice Picano

The Joy of Lesbian Sex: A Tender and Liberated Guide to the Pleasures and Problems of a Lesbian Lifestyle by Dr. Emily L. Sisley and Bertha Harris

Yes, I know three books are not one book, but I feel I must evoke an “apples and oranges” (and “pears”[?]) exception in this case.  For people that may find appeal in any of these works, two titles will be completely useless (sort of) to them.  And the goal is to be able to satisfy 100% of readers, yes?

There is so much graphic sex and language in Boys that it would seem almost impossible that a reader wouldn’t take some stock of their own romantic life at some point.  These seminal, highly respected, and somewhat clinical works are certainly the “safe” and “tasteful” (yet graphically illustrated) suggestions that could be a stepping off point for a reader who may want to explore better or newer ways in which to get their freak on.

Time 1968: War Abroad, Riots at Home, Fallen Leaders and Lunar Dreams

The United States +1968= CRAZY: MLK shot, RFK shot, protests, race riots, political riots, cities on fire, Vietnam, Tet Offensive, Chicago Democratic Convention (police beatings and rioting and the MC5, for those too young), drugs, sex, rock and roll, men on the moon—and those are just the headlines.

While the rebellion, protest, and awakening of Billy’s 1968 took place mostly in his head and underwear, there is much happening around him that will inform a bevvy of decisions, political and not.  Here is an overview of that year with lots of color pictures.

Stonewall: The Riots That Sparked the Gay Revolution by David Carter

One year later from Billy’s awakening, the gay community of Greenwich Village rose up against police harassment to spark the beginning of the gay rights movement.  I can vividly picture Billy chanting slogans and punching cops in the face.  Here is a timeline of the events leading up to, and the riots themselves, as well as the aftermath.  This comprehensive account is the result of hundreds of interviews, public and sealed files, and a decade of research.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

Forever by Judy Blume

If one took a plot synopsis of Boys and replaced the Bronx with a woodsy, well-to-do suburb, and weekends of beer in the park with ski trips, and animalistic gay sex with meticulously thought-out hetero sex, and Billy with a Katherine, and a cowardly Al with an impossibly sensitive Michael and then washed everyone’s mouths out with soap, one would be left holding a copy of Forever. Had those who have taken the often challenged Forever (ALA 7th all-time) to trial had known that Boys may have been right around the corner, I shudder to think at the number of libraries that may have burned.  While certainly trying to please entirely different audiences, these two books are identical thematically, giving Forever large appeal to the reader who may have picked up Boys hoping for a sentimental tale of teenage sexual awakening, but just not as sticky.

Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan

Luckily for the high-school kids that populate Boy Meets Boy, Levithan has created a bizarro-world town where there is no prejudice of any sort, especially sexual.  This bodes well for a school that features a Harley riding cheerleading squad and a cross-dressing star quarterback/Homecoming Queen.  The book centers on Paul, who thinks he finally may have found true love in Noah.  Simultaneously uplifting and heartbreaking, Levithan brilliantly illustrates that freed of the burden of prejudice, hatred, and ignorance these are just kids, whatever their sexual orientation, awkwardly trying to find their place in the world and maybe a little happiness, too.

Best Lesbian Erotica 2011 by D.L. King, Giselle Renarde, Kathleen Warnock and Kirsty Logan

Best Gay Erotica 2011 by Johnny Murdoc, Natty Soltesz, and Rob Wolfsham

Sweet Confessions: Erotic Fantasies for Couples by Violet Blue

Again, I must use the “apples and oranges” rule exception.  For any reader of Boys that enjoyed the very detailed and descriptive sex scenes, here you go: a little something for everyone.

Name: Bill S.

The First Man-Made Man: The Story of Two Sex Changes, One Love Affair, and a Twentieth-Century Medical Revolution

April 11, 2012

Author:  Pagan Kennedy

Title:  The First Man-Made Man:  The Story of Two Sex Changes, One Love Affair, and a Twentieth-Century Medical Revolution

Genre:  GLBTQ, Non-fiction

Publication Date:  2007

Number of Pages:  224

Geographical Setting:  Great Britain, India

Time Period:  1920s-1960s

Series (If applicable):  N/A

Plot Summary:  Michael Dillon wasn’t the most famous person to undergo gender reassignment surgery, but he was the first.  Born Laura Dillon, Michael spent years feeling as if he had been given the wrong body, and at the age of 24 began seeking out ways to correct this problem, beginning with testosterone pills and continuing through the successful creation of a penis by a noted plastic surgeon.  Despite getting what he wanted, life did not continue on in the easy fashion that he had hoped for—his family disowned him, he fell in love with a male-to-female transgender individual upon whom he performed illegal surgery, and his quest for spiritual enlightenment took some surprising turns.  The leisurely pace makes the story easy to read, and this book features a straightforward writing style and historical details, especially of a medical nature.

Subject Headings:

  • Dillon, Michael, — 1915-1962.
  • Transsexuals — Great Britain — Biography.
  • Sex change — Great Britain — Biography.
  • Gender identity — Great Britain.
  • Cowell, Roberta, — 1918-
  • Transsexualism — Great Britain — Biography.
  • Gender Identity — Great Britain — Biography.
  • Genitalia — surgery — Great Britain.
  • History, 20th Century — Great Britain.
  • Hormone Replacement Therapy — history — Great Britain.
  • Transvestism — Great Britain — Biography.

Appeal:  deliberate, leisurely paced, flawed characters, multiple plot lines, thought-provoking, tragic, historical details, details of medical advancements, accessible, informative, straightforward, compassionate

3 appeal terms that best describe this book:  straightforward, informative, historical details

Similar Authors and Works (why are they similar?):

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

She’s Not There: A Life in Two Genders—Jennifer Finney Boylan:  This book also tells the story of a person changing genders, but it’s a memoir and provides a personal look at the process.

As Nature Made Him: The Boy Who Was Raised as a Girl—John Colapinto:  Examines similar gender issues, but looks at them through the story of, as the subtitle states, a boy who was raised as a girl from birth, complete with surgery to make him appear anatomically female.

Fun Home:  A Family Tragicomic–Alison Bechdel:  This graphic memoir examines family dynamics through the story of the author’s coming out as a lesbian to her closeted gay father, who commits suicide soon after.  Both of these books deal with issues of sexuality and gender.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

Middlesex—Jeffrey Eugenides:  This novel explores a secret family history that has led to Callie’s existence as an intersex individual.  Much like Michael Dillon, she has always felt something was off, and has to decide how to proceed.

Stone Butch Blues—Leslie Feinberg:  The main character, Jess, is living as a man in the 1960’s and 1970’s, dealing with society’s pressures and prejudices.   This book has themes of identity and community that relate it to The First Man Made Man.

Sacred Country—Rose Tremain:  Follows Mary through decades of her life as she attempts to change her gender, and deals with issues of identity and loneliness.

Name:  Amanda

Boy Meets Boy

April 11, 2012

Author: David Levithan

Title: Boy Meets Boy

Genre: Young Adult, GLBTQ

Publication Date: 2003

Number of Pages: 192

Geographical Setting: small town in United States

Time Period: Contemporary

Series (If applicable):

Plot Summary: Paul, a gay sophomore in High-School, has several friends including a drag queen football quarter back. When a new boy Noah moves to his small town, Paul is immediately attracted and the two being a relationship. In a world where being gay is difficult, Livithan creates a place where being gay is normal. Although there is the typical romance of discovering your first love, fighting with your best friend and learning to be accepted among your peers, this whimsical novel shares the ups and downs of a protagonist everyone will be rooting for.

Subject Headings:  Magical Realism, Male Friendship, High-School, Gay Teenagers, Teenage Boys

Appeal: Funny, Engaging, Character Driven, Gay Relationships, Cheerful, Charming, Wacky, Artistic, Love, Relationships, Whimsical, Small Town, Contemporary

3 appeal terms that best describe this book:  Homosexuality, Relationships and Humorous

Similar Authors and Works (why are they similar?):

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

The Meaning of Matthew: my son’s murder in Laramie, and a world transformed by Judy Shepard. The mother of Matthew Shepard shares her heartbreaking story of the loss of her son discussing her thoughts and feelings immediately following his murder. Through her son’s brutal massacre the world was turned upside down hearing about this crime. Judy shares intimate moments about Matthew before his death and her life work becoming an activist to support gay and lesbian causes.

The Give Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate by Gary Chapman. Everyone comes in various sizes as does their personal expressions of love. This book discusses five ways to help your relationship become a stronger one by showing your affection through words of affirmation, receiving gifts, acts of services, physical touch and quality time. A great self-help book for couples that need to repair communication between one another.

GLTBQ: the survival guide for Queer and Questioning Teens by Kelly Huegel. For gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender questioning teens, this novel helps take the challenges of prejudice and discrimination that may come with figuring out their true identity. It provides experiences from other teens who have ‘come out’ to parents, family and friends and also describes possible responses of parents after their teen has told them that he/she is gay. It also lists possible ways to respond to those who may be less accepting to the information. This is a great resource for teens.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

Weetzie Bat– Francesca Lia Block- This poetic and lyrical novel discuses the life of Weetzie, a girl who lives in LA with her friend Dirk whose gay. In this intricate book, Block combines modern day chaos with mystical occurrences when Weetzie is granted three wishes by a genie and the ever-changing love triangles. This is a novel discusses homosexuality, single parenthood and you’re not so traditional family that it’s bound to be a topic of discussion among a wide variety of readers.

Far From Xanadu by Julie Anne Peters. Set in a small town in Kansas, Mike (born Mary- Elizabeth) has a troubling family after her father commits suicide and her mother feels that she is falling into a deep depression. Suddenly things look up when Xanadu a new girl who visits her town, becomes infatuated with her. The problem is that Xanadu is not attracted to Mike. This novel brings out the true emotions and honesty that teenagers have when they are unsure of what sex they prefer. Peters weaves in difficult situations but always leaves the reader rooting for Mike in this uplifting tale.

Luna by Julie Ann Peters. This young adult novel deals specifically with transgender issues. Reagan’s brother, Liam, is a woman trapped in a man’s body. Reagan tries to protect her brother and his secret from his friends and family until Liam decides that he wants to expose “Luna” to his parents and unleash her to the world.