To celebrate LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) month we have put together a list of recommended titles for adult readers:
Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson
Like most people I lived for a long time with my mother and father. My father liked to watch the wrestling, my mother liked to wrestle; it didn’t matter what.” — Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit This is the story of Jeanette, adopted and brought up by her mother as one of God’s elect. Zealous and passionate, she seems destined for life as a missionary, but then she falls for one of her converts. At sixteen, Jeanette decides to leave the church, her home and her family, for the young woman she loves. Innovative, punchy and tender, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit is a few days ride into the bizarre outposts of religious excess and human obsession.
The Hours by Michael Cunningham
The Hours is a daring and deeply affecting novel inspired by the life and work of Virginia Woolf. In 1920s London, Virginia Woolf is fighting against her rebellious spirit as she attempts to make a start on her new novel. A young wife and mother, broiling in a suburb of 1940s Los Angeles, yearns to escape and read her precious copy of Mrs Dalloway’.And Clarissa Vaughan steps out of her smart Greenwich village apartment in 1990s New York to buy flowers for a party she is hosting for a dying friend. Moving effortlessly across the decades and between England and America, this exquisite novel intertwines the stories of three unforgettable women.
Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
Written at the end of the World War II, this novel mourns the passing of the aristocratic world which Waugh knew in his youth and recalls the sensuous pleasures denied him by the austerities of war. In so doing, it provides a study of the conflict between the demands of religion and of the flesh.
Death in Venice by Thomas Mann
Death in Venice tells the story of Gustav von Aschenbach, a successful but aging writer who follows his wanderlust to Venice in search of spiritual fulfillment that instead leads to his erotic doom.
In the decaying city, besieged by an unnamed epidemic, he becomes obsessed with an exquisite Polish boy, Tadzio. “It is a story of the voluptuousness of doom,” Mann wrote. “But the problem I had especially in mind was that of the artist’s dignity
Carol by Patricia Highsmith
First published in 1952 under a pseudonym, this novel was described as the first gay book with a happy ending. It is a love story about Therese, 19, and Carol, a sophisticated married woman.
The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters
It is 1922, and London is tense. Ex-servicemen are disillusioned, the out-of-work and the hungry are demanding change. And in South London, in a genteel Camberwell villa, a large silent house now bereft of brothers, husband and even servants, life is about to be transformed, as impoverished widow Mrs Wray and her spinster daughter, Frances, are obliged to take in lodgers. As passions mount and frustration gathers, no one can foresee just how far-reaching, and how devastating, the disturbances will be.
Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café by Fannie Flagg
The day Idgie Threadgoode and Ruth Jamison opened the Whistle Stop Cafe, the town took a turn for the better. It was the Depression and that cafe was a home from home for many of us. You could get eggs, grits, bacon, ham, coffee and a smile for 25 cents. Ruth was just the sweetest girl you ever met. And Idgie? She was a character, all right. You never saw anyone so headstrong. But how anybody could have thought she murdered that man is beyond me. Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe is a mouth-watering tale of love, laughter and mystery.
Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult
Zoe Baxter has spent ten years trying to get pregnant, and just when she’s about to get her heart’s desire, tragedy destroys her world. When Zoe allows herself to start thinking of children again, she remembers that there are still frozen embryos that she and her husband never used. But she needs his permission to use them.
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the court of King Peleus and his perfect son Achilles. Despite their differences, Achilles befriends the shamed prince, and as they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine, their bond blossoms into something deeper – despite the displeasure of Achilles’s mother Thetis, a cruel sea goddess. But when word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, Achilles must go to war in distant Troy and fulfill his destiny. Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus goes with him, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they hold dear.
Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt
There’s only one person who has ever truly understood 14-year-old June Elbus, and that’s her uncle, the renowned painter, Finn Weiss. Shy at school and distant from her once inseparable older sister, June can only be herself in Finn’s company; he is her godfather, confident, and best friend.
Inseparable: Desire between Women in Literature by Emma Donoghue
Love between women crops up throughout literature: from Chaucer and Shakespeare to Charlotte Bronte, Dickens, Agatha Christie, and many more. In ‘Inseparable’, Emma Donoghue examines how desire between women in literature has been portrayed, from schoolgirls and vampires to runaway wives, from cross-dressing knights to contemporary murder stories.
Proud by Gareth Thomas
The autobiography of former Welsh rugby player Gareth Thomas, who represented Wales in both rugby union and rugby league. Thomas announced publicly he was gay in 2009, making him the first openly gay professional rugby union player.
Good as You by Paul Flynn
‘Good As You’ is the 30 year history of British gay culture – from the identification of the HIV virus in 1984, through Manchester’s self-selection as Britain’s gay capital, to Eastenders’ Colin and Barry’s first primetime televised gay kiss and the real-time romance of Elton John and David Furnish’s eventual marriage. Including candid interviews from major protagonists such as Kylie, Russell T. Davies and Holly Johnson, as well as the relative unknowns crucial to the gay community, Flynn charts the fight for equality both front of stage and in the wings.
Pride and Joy by Sarah and Rachel Hagger-Holt
‘Pride and Joy‘ is a practical, positive guide for lesbian, gay, bi and trans parents. It draws on experiences and advice from a diverse range of LGBT parents and their children.
Queer City by Peter Ackroyd
In ‘Queer City‘, Peter Ackroyd looks at London in a whole new way – through the story of its gay population. In Roman Londinium the city was dotted with lupanaria (‘wolf dens’ or public pleasure houses), fornices (brothels) and thermiae (hot baths). Then came the Emperor Constantine, with his bishops, monks and missionaries. And so began an endless loop of alternating permissiveness and censure. Ackroyd takes us right into the hidden history of the city; from the notorious Normans to the frenzy of executions for sodomy in the early 19th century. He journeys through the coffee bars of sixties Soho to Gay Liberation, disco music and the horror of AIDS.
The Oldest Gay in the Village by George Montague
Born in 1923, George Montague has seen many changes in his lifetime, few greater than the attitude towards being gay – attitudes that saw him criminalised for the sin of loving another man. This charming, funny book is a unique social history from a truly remarkable man.
Becoming Nicole by Amy Ellis Nut
This is the inspiring true story of a transgender girl, her identical twin brother, and an ordinary American family’s extraordinary journey to understand, nurture, and celebrate the uniqueness in us all.
Philomena by Martin Sixsmith
‘Philomena‘ is the tale of a mother and a son whose lives were scarred by the forces of hypocrisy on both sides of the Atlantic and of the secrets they were forced to keep. A compelling narrative of human love and loss, Martin Sixsmith’s moving account is both heartbreaking yet ultimately redemptive.
Trans Britain edited by Christine Burns
Over the last five years, transgender people have seemed to burst into the public eye. From our television screens to the ballot box, transgender had suddenly become part of the zeitgeist. This apparently overnight emergence, though, is just the latest stage in a long and varied history. The renown of Paris Lees and Hari Nef has its roots in the efforts of those who fought for equality before them, but were met with apathy – and often outright hostility – from mainstream society. ‘Trans Britain‘ chronicles this journey in the words of those who were there to witness a once invisible community grow into the powerful movement we recognise today: activists, film-makers, parents, broadcasters, an actress, a rock musician and a priest, among many others.
All of the recommended titles can be borrowed from Wokingham Borough Libraries https://wokingham.spydus.co.uk or visit http://www.wokingham.gov.uk/libraries