LGBT+ History Month
The Book Club is back for 2021 and we’re beginning this year’s reading journey in February, which is LGBT+ History Month. To celebrate, we’ve got a slightly bigger selection of beautiful works by some of the greatest authors of the last century, from groundbreaking classics to informative new fiction. As always, I’ll put a poll on Twitter so that people can choose the book they’d like to read most. Our discussion will probably be in early March, but this is totally flexible depending on everyone’s schedules.
Here are February’s books:
Zami: A New Spelling of My Name by Audre Lorde
Audre Lorde is one of the most influential poets, feminists, writers, activists (you name it) of the 20th Century. Her work, Zami: A New Spelling of My Name is a deeply personal ‘biomythography’.
‘Zami: A New Spelling of My Name tells the story of Audre Lorde’s passage from childhood to young adulthood. It covers many themes but focuses primarily on the close bounds she develops with women throughout her life, first with her mother and then with various lovers throughout the book.’ (Bookrags.com)
Giovanni’s Room (1956) by James Baldwin
For those of you that read September’s book Swimming in the Dark, you’ll know how significant James Baldwin’s book was to a young Ludwig in helping him to realise his identity.
‘In a 1950s Paris swarming with expatriates and characterized by dangerous liaisons and hidden violence, an American finds himself unable to repress his impulses, despite his determination to live the conventional life he envisions for himself.’ (Penguin)
The Line of Beauty (2004) by Alan Hollinghurst
This beautiful novel won Alan Hollinghurst the Man Booker Prize in 2004.
‘Nick Guest has left university and summer is in full swing. At first, Nick’s sexuality is largely hidden from the upper-class world he drifts into — with trysts in gated gardens and behind closed doors. But as time passes and the AIDS crisis develops, this no longer becomes possible. Taking aim at the hollow allure of wealth and the moral vacuum of Thatcher’s rule, Hollinghurst’s novel is sumptuous and increasingly sombre.’ (Goodreads)
On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous (2019) by Ocean Vuong
The debut novel by Vietnamese author Ocean Vuong, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is one of the most talked-about books of the last few years.
‘Written when the speaker, Little Dog, is in his late twenties, the letter unearths a family’s history that began before he was born — a history whose epicenter is rooted in Vietnam — and serves as a doorway into parts of his life his mother has never known, all of it leading to an unforgettable revelation. At once a witness to the fraught yet undeniable love between a single mother and her son, it is also a brutally honest exploration of race, class, and masculinity.’ (Goodreads)
Felix Ever After (2020) by Kacen Callender
I think this might be the first YA novel we’ve had for the Book Club! Felix Ever After is written by Stonewall and Lambda Award winning author Kacen Callender.
‘Felix Love has never been in love—and, yes, he’s painfully aware of the irony. He desperately wants to know what it’s like and why it seems so easy for everyone but him to find someone. What’s worse is that, even though he is proud of his identity, Felix also secretly fears that he’s one marginalization too many—Black, queer, and transgender—to ever get his own happily-ever-after.’
Orlando (1928) by Virginia Woolf
One of the most important figures in the modernist movement and an influential feminist, Woolf’s work is immortalised by her explorations of gender, sex and power. Orlando is based on and dedicated to her friend and lover, Vita Sackville-West.
‘Spanning three centuries, the novel opens as Orlando, a young nobleman in Elizabeth’s England, awaits a visit from the Queen and traces his experience with first love as England under James I lies locked in the embrace of the Great Frost. At the midpoint of the novel, Orlando, now an ambassador in Constantinople, awakes to find that he is now a woman, and the novel indulges in farce and irony to consider the roles of women in the 18th and 19th centuries.’ (Penguin)
I’m so excited to see which book is chosen – they’re all fantastic!