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Find more Over the Rainbow
The 2019 Over the Rainbow Project book list, compiled by ALA’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table (GLBTRT), includes 50 titles in the category of fiction and 54 in nonfiction published between July 1, 2017, and December 31, 2018. A concerted effort was made to solicit titles from small to major presses and to diversify genres and categories of books. The committee’s mission is to create a bibliography of books that exhibit commendable literary quality and significant, authentic LGBTQ content and are recommended for adults over age 18. It is not meant to be all-inclusive but is intended as an annual core list for readers and librarians searching for recommendations for a cross section of the year’s titles. Although the committee attempts to present titles for a variety of reading tastes and levels, no effort is made to balance this bibliography according to subject, area of interest, age, or genre. Below please find the top 10 Over the Rainbow list, which combines fiction and nonfiction titles. See the full bibliography and a list of the committee members at www.glbtrt.ala.org/overtherainbow.
Bingo Love. By Tee Franklin. Illus. by Jenn St-Onge. 2018. Image Comics, $9.99 (9781534307506).
Hazel and Mari are teenagers when they first meet in the early 1960s. When their friendship blossoms into something more, they are forced apart by their families and society. Decades later at a bingo hall, the two find each other again and finally embark on the life of which they had been robbed. A graphic novel that will warm your heart.
David Bowie Made Me Gay. By Darryl W. Bullock. 2017. Overlook, $35 (9781468315592).
A well-researched overview of queer musicians who have had a major impact on popular music, bringing to light hidden stories and closely examining queer performative movements, making this a compelling and important work.
Harvey Milk: His Lives and Death. By Lillian Faderman. 2018. Yale, $25 (9780300222616).
Harvey Milk and his legacy have been covered extensively, but this new biography stands out from the crowd. Faderman doesn’t lean into hagiography, instead giving a comprehensive and intersectional account of Milk’s life and his relevance in the current political moment.
Her Body and Other Parties. By Carmen Maria Machado. 2017. Graywolf, $16 (9781555977887).
Machado’s eight short stories weave the ordinary and the surreal, exploring disgust, delight, and all varieties of queerness. Her characters are both flawed and fantastic, and impossible to forget. Her retelling of a classic ghost story is particularly insidious; the reader both knows what will happen and is shocked by it.
House of Impossible Beauties. By Joseph Cassara. 2018. Ecco, $26.99 (9780062676979).
For fans of the FX show Pose or the documentary Paris Is Burning, Cassara lovingly documents the NYC ball scene of the 1980s, when queer people of color were able to compete in a simultaneously vicious and loving environment of fierce queens with even fiercer support. Tough issues like AIDS and racism are addressed head-on as the vivid characters navigate love, life, and loss with their wigs tightly secured and their lipstick unsmudged.
Living Out Loud: An Introduction to LGBTQ History, Society, and Culture. Ed. by Michael J. Murphy and Brytton Bjorngaard. 2018. Routledge, $145 (9781138191914).
This excellent beginner textbook for any university LGBTQ-centered course covers a variety of topics and is well laid out. Notably, the editors gave contributors the freedom to use whichever acronym fit the situation being discussed. Also included are sexual identities not typically discussed, such as those found in the BDSM and Kink community.
Mean. By Myriam Gurba. 2017. Coffee House, $16.95 (9781566894913).
Michelle Tea meets Helene Cixous in this surrealistic exploration of the spaces between trauma and eros. At turns caustic and vulnerable, Gurba’s experimental memoir is a queer Chicana coming-of-age story told from outside time and inside her body. Intense, darkly humorous, and very readable.
Othered. By Randi M. Romo. 2018. Sibling Rivalry, $17 (9781943977550).
Romo shares her history of growing up a Mexican American girl, with special mention of growing up in the South and the idiosyncratic use of language in that region. Throughout, she celebrates the lives of lost friends, and in her poem, “I Am,” she explains both who she is and how she is labeled by others.
So Lucky. By Nicola Griffith. 2018. Farrar, $15 (9780374265922).
Mara Tagarelli’s life is seemingly perfect until, in the space of a week, her wife leaves her, she is diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and she loses her job. At first, when everything begins to feel threatening and terrifying and Mara feels utterly helpless, she assumes it is simply the vulnerability of the new illness. When other MS survivors begin to turn up on the news, murdered in their own homes, she realizes that the threats are unshakably real. How does anyone defend themselves when their own body can’t be trusted? Griffith’s work is equal parts mystery, horror, and disability narrative.
Trap Door: Trans Cultural Production and the Politics of Visibility. Ed. by Reina Gossett and others. 2017. MIT, $49.95 (9780262036603).
Visibility and its discontents drive this volume of essays on trans life and culture. Art criticism, queer history, political theory, and personal narrative are woven together, often in a single chapter. A multiplicity of voices means that chapters vary in quality, but Trap Door is more than a sum of its parts. The collection contextualizes queer pasts and envisions radical futures, even as its inhabitants struggle with the darkness of the present.
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