Books have a power unlike any other media. As we read a book and listen to a narrator's voice, we are invited to live inside another person's skin, feel their feelings and think their thoughts. This empathetic connection with a character can change how we view the world. Think about how books like Oliver Twist (poverty), Night (the Jewish holocaust) and Roots (slavery) allow many of us to experience lives much different than our own.The month of June is national Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Transgender and Queer Pride Month, honoring the 1969 Stonewall riots and the Gay Liberation Movement in the United States. Since Stonewall, LGBTQ people and their allies have worked towards civil rights and equality in a nation that once criminalized their very existence. Today the struggle continues in the courts and in society, as LGBTQ individuals are still discriminated against in many states, and suffer greater rates of mental health challenges.Using the power of books, Irving Public Library invites you to pick up a book in June to learn more about the lives and struggles of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people through fiction. Here are a few recommended titles.
Tales of the City Series (1978 to 2014) by Armistead MaupinOur story begins with five young adults living in the mysterious Anna Madrigal's apartment house in 1970s San Francisco, spinning out into nine books covering four decades of love, life, sex and self-discovery. Also available in audiobook format on Hoopla digital.
We are Water (2013) by Wally LambAn intricate and layered portrait of marriage, family, and the inexorable need for understanding and connection, told in the alternating voices of the Ohs--nonconformist Annie; her ex-husband, Orion, a psychologist; Ariane, the do-gooder daughter, and her twin, Andrew, the rebellious only son; and free-spirited Marissa, the youngest Oh. Set during the first years of the Obama presidency, it is also a portrait of modern America, exploring issues of class, changing social mores, the legacy of racial violence, and the nature of creativity and artThe Danish Girl (2000) by David EbershoffSet against the glitz and decadence of 1920s Copenhagen, Dresden, and Paris, The Danish Girl eloquently portrays the intimacy that defines a marriage and the nearly forgotten story of the love between a man who discovers that he is, in fact, a woman and the woman who would sacrifice anything for him.
The Rebellion of Miss Lucy Ann Lobdell (2015) by William KlaberAt a time when women did not commonly travel unescorted, carry a rifle, sit down in bars, or have romantic liaisons with other women, Lucy Lobdell boldly set forth to earn men's wages. Lucy Lobdell did all of these things in a personal quest to work and be paid, to wear what she wanted, and love whomever she cared to. But to gain those freedoms she had to endure public scorn and wrestle with a sexual identity whose vocabulary had yet to be invented.In One Person (2012) by John IrvingA novel of desire, secrecy, and sexual identity, In One Person is a story of unfulfilled love-tormented, funny, and affecting-and an impassioned embrace of our sexual differences. Billy, the bisexual narrator and main character, tells the tragicomic story of more than half a century, from Vermont prep-school days to surviving the AIDS crisis of the 1980s.
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (2012) by Benjamin Alire SaenzFifteen-year-old Ari Mendoza is an angry loner with a brother in prison, but when he meets Dante and they become friends, Ari starts to ask questions about himself, his parents, and his family that he has never asked before.
Highly Illogical Behavior (2016) by John Corey WhaleySixteen-year-old Solomon is agoraphobic. He hasn't left the house in three years, which is fine by him. Ambitious Lisa desperately wants to get into the second-best psychology program for college (she's being realistic). But how can she prove she deserves a spot there? Determined to "fix" Sol, Lisa thrusts herself into his life, sitting through Star Trek marathons with him and introducing him to her charming boyfriend Clark. Soon, all three teens are far closer than they thought they'd be, and when their walls fall down, their friendships threaten to collapse, as well.
Openly Straight (2015) by Bill KonigsbergTired of being known as "the gay kid", Rafe Goldberg decides to assume a new persona when he comes east and enters an elite Massachusetts prep school--but trying to deny his identity has both complications and unexpected consequences.
Ramona Blue (2017) by Julie MurphyRamona was only five years old when Hurricane Katrina changed her life forever. Since then, it's been Ramona and her family against the world. Standing over six feet tall with unmistakable blue hair, Ramona is sure of three things: she likes girls, she's fiercely devoted to her family, and she knows she's destined for something bigger than the trailer she calls home in Eulogy, Mississippi.
Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda (2015) by Becky AlbertalliSixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: If he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business.
These and other fabulous books, audiobooks and videos are available at your local public library. Happy reading!