2016 Over the Rainbow List: 68 LGBT Books for Adult Readers

By Rebecca Butler  

 The 2016 Over the Rainbow Project book list, sponsored by the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table (GLBTRT) of the American Library Association (ALA), was decided  at ALA’s Midwinter Meeting in Boston.

The bibliography features quality fiction and non-fiction books for adults that are recognized by the Over the Rainbow Project, an ad hoc committee of GLBTRT, for their authentic expression of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender experiences.  Each year, the Over the Rainbow Project releases its annotated bibliography to aid librarians and patrons in selecting quality books released over the past 18 months.

This year’s list includes 68 titles published between July 1, 2014 and Dec. 31, 2015.

The 2016 Over the Rainbow committee includes Rebecca (Butler) Mendelson, Chair; Nicholae Cline, Amy Greschaw, Kate Hampton, Derek Marshall, Andrea Perez, Stephanie Saintful, and Matthew Windsor. The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Round Table of the American Library Association is committed to serving the information needs of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender professional library community and the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender information and access needs of individuals at large. GLBTRT is committed to encouraging and supporting the free and necessary access to all information, as reflected by the missions of the American Library Association and democratic institutions.

Our Top Ten Favorites

Mislaid by Nell Zink. HarperCollins, 2015. 242 pp. $19 (978-0-06-236477) A winding, intricate tale of a non-traditional family fighting for survival in the 1960’s. Fiction.

The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson. Graywolf Press, 2015. 143pp. $15 (978-1-55597-707-8) “A genre-bending memoir, a work of ‘autotheory’ offering fresh, fierce, and timely thinking about desire, identity, and the limitations and possibilities of love and language. At its center is a romance: the story of the author’s relationship with the artist Harry Dodge. This story, which includes the author’s account of falling in love with Dodge, who is fluidly gendered, as well as her journey to and through a pregnancy, is an intimate portrayal of the complexities and joys of (queer) family-making”–Dust jacket flap. Biography

Arresting dress: cross-dressing, law, and fascination in nineteenth-century San Francisco by Clare Sears. Duke University Press, 2015. 202 pp. $79.95 (978-0-8223-5754-4) An in depth examination of cross-dressing laws in San Francisco in the 19th Century.  Adopted as part of a broader anti-indecency campaign, the cross-dressing law became a flexible tool for policing multiple gender transgressions, facilitating over one hundred arrests before the century’s end. Includes archival material, pictures, and detailed stories. Non-Fiction.

Dirty river : a queer femme of color dreaming her way home by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha. Arsenal Pulp Press, 2015. 237 pp. $18.95 (978-1-55152-600-3) A poet’s memoir that reveals how a disabled queer woman of color and abuse survivor navigates her past and her future. Biography.

How to grow up: a memoir by Michelle Tea. Plume, 2015. 287pp. $12.66 (978-0-14-218119-5) A memoir told in multiple essays that tells the story of a woman awkwardly coming to grips with being a “grown up.” Biography.

No house to call my home: love, family, and other transgressions by Ryan Berg. Nation Books, 2015. 294pp. $25.99 (978-1-56858-509-3) A heart wrenching account of disowned and homeless LGBTQ teens and the man who tried to help them. These stories are complex, sad, and moving. Non-Fiction.

Visions and revisions: coming of age in the age of Aids by Dale Peck Soho Press, 2015. 212pp. $19.29 (978-1-61695-441-3) Peck tells his story of life during the AIDS epidemic through personal essays, critical theory, history, eriotica and poetry. Biography.

The Evening Chorus by Helen Humphreys. Mariner Books, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015. 212pp. $12.28 (978-0-544-34869-1) WWII pilot James Hunter is shot down and sent to a German POW camp on his very first mission. While other prisoners play games and plot escape, James observes and records the development of a nest of restarts near the camp. James wife, Rose, finds freedom she never knew before, left behind in their English cottage. This freedom is threatened when James’ sister Enid comes to stay, having lost both her home and her lover in the Blitz. Fiction,.

The gay revolution: the story of the struggle by Lillian Faderman. Simon & Schuster, 2015. 794pp. $25.73 (978-1-4516-9412-3) The sweeping story of the modern struggle for gay, lesbian, and trans rights—from the 1950s to the present—based on amazing interviews with politicians, military figures, legal activists, and members of the entire LGBT community who face these challenges every day. Non-Fiction.

Girl Sex 101. Allison Moon and Katie Diamond.  Lunaticink, 2015. 388pp. $24.99 (978-0-9838309-5-5) A sex-ed book told with humor and illustrations geared toward women. Graphic Novel.



Bordered lives: transgender portraits from Mexico by Kike Arnal, The New Press, 2014. 183pp. $21.95 (978-1-62097-024-9) “A richly evocative collection of photographs by internationally renowned photographer Kike Arnal, Bordered Lives seeks to push back against the transphobic caricatures that have perpetuated discrimination against the transgender community in Mexico. Despite some important advances in recognizing and protecting the rights of its transgender community, including legislation against hate crimes targeting transgender people, discrimination still persists, and the majority of the often appallingly violent attacks against the LGBT community are against transgender women. In the highly personal profiles that make up Bordered Lives, including the first transgender couple to be married in Mexico and one of the country’s most high-profile transgender entertainers, Arnal looks at seven individuals in and around Mexico City. He shows them going about their day-to-day lives: getting ready in the morning, interacting with family and friends, and devoting their lives to helping others in the transgender community. Moving in its honesty, Bordered Lives challenges society’s preconceived notions of sexuality, gender, and beauty not only in Mexico but across the globe. “– Jacket

Lyudmila and Natasha: Russian lives by Misha Friedman.  The New Press, 2015. 141pp. $19.81 (978-1-62097-023-2) A year in photographs depicting the lives of a gay couple living in Saint Petersburg, Russia.



After the Parade: A Novel by Lori Ostlund. Scribner, 2015. 340pp $18.40 (978-1-4767-9010-7) After leaving his partner in New Mexico to start a new life in San Francisco, ESL teacher Aaron Englund seeks closure from a rejection-marked childhood and his own questionable choices by exploring his relationships with fellow misfits in his youth.

A useless man: selected stories by Faik Sait, Maureen Freely, and Alexander Dawe. Archipelago Books, 2014. 240pp. $14.37 (978-0-914671-07-7) Sait Faik Abasiyanik was born in Adapazari in 1906 and died of cirrhosis in Istanbul in 1954. He wrote twelve books of short stories, two novels, and a book of poetry. His stories celebrate the natural world and trace the plight of iconic characters in society: ancient coffeehouse proprietors and priests, dream-addled fishermen and poets of the Princes’ Isles, lovers and wandering minstrels of another time.

Breathing lessons: a novel by Andy Sinclair.  Esplanade Books, 2015. 146pp. $18.95 (978-1-55065-397-7) The story of Henry Moss, a homosexual everyman whose life knows none of the limitations or abuses his predecessors experienced.

Foucault, in winter, in the Linnaeus garden: a novel by Michael Joyce. Starcherone Books, 2015. 185pp. $16 (978-1-938603-23-5) A fictional account of Focault’s 1956 stay in Sweden told through imagined letters in multiple languages.

Jam on the Vine by LaShonda Katrice Barnett. Publishers Group West, 2015. 323pp. $20.43 (978-0-8021-2334-3) A historical novel set in the age of Jim Crow and the Great Migration. Ivoe Williams, the daughter of a Muslim cook and a metalsmith struggles for equality and triumphs against all odds. Ivoe falls in love with a woman and they build a life together in Missouri in the wake of social change.

Lost boi by Sassafras Lowrey. Arsenal Pulp Press, 2015. 233pp. $13.43 (978-1-55152-581-5) A queer punk reimagining of the classic Peter Pan story, told from the point of view of Tootles, Pan’s best boi.

Sphinx by Anne F Garreta. Deep Vellum Pub, 2015. 120pp. $12.21 (978-1-941920-08-4) A romance set in Paris that mixes sexes and blurs genders. This is the first English translation of Garreta’s debut novel.

The Green Road by Anne Enright. First W. W. Norton & Company, 2015. 309pp. $18.61 (978-0-393-24821-0) Follows the lives of Arleen Madigan and her children, a family from County Clare, Ireland, beginning in 1980 and continuing to the present day. Over the 30 years, the children spread across three different continents before reuniting at the family home on Christmas day.

The Listener by Rachel Brasch. Pegasus, 2015. 336pp. $17.76 (978-1-60598-688-3) The story of a student and his professor/psychologist and the way their lives are intertwined through issues of gender and difference. Explores issues of self-definition, trans* identity, and relationships.

Under the Udala trees by Chinelo Okparanta. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015. 328pp. $25 (978-0-544-00344-6) A young Nigerian girl, displaced during their civil war, begins a powerful love affair with another refugee girl from a different ethnic community until the pair are discovered and must learn the cost of living a lie amidst taboos and prejudices.

When everything feels like the movies by Raziel Reid. Arsenal Pulp Press, 2014. 171pp. $11.41 (978-1-55152-574-7) A gay teen who fantasizes about being a movie teen reimagines his world as a movie set. He tells his own story of the need for acceptance and love.


Graphic Narrative

Dash #1 An Engaging Blend of Noir and Queer by Dave Ebersole. Northwest Press, 2015. 24pp. $3.99 Private investigator Dash Malone can’t shake the feeling his lover, Johnny, is hiding something. Strange deaths start occurring throughout the city while a mysterious woman named Zita Makara begs Dash to take her case. When a grisly murder connects all three, a terrifying mystery unfolds



A view from the bottom: Asian American masculinity and sexual representation by Tan Hoang Nguyen.  Duke University Press, 2014. 287pp. $82 (978-0-8223-5672-1) An in-depth look at  Asian American male sexual representation that uses the concept of bottomhood rather than masculinity to  help portray gay Asian American men.

Fat gay men: girth, mirth, and the politics of stigma by Jason Whitesel. University Press, 2014. 177pp. $22 (978-0-8147-0838-5) “To be fat in a thin-obsessed gay culture can be difficult. Despite affectionate in-group monikers for big gay men-chubs, bears, cubs-the anti-fat stigma that persists in American culture at large still haunts these individuals who often exist at the margins of gay communities. In Fat Gay Men, Jason Whitesel delves into the world of Girth & Mirth, a nationally known social club dedicated to big gay men, illuminating the ways in which these men form identities and community in the face of adversity.”– Jacket

Gaming at the Edge: Sexuality and Gender at the Margins of Gamer Culture by Adrienne Shaw. University of Minnesota Press, 2014. 317pp. $25 (978-0-8166-9315-3) A discussion of gamer culture, specifically sexuality and gender through a feminist, queer, postcolonial lens.

Gay directors, gay films?: Pedro Almodóvar, Terence Davies, Todd Haynes, Gus Van Sant, John Waters. Emanuel Levy. Columbia University Press, 2015. 317pp. $35 (978-0-231-15276-1) An in depth look at five contemporary gay male film directors that sets up a framework for what it means to make a gay film or adopt a gay point of view.

Geisha of a different kind: race and sexuality in gaysian America by C. Winter Han. New York University Press, 2015. 235pp. $89 (978-1-4798-3195-1) Addresses Asian American gay men in the American gay mainstream. The author travels from West Coast Asian drag shows to the internationally sought-after Thai kathoey, or “ladyboy,” to construct a theory of queerness that is inclusive of the race and gender particularities of the gay Asian male experience in the United States.

Massive: gay Japanese manga and the men who make it edited by Anne Ishii, Chip Kidd, and Graham Kolbeins. Fantagraphics Books, 2014. 280pp. $31.64 (978-1-60699-785-7) An introdution to comic artists making work for a gay male audience in Japan. Addresses the hyper-masculine world fo Japanese gay manga.

Not gay: sex between straight white men by Elizabeth Jane Ward. New York University Press, 2015. 74pp. $14.95 (978-1-4798-2517-2) A frank and sometimes difficult discussion of sexual practices of men who identify as straight but have homosexual encounters.  The author argues that sexuality is complex and fluid and presents a new take the complexities of heterosexuality.

Paths to Recovery for Gay and Bisexual Drug Addicts: Healing Weary Heart by Paul Schulte. Rowman and Littlefiled Publishers, 2014. 194pp. $65 (978-1-4422-4998-6) Provides practical advice on the problems that confront counselors, friends, and family members in our efforts to help gay or bisexual men with drug and alcohol addiction.

Queer brown voices: personal narratives of Latina/o LGBT activism edited by Uriel Quesada, Letitia Gomez, and Salvador Vidal-Ortiz. University of Texas Press, 2015. 238pp. $24.95 (978-1-4773-0232-3) Personal narratives that share the experiences of lesbians, gay men, and trans activits from a variety of Latina/o communities.

Seeing sodomy in the Middle Ages by Robert Mills. The University of Chicago Press, 2015. 398 pp. $55 (978-0-226-16912-5) Explores the relationship between sodomy and motifs of vision and visibility in medieval culture, on the one hand, and those categories we today call gender and sexuality, on the other.

Story/Time: the life of an idea by Bill T. Jones. Princeton University Press, 2014. 107 pp. $24.95 (978-0-691-16270-6) Acclaimed African American dancer, choreographer, and director Bill T. Jones reflects on his art and life as he describes the genesis of Story/Time, a recent dance work produced by his company and inspired by the modernist composer and performer John Cage.

The Bible’s yes to same-sex marriage: an evangelical’s change of heart by Mark Achtemeier. Westminster John Knox Press, 2014. 137pp. $13.40 (978-0-664-23990-9) In the early 2000’s, Mark Achtemeier embarked on a personal journey with the Bible that led him from being a conservative, evangelical opponent of gay rights to an outspoken activist for gay marriage and a fully inclusive church. In “The Bible’s Yes to Same-Sex Marriage,” Achtemeier shares what led to his change of heart.

The invisible orientation: an introduction to asexuality by Julie Sondra Decker. Carrel Books, an imprint of Skyhorse Pub, 2014. 216pp. $34.95 (978-1-63144-002-1) Julie Sondra Decker outlines what asexuality is, counters misconceptions, provides resources, and puts asexual people’s experiences in context as they move through a very sexualized world. It includes information for asexual people to help understand their orientation and what it means for their relationships, as well as tips and facts for those who want to underhand their asexual friends and loved ones.”–Jacket

The queerness of Native American literature by Lisa Tatonetti. University of Minnesota Press, 2014. 278pp. $75 (978-0-8166-9278-1) Tatonetti carefully describes the ties between queerness and Native American literature while showing how they critique understandings of indigeneity and sexuality.

This book is gay. James Dawson and Spike Gerrell. Sourebooks Fire, 2015. 264pp. $13.81 (978-1-4926-1782-2) “Lesbian. Bisexual. Queer. Transgender. Striaght. Curious. This book is for everyone, regardless of gender or sexual preference. This book is for anyone who’s ever dared to wonder”–Back cover.

Transgender persons and the law 2nd Edition. Ally Windsor Howell. American Bar Association, Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, 2015. 343pp. $129.95 (978-1-63425-036-8) An updated version that takes into account recent changes in the law. Intended to educate and inform practitioners on the various laws and landmark court cases involving transgendered individuals in a number of legal situations, including housing, veterans benefits, family law, health care, employment, criminal justice, and more.

Untangling the knot: queer voices on marriage, relationships & identity edited by Carter Sickels. Ooligan Press, 2015. 227pp. $16.95 (978-1-932010-75-6) Anthology of essays and non-fiction discussing marriage equality and LGBTQ rights.



Bowie on Bowie: interviews and encounters with David Bowie edited by Sean Egan and David Bowie. Chicago Review Press, 2015. 434pp. $27.95  (978-1-56976-977-5)   Bowie on Bowie presents some of the best interviews Bowie has granted in his near five-decade career. It includes well known news outlets as well as smaller sources and provides a wealth of material about the entertainer.

Course correction: a story of rowing and resilience in the wake of Title IX by Ginny Gilder. Beacon Press, 2015. $252 pp. $20.66 (978-0-8070-7477-0) Gilder recounts the physical and psychological barriers she overcame as she transformed into an elite athlete who reached the highest echelon of her sport. Set against the backdrop of unprecedented cultural change, Gilder’s story personalizes the impact of Title IX, illustrating the life-changing lessons learned in sports but felt far beyond the athletic arena.

Gay Berlin: birthplace of a modern identity by Robert Beachy. Knopf, 2014. 305pp. $23.46 (978-0-307-27210-2) An exploration of the lives of “warm brothers” in Berlin. A detailed historical look at the ways these lives influenced modern understandings of sexual orientation and gay identity.

I’m special: and other lies we tell ourselves by Ryan O’Connell. Simon & Schuster Paperbacks, 2015. 195pp. $15 (978-1-4767-0040-3) A funny, yet poignant view of life and accomplishment through the eyes of the Millennial generation. The author focuses on becoming an adult in the midst of insecurity and doubt.

Irrepressible: the Jazz Age life of Henrietta Bingham by Emily Bingham. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2015. 369pp. $21.75 (978-0-8090-9464-6)The biography of a nearly forgotten member of one of Louisville, Kentucky’s most notable families. Deeply researched and beautifully written by her great niece, the book tells a story that is intriguing and heartbreaking.

Living large: Wilna Hervey and Nan Mason by Joseph P. Eckhardt. WoodstockArts, 2015. 200 pp. $37 (978-0-9679268-8-9) The biography of silent film actress and visual artist Wilna Hervey and her lifelong partner, fellow artist Nan Mason. Includes family photos, stills from several of Hervey’s films and images of the couple’s art work.

Snapshots of a Girl by Beldan Sezen. Arsenal Pulp Press, 2015. 176pp. $17.65 (978-1-55152-598-4)In this autobiographical graphic novel, Beldan Sezen revisits the various instances of her coming of age, and her coming out as lesbian, in both western and Islamic cultures.

Non-Fiction- Essays

I will say this exactly one time : essays by D. Gilsen.  Sibling Rivalry Press, 2015. 140 pp. $18 (978-1-937420-99-4) A set of essays that explores what it means to be a poet and cultural theorist in the world. These essays are deeply personal and address the concept of “queer” as an identification.

What color is your hoodie? by Jarrett Neal.  Chelsea Station Editions, 2015. 176 pp. $18 (978-1-937627-22-5) Essays detailing the status of black gay men in the new millennium, examining classism among black gay men, racism within the gay community, representations of the black male body within gay pornography, and patriarchal threats to the survival of both black men and gay men.


The cafe of our departure by Priscilla Atkins. Sibling Rivalry Press, 2015. 77pp. $10.83 (978-1-937420-87-1) This collection of lyric poems is a fugue of friendship: a straight girl and a gay boy coming of age in early 1970s America. Interwoven with a lifetime of intimacies shared, the narrative tracks a second life of grief, when a soul-mate dies.

City of starlings by Daniel Nathan Terry. Sibling Rivalry Press, 2015. 86pp. $14.95 (978-1-937420-86-4) Poetry that delves into the author’s loss and life and challenges readers to find beauty in the ordinary.

 The Devastation by Melissa Buzzeo.  Nightboat, 2015. 88pp. $14.98 (978- 1-937658-25-2) A book length poem that imagines two lovers surviving a shipwreck and lying together at the bottom of the ocean. A complex exploration of language and the power of the sea.

Erebus by Jane Summer. Sibling Rivalry Press, 2015. 185pp $24.95 (978-1-937420-90-1) A poetic expose of a plane crash that took the life of the author’s friend.

Fanny says: poems by Nickole Brown. BOA Editions, 2015. 148pp, $13.52 (978-1-938160-57-8) A biography of a fiesty, bawdy, grandmother told through the poetry of her granddaughter. Funny, powerful, and steeped in truth and love.

Girlie Calendar (The Lillian Trilogy) by Mary Meriam.  Headmistress Press, 2014. 108pp. $10 (0-692-21672-3) A book of poetry in the Lillian Trilogy.

Hook by Peter Laberge. Sibling Rivalry Press, 2015.  36pp. $12 (978- 1-937420-97-3) A book of poetry seeking beauty in nature and in our bodies, despite the threat of violence. Powerful and beautiful.

The new testament by Jericho Brown.  Copper Canyon Press, 2014. 73pp. $14.40 (978-1-55659-457-1) A deep and provocative story told through poetry revealing memories and trauma that continue through generations. Deeply haunting and beautifully written.

Pelvis with distance by Jessica Jacobs. White Pine Press, 2015. 135pp. $13.70 (978-1-935210-66-5) A biography of Georgia O’Keefe written in poetry that reads like a beautiful, subtle novel.

Teaching a man to unstick his tail by Ralph Hamilton. Sibling Rivalry Press, 2015. 114pp. $16.95 (978-1-937420-88-8) A collection of poetry about relationships, emotions and love lost and found.

The following books were awarded honors by the Stonewall Book Awards and are therefore also included in the Over The Rainbow list:

Apocalypse baby by Virginie Despentes and Sian Reynolds.  The Feminist Press at CUNY, 2015. 310pp. $19.63 (978-0-87071-595-2) Lesbian Mari Equi’s move from New Jerseyu to Oregon at the turn of the 20th century begins her activist life that frequently lands her in a number of relationships and often in jail.

Becoming Nicole: the transformation of an American family by Amy  Ellis Nutt. Random House, 2015. 279pp $17.87 (978-0-8129-9541-1) The Maines family is transformed when they discover that one of their adopted identical twins is transgender, and they learn to provide heightened emotional an legal safeguards to fulfill her potential.

For your own good by Luke Horlick. Caitlin Press, 2015. 95pp. $18 (978-1-927575-67-3) A hauntingly powerful collection of poems takes the reader through the excruciating twists and turns of being a queer, sexual assault survivor.

The gay revolution: the story of the struggle by Lillian Faderman. Simon & Schuster, 2015. 794pp. $25.73 (978-1-4516-9412-3) The sweeping story of the modern struggle for gay, lesbian, and trans rights—from the 1950s to the present—based on amazing interviews with politicians, military figures, legal activists, and members of the entire LGBT community who face these challenges every day. Non-Fiction.

The gods of tango by Carolina De Robertis.  Knopf, 2015. 367pp. $20.61 (978-1-101-87449-3) A complete and intricate story of how one inhabits otherness in a structured society begins in 1913 after Leta trabels from Italy to Buenos Ares seeking her husband witth gender identitry, migration, and tango.

Jam on the Vine by LaShonda Katrice Barnett. Publishers Group West, 2015. 323pp. $20.43 (978-0-8021-2334-3) A historical novel set in the age of Jim Crow and the Great Migration. Ivoe Williams, the daughter of a Muslim cook and a metalsmith struggles for equality and triumphs against all odds. Ivoe falls in love with a woman and they build a life together in Missouri in the wake of social change.

Lum, A Novel  by Libby Ware. She Writes Press, 2015. 215pp. $13.93 (978-1-63152-003-7) For intersex Lum, depended on her parasitic family members for three decades, the development of the Blue Ridge Parkway brings new financial and social opportunities in 1930’s Appalachia.

Marie Equi: radical politics and outlaw passions by Michael Helquist. Oregon State University Press, 2015. 310 pp. $19.63 (978-0-87071-595-2) Lesbian Mari Equi’s move from New Jerseyu to Oregon at the turn of the 20th century begins her activist life that frequently lands her in a number of relationships and often in jail.

Speak now: marriage equality on trial: the story of Hollingsworth v. Perry by Kenji Yoshino. Crown Publishers, 2015. 373pp. $23.53 (978-0-385-34880-5) Kenji Yoshino provides a clear and accessible account of the background to the 2010 lawsuit against Proposition 8 in California and then the life-changing Supreme Court case of Hollingsworth v. Perry.

Violence against queer people: race, class, gender, and the persistence of anti-LGBT discrimination. Doug Meyer. Rutgers University Press, 2016. 194pp. $90 (978-0-8135-7316-8) Meyer’s scholarly work shows that atributing homophobia to certain groups (religious, social-economic status, Black and/or Latino communities) further marginalizes GLBTQ members of this group.


Post a Comment

Your email is never shared. Required fields are marked *