Final Bibliographies

Over the Rainbow Press Release, ALAMW 2020

PHILADELPHIA–The Over the Rainbow committee of ALA’s Rainbow Roundtable gave careful consideration to 324 books this year, 152 fiction and 172 nonfiction. We chose 32 fiction titles and 38 nonfiction titles to make up the complete 2020 Over the Rainbow book list. We are excited by the continued expansion of queer publishing. The depth of substantial topics covered and the number of quality books from all over the genre spectrum is thrilling. No longer is the focus solely upon stories of tragedy. We read about lives filled with joy.
The top ten fiction and nonfiction titles are:
Black Leopard, Red Wolf. Marlon James. Riverhead Books, 2019.
Buying Gay: How Physique Entrepreneurs Sparked a Movement. David K. Johnson. Columbia University Press, 2019.
Claiming the B in LGBT: Illuminating the Bisexual Narrative. Edited by Kate Harrad. Thorntree Press, 2018.
Eyes Bottle Dark with a Mouthful of Flowers. Jake Skeets. Milkweed Editions, 2019.
Gideon the Ninth. Tamsyn Nuir. Tom Doherty Associates, 2019.
In the Dream House. Carmen Maria Machado. Graywolf Press, 2019.
Introduction to Transgender Studies. Ardel Haefele-Thomas. Harrington Park Press, 2019.
The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Machines. Olivia Waite. Avon Impulse, 2019.
The Priory of the Orange Tree. Samantha Shannon. Bloomsbury Publishing, 2019.
When Brooklyn Was Queer. Hugh Ryan. St. Martin’s Press, 2019.


2020 Over the Rainbow Fiction Longlist

Black Leopard, Red Wolf. Marlon James. Riverhead Books, 2019. Violent, lyrical and intense prose follow a troubled warrior around a high fantasy version of epic Africa. His quest is complex and caught up in stories inside stories, diversions that are literal as well as narrative, and James style tumbles through nonlinearly and evoking raw images. This book is full of pain, fear, rage and their flipsides of strength, grace and beauty. It is a difficult masterpiece. 

Cantoras. Carolina De Robertis. Knopf, 2019. A lyrical novel about five queer women living in Uruguay from the 1970s to 2013. They find sanctuary in a coastal community that is temporary, but allows them to create a found family to sustain them despite dictators, trauma, and fear.

Condomnauts. Yoss. Restless Books, 2018.  A totally zany space opera that is sexy, erotic and sometimes non-erotic on purpose. Follow along with the human crewmembers whose job it is to have sex with aliens, because sex is the way all aliens have been making first contact long before anyone in the galaxy knew about humans. It’s funny, it’s gross, it’s queer, it’s happy, and it’s weird. 

Eyes Bottle Dark with a Mouthful of Flowers. Jake Skeets. Milkwood Editions, 2019. Skeets tells fierce stories of growing up queer and indigenous in the American West. His debut collection of poems is a mix of brutality and tenderness, showcasing the raw beauty and horror of the southwest. Skeets is an essential and ambitious new voice. 

Feed. Tommy Pico. Tin House Books, 2019. The final installation in the “Teebs” tetralogy weaves together a bountiful array of themes in this free-verse, tour-de-force of a book-length poem.  With a style that moves at the speed of a social media feed, Pico kneads his inner dialogue into a beautiful and funny poetic form, with plenty of pop culture references and internet slang, along with a good helping of depth and meaning. This is queer poetry for right now.

Frankissstein: A Love Story. Jeanette Winterson. Grove Press, 2019.  Three intertwined stories explore a transgender doctor falling in love, a cryogenics lab with people frozen and waiting to be revived, and Mary Shelley writes her famous story.  

Gideon the Ninth. Tamsyn Muir. Tom Doherty Associates, 2019.  After growing up in the geriatric 9th house of bone magicians, Gideon longs to be anywhere else. When she plans a daring escape, she is instead forced to fight against the other eight necromancer houses alongside her childhood nemesis to win a deadly trial put forth by the Emperor. 

Girl, Woman, Other. Bernardine Evaristo. Grove, 2019. A joyful read following connected characters in the UK, each with their own lived experience with identities of color and queerness. Each section haș its own voice and style while the connected nature gives varying perspectives of the others.

Grease Bats. Archie Bongiovanni. Boom! Box, 2019. This collection of comics follows the daily adventures of two queer main characters and their circle of friends. These comics explore the realities that queer individuals face in everyday life with dry humor. 

Half Moon Street. Alex Reeve. Felony & Mayhem, 2019. Half Moon Street features a transgender main character, Leo Stanhope. Leo finds his life turned upside-down when the woman he loves is murdered. When local authorities show little interest in the truth of the killing, Leo turns into an amateur sleuth in order to discover what happened. Though this novel is imperfect, it remains a valuable addition to the list of works featuring a transgender main character. 

In at the Deep End. Kate Davies. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019. Julia has a tumultuous coming out in her twenties, followed by a high-intensity relationship with the beautiful and confident Sam. As their relationship intensifies, Sam’s need for control begins to stifle Julia’s newfound liberation. This funny and painful coming of age novel does not shy away from the joys of queer community, or the challenges or shame of finding oneself in an abusive queer relationship. An unexpected and sincere read. 

The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics. Olivia Waite. Avon Impulse, 2019. After her father’s death and her female lover’s sudden wedding to a man, Lucy wants nothing more than to distract herself with the challenge of translating a famous French astronomy text; however, in Regency England, the men offering to fund the text’s translation refuse to support a female translator. Luckily, she finds an unexpected ally in the Countess of Moth, a widowed artist whose talents were never recognized. The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics tells the story of how these two women navigate their differences, their shared goals, and, ultimately, their love for one another. 

Last Night in Nuuk. Niviaq Korneliussen. Black Cat, 2019. Haunting and evocative prose pulls the reader into the messy lives of 5 young Greenlanders and never lets go, propelling with an inventive style and voice that is brand new and mature at the same time. Featuring lots of drinking and drugs, sex, ambiguity and fluidity, these characters and their relationships tell all about contemporary Greenland, as well as what it is like for any young person just trying to figure stuff out.

Leading Men. Christopher Castellani. Viking, 2019. The real-life relationship between Tennessee Williams and his longtime lover, Frank Merlo, is the starting point for this highly fictionalized tale. At a party thrown by Truman Capote in Portofino, Italy in 1953, the couple meets a Swedish actress who becomes a pivotal figure in their lives in this lush, evocative story about love and fame.

Lie With Me. Philippe Besson. Scribner, 2019.  Philippe and Thomas become lovers in their last year of high school in rural France in 1984. Years later, Philippe looks back on their brief, doomed romance after spotting a Thomas look-alike. Translated by Molly Ringwald. 

The Long Road to Liquor City. Macon Blair and Joe Flood. Oni Press, 2019. The Long Road to Liquor City is a graphic novel that follows two hobos, Jed and Thanny, as they search for the fabled Liquor City. Along the way, they run afoul of rail yard sergeant, Ronan O’Feathers, who believes the two to be responsible for the death of his wife. This graphic novel is well-drawn, amusing, and features a unique and endearing cast of characters.

Love Letters to Jane’s World. Paige Braddock. Lion Forge, 2018. This collection pairs popular comic strips from Jane’s World–the first syndicated comic strip with a lesbian main character–with love letters from notable fans. This curated selection of strips from 1998 to 2018 will be a joy for current fans, as well as for new readers. 

The Melting Queen. Bruce Cinnamon. NeWest Press, 2019. The annual crowning of the Melting Queen in Edmonton, Alberta is given an unexpected twist when gender-fluid River Runson is named the newest queen in this modern fairy tale. 

Mostly Dead Things. Kristin Arnett. Tin House Books, 2019. After Jessa-Lynn discovers her father’s body on his taxidermy table, she must step up to run the family taxidermy business while her mother and brother fall apart. While grieving both her father and her brother’s wife–her first love, who married her brother Milo and later walked out without a word–Jessa must navigate the world created by their absence, including her mother’s increasingly sexualized art created out of her father’s prized mounts. This Floridian debut is macabre, intrinsically gay, and shockingly funny. 

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous. Ocean Vuong. Penguin Randomhouse, 2019. Poet Vuong’s debut novel, featured on several long and shortlists for the year, including the National Book Award Longlist, and winner of the 2019 New England Book Award for Fiction. The narrator, a twenty-something Vietnamese-American, is writing a long letter to his Vietnamese mother who cannot read. Vuong’s tender prose spans generations of trauma, exploring the narrator’s family’s experience in war, American poverty, and the narrator’s sexuality and relationships with other men. Vuong redefines form in this dreamlike and groundbreaking novel. 

The Priory of the Orange Tree. Samantha Shannon. Bloomsbury Publishing, 2019. The Priory of the Orange Tree is a welcome queer addition to the existing catalog of high fantasy novels. Presented in three unique perspectives, the novel tells a story of magic, dragons, and political intrigue. At over 800 pages, this feminist fantasy tale will delight readers looking for a long read with a unique setting and well-developed characters. 

Red, White & Royal Blue. Casey McQuiston. St. Martin’s Griffin, 2019. The First Son of the United States and Prince of England go from antagonists to lovers in this slightly altered world. Both are very intelligent and quote literary icons in their emails. This was definitely the feel good read of the summer!

Scourge of the Seas of Time (and Space). Edited by Catherine Lundoff. Queen of Swords Press, 2018. This collection of short stories features themes of pirates and takes place across different settings and times. These stories feature a wide range of subjects from historical piracy on the seas to galactic piracy in space in the far future. Many of the characters featured throughout these stories are queer identified and are written by queer authors.

The Spellbinders. Aleardo Zanghellini. Lethe Press, 2018. This work of historical fiction reimagines the life of Edward II. The story focuses on Edward’s relationship with a soldier, Piers Gaveston, and how this relationship affects and even helps to build his relationship with his queen before Gaveston is murdered by a jealous earl. This book looks at the medieval king’s personal relationships with an honest and unapologetic lens.

Sugar Run. Mesha Maren. Algonquin Books, 2019. When Jodi McCarty is released from prison after 18 years on a manslaughter charge, she has plans for a low-key future, however the world is not cooperative in this noir-inspired tale of flawed characters living in Appalachia.

Thorn. Anna Burke. Bywater Books, 2019. Rowan is kidnapped by the legendary Huntress of local superstition after her father hunts on the Huntress’s lands and steals a cursed rose. Despite being held against her will, Rowan finds herself drawn to the Huntress, a welcome reprieve from the arranged betrothal that awaits her should she return home. Thorn is a brilliant feminist retelling of Beauty and the Beast.

The Tradition. Jericho Brown. Copper Canyon Press, 2019. Jericho Brown speaks the truth through poetry about being a gay black man in America who is also HIV-positive. Poems reflect his own experiences, some incredibly painful, while others provide insights into other members of his community. If the personal is universal, Jericho Brown represents all of us.

Transcendent 3. Edited by Bogi Takács. Lethe Press, 2018. A vivid collection of the year’s best transgender speculative fiction, these fantastical tales include everything from far futures to time travel, ghosts, horror movies, and much more. This anthology features diverse stories from important new voices: K.M Szpara, Rivers Solomon, Indrapramit Das.

Willa & Hesper. Amy Feltman. Grand Central Publishing, 2019. Willa and Hesper are both students in the MFA creative writing program at Columbia University, but it isn’t until a chance encounter one night in Brooklyn that their relationship turns romantic. The unraveling of their brief, intense relationship, and the journeys, both literal and figurative, that the break up propels both of them towards, are just as formative. The story is told with a thrillingly contemporary sensibility, mixing a lot of funny and playful moments with the sad ones.

Without Protection. Gala Mukomolova. Coffee House Press, 2019. Mukomolova mixes modern life as a lesbian in New York City with classic Russian folktales. In this stunning collection, Mukomolova explores her identities and family through the story of Vassilyasa, a young girl who must fend for herself against Baba Yaga. Her poems are compelling and erotic, a mix of mythology and modernity. 

WWJD and Other Poems. Savannah Sipple. SIbling Rivalry Press, 2019. These poems cover themes of what it is like to grow up in Appalachia while queer, female, and fat. She doesn’t shy from the seeming contradictions that evangelical underpinnings carry through her work. 

You are enough: Love Poems For the End of the World. Smokii Sumac. Kegedonce Press, 2018. In his debut collection of poetry using haiku format as a starting point in composition, Sumac shares with us all 2 years of poetry created from the experiences of 2 years of his journey as a Ktunaxa, Two-Spirit trans masculine scholar. Funny, touching, and inspiring poems.



2020 Over the Rainbow Non-Fiction Longlist

The A-Z of Gender and Sexuality: From Ace to Ze. Morgan Lev Edward Holleb. Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2019. This thorough A-Z glossary catalogs the ever-evolving vocabulary used to describe LGBTQ identities and experiences. Holleb has created an essential reference work that recognizes the power in having the language to describe a feeling, as well as dispelling the anxiety some feel around using the “wrong” terminology.

Amateur: A True Story About What Makes a Man. Thomas Page McBee. Scribner, 2018. In 2015, Thomas Page McBee began training to fight in a charity boxing match at Madison Square Garden — the first transgender man to do so. As he recounts his training and the emotions he feels as he learns to box in mostly-male spaces, he also confronts his relationship to masculinity and violence — and begins to chart a path toward a more whole vision of maleness.

American Boys. Soraya Zaman. Daylight Books, 2019. Pairing short autobiographical testimonials with revealing and beautiful portrait photo essays, Zaman presents a diverse array of trans male experiences across America.

Brown White Black. Nishta J. Mehra. Picador, 2019. Mehra is a lesbian daughter of Indian immigrants married to a white woman. The couple adopted a black son. In this candid series of essays she shares with us some of the daily struggles her family is faced with as they navigate the frontlines of cultural conflict. This powerful book serves as a call for a more compassionate understanding of identity and family.

Buying Gay: How Physique Entrepreneurs Sparked a Movement. David K. Johnson. Columbia University Press, 2019. Important study of male physique magazines, and how they facilitated not only gay male community and desire, but also created a market of things to buy and sell, and profits to be made. 

Capturing Mariposas: Reading Cultural Schema in Gay Chicano Literature. Doug P. Bush. The Ohio State University Press, 2019. Bush aims to identify commonalities of genre in the writing of gay Chicano writers.  Providing close readings of the texts of Rigoberto González, Manuel Muñoz, Alex Espinoza, as well as an examination of the market for gay chicano literature and interviews with Muñoz and Espinoza, Bush does important scholarly work while also directing more readers to his featured authors.

Claiming the B in LGBT: Illuminating the Bisexual Narrative. Edited by Kate Harrad. Thorntree Press, 2019. An engaging and clear primer on bisexuality. The book tackles persistent and pernicious myths and misconceptions and explores bisexuality’s intersections with non-monogamy, gender, race, disability, and faith (among other topics). The book includes numerous and diverse testimonials of bisexual people insterspersed throughout the book that provide real-world insights and experiences.

Cruising: An Intimate History of a Radical Pastime. Alex Espinoza. The Unnamed Press, 2019. Espinoza researches the history of anonymous public gay sex from Ancient Greece to Grindr mixing research and personal memoir in this conversational history.

Drag: The Complete Story. Simon Doonan. Laurence King Publishers, 2019. Doonan amusingly explores drag from a variety of lenses: history, philosophy, classification (glamour drag vs. art drag vs. butch drag). Doonan’s droll narration and the beautiful full color photos interspersed throughout the book provide an engaging and illuminating overview.

Dying to Be Normal: Gay Martyrs and the Transformation of American Sexual Politics. Brett Krutzsch. Oxford University Press, 2019. A look at how the deaths of gay people are portrayed in the media–be it from murder or suicide. Often portrayed as martyrs, the author analyzes their deaths from viewpoints of whiteness, Christianity, and heterosexual assimilation. The book concludes with thoughts of queering memorials with a comparison of the tragedies of the Upstairs Lounge fire in New Orleans in 1973 and the Orlando Pulse Nightclub massacre in 2016.

Gender Identity, Sexuality and Autism: Voices from Across the Spectrum. Eva A. Mendes and Meredith R. Maroney. Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2019. An exploration of the experiences of people whose identity include both LGBTQ+ and Autism Spectrum Difference (ASD). The first portion of the book is interview transcripts with ASD/LGBTQ+ individuals and some interviews with family members and loved ones. The authors then analyze to discuss common themes.

Gender Queer: A Memoir. Maia Kobabe. Oni Press, 2019. Maia Kobabe, who uses e/em/eir pronouns, masterfully uses the graphic memoir format to describe what can seem indescribable. Kobabe charts eir journey from a childhood of feeling “different” to finally understanding eirself as non-binary and asexual with humor and heart, making space for the reader while also making it clear that the story is eirs and eirs alone.

Gentleman Jack: The Real Anne Lister. Anne Choma. Penguin Books, 2019. Read the words and learn about the life of a lesbian from more than a century ago. A woman who discarded the time’s gender roles and expectations and wrote more than 20 highly personal and detailed journal volumes. Some of her diary entries she wrote for all and some she wrote for herself–she wrote in “plain hand” and in “crypt hand” of her own secret code. Anne Lister has recently been recognized and brought to life on the screen of HBO’s Gentleman Jack.

Headcase: LGBTQ Writers & Artists on Mental Health and Wellness. Edited by Stephanie Schroeder and Teresa Theophano. Oxford University Press, 2019. This anthology collects personal reflections and artistic interpretations that focus on mental illness and the LGBTQ community. These stories give a look into the lives of queer individuals and some of them document the process as the authors navigate a flawed and sometimes biased health care system. This collection features many stories that display the raw emotions of the authors with stories that display the experiences of a minority community.

Her Widow. Joan Alden. Hillside Press, 2018*. Told in the form of letters from Joan Alden to her deceased wife, Catherine Hopkins, Her Widow is a raw and powerful memoir of grief. Alden catalogs the intimate details of daily life both before and after Catherine’s passing and invites the reader to share in her devastation and her hope. The memoir is illustrated with Hopkins’ black and white photographs.

Honeypot: Black Southern Women Who Love Women. E. Patrick Johnson. Duke University Press, 2019. An oral history of the experiences of African-American women in the South who express same-sex desire. Johnson uses a creative approach to oral history by creating a fictional community liaison/travel companion “Miss B” to converse with in the narrative integrating bee and honey imagery in the prose. Johnson’s study population spans age, social class, and the geography of the American South.

How We Fight for Our Lives: A Memoir. Saeed Jones. Simon & Schuster, 2019. Poet and journalist recounts his experience coming of age and coming out as a gay black man in the American south in the late 1990s and early 2000s through college in Kentucky and the path of his successful writing career. Jones writes with humor and emotional honesty about his complicated relationship with his mother and surviving in an America where “Being a black gay boy is a death wish.” 

In the Dream House. Carmen Maria Machado. Graywolf Press, 2019. Carmen Maria Machado writes about her own experience in an abusive relationship, and also within the broader context of lesbian and/or queer domestic abuse. All the pieces of her life, experiences, and relationships create this “dream house” that also builds a structure to surround the experience. An essential read to highlight domestic abuse within the community. 

Indecent Advances: A Hidden History of True Crime and Prejudice Before Stonewall. James Polchin. Counterpoint, 2019. Polchin investigates queer true crime stories recounted in the historical press between World War I and Stonewall shedding light on the violence of homosexual criminalization that eventually ignited organization and social protest.

Introduction to Transgender Studies. Ardel Haefele-Thomas. Harrington Park Press, 2019. This textbook is one of the first of its kind to be aimed at undergraduate students. It focuses on the transgender experience on a global scale and poses questions to the reader about how they can relate to this experience. This text also includes many stories and perspectives written by members of the transgender community and has chapters focused on the history of transgender society.

Mama’s Boy: A Story from Our Americas. Dustin Lance Black. Knopf, 2019. A touching and often heartbreaking memoir from the Oscar-winning screenwriter and LGBTQ activist, this book tells Black’s mother’s story as much as his own. Subtitled “a story from our Americas” it foregrounds the cultural, religious and political divides in the country, and looks at them in reference to his own (eventually redeemed) relationship with a conservative, Mormon and anti-gay mother. 

Mamaskatch: A Cree Coming of Age. Darrel J. McLeod. Milkweed Editions, 2019. The title of McLeod’s memoir is taken from “the Cree word used as a response to dreams shared.” Accordingly, McLeod’s own story of coming of age as a queer man is also the shared story of his family: his mother Bertha, his siblings, and the life of poverty, abuse, and racism they all experienced as First Nations people in Alberta, Canada. 

No Walls and the Recurring Dream: A Memoir. Ani DiFranco. Viking, 2019. The coming-of-age of a musician who always refused to play by the rules, creating her own record label and finding her own way to radio play and the festival circuit. While not as linear as most memoirs, the narrative finds its way from childhood into the 21st century, with a lot of stories of life on the road, triumph and failure, relationships with both genders, and her political views. 

Nonbinary: Memoirs of Gender and Identity. Edited by Micah Rajunov and Scott Duane. Columbia University Press, 2019. This collection of thirty first-person narratives showcases a wide variety of experiences outside the gender binary, as well as illuminating how these experiences can be influenced by class, race, age, and ability. The result is a collection that is descriptive rather than prescriptive, and will be eye-opening to any reader who is interested in learning more about nonbinary experiences.

Not Just a Tomboy: A Trans Masculine Memoir. Caspar J. Baldwin. Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2018. This memoir focuses on the authors’ experience growing up in a time when being transgender was not widely accepted in society. It takes an unflinching and personal look at the experiences that transgender people faced from the 90s until today along with showing the journey of transitioning during those times.

Precious and Adored: The Love Letters of Rose Cleveland and Evangeline Simpson Whipple, 1890-1918. Edited by Lizzie Ehrenhalt and Tilly Laskey. Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2019. An edited and annotated collection of original letters charting the romantic relationship between a Minnesota widow and the sister of President Grover Cleveland. The letters chronicle their sexual attraction and partnership over the years through heartbreak and reconciliation.

Pride: The LGBTQ+ Rights Movement: A Photographic Journey. Christopher Measom. Sterling, 2019. Described as “a photograpic journey” Measom selects a wide range of photos charting queer, mostly American, history from the 1920s through the modern day. A well-curated collection of visually interesting photos, posters, and illustrations charts the joy, sadness, and anger of the past century with informative accompanying text and descriptive captions.

Pride: Fifty Years of Parades and Protest from the Photo Archives of the New York TImes. The New York Times. Abrams Image, 2019. Pride highligts fifty years of LGBTQ progress, struggle, celebration and tragedy through the photographs and images of articles from the New York Times. Starting with the Stonewall riots, the book takes readers on a journey through the first gay liberation marches, the first March on Washington, the AIDS epidemic and ACTUP, modern Pride parades, Marriage Equality and the Pulse tragedy.

The Queering of Corporate America: How Big Business Went from LGBTQ Adversary to Ally. Carlos A. Ball. Beacon Press, 2019. This book traces the evolution of corporate America from being harsh bigots to using their leverage to advocate for equality. In a chonological order, it shows how LGBTQ activists used consumer power and pressure to change the queer rights movement. Employment discrimination, pharmacutical companies during the AIDS crisis, domestic partner benefits, and marriage equality are a few of the issues covered in how LGBTQ force corporations to improve and how in some cases corporations go a step further to become advocates for the community.

Raising Rosie: Our Story of Parenting an Intersex Child. Eric and Stephani Lohman. Jessica Kinglsey Publishers, 2018. When Eric and Stephani Lohman’s daughter Rosie was born intersex, with ambiguous genitalia, they made the decision to allow for Rosie’s informed consent in terms of what cosmetic procedures she would undergo to “normalize” her genitalia. This brief book describes how they came to this decision, as well as their experience with a medical establishment that is still primed to operate on infants who display intersex characteristics. The Lohmans also briefly discuss how they have approached raising Rosie and their openness regarding her condition. 

Sissy: A Coming-of-Gender Story. Jacob Tobia. G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2019. Tobia takes the reader on a gender journey showing a hilarious embrace of the genderqueer experience. Tobia provides an example of overcoming gender-based trauma to thrive in a non-binary identity.

The Soul of the Stranger: Reading God and Torah from a Transgender Perspective. Joy Ladin. Brandeis University Press, 2018. Reading the Torah through the lens of transgender experience. Religious texts receive a close reading in this deeply personal search at understanding God. It shows how our own perspectives bring life to the ancient text. The book illuminates an openness and flexibility to gender roles in the Torah. 

The Stonewall Reader. Edited by Jason Baumann. Penguin Classics, 2019. In this book the New York Public Library features LGBTQ+ first-hand accounts from its archives in commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of the Stonewall riots. Magazine and newsletter articles, diary entries, and stories of major LGBTQ+ trail blazers including Audre Lourde, Harry Hay, Reverend Troy Perry, Frank Kameny, Sylvia Rivera, and Miss Major Griffin-Gracy.

The Stonewall Riots: a Documentary History. Edited by Marc Stein. New York University Press, 2019. Brings together an extensive range of primary sources documenting the Stonewall Riots. Importantly, it also includes documentation of the period leading up to the Stonewall Riots, and what came after, including the first pride parades. Contextualized in eight different chapters, provides insight into the thinking on activism and protest before, during, and after the riots.

Swelling with Pride: Queer Conception and Adoption Stories. Edited by Sara Graefe. Caitlin Press Inc., 2018. This book contains more than twenty personal accounts of how queer, transgender, and nonbinary people make families. Powerful and touching, the stories tell of in-vitro fertilization, adoption, co-parenting, and the many various ways queer families come to be. The editor provides for readers the book of stories that she and her wife wished they had on their journey to parenthood. 

This One Looks Like a Boy: My Gender Journey to Life as a Man. Lorimer Shenher. Greystone Books, 2019. Lorimer Shenher is the former head of the Missing Persons Unit of the Vancouver Police Department and well known in Canada for their involvement in a serial killer case. Readers will be pulled in by his journey in his gender identity, finishing with gender reassignment surgery in his 50s, and navigating small-town Canadian life in the meantime.

Unashamed: A Coming-Out Guide for LGBTQ Christians. Amber Cantorna. Westminster John Knox Press, 2019. A slim guidebook helping those who identify as Christian to navigate coming out, establishing boundaries, and coping with the shame narrative. Also includes information for allies, families and church leaders who want to put their teachings of love into action.

When Brooklyn Was Queer. Hugh Ryan. St. Martin’s Press, 2019. Ryan recounts Brooklyn’s queer scene from the era of Walt Whitman up to Stonewall. Ryan highlights the lives of well-known queer historical figures like Carson McCullers and Hart Crane along with less well-known figures such as male impersonator Florence Hines, and dancer Mabel Hampton, as he vividly recreates the evolution of Brooklyn’s queer communities.

*Her Widow originally published by Dog Ear Publishing, 2018. 


Over the Rainbow Press Release ALAMW 2019

SEATTLE – The Over the Rainbow Booklist committee of the American Library Association’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Round Table (ALA-GLBTRT) considered 469 books this year, 284 fiction and 185 nonfiction titles.  After careful reading, wide-ranging discussion, and due deliberation, the final Booklist consists of 50 fiction titles in 5 categories (Short Stories, Poetry, Literary and General Interest (combined), Graphic, and Genre (all genres)) and 54 nonfiction titles in 4 categories (Academic, Memoirs/Biographies, History, and General Interest).  

With the expansion of queer publishing across the rainbow, we read an incredibly diverse collection of titles from major, independent, and self-publishers.  Themes running through books this year include: the pros and cons of visibility; the resilience of individuals telling complex stories in their own voices that blurred lines between queerness and disability, class, ethnicity, race, religion and age; a ‘second phase’ of publishing, past the introduction of issues, that addressed law and medical practices; resilience in the face of oppression and violence; and the effects of history on both individuals and culture, envisioning a future outside current circumstances.

The top ten fiction and nonfiction titles for the 2018 Over the Rainbow Booklist are:


Bingo Love by Tee Franklin, Image Comics

David Bowie Made Me Gay by Darryl W. Bullock, Overlook Press

Harvey Milk by Lillian Faderman, Yale University Press

Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado, Graywolf Press

House of Impossible Beauties by Joseph Cassara, Ecco/Harper/Collins

Living Out Loud, Michael Murphy, editor, Routledge

Mean by Myriam Gurba, Coffeehouse Books

Othered by Randi M. Romo, Sibling Rivalry Press

So Lucky by Nicola Griffith, Macmillan

Trap Door, Reina Gossett, editor, MIT Press





2019 Nonfiction Titles

2019 Over the Rainbow Nonfiction Titles

Academic Works
(Download PDF) Over the Rainbow – Academic Works

Black Performance on the Outskirts of the Left. Malik Gaines. NYU Press, 2017. An academic look at black embodiment and its expression, from the silver screen to the political theater. Gaines observes how radical black performers from W.E.B Du Bois to Sylvester communicate resistance to (and transcendence from) hegemonic understandings of gender, race, and sexuality.

Children of Harvey Milk: How LGBTQ Politicians Changed the World. Andrew Reynolds. Oxford University Press, 2018. A unique look at how politics affect the LGBTQ community and the LGBTQ politicians that help bring about the changes needed for the community. Reynolds does an excellent job at not only looking at past politicians but current game changers as well.

Circulating Queerness: Before the Gay and Lesbian Novel. Natasha Hurley. University of Minnesota Press, 2018. A look at the emergence of homosexuality as a genre and the ways in which history and society influenced it prior to and after its exposure.

Darker Side of Slash Fan Fiction: Essays on Power, Consent and the Body. Ashton Spacey. McFarland, 2018. Research exploring the ever-changing complexities of queer fan fiction as a genre and how marginalized voices are both heard and ignored in the fiction and among slash fan communities; delves into subjects including asexual, disabled, male pregnancy, violence between partners, and dubious consent, to a depth not usually plumbed.

For the Hard Ones: A Lesbian Phenomenology. tatiana de la tierra. A Midsummer Night’s Press, 2018. This provocative, compelling, straight forward Colombian Lesbian perspective is an excellent addition to any academic library. tatiana de la tierra shares her insight into lesbian relationships and the intersectionality with culture with no regrets and no apologies, and we can always use more of that perspective.

Gay Priori: A Queer Critical Legal Studies Approach to Law Reform. Libby Adler. Duke University Press, 2018. A densely-packed and penetrating study on the reasons behind the priorities of the queer law reform movement and the continuing neglect of those marginalized populations who are most in need (formal equality versus redistribution or equity).

Gay, Inc.: The Nonprofitization of Queer Politics. Myrl Beam. University of Minnesota Press, 2018. Beam presents case studies arguing that the mainstreaming of queer activism is tied to a nonprofit system that actually reinforces institutionalized inequality.

Gender Ambiguity in the Workplace: Transgender and Gender-Diverse Discrimination. Alison Ash Fogarty, Lily Zheng. Praeger, 2018. This work addresses what it is like to be a trans-identifying individual in San Francisco. This informational piece allows a reader to understand potential issues that could arise, but focuses more on ways for employers and workplaces to be inclusive to transgender employees.

Growing Up Queer. Mary Robertson. NYU Press, 2018. Explores a groundbreaking time where children and adolescents are able to identify and explore themselves as the new ‘normal’. This informative work investigates how growing up with this open-mindset has intertwined with other parts of development and culture.

LGBTQ Divorce and Relationship Dissolution. Abbie E. Goldberg, Adam P. Romero, eds. Oxford University Press, 2018. There is a lack in LGBTQ academic study for a basic textbook specifically geared toward covering LGBTQ relationships terminating. This book changes that and covers patterns amongst LGBTQ relationship dissolution giving insight into ways LGBTQ families may handle a variety of issues that may arise during separation. It pulls its information from a variety of essays written by leading experts and is broken into four easy to read segments making it suitable for a classroom text or a single situation reference manual.

Life and Death of Latisha King: A Critical Phenomenology of Transphobia. Gayle Salamon. NYU Press, 2018. An unflinching look at the 2008 murder of 15-year old Latisha King by her classmate. Salamon thoroughly covers reportage and court documents surrounding the event as she peels apart language and even gesture to expose the inner workings of the “transphobic imaginary” at the heart of violence against the gender-transgressing.

Living Out Loud: An Introduction to LGBTQ History, Society, and Culture. Michael Murphy, ed. Routledge, 2018. Excellent beginner textbook for any university LGBT centered course. It covers a variety of topics and is well laid out. The freedom they give to contributors to use whichever acronym fits the situation they are discussing is also unique. You can even find sexual identities not typically discussed like those found in the BDSM and Kink community.

Other, Please Specify. D’Lane Compton, Tey Meadow, Kristen Schilt, eds. University of California Press, 2018. This text is targeted to those in the field of sociology, but offers important guidance for any researcher. Created by those practicing in the field, the book gives insight on how to work with and research within an often-targeted community.

Post-Borderlandia: Chicana Literature and Gender Variant Critique. T. Jackie Cuevas. Rutgers University Press, 2018. Running with the theme of intersectionality this year Post-Borderlandia covers gender identity, race, power dynamics and Trans issues and their effects on current Chicana and Chicanx narratives. It’s a powerful addition to feminist, LGBTQ, and Latinx/a/o studies.

Punishing Disease : HIV and the Criminalization of Sickness. Trevor Hoppe. University of California Press, 2018. This study examines the rise and application of criminal laws, and the public health system support of coercive and punitive responses, to the HIV/AIDS crisis, and gives an overview of how others suffering diseases have been punished historically.

Queering Autoethnography. Stacy Holman Jones, Anne M. Harris. Routledge, 2018. This work illuminates how autoethnography is a hybridizing of the personal and the theoretical – this short, powerful book connects personal queer experience to oppressive places, institutions, and cultural norms of power to advocate a collective fight for justice.

Semi Queer: Inside the World of Gay, Trans, and Black Truck Drivers. Anne Balay. University of North Carolina Press, 2018. Offers a look into the world of long-haul trucking. Through oral history interviews, queer and minority trucker drivers share their stories of their daily lives, as well as prejudice and exploitation they have faced in their line of work. It is also an examination of why long-haul trucking holds appeal for some people from these same communities.

Struggling for Ordinary: Media and Transgender Belonging in Everyday Life. Andre Cavalcante. NYU Press, 2018. Solid research from historical and media rhetoric lenses alongside interviews of people from different eras and age groups in the midwestern United States. He looks at the “tipping point” of transgender identity, the tension between acceptance and queerness, and various solutions for belonging lived by transgender individuals.

Theater of the Ridiculous: A Critical History. Kelly I. Aliano. McFarland, 2018. A scholarly survey of the movement that highlights the radical possibilities of camp, from the development of the genre to the contemporary theatre scene, with special attention paid to Charles Ludlam, Maria Montez, Jack Smith, and Ethyl Eichelberger.

Trans Kids: Being Gendered in the Twenty-First Century. Tey Meadow. University of California Press, 2018 This survey gathers firsthand accounts as to what it’s like growing up as the first-generation with affirming families who have gender nonconforming kids.

Transgender Sex Work and Society. Larry Nuttbrock. Harrington Park Press/Columbia University Press, 2018. Scholarly examinations of topics related to transgender sex workers, in the United States and abroad. Substance use, mental and physical health, crime and violence are some of the topics of study, and several areas needing more research are mentioned.

Trap Door: Trans Cultural Production and the Politics of Visibility. Reina Gossett, ed. MIT Press, 2017. 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 past and envisions radical futures even as its inhabitants struggle with the darkness of the present.

Turning the Page: Storytelling as Activism in Queer Film and Media. David R. Coon. Rutgers University Press, 2018. Introduces three organizations trying to change how queer media is represented in Hollywood and how it is presented to the general public, in order to strengthen every community and motivate for social justice.

Biographies and Memoirs
(Download PDF) Over the Rainbow – Biographies and Memoirs

Andy Warhol, Publisher. Lucy Mulroney. University of Chicago Press, 2018. This work fuses art theory, queer history, and personal poetics as it explores some of Warhol’s lesser-known work. Mulroney focuses both on the artistic ingenuity and social impact of the collaborative publishing projects facilitated by Warhol. Warhol’s work, often seen in a vacuum, is placed at the intersections of scene, sexuality, and social artmaking.

Harvey Milk: His Lives and Death. Lillian Faderman. Yale University Press, 2018. Harvey Milk and his legacy has 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.

House of Nutter: The rebel tailor of Savile Row. Lance Richardson. Crown Archetype/Penguin Random House, 2018. An interesting look at a brothers’ relationship with each other, their careers, and their own sexuality. The photographs scattered throughout where an excellent addition and it gives a neat peek into how mental health was viewed through the lenses of the 50’s and 60’s.

Looking for Lorraine: The Radiant and Radical Life of Lorraine Hansberry. Imani Perry. Beacon Press, 2018. The book takes its name from Looking for Langston, Isaac Julien’s impressionistic film in memorial of Langston Hughes and black queer history. Perry’s newest more than lives up to the legacy she has placed it in. This “third-person memoir” illuminates the life and legacy of groundbreaking black lesbian playwright Lorraine Hansberry. Perry combines a wealth of research with poetics and personal experience in this gorgeous and necessary biography.

Lost Autobiography of Samuel Steward: Recollections of an Extraordinary Twentieth-Century Gay Life. Samuel Steward , Jeremy Mulderig, ed. University of Chicago Press, 2018. An absorbing, funny, and astonishing memoir of a man with many talents and many identities: Samuel Steward, university professor; Phil Sparrow, tattoo artist; Ward Stames, John McAndrews, and Donald Bishop, writing ground-breaking essays in the first European gay magazines; Phil Andros, explicit novelist; and a man who lived life to its fullest.

Mean. Myriam Gurba. Coffee House Books, 2017. 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.

My Butch Career: A Memoir. Esther Newton. Duke University Press, 2018. The compelling story of a ‘gender outlaw in the making’, a ground-breaking figure in LGBT history, and her struggle to find her identity as an openly queer academic in a particularly intense time of homophobic persecution.

No Ashes in the Fire: Coming of Age Black and Free in America. Darnell L. Moore. Nation Books, 2018. Intersectionality is a hot topic in the LGBTQ community but few could understand all the many intersections one may possibly encounter in a life. Darnell L. Moore’s “No Ashes in the Fire” is a memoir that covers many intersections, being a Black man, queer, and growing up in poverty. It is an inspiring work that covers struggles, triumphs and a path not often traveled and even less often talked about.

Out of Step: A Memoir. Anthony Moll. Ohio State University Press, 2018. A well-crafted story that explores the unexpected parallels between life in the military during the years of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ and the quest for identity as a bisexual man, in this unwavering, sometimes painful, sometimes funny memoir.

Sinner in Mecca. Parvez Sharma. BenBella Books, 2017. This work shares the journey of a gay Muslim man traveling to Mecca to perform the hajj in 2010, made even more dangerous since he is also a closeted Sunni Muslim. The author documented the journey on a film of the same name.

Sister Love: The Letters of Audre Lorde and Pat Parker 1974-1989. Julie R. Enszer. A Midsummer Night’s Press, 2018.   This work reveals a friendship between two important African American lesbian poets through their letters. The text offers insight into what it is to be a woman of color during this same time period and the micro and regular aggressions endured within the literary community.

To my Trans Sisters. Charles Craggs, ed. Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2017. A book by trans women and for trans women – a rare and needed perspective in a world of coming-out-stories framed for cis audiences. This series of letters is full of advice, empathy, strength and hope from trans women speaking to their younger selves and to their larger communities. An uplifting and powerful collection centering the experiences of a community all-too-often made invisible.

Tomorrow will be different: Love, loss, and the fight for Trans Equality. Sarah McBride. Crown Archetype / Penguin Random House, 2018. Sarah is a well-known figure in Washington, D.C and to the Democratic Party. She is an activist and an advocate for Trans rights and visibility. Her memoir shares her experience, looking beyond the privilege she was born with and those she was not, to help others fighting for equality.

Unpunished Vice: A Life of Reading. Edmund White. Bloomsbury Publishing, 2018. A memoir and book of books wrapped up into one, from one of America’s best known “gay novelists,” a phrase he also explores in this book. He digs deep into books that have influenced him, stayed with him, or held meaning for him in various parts of his life. He also shares a lot about his life, friends, other writers and lovers (and ex-lovers!), and talks about how much being a gay man in America has changed since his childhood (born in 1940) and how his reading has changed since a recent health scare left him unconscious for three days.

Wild Mares. Dianna Hunter. University of Minnesota Press, 2018. A memoir about what the author calls the “lesbian land movement” of the 1970s, and her participation in attempts contributing to farm-based “utopian” societies of women only in the rural Midwest. Side commentary on clothing, haircuts, music, depression, and so on bring the reader into the era directly.


General Interest
(Download PDF) Over the Rainbow – General Interest Nonfiction

After Silence. Avram Finkelstein. University of California Press, 2017. Finkelstein’s latest is billed as “a history of AIDS and its images”. More than that, it is a personal history of the minds and bodies behind the groundbreaking visual protest strategies that accompanied 80’s AIDS activism. Love for collaborators and the movement drives this book even as we are reminded, in the words of activist art collective Gran Fury, “ART IS NOT ENOUGH”.

Calypso. David Sedaris. Little, Brown and Co., 2018. Fans of David Sedaris will be no stranger to the dark camp sensibilities at play in Calypso. What’s surprising, though, is a somber tone at play even in his moments of irreverence. Sedaris’ reflections on mortality, middle age, and familial loss are delivered with characteristic heart. His wit is still present, if muted, making this volume feel all the more intimate. An unexpended and welcome addition to his oeuvre.

Clinician’s Guide to Gender-Affirming Care. Sand C. Chang, Anneliese A. Singh, lore m. dickey. Context Press, 2018. A practical handbook for medical practitioners, including mental health providers. It goes beyond basic definitions to ask clinicians to examine their own biases and misconceptions about transgender and nonconforming clients, and provides example scenarios where care providers handled a medical situation inadequately. Case studies come with suggestions for scripts to navigate similar situations, and reaffirms the importance of the client’s needs and desires coming first.

David Bowie Made Me Gay: 100 Years of LGBT Music. Darryl W. Bullock. Overlook Press, 2017. 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.

Gender: Your Guide. Lee Airton. Adams Media/Simon & Schuster, 2018. Many things amazing in life are constantly evolving; including language and gender. In today’s world a book like Gender: Your Guide is an excellent resource for allies looking to understand that evolution. Easily broken into three parts with very clear sections this book is an easy, quick read for anyone trying to learn about gender in today’s world.

Little in Love with Everyone: Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home. Genevieve Hudson. Advocate, 2018. The newest in Fiction Advocate’s series of books investigating “essential readings of the new canon”. This work explores Fun Home’s themes of openness and repression. Hudson illuminates Bechdel’s highly personal text by placing it in historical and literary context. The author also explores her own personal connection to Fun Home and its impact as her roadmap to the world of lesbian literature.

Unbound: Transgender Men and the Remaking of Identity. Arlene Stein. Pantheon, 2018. This work provides a wide range of experiences from personal accounts of transgender men. The author has also included interviews with friends and family members, making the book useful for family members learning to be supportive. The book maintains a narrow focus – patients from one office, all from the United States, making the medical information (insurance strategies, etc) only useful to those in the states.

(Download PDF) Over the Rainbow – History

Boys of Fairy Town. Jim Elledge. Chicago Review Press, 2018. This work uses patterns of history and individual biography to illuminate the queer history of Chicago from the founding of the city through World War II; aimed at general readers and anyone interested in queer history brought vividly to life.

Ike’s Mystery Man: The Secret Lives of Robert Cutler. Peter Shinkle. Steerford Press, 2018. The searing true story of Robert Cutler, America’s first National Security Advisory under President Eisenhower, who helped create the executive order that banned gay people from working in or being a contractor for the federal government while he, himself, was a closeted gay man.

No Sanctuary: Teachers and the School Reform That Brought Gay Rights to the Masses. Stephen Lane. ForeEdge, 2018. a detailed history of grassroots efforts by teachers and students to reform schools into safe places for queer youth.

Pride: The Unlikely Story of the True Heroes of the Miner’s Strike. Tim Tate. John Blake, 2018. This oral history of the foundation of Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners (LGSM) which helped the families of Welsh miners survive a painful strike in Thatcher’s UK, shows the disparate groups overcoming prejudices to show solidarity in the face of aggressive governmental persecution.

Tinderbox: The Untold Story of the Up Stairs Lounge Fire and the Rise of Gay Liberation. Robert W. Fieseler. Liveright, 2018. This book brings to light a historical event that has long been closeted and pushed to the side that deeply affected the LGBTQ community. Fieseler writes in a journalistic style that does due diligence to bringing the facts of the case to a world that may not of heard of the event before.

Berlin’s Third Sex. Magnus Hirschfeld. Rixdorf Editions, 2017. The work provides views into a German sub-culture during 1904. Well-written and full of inspiring views and a positive look at the culture, this work offers insight into a time LGBT stories are often cast in negative light. This is the first translation into English of this classic work.

Out for Queer Blood. Clayton Delery. Exposit Books/McFarland, 2017. This history addresses the murder of Fernando Rios, the trial, and the aftermath. Delery touches on a variety of topics including homophobia, the genealogy of the “gay panic defense,” and hate crimes law.

Queer City: Gay London from the Romans to the Present Day. Peter Ackroyd. Abrams Press, 2018. An historic look into two thousand years’ worth of queer London history that explores the link between urbanity and non-heterosexuality.

Lesbian South. Jaime Harker. University of North Carolina Press, 2018. A chronicle of the Women in Print movement through its participants and their connections to liberation movements and the American south. Harker links celebrated authors, underground publishers, feminist figures, and readers both in and out of the closet. Well-researched, illuminating and enjoyable.




2019 Fiction Titles

2019 Over The Rainbow Fiction Titles

Genre Fiction
(Download PDF) 2019 Over The Rainbow – Genre Fiction

Alice Isn’t Dead. Joseph Fink. Harper Perennial, 2018. Keisha lives happily with her wife Alice until the day Alice disappears, presumed dead. After months of grieving, Keisha sees Alice in the background of a news report and takes matters into her own hands, becoming a long-haul truck driver, searching for her missing wife. Along the way, she stumbles across a secret American history, an inhuman serial killer, and a supernatural war being waged along the interstate highway system. This novel based on Fink’s podcast of the same name takes a haunting look at the liminal spaces along the open road, affirming the power of love in every mile.

Cabin at the End of the World. Paul Tremblay. William Morrow, 2018. Creepy and violent, Tremblay’s apocalyptic horror story features Eric and Andrew and their daughter Wen in a terrifying home invasion that forces the couple to make some horrific decisions in order to survive.

God Game: A Dan Sharp Mystery. Jeffrey Round. Dundurn, 2018. Private detective Dan Sharp has been hired to find the gambling-addicted husband of an aide in the Ontario legislature in Round’s fifth Dan Sharp mystery. Braving political intrigue and scandal, Sharp finds he has gone too deep into the seedy underbelly of Ontario’s political deal-making and government shenanigans. During the course of the investigation, Sharp’s life is further complicated by planning a graduation trip for his son to the West Coast and his own wedding to Nick, a Toronto cop. Round’s writing transforms Canadian politics into a fast-paced, thrilling page-turner.

Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion. Margaret Killjoy. Tor, 2017. While the apocalypse seems to draw close, Killjoy has already explored how an anarchist utopian might thrive, a group of marginalized outsiders with different races, genders, and sexual identities. When their protective demon familiar begins to destroy them, they band together even more tightly to try and survive. This is a quick and delightfully creepy read for sci-fi fans.

Sodom Road Exit. Amber Dawn. Arsenal Pulp Press, 2018. Haunted by the 90’s? Starla returning home to live with her mother after incurring significant university debt. That’s not the only thing haunting her though – as she finds herself drawn to the Crystal Beach amusement park, rediscovering a high school friend who becomes her girlfriend, and a ghost with a need to be seen.

Trick Roller. Cordelia Kingsbridge. Riptide, 2018. The second book in the Seven of Spades series, Trick Roller is a gripping mystery that explores the new relationship between Levi and Dominic and the thrilling exploits of a serial killer who is not yet done with them.

Unkindness of Ghosts. River Solomon. Akashic Books, 2017. This Lambda Literary Award finalist crafts a challenging, oppressive world on a spaceship carrying the last of humanity into space. Dark-skinned and hyper-intelligent Aster, a resident of the lower decks, works as a healer under her upper deck friend Theo (the Surgeon of the ship), until she notices a mysterious illness suffered by the Sovereign of the ship. Then Aster and Theo (indeed, the whole ship) are plunged into a sinister mystery that they could never have imagined. This antebellum space opera is told with a queer, neuro-atypical slant: Aster and Theo are both gender-variant and neurodivergent and utterly brilliant.

Whisper of Bones: A Jane Lawless Mystery. Ellen Hart. Minotaur Books/Macmillan, 2018. Minneapolis PI Jane Lawless goes on a journey to discover a family secret in this twenty-fifth entry in the series. Britt Ickles, visiting genomics professor, remembers playing with her cousin Timmy the last time she visited her mom’s family; however, as an adult when she visits her aunts, they tell her that there was no Timmy. Naturally, Jane is intrigued. She rents a room at the aunts’ home and begins investigating all the inhabitants. Mysterious things begin to happen. With an interesting plot, nice misdirection, and unique characters, Hart writes an enthralling cozy mystery to entertain readers.

Witchmark. C.L. Polk., 2018. The first book in The Kingston Cycle is an Edwardian fantasy in which we are introduced to a class based magical network filled with political machinations that our main character Miles Singer has done his best to try to escape. But you can’t run away from fate or angels. This story is filled with mystery, romance, magic, fantasy, and a touch of science.

Graphic Narrative
(Download PDF) 2019 Over The Rainbow – Graphic Narrative

Bingo Love. Tee Franklin. Image Comics, 2018. 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.

Gumballs. Erin Nations. Top Shelf Productions, 2018. Nations created an autobiographical graphic novel with his unique square headed style of characters, exploring what it meant to grow up as an identical twin in a set of triplets, and how his life and body shifted when he started his gender confirmation journey. This collection is really fun and accessible, a great overview of one man’s trans experience.

Lie and How We Told It. Tommi Parrish. Fantagraphics, 2018. In this beautifully-rendered graphic novel, old friends Cleary and Tim run into each other at the grocery store one day and reconnect. Over the course of a night, they discuss the choices that they made and the paths each has traveled since they parted. With subtlety and dexterity, Parrish weaves an honest tale, brimming with struggle and self-realization over one’s sexuality and being true to one’s self.

My Brother’s Husband Volume 2. Genoroh Tagame. Pantheon, 2018. At its heart, this is the story of a man coming to terms with the unquestioned cultural assumptions about sexuality he’s harbored all his life and rediscovering the meaning of family, for his own and his daughter’s sake. The genius of Tagame’s art lies in its ability to suggest without insistence that Yaichi’s real journey of discovery has just begun. A joyous and hopeful work.

Sugar Town. Hazel Newlevant. Newlevant Comix, 2018. This fun and colorful graphic novel jubilantly celebrates bisexuality, queer love, and polyamorous relationships. There’s good information about how to make polyamory successful but the story doesn’t get pedantic or weighed down. Topics like sex work, jealousy, and domination add to a sweetly romantic story.

Literary and General Interest
(Download PDF) Over the Rainbow – Literary and General Interest

Bastarda. Trifonia Melibea Obono. Feminist Press, 2018. Seventeen-year-old Okomo lives in the tribal town of Ayá Esang in Equatorial Guinea with her grandparents. From the beginning, we learn that Okomo’s mother is dead, that her father is a scoundrel, and that she is illegitimate because her father did not pay a dowry before sleeping with her mother. She deals with cultural and familial strictures and personal abuse but fights for her life and love. Obono is the first woman writer from Equatorial Guinea to be translated into English. Her novel brings a refreshing take on the coming-of-age story and on feminist and queer culture in Central Africa.

Book of Hats. Dov Zeller. Tiny Golem Press, 2018. In this mystical epic, Ida is a trans boy coming of age during the early to mid-20th century surrounded by her family’s hat-making business. (Although it’s obvious Ida is trans, the pronoun used throughout is she.) When the truth about Ida begins to unravel, she escapes to New York where she falls in with fellow queers who help create the community and family she is seeking.

Boy at the Edge of the World. David K. Yeh. Guernica Editions, 2018. In this dramedy we follow the romantic adventures of Daniel from coming out to his best friend Karen in high school to university in Toronto and the city’s queer culture. Filled with diverse characters on the universal pursuit of love and intimacy.

The Daddies. Kimberly Dark. Brill, 2018. A multi-faceted rich exploration of masculinity, patriarchy, and domination from a lesbian perspective. This work is part novel, part memoir, and part social analysis all combined–a surprising and challenging read.

Drapetomania: or, the narrative of Cyrus Tyler and Abednego Tyler, lovers. John R. Gordon. Team Angelica Publishing, 2018. When Abednego, a house-servant, is sold away, his lover Cyrus, a field-hand, realizes that he must go after him in this thrilling tale of the love between gay slaves in captivity set in the 1860’s. Drapetomania is a groundbreaking tale of black freedom and devotion.

Great Believers. Rebecca Makkai. Viking, 2018. A saga that begins in 1980s Chicago with Yale, a young gay man about to discover the art find of the century while all his friends around him die of AIDS, including his friend Nico. Reaching forward into present day Paris, Nico’s younger sister Fiona desperately tries to rescue her estranged daughter from a cult, and winds up meeting a photographer who documented the AIDS crisis in Chicago. Two spectacular stories intertwine to teach the lessons of love, friendship, community, and family.

Heart’s Invisible Furies. John Boyne. Hogarth/Penguin Random House, 2018. A tour de force about one man’s struggle to accept his sexuality in Ireland’s homophobic society throughout much of the modern era. The story begins in 1945. Cyril Avery is adopted by an eccentric Dublin couple, who always told him that he was not a real Avery. Cyril’s life is told in seven-year intervals. With equal parts sadness and humor, Boyne conveys to the reader the hardship and toll that repression can bring when a people are not able to be true to themselves.

House of Impossible Beauties. Joseph Cassara. Ecco/HarperCollins, 2018. 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 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.

Into?: A Novel. North Morgan. Flatiron Books, 2018. Morgan paints an insipid and shallow portrait of a sex, drug, and alcohol-addicted subculture of young gay musclemen. Obsessed with image and social media, each chapter is a groundhog’s day of hook-ups and gym selfies with a side of delusion and childish narcissistic temper tantrums. A wonderfully satirical portrayal of a privileged and selfish – but very visible – segment of the gay community.

Jonny Appleseed. Joshua Whitehead. Arsenal Pulp Press, 2018. Finalist: Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction. Longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize. Jonny Appleseed, a young Two-Spirit/Indigiqueer, must return to the reservation that he grew up on to attend his stepfather’s funeral. The resulting narrative is a soaring, chaotic, stream of consciousness spanning Jonny’s memories of growing up gay on the rez, remembrances of his kokum (grandmother), his work webcamming, falling in love with one of his best friends, and struggling to build a life in Winnipeg. Whitehead’s vivid, startling prose paints a picture of Jonny’s struggles to reconcile the pieces of his life in this startling debut novel.

Less. Andrew Sean Greer. Lee Boudreaux Books/Little Brown/Hachette, 2017. How should you go about avoiding your problems? Arthur Less, a middle-aged writer who receives an invitation to the wedding of his young ex-boyfriend runs away from them. He has accepted every award and invitation to speak, no matter how obscure the destination. He’ll do anything to make himself unavailable for the next year. He travels from San Francisco to New York, Mexico, Italy, Germany, Morocco, India, and Japan. Naturally, things don’t go according to plan and hilarity ensues. Figuring out who is actually telling the story is one of the most fun parts of this 2018 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel.

My Ex-Life. Stephen McCauley. Flatiron Books/McMillan, 2018. Gay fifty-something David Hedges is suffering a mid-life crisis of sorts. He has a successful career in San Francisco but he was recently dumped by his boyfriend and his rent-controlled apartment is up for sale. When he receives an unexpected email from his ex-wife describing her high school daughter Mandy’s poor decisions, David decides to head east to New England to help them. During this process, the pair rediscover a strong friendship. Witty and topical, McCauley’s prose is fun and light-hearted. “All couples start off as Romeo and Juliet and end up as Laurel and Hardy.”

So Lucky. Nicola Griffith. Macmillan, 2018. 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.

Sparsholt Affair. Alan Hollinghurst. Knopf, 2018. A tale of honesty and being true to oneself, this novel tackles themes of lust, sex, and societal expectations in post-WWII Great Britain. In 1940, David Sparsholt, a dashing, first-year engineering student at Oxford, has an affair with a man, causing a scandal. David’s son, Johnny, lives with the aftermath of his father’s sordid past. Johnny is an artist and trying to live honestly as a gay man in the homophobic Britain of the 1960s. The consequences of his choices affect all parties involved and expose the cultural and sexual revolutions that have happened in the twentieth century in Britain.

Speak No Evil. Uzodinma Iweala. Harper, 2018. The story focuses upon two privileged teenagers from different backgrounds and experiences. A gay African American, Niru and his friendship with a white heterosexual female, Meredith. We see how shame and silence lead to a tragic event with devastating consequences that change lives forever.

Stray City. Chelsey Johnson. Custom House/William Morrow, 2018. Andrea Morales is a dedicated member of Portland’s thriving 1990s queer scene whose life is utterly changed when she sleeps with a man, gets pregnant, and decides to keep the baby. This warm and heartfelt debut goes back and forth in time between the late 1990s and 2009, showcasing the evolving queer community in Portland as well as the ways in which Andrea grows and builds a life with her chosen family and young daughter.

Tin Man. Sarah Winman. Penguin Random House/GP Putnam’s Sons, 2018. Ellis and Michael are childhood friends who eventually become lovers. As adults, Ellis marries Annie and the three share an unbreakable bond, until Michael vanishes from their lives. This beautifully written tale of friendship and love will break your heart into a million pieces.

White Houses. Amy Bloom. Penguin Random House, 2018. Bloom’s latest novel recreates the clandestine romance between Eleanor Roosevelt and journalist Lorena “Hick” Hickock. Told in reminiscences after their relationship has ended shortly after FDR died, Hick’s bittersweet narrative conveys to the reader the depth of her continued feelings for Eleanor. Poignant tales of the two together will tug at the heartstrings. The juxtaposition of the relationship between Eleanor and Hick and the world-changing events happening around them are very well-played, driving the narrative forward, but ultimately cause the women’s relationship to end. It’s all about the journey, not the destination.

(Download PDF) Over the Rainbow – Poetry

Black Queer Hoe. Britteney Black Rose Kapri. Haymarket, 2018. Sit up and pay attention to this in-your-face no-apologies collection of poetry from a proud Black woman. Based out of Chicago, Kapri is a teacher, an award-winning writer, and an outspoken activist for the Black, Queer, and sex-positive communities. This fiery debut trumpets the arrival of an electric new voice.

Carnival of Affection. Philip F. Clark. Sibling Rivalry Press, 2018. In this collection of poetry, everyday experiences in the life of a gay man are elevated in lyrical exploration. Clark makes the ordinary trials of a life something utterly new.

Full-Metal Indigiqueer. Joshua Whitehead. Talonbooks, 2017. This collection of queer poetry borrows from myriad influences from the past and present, ranging from Shakespeare to Lana Del Rey. Whitehead deconstructs to decolonize, bringing the lives of two-spirit/indigiqueer youth into sharp focus and giving them a new space.

Junk. Tommy Pico. Tin House Books, 2018. A full-length love poem/break-up poem about stuff: the detritus of a relationship; of consumerism and pop culture; of loss of identity as an indigenous person; even of Chili Cheese Fritos in a constantly shifting barrage of enjambed couplets. Pico uses Junk as a collective term, similar to a junk shop of old things awaiting their next purpose. It’s transgressive, fast-paced, and a constant blending of the somber and the flippant.

Lord of the Butterflies. Andrea Gibson. Buttonpoetry, 2018. Gibson’s fifth collection takes a nuanced look at gender, grief, love, and the personal as political. Gibson tackles every subject (a wide litany: Lyme disease, a family member’s drug addiction, gun violence, mental illness, falling in love, and figuring out their identity as genderqueer just to name a few) with love. Lord of the Butterflies is a celebration of queer community and indefatigable hope. Though the poems are best read aloud (Gibson is a performance poet), they come through clearly on the page.

Not Everything Thrown Starts a Revolution. Stephen S. Mills. Sibling Rivalry Press, 2018. Collection of queer poetry explores parallels through time through interwoven haunting narratives from the 18th and 21st centuries. Mills brings the current life and struggles of a 21st century gay man in parallel with the struggles of agrarian life and incarceration.

Not Here. Hieu Minh Nguyen. Coffee House Press, 2018. There are aching confrontations of family, trauma, and history in this collection of poetry from a queer Vietnamese American exploring desire and loneliness. Nguyen imagines himself a monster in his concise even prose that is at once shocking and clear.

On My Way to Liberation. H. Melt. Haymarket Books, 2018. This chapbook of poetry follows the realities of a gender-nonconforming body moving through the world. Melt, a proud and openly trans writer, writes about being misgendered in queer spaces and their family’s home, creating conscious spaces for trans people, and their grandfather’s liberation from Dachau. Melt’s simple, matter-of-fact poems advocate for a larger world of trans literature and shed light on their experiences.

Othered. Randi M. Romo. Sibling Rivalry Press, 2018. 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. She celebrates the lives of lost friends and in her poem “I Am” explains both who she is and how she is labeled by others.

Prayers for My 17th Chromosome. Amir Rabiyah. Sibling Rivalry Press, 2017. Rabiyah’s prose poems are easy to read as they describe their journey from being a young girl into non-binary adulthood and self. Their rhapsodic explanation of the experience of chronic illness and living with pain invites understanding and empathy.

Rummage – poems. Ife-Chudeni A Oputa. Little A/Amazon Publishing, 2017. Read Oputa’s poems aloud for the full resonance. She writes loving paeans to the ordinary that require a pause between each, to let her words roll through your mind. Her collection has 4 sections, each taking you through a different cycle of girlhood.

Subject to Change: Trans Poetry & Conversation. H. Melt, ed. Sibling Rivalry Press, 2018. An anthology of the work of five unapologetically trans poets: Joshua Jennifer Espinoza, Christopher Soto, Beyza Ozer, Cameron Awkward-Rich, and Kay Ulanday Barrett. A selection of poems by each poet is paired with an interview with editor H. Melt discussing their work, identities, and lives. This collection encompasses a wide variety of themes and poetics: a selection of clear, talented voices examining what it means to be trans.

Touched. Luther Hughes. Sibling Rivalry Press. 2018. This collection of poetry takes an unflinching look at the black body, exploring both tenderness and bruising. Hughes uplifts the body, examining it with detailed care.

Short Stories
(Download PDF) Over the Rainbow – Short Stories

Her Body and Other Parties. Carmen Maria Machado. Graywolf Press, 2017. Machado’s 8 short stories weave between the ordinary and the surreal, exploring disgust, delight, and all varieties of queerness. Her characters are both flawed and fantastic, impossible to forget. Her retelling of a classic ghost story is insidious, the reader both knows what will happen and is shocked by it.

London: Skin and Bones. Ian Young. Squares and Rebels, 2017. Collection of colorful short stories featuring gay skinheads and scoundrels of the Finsbury Park blue collar area of North London in the 1980’s.

Merry Spinster. Mallory Ortberg. Holt, 2018. Delightfully dark collection of fairy tales retold, swapping genders, changing roles, and playing irreverently with the classic stories. Both feminist and witty, Ortberg subverts and shifts tales like “The Little Mermaid” and “Beauty and the Beast” for adults-only.

Night Beast. Ruth Joffre. Grove Press/Black Cat, 2018. Debut collection exploring the lives of queer women in a variety of fantasy, speculative, and realistic settings. A filmmaker waits for her soulmate as a timer counts down, until one day, suddenly, it begins to speed up. Actors in an avant-garde television show wake up together every weekend to begin their show, confusing television with real life. These doomed and unsettling stories are haunting in their simplicity.

Two Moons: Stories. Krystal A. Smith. BLF Press, 2018. Speculative fiction collection of stories. They are ethereal, transcend time, space, and being in whimsical journeys.





Over The Rainbow Press Release ALAMW 2018

DENVER – The Over the Rainbow committee of ALA’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table (GLBTRT) considered 223 books, with a wide range of diversity among topics and coming from both first-time and established authors.  From these we carefully examined all of the titles; 122 in the catergory of literature and 101 in nonfiction. After much reading and deliberation, we chose 39 titles in the category of literature and 42 in non-fiction to be included in the complete 2018 Over the Rainbow list.  This year, due to the increase in GLBT publishing, we are presenting two top ten lists one for non-fiction, and one for literature.

This year, the titles were more varied in terms of cultural diversity, and genres such as mystery and romance. The stories told were a mix of histories, memoir, academic, and popular books, presenting viewpoints across the gender spectrum – gay, lesbian, bisexual, asexual, and trans lives. Themes were wide and varied, from current issues, such as practice in teaching, coming out, hidden history, civil rights, HIV/AIDS, grief, and research that uncovered and reclaimed history from the nineteenth century until the twenty-first century.


The top 12 titles in the category of literature are:


The Angel of History. Rabih Alameddine. Atlantic Monthly Press, 2016.


Christadora. Tim Murphy. Grove, 2017


Everything is Awful and You’re a Terrible Person.  Daniel Zomparelli. Arsenal Pulp Press, 2017.


Long Black Veil.  Jennifer Finney Boylan. Crown Publishing (Penguin Random House), 2017.


Marriage of a Thousand Lies. Sindu, SJ. Soho, 2017.


My Cat Yugoslavia. Statovci, Pajtim, translated by David Hackston.Pantheon, 2017.


No One Can Pronounce My Name.  Rakesh Satyal. Picador, 2017.


Notes of a Crocodile. Qiu Miaojin. New York Review Books, 2017.


Ruin of a Rake. Cat Sebastian. Avon Impulse, 2017.


Seven Suspects. Renee James. Oceanview, 2017.


This Is How It Always Is. Laurie Frankel. Flatiron Books, 2017.


When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities.  Chen Chen. BOA Editions Ltd., 2017.


The top 11 titles in non-fiction are:


The Case of Alan Turing: The Extraordinary and Tragic Story of the Legendary Codebreaker with drawings by Éric Liberge and text by Arnaud Delalande. Arsenal Pulp Press, 2016.  


Doll Parts.  Amanda Lepore and Thomas Flannery. Regan Arts, 2017.


Gay Gotham: Art and Underground Culture in New York.  Donald Albrecht. Skira Rizzoli, 2016.


Insomniac City: New York, Oliver, and Me. Bill Hayes. Bloomsbury USA, 2017.


Jane Crow: The Life of Pauli Murray. Rosalind Rosenberg. Oxford University Press, 2017.


Logical Family: A Memoir. Armistead Maupin. Harper, 2017.


Making My Pitch: A Woman’s Baseball Odyssey. Ila Jane Borders & Jean Hastings Ardell. Univ of Nebraska Press, 2017.


The Rules Do Not Apply: A Memoir.  Ariel Levy. Random House, 2017.


Surpassing Certainty: What My Twenties Taught Me. Janet Mock. Atria Books, 2017.


Tomboy Survival Guide. Ivan E. Coyote. Arsenal Pulp, 2016.


When We Rise: My Life in the Movement. Cleve Jones. Hachette Books, 2016.




2018 Literature Titles

2018 Over the Rainbow Literature Titles


The Angel of History. Rabih Alameddine. Atlantic Monthly Press, 2016.
Jacob is hallucinating in the waiting room of a mental health clinic. He looks back on the events of his life and imagines it reviewed by Death and Satan. We are taken on a journey from the Middle East to San Francisco at the height of the AIDs crisis.  Jacob survives while too many of his loved ones succumb to the disease.


Bestiary: Poems. Donika Kelly. Introduction by Nikky Finney. Graywolf Press, 2016.

A bestiary can be either a fighter of beasts in ancient Rome or a medieval book of natural history. Donika Kelly’s fantastical collection fits both definitions. Battles with and descriptions of mythical beasts; minotaurs, griffins, mingle with dogs, hawks, and barrow birds in these intensely personal, tender, and sometimes, violent poems. Kelly’s first collection was the winner of the prestigious Cave Canem Poetry Prize.


Bitter Legacy. Dal Maclean. One Block Empire, 2016.

2017 Finalist Lambda Literary Awards: Mystery. Dal Maclean’s debut is an engaging police procedural set in London’s Metropolitan Police. It involves Detective Sergeant James Henderson, an up-and-coming detective on the fast track to become an inspector, in his first murder investigation of barrister Maria Curzon-Whyte. During the course of the investigation, James comes across a group of men who intrigue and tempt him to join their circle. One man, in particular, photographer Ben Morgan dares him to embrace a carefree, promiscuous lifestyle. In spite of his best efforts, the investigation balloons into a spate of cruelty and wickedness. As the body count rises and disturbing secrets are revealed, James finds his personal and professional lives threatened by a bitter legacy from the past.


Cakewalk. Rita Mae Brown. Bantam, 2016.

Part of a series of novels set in the fictional town of Runnymede this latest story of nostalgic fun is set at the end of World War I.  Celeste prepares for her pregnant lover’s marriage to her brother while her housekeeper Dora’s teenage daughters Louise and Julia adjust to growing up in a small town while fighting expectations and rivalries. This multigenerational tale is filled with eccentric characters and demonstrates the lengths we will go to protect those we consider family.


Christodora. Tim Murphy. Grove, 2017.

An epic tale revolving around residents of the iconic Christodora building in New York’s Lower East Side. Spanning decades, we witness the intertwining stories of these characters as they battle depression, drug abuse, the AIDS crisis, and heartbreak. From ACT UP meetings to the disco to the art scene and all the way to a California halfway home, Murphy’s novel is an instant classic.


Club Arcana: Operation Janus. Jon Wilson.  Bold Strokes, 2017.  

Magic is afoot, and no one is who they seem to be, when librarian Angus McAslan secretly writes a book that echoes a twisted reality.  Creatures of dream and nightmare come to life, relatives turn out to be witches and life-stealers, unexpected romance and peril confront him at every turn… in the end, nothing is as he thought it was, as he fights for his life and his love against the treachery of trusted ones and the summoning of an ancient god.


Death Goes Overboard. David S. Pederson. Bold Stroke Books, 2017.

Death Goes Overboard is the second in a mystery series set in 1947 Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Detective Heath Barrington is getting prepared to go on a “fishing trip” with his partner, police officer Alan Keyes. Alas, duty calls, and Detective Barrington has to go on a lake cruise to tail gangster Gregor Slavinsky. During the course of the cruise, Slavinsky goes missing, presumed murdered. But was he? Pederson takes a lot of the tropes of mysteries and utilizes them to the fullest, giving the story a knowable form. However, the unique characters and accurate portrayal of the struggles of gay relationships in 1940s America make this an enjoyable, thought-provoking read.


Don’t Call Us Dead: Poems.   Danez Smith. Graywolf Press, 2017.

A heartbreaking and beautiful collection of poetry dealing with the intersection of being gay, black, and HIV+.


Don’t Feed the Trolls. Erica Kudisch.  Riptide Pub, 2017.  

Daphne has won a gaming novelization contest that should be a highlight of her life… then the trolls attack, filling her inbox with torrents of hateful abuse.  In real life, she’s ‘too masculine’ for the dance parts she auditions for, and in her online life, other players are attacking because she’s ‘a girl.’ Trying to survive the stress, sie comes to realizations about hir own gender identity, the new girl online sie’s falling hard for, and the convulsions of hatred and revolt in hir gaming life.  Hir friends, from hir drag queen roommate to the knight sie would rather didn’t defend hir, lend hir strength and help hir find hirself.  The happily-ever-after is as satisfying as it is unconventional.


sie sie hir hirs hirself


Drowned: a Mermaid’s Manifesto. Theresa Davis. Sibling Rivalry Press, 2016.

A poetry collection to savor from an openly queer black woman. Her explorations of race and sexuality, feminism and love, are eloquent and leave a lasting impression. She opens by invoking her muses – Frida, Medusa, and Eve – and closes with the death of her father, with a stunning array of experiences in between.


The End of Eddy.   Édouard Louis. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2017.

Louis’ novel begins in the late 1990s and is loosely based on his life experience. The story investigates what it is like to grow up in a small working class town in France where Eddy is challenged with conforming to traditional concepts of masculinity and finds hope in an opportunity to attend boarding school.


Enigma Variations.  André Aciman. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2017.

The novel follows Paolo’s desires as a youth in Italy to his relationships as an adult who goes by Paul. Aciman explores the fluid sexuality of his main character and develops a rich interior life for him in a way that does not always fall into sync with the other characters.


Everything is Awful and You’re a Terrible Person.  Daniel Zomparelli. Arsenal Pulp Press, 2017.

A hilarious and tongue-in-cheek collection of highly original stories about gay men searching for love at any cost. From dating a ghost to breaking up on YouTube, the stories are fused with neuroses and humour while shining a light on the shallow and self-centered.


Fever in the Dark. Ellen Hart. Minotaur Books, 2017.

A clever, compelling mystery following a lesbian couple turned media sensations and their friend, Jane Lawless, private investigator and Hart’s serial protagonist. Hart’s writing is rich and heavy on character, lending a delightful humanity to the subjects of her world.Clever, both playful, and riveting, to be enjoyed by fans of Rita Mae Brown and those already immersed in the world of gay mysteries.


Forget Me Not. Kris Bryant. Bold Strokes Books, 2016.
Grace inherits a flower shop in Ireland from a Great Aunt she barely knew.  This contemporary romance finds its protagonist eager to return to her life in Dallas but falling in love with both the Emerald Isle and the woman trying to help her sell the shop.


Hearts in Ireland. J. C. Long. Dreamspinner, 2017.

Long’s latest novella begins with grief but leads to a satisfactory resolution. Ronan Walker’s beloved Irish mother dies and, deeply grieving and depressed and over his loss and the state of his life, he is persuaded to leave America to visit Ireland and his mother’s family. Once there, Ronan stays with his relatives and eventually meets Fergal Walsh, who works at his aunt’s bookstore. Sparks fly. Will Ronan finally be led by his heart rather than his head?  The loving, supportive interactions between Ronan and his family are inspiring. The humor of the book make for an enjoyable read.


Here Comes the Sun.  Nicole Dennis-Benn. Liveright, 2017.

Three strong women in Jamaica deal with life the best way they know how. The mother haggles and bargains her way through, while pinning all hopes and dreams on her youngest daughter, who is obsessed with lightening her skin. The eldest daughter embraces both the sex trade and a lesbian lover, in the hopes of getting out of the Jamaican slums in which they live. A family saga with twists and turns at every corner.


Kill Game. Cordelia Kingsbridge.  Riptide Pub, 2017.  

Detective Levi Abrams is on shaky ground, at work and in his love life.  It just gets worse when a serial killer is loose on the streets of Las Vegas.  On top of that, he has to deal with bounty hunter Dominic Russo, who gets under his skin, professionally and personally. The unlikely duo have sizzling chemistry, the plot is twisty and compelling, and the ending is a cliffhanger that sets up strong expectations for the next book.  It’s a police procedural, a thriller, and a romance… a great beginning to what will be a multi-book series.


Large Animals.  Jess Arndt. Catapult, 2017.

At turns hallucinatory and thoroughly grounded, Arndt’s debut short story collection crackles with dark humor, body horror and astute observations on identity. Equal parts Maggie Nelson and William Burroughs, Arndt’s work is a must-have for fans of short fiction and transgressive literature.


Lay Your Sleeping Head. Michael Nava.  Korima Pr, 2016.  

This is much more than a rewrite of Nava’s The Little Death.  True, the sex is new, but the writing is deeper as well.  Henry Rios is a lawyer burnt by the system, on his way to alcoholism, in love with a white boy with big problems.  When his lover dies of an overdose, Henry finds a new purpose, determined to prove it was murder.  1980s America was a place of racism, homophobia, and the powerful protecting themselves at the cost of everyone else, and Nava brings the reader right into the middle of it. This story is as timely now as when it was originally written decades ago.


Long Black Veil.  Jennifer Finney Boylan. Crown Publishing (Penguin Random House), 2017.

An intriguing mystery that evolves from a fateful night when a group of college friends become locked in an abandoned prison. The event results in a murder that becomes a cold case reopened years later. Judith Carrigan is the key to the main suspect’s innocence, but she must be willing to give up some deeply guarded secrets that could destroy her family in order to serve as an alibi.


Marriage of a Thousand Lies. Sindu, SJ. Soho, 2017.

Hoping to placate their traditional South Asian immigrant parents, two college friends, Lucky (Lakshmi), a lesbian, and Kris, a gay man, enter into a marriage of convenience. Lucky’s family life becomes complicated when she returns home to care for her grandmother. SJ Sindu’s novel is a study of love lost, understanding, and family that is both sensitive and dryly humorous.


My Cat Yugoslavia. Statovci, Pajtim, translated by David Hackston.Pantheon, 2017.

Statovici’s novel is really two stories entwined by family. His protagonist, Bekim, a gay man who immigrated with his family to Helsinki from Kosovo as a child, and the story of Bekim’s mother, Emine, a Muslim woman in an arranged marriage. Bekim inhabits a fantasy world of bigoted talking cats, while his mother’s story of abuse and war is told more conventionally. Both mother and son are outcasts in a difficult family in a changing world.


No One Can Pronounce My Name.  Rakesh Satyal. Picador, 2017.

Three Indian immigrants, Harit, a lonely gay man, Ranjana, a receptionist whose dream is to be an author of vampire fiction, and her son, Prashant, who tries to be anything but the Indian college kid who is good at math are the three intersecting characters in this sensitive novel of outsiders looking for a place to belong in their families and in their new country.


No Other World. Rahul Mehta. Harper, 2017.

Twelve year old, Kiran Shah, born in suburban Massachusetts to Indian immigrant parents finds himself drawn to the typically white American, and incidentally handsome father of a school friend. As he struggles with these nameless feelings, an older sister is betrayed, his parents cope with their arranged marriage, immigrant life, and family at home in India. The novel is lyrical, the characters beautifully drawn so realistic you will miss them when you’ve finished reading the novel.


Notes of a Crocodile. Qiu Miaojin. New York Review Books, 2017.

Beautifully written novel about a lesbian university student, her entertainingly diverse social circle, and her failed loves. Set in the 1990s in Taipei, she imagines herself a crocodile in a human suit as she navigates the relationships that create her story. Recently translated from Chinese.


Rainbow Gap. Lee Lynch. Bold Strokes Books, 2016.
Jaudon and Berry have been together since they were childhood best friends in backcountry Florida swamps. This book follows the two women on their journey through the 1960s as teenagers through the 1970s and how the changing world and its conflicts, including the Vietnam War and feminism, impacts their lives. Their love is illegal and dangerous but their bond is strong.

Rank. Richard Compson Sater. Bold Strokes Books, 2016.
A military romance set just after the end of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. Second Lieutenant Harris Mitchell is out and proud but not everyone is ready to step out of the closet. Though the military’s stance has officially changed, the transition is rocky and there are still barriers to overcome.


The Ruin of a Rake. Cat Sebastian. Avon Impulse, 2017.

A new take in the Regency Romance genre, Sebastian’s third in a series offers readers a fun, fast, erudite read. With a reputation ruined by rumors and salacious talk, Lord Courtenay did not take much stock by his label as a libertine. However, when a new publication comes out, reportedly detailing his amorous pursuits of the past, Courtenay is shunned from all society and he is barred from seeing his beloved nephew. On the other hand, Julian Medlock has spent a lifetime cultivating an image of perfect decorum and taste. When Julian’s sister enlists his help to improve Courtenay’s reputation, Julian is beside himself. Julian has mixed emotions about Courtenay. He loathes him, but longs for him. Cat Sebastian plays with perceptions and the opposites-attract trope in this romance.


Seven Suspects. Renee James. Oceanview Publishing, 2017.

James’ third novel in her Bobbi Logan series, a hard-boiled thriller with an unapologetic yet empathetic trans protagonist in a genre where trans women’s bodies are still all too often used as evidence or plot device. A solidly compelling suspense novel for fans of the genre and a fun, if brutal, read for those who crave trans-centered narratives beyond “coming out”.


Since I Laid My Burden Down. Brontez Purnell. Amethyst Editions, 2017.
Queer zinester Purnell’s hilarious, affectionate punk pseudo-memoir style has been a highlight of rock magazines and basement performances for over a decade. His latest is no different, following unabashedly gay protagonist DeShawn returning to his Alabama hometown for a funeral with both razor wit and poignant reflections on masculinity, blackness and love. This slim little novel is a gem in its own right, and it’s a delight to have his work accessible to a larger audience.


Summer Stock. Vanessa North. Riptide, 2017.

A visiting television star and a local handyman hook up for one drunken night. Vanessa North’s Summer Stock begins with that basic romance story trope and goes forth from there. Driven away by tabloid scandals, Ryan Hertzog, tv star, returns to North Carolina’s Outer Banks to do summer stock for his cousin. One tequila-filled night, he hooks up with local handyman Trey Donovan and while extricating himself from the fling, he ends up being photographed stark naked. The development of the relationship between these two is passionate and heartfelt. Equally important, the discussion about abusive relationships and the complex nature of the friendships make for an interesting read.


Things to Do When You Are Goth in the Country. Chavisa Woods. Seven Stories Press, 2017.

A collection of 8 stories about queer folks, both in the LGBTQIA sense and in the strange and unusual sense. Rural America is made bizarre and hilarious by Woods, her magical realist style, and the well developed characters she has created. Darkly comedic and plausible, even when the plots veer off into the impossible – glowing green gas alien orbs?


This Is How It Always Is. Laurie Frankel. Flatiron Books, 2017.

Detailed exploration of what it means to have a gender non-conforming child sharing a story of a couple deeply in love and with a series of 5 sons, though Claude, their youngest, doesn’t see herself that way. Through loving family relationships and ordinary challenges of growing up, Claude is able to develop into the person they are.


This is How it Begins. Joan Dempsey. She Writes Press, 2017.
A timely novel of a family with secrets.  Ludka hid Jews from Nazis in Poland and is still traumatized by her past. Settled in Massachusetts as an art history teacher with her husband Izaak, she is horrified to find her gay son Tommy accused of discriminating against his Christian high school students.


When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities.  Chen Chen. BOA Editions Ltd., 2017.

Chen’s book of poetry explores his life as a queer Chinese immigrant to the United States. His poems investigate relationships, sexuality, and family using wonderful imagery that invokes various feelings that are sometimes funny, romantic, and sad.


Witches for Hire. Sam Argent. DSP Publications, 2017.

This cross genre book of love, power, and desire takes angst-ridden characters, world-building, and magic and sticks in a pot and lets it brew for awhile. A difficult, but enjoyable read with changing narrators throughout and feeling like one is starting in the middle of a series, this book leaves one hungry for more.  Jeremy Ragsdale, recovering drug addict and witch, wants to get on to the next job without any further debacles. Alas, his temp agency assigns him to work with a motley group of misfits.  Jeremy dodges his co-workers as best as he can, until the crew find a conspiracy to kill the magic superstar Desmond the Great.  Jeremy has lots of secrets. Eventually, everything has to come out into the open, but will Jeremy survive the ramifications of his actions?


Working it: A Ringside Romance. Christine D’Abo. Riptide, 2017.

A contemporary, M/M office romance set in Toronto, Working it is the first in a new series. Nolan Carmichael is trying to start anew after a terrible car accident scarred him mentally and physically. Zack Anderson, his new boss and the CTO at the company, has an ability to run away all four of his previous assistants.  With office politics and personal shortcomings to overcome, both find that they are mutually attracted to each other. The  story that captures the intensity of a forbidden romance and the sensitivity of having to work through one’s personal issues to find a satisfactory resolution.


You’re The Most Beautiful Thing That Happened. Arisa White. Augury Books, 2016.

A gorgeous, intelligent poetry collection from Lambda Literary Award-nominated White. These poems burst with emotion, soaring to ecstatically loving highs and capturing the sorrows of longing and black lesbian life in a vicious world. A beautifully realized and joyful read that deserves a place in poetry collections and the canon of lesbian literature.


2018 Nonfiction Titles

2018 Over the Rainbow Nonfiction Titles


Accepted: How the First Gay Superstar Changed WWE. Pat Patterson. ECW Press, 2016.
A no holds barred memoir about being gay in the world of professional wrestling, as told by veteran superstar wrestler Pat Patterson. He chronicles his humble beginnings working in the wrestling circuits of the 1960s all the way up to becoming a World Wrestling Entertainment Hall of Famer, all while dealing with his sexuality, coming out, and finding love.


Balls: It Takes Some To Get Some. Chris Edwards. Greenleaf Book Group Press, 2016.
A witty and refreshing memoir about transitioning, as told by Chris Edwards who corrects his gender from female to male. With a voice that is brave and bold, Edwards details his journey as a trans man living in a time before the term “transgender” even existed. He uses his marketing background to rebrand himself and in doing so, finds support from coworkers, friends, and family alike. This is an encouraging, entertaining, brazen, and moving memoir of someone who chooses to live as his true self.


Before Pictures. Douglas Crimp. Dancing Foxes and University of Chicago Press, 2016.
Art Historian and critic, Douglas Crimp has written more than a memoir. It is a chronology of the author’s life lived in a variety of New York addresses, a collection of art and anecdotes from his experiences on the burgeoning Gay Liberation years of New York gay scene, as well as a book of art criticism spanning 1967-1977. These 10 years are his life before Pictures, an influential exhibition he curated in 1977. Crimp seamlessly moves from memoir to criticism. The book is beautifully designed. It is a remarkable work.


The Black Penguin. Andrew Evans. University of Wisconsin Press, 2017.
Andrew Evans pitches an idea for an article for National Geographic to travel primarily by bus from Washington, D.C. to Antarctica and live tweet his experience along the way. He meets various characters and has a few nail-biting travel experiences. Evans alternates between telling us about his bus journey and the challenges of accepting himself despite his experiences growing up as a gay Mormon.


The Boys in the Band: Flashpoints of Cinema, History, and Queer Politics. Edited by Matt Bell. Wayne State University Press, 2016.
In this collection of academic essays, the groundbreaking 1970 film The Boys in The Band (based on Matt Crowley’s off-Broadway play) is thoroughly examined. Fans of the film and students of queer cinema will rejoice at the multitude of issues explored, including gender, race, film theory, queer theory, alcoholism, politics, New York City, and gay love. It’s a perfect companion piece to the film, initiating debate, inviting sociological perspectives, and providing intellectual discussion.


The Case of Alan Turing: The Extraordinary and Tragic Story of the Legendary Codebreaker with drawings by Éric Liberge and text by Arnaud Delalande. Arsenal Pulp Press, 2016.
A moving look into the life of Alan Turing who is famous for creating a machine capable of decrypting German messages during World War II. The graphic novel flashes between Turing’s struggle with his sexuality, workplace challenges, and visualizes his thought processes in a captivating way.


The Disappearing L: Erasure of Lesbian Spaces and Cultures. Bonnie J Morris. SUNY University Press, 2017.
Morris chronicles three decades of women-only concerns, festivals, bookstores, and support spaces, as a backstory to the culture lost to mainstreaming and assimilation. This insider story is an important piece of the cultural history of the lesbian-feminist era. As a veteran participant of women’s music festivals, Morris uses her own experience and interviews with older activists to document this history.


Doll Parts: A Memoir. Amanda Lepore and Thomas Flannery. Regan Arts, 2017.
This coffee table book is almost as gorgeous as its subject. Amanda Lepore is one of the most famous transgender women in the world, having modelled for famous photographers and becoming a staple of the New York City’s Club Kids scene in the 80s & 90s. Acting, singing, and just being seen, Lepore is instantly recognizable with her numerous plastic surgery procedures to look like a living doll. This book flaunts her fabulousness with beautiful photographs, unbelievable tales, and choice words of wisdom on how to live life to the fullest.


The Ethics of Opting Out: Queer Theory’s Defiant Subjects. Mari Ruti. Columbia University Press, 2017.
Ruti uses some queer theorists’ rejection of gay marriage as a building block to explore “opting out” of normative narratives. She uses the influences of Jacques Lacan, a French psychoanalyst, to explore contemporary queer theory and its underpinnings.


Everywhere Home: A Life in Essays. Fenton Johnson. Sarabande Books, 2017.
Harper’s Magazine contributor, Fenton Johnson’s collection spans the years 1989-2016. His roots are in the Kentucky mountains, but his home is writing as evident in this eclectic selection with themes ranging from boyhood, his sexuality, loss of his partner to AIDS, and politics to name a few. The writing is erudite and graceful, peppered with literary allusions and history. It will leave the reader searching back issues of Harper’s for more.


Gay Gotham: Art and Underground Culture in New York. Donald Albrecht. Skira Rizzoli, 2016.
An accessible look into the history of queer art culture in New York City with beautiful photographs and artwork that ranges from 1910-1992. Albrecht provides a unique look into how New York artists have struggled with oppression, asserted their identities, and employed art to find strength.


Gay, Straight, and the Reason Why: The Science of Sexual Orientation, 2nd ed. Simon LeVay. Oxford University Press, 2017.
LeVay is a neuroscientist who breaks down the science of sexuality into layman’s terms. In this edition, LeVay covers various studies on sexuality and includes chapters on traits during childhood, genes, and the body. The book is a solid introduction and collection of research on sexual orientation that acknowledges the limitations of research in this area.


Gay-Straight Alliances and Associations Among Youth in Schools. Cris Mayo. Palgrave MacMillan, 2017.
In this series of studies, Mayo examines the creation of school-sanctioned and informal Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs). GSAs provide examples and case studies of intersectionality, opportunity, new ways of approaching political action, new ways of knowing and new subjectivities. Such alliances generally focus on a single facet of identity, neglecting others, but still give young people ways to reach out for connection across sexualities, genders, races, and other differences. The book examines the youths’ experiences as a process of “negotiation across and within differences in a particular institutional context,” showing the fractures in the process and the creative and individual ways they find commonality within division, form connection despite barriers, and express the desire to change what is for what can be.


Gender Bending Detective Fiction: A Critical Analysis of Selected Works. Heather Duerre Humann. McFarland & Co Inc Pub, 2017.
Literary criticism of the American mystery genre has become richer with the addition of Humann’s thoughtful, readable, layered analyses. She highlights books from Spillane’s I, the Jury to James’ Transition to Murder and beyond, over seventy years of cultural change and shifting attitudes toward gender and sexuality. By focusing on how gender is shown, concealed, transformed, criminalized, punished or rewarded since World War II, she traces threads of social transgression, personal loss, and struggle via close examination of specific scenes and overall themes. An outstanding contribution to the critical interpretation of the genre.

Insomniac City: New York, Oliver, and Me. Bill Hayes. Bloomsbury USA, 2017.
Grieving the death of his lover, Hayes uproots his life and moves to New York City where he finds healing through street photography and an unexpected romance. Entering into a second act of his life, Hayes falls in love with renowned neurologist and author Oliver Sacks, who ends up battling and losing his fight with cancer. This is an homage to Sacks – a celebration of his life, and the love that he and Hayes shared together.


Into the Light: Photographs of the NYC Gay Pride Day from the 70’s till today. Stanley Stellar. Bruno Gmünder, 2017.
Stanley Stellar is one of the seminal photographers who documented the early days of Gay Liberation in New York. This collection of black and white and color photographs of the parades and street scenes captures the mood of each decade: the hedonistic 70s, the AIDS crisis, to the era of marriage equality. His book is a worthy document of GLBTQ history.


Jane Crow: The Life of Pauli Murray. Rosalind Rosenberg. Oxford University Press, 2017.
This thorough and deeply researched investigation of African American lawyer and activist Pauli Murray, documents the way in which Murray pursued an intersectional activism. Born in 1910 in the JIm Crow south, Murray fought the interconnection of race, gender and economic inequality throughout her life and ultimately altered the course of civil rights and women’s rights.


Listen, We Need to Talk: How to Change Attitudes about LGBT Rights. Brian F. Harrison & Melissa R. Michelson. Oxford University Press, 2017.
This book examines the acceptance of LGBTQIA+ rights by individuals within social groups, and how the attitudes of perceived leaders of the group influence individual attitudes. The authors posit a Theory of Dissonant Identity Priming which they tested in four social groups (sports fans, members of religious groups, persons by self-identified racial groups, and political partisanship. Findings indicate individuals are more apt to support queer rights if leaders of their social group do, particularly if such support is unexpected. The take-away is that “political communication that primes a social identity can change attitudes” in unexpected, substantive, and positive ways.


Living a Feminist Life. Sara Ahmed. Duke University Press, 2017.
An accessible primer on feminism that explores what it means on a practical level. Ahmed intersperses her views about what it means to be feminist with anecdotes from her personal and academic life. In addition to having two conclusions, Ahmed’s text features three sections: Becoming Feminist, Diversity Work, Living the Consequences.


Logical Family: A Memoir. Armistead Maupin. Harper, 2017.
This is a long overdue memoir by the acclaimed author of the modern-day classic series Tales of the City. Armistead Maupin invites us into his childhood in the American South during the mid-century, then takes us onto a wild ride through his adventures serving in the Vietnam War, and finally lands in 1970s San Francisco, where gay liberation would shape this young man into being one of the biggest influences on gay culture and literature today.


Making My Pitch: A Woman’s Baseball Odyssey. Ila Jane Borders and Jean Hastings Ardell. Univ of Nebraska Press, 2017.
This memoir is the story of the first woman to win a men’s college baseball game. A pioneer for women in professional baseball, Jane Borders endured stalkers and death threats in an isolating environment as she also struggled with her sexual orientation while playing with a minor league team. This inspiring account is an important sports and LGBTQ memoir.


Notes on a Banana: A Memoir of Food, Love and Manic Depression. David Leite. Dey Street Books, 2017.
An entertaining memoir that details Leite’s life growing up in a Portuguese family and his struggle with mental health, career, and coming to terms with his sexuality. Leite takes an unexpected path as his study of acting eventually gives way to his very successful career as a food writer.


One Of These Things First. Steven Gaines. Delphinium, 2016.
Gaines’ memoir of growing up gay and Jewish in midcentury New York is brimming with both wit and compassion even in its grittiest moments. From his family’s girdle store on the streets of Brooklyn to the Manhattan psychiatric hospital where he was hospitalized for a suicide attempt, Gaines’ narration is textural and effusive, capturing both love and pain without veering into seediness.


One Man Show: The Life and Art of Bernard Perlin. Michael Schreiber. Bruno Gmünder, 2016.
One Man Show is an oral history as well as a retrospective of the life and work of a 20th century American artist who lived his life as an out gay man in the years before and after WWII. The author transcribes interviews made in the last years of Perlin’s life. Perlin’s career began in 1942 with Office of War Information drawing posters that are famous today. His style used elements of magical realism. Schreiber’s work is compelling and will make more people aware of the work of this talented artist.


A Pornographer: A Memoir. Arch Brown. Chelsea Station, 2017.
Arch Brown’s memoir was found in a desk after his death in 2012. In 1967, he was an out gay man in New York with a 16mm camera who discovered men and some women were eager to pose and perform on film. What began as a hobby became a career when Brown began working in the 1970’s hardcore scene. This is a fascinating story of an insightful filmmaker and a history of the pornographic film industry in the 1960s and 70s.


Queer Game Studies. Bonnie Ruberg. University of Minnesota Press, 2017.
This anthology centers on “exploring difference in games and exploring games as different”. Essays explore the intersection of gaming and queerness far beyond only representation and inclusion, challenging the stereotype both within and outside game studies and queer theory. Gender play, hybridity, mythology, policing, empathy games, technical and cultural systemic bias, role play, hostility faced by female gamers, the ‘bendiness’ of genre, the queerness in game design, play, and community, and more all covered in this extensive beginning of an expansion in how the queer in gaming, and the game in queerness, may be explored.


A Queer Love Story: The Letters of Jane Rule and Rick Bébout. Edited by Marilyn Schuster. University of British Columbia Press, 2017.
This rich compilation of fifteen years of correspondence between the older lesbian public figure, Rule, and the gay male AIDS activist columnist, Bébout, chronicles the pressing queer social and political issues of the time; pornography, bath house raids, censorship, youth sexuality, public sex, and AIDS. Beyond the issues, the letters document a love of writing and a deep friendship.


Queering Families. Carla A. Pfeffer. Oxford University Press, 2016.
A nuanced and well-researched study of the common and sometimes controversial phenomenon of relationships and family-building between cisgender women and transgender men. Pfeffer traces the connections between butch and femme, cis and trans, lesbian identification and identity “border wars” with compassion and thorough methodology. A substantial close read on expanding concepts of family and identity. Excellent for academic and queer theory collections.


The Rules Do Not Apply: A Memoir. Ariel Levy. Random House, 2017.
Levy’s deeply personal memoir invites us to understand how she charts her own path, found her way into a marriage with an alcoholic wife and struggles to make her relationship work. In addition, Levy gives insight to her miscarriage that causes those around her to question her choices and forces her to find the strength to move forward.


Seeing Straight: An Introduction to Gender and Sexual Privilege. Jean Halley, Amy Eshleman. Rowman & Littlefield, 2016.
An accessible and optimistic primer on concepts of sexuality, gender, privilege and power written as an entry point for those who may not be familiar with intra-community language. Without defensiveness and using real life examples, Halley and Eshleman have written a necessary text comparable to “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack”. Highly recommended for general collections.


So Famous and So Gay: the Fabulous Potency of Truman Capote and Gertrude Stein. Jeff Solomon. University of Minnesota Press, 2017.
A dense analysis of the careers of authors Gertrude Stein and Truman Capote, two queer icons in literature. Solomon compares and contrasts their careers as contemporaries, albeit in different countries and entirely opposing styles. The focus is on their works and how they, as authors and public figures, navigated the social mores and prevailing homophobia of their era.


Surpassing Certainty: What My Twenties Taught Me. Janet Mock. Atria Books, 2017.
This is the inspiring account of a young trans woman of color who reflects back on the trials and tribulations of her twenties and the lessons learned. Attending school by day and stripping by night, Mock winds up falling for one of her customers and discovering that she is worthy of love and more. Like any new adult, Mock navigates her 20s holding on to her secret, learning whom she can trust, and breaking hearts (including her own) along the way.


Teaching Queer: Radical Possibilities for Writing and Knowing. Stacey Waite. University of Pittsburgh Press, 2017.
In this text, Waite, “…explore(s) the terrain where queer theory, writing, and pedagogy overlap, intersect, and move into one another.” In addition to employing queer theory, Waite shares practical experiences teaching a first-year writing course and includes insightful responses from her students.


Theft by Finding: Diaries (1977 – 2002). David Sedaris. Little, Brown and Company, 2017.
In Part One of two volumes, this collection of diary entries traces back the musings and observations of funnyman David Sedaris, who uses his entries as fodder for future writings that would eventually establish him as a comedic literary giant. Dating back to his youth, we witness his journey from high school dropout to drug user to the start of his literary career. Not the usual Sedaris book, but not an outright autobiography either. Some entries will depress you, shock you, and even offend you. It’s David Sedaris on display, the good, bad, and the ugly, but entertaining all the way through.


Tomboy Survival Guide. Ivan E. Coyote. Arsenal Pulp, 2016.
Prolific writer, storyteller, and performer, Ivan E. Coyote’s memoir of a childhood in the Canadian Yukon is both joyous and bittersweet. They invite the reader into a personal, yet often uncomfortable place by recounting daily stresses of not fitting in their body or community while simultaneously dispensing sage advice for teens coming out. The book is illustrated with drawings of machines and tools and their instructions, as would be included in a conventional survival guide.


Tranny: Confessions of Punk Rock’s Most Infamous Anarchist Sellout. Laura Jane Grace with Dan Ozzi. Hachette Books, 2016.
Laura Jane Grace is the lead singer of the punk band, Against Me!, which came together in the mid 1990s. Grace describes her experience struggling to make her band successful and trying to reconcile her gender dysphoria. The memoir takes us through two marriages and band conflicts before Grace finds some peace by transitioning to live as a woman.


Transitioning Together: One Couple’s Journey of Gender and Identity Discovery. Wenn B. Lawson and Beatrice M. Lawson. Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2017.
Autism researcher and writer Wenn Lawson is joined by his wife Beatrice in this conversational, loving memoir about their relationship. The two explore aging, changing sexuality, gender transition and living with autism with both joy and honesty. An illuminating view into the lives of queer people on the autism spectrum from a standpoint of clarity and autonomy.


Truth to Power: The New York Native 1980-1997. Charles Ortleb. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2016.
An engaging read revolving around the small independent gay newspaper The New York Native and its role during the AIDS crisis during the early 80s. Publisher Charles Ortleb helped to sound the alarm about AIDS and its relationship to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome with ruthless research and reporting. While trying to fight the good fight, he also dealt with the medical community trying to shut his paper down in order to quiet him. This is a riveting and important read that adds to the legacy of resistance and survival of the LGBTQ+ community and their history.


Understanding and Teaching US Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender History. 2nd ed. Edited by Leila J. Rupp and Susan K Freeman. Univ of Wisconsin Press, 2017.
A volume of superb essays, tying LGBT content to the broader goals of teaching history, social sciences, and LGBT studies. Over twenty-five scholars offer classroom strategies and experiences.This second edition updates essays on the Supreme Court, samesex marriage, the Right, and trans history, with new material and references.


What the Mouth Wants: a Memoir of Food, Love, and Belonging. Monica Meneghetti. Caitlin Press, 2017.
Growing up in an Italian-Catholic immigrant family as the baby, Meneghetti explores sensuality in all aspects of her life, diving into meals and romances with equal gusto. This memoir is a series of vignettes strung together to create a whole picture of her experience growing up and coming out, her bisexuality and polyamory. A delightful quick read that will stoke the appetite.


When We Rise: My Life in the Movement. Cleve Jones. Hachette Books, 2016.
Mandatory reading for anyone who is LGBTQ+ is what this book should be. It is the personal account of major gay rights pioneer, Cleve Jones. Not only does he describe his fight for the queer movement, but he also shares memories of his time working alongside another community icon, Harvey Milk. San Francisco in the 70s serves as the backdrop for this important history lesson, and Jones finds himself in the middle of it all. When the AIDS crisis arrives in the 80s, the call to action continues to certify Jones as one of the leading gay activists of our time.


Women and Gay Men in The Postwar Period. John Portmann. Bloomsbury Publishing, 2016.
This study of the historical affinity between woman and gay men explores an oft-misunderstood phenomenon in public and private spheres with clarity and affection. Portmann makes it clear his work is “suggestive, not inclusive, and allusive, rather than empirical”. Despite his disclaimer, Portmann delivers an illuminating and accessible reflection on intimacies and solidarities throughout the mid-to-late 20th century. Highly recommended.


“You’re In The Wrong Bathroom!” And 20 Other Myths and Misconceptions About Transgender and Gender-Nonconforming People. Laura Erickson-Schroth, MD and Laura A. Jacobs, LCSW-R. Beacon Press, 2017.
In a well-researched and annotated compilation, 21 common misunderstandings about transgender or gender non-conforming individuals are explored and debunked. A solid introduction for folks about different aspects of the experience of transgender people.


2017 Over the Rainbow Top 10 Titles

The Firebrand and the First Lady: Portrait of a Friendship: Pauli Murray, Eleanor Roosevelt and the Struggle for Social Justice by Patricia Bell-Scott. Knopf, 2016. A chronicle of the friendship between First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, and Pauli Murray: granddaughter of a mixed-race slave, lawyer, civil rights activist, minister, and co-founder of the National Organization of Women. The book explores the professional and social cost of Murray’s race and gender, in the context of her correspondence with Roosevelt, mentions issues of her gender fluidity and same-sex relationships, and Roosevelt’s use of Murray’s advocacy for racial equality in her public writings.

Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson. HarperCollins, 2016. For August, friendship was everything. It was the 1970s in Brooklyn. She and her three best girlfriends lived confident of their talents, dreaming of the future. But their Brooklyn was a dangerous place, where dreams were fleeting, and growing up female was not easy.  Woodson’s latest novel is an epic poem, honoring memories of girlhood, fragile community, and fate.

In the Dark Room by Susan Faludi. Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt and Company, 2016. The Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist tries to find the truth when her father shocks her with the news of her sex-change surgery. Questions of identity, rage, and history haunt her story: Hungarian or American, Magyar or Jew, victim or victimizer, man or woman? In the end, “in the universe, there is only one true divide, one real binary: life or death.” Everything else is open to interpretation, acceptance, or denial.

Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera. Riverdale Avenue Books, 2016. The coming-of-age story of a young woman learning what it is to be who she is.  Lesbian, Puerto Rican, New Yorker Juliet is running to something that isn’t what she expected and running from problems that follow along with her. A great story for anyone who has ever felt that love can’t replace understanding, that understanding comes in ways you never expected, and that heroes are what you make of them.

Bettyville: A Memoir by George Hodgeman. Viking, 2015. A richly crafted memoir about a gay son and his aging octogenarian mother. As her health declines, the son returns to the small Missouri town and the house he grew up in, from New York City, to care for her. Despite the passage of time and the decline of both Betty’s and the town’s health, not much has changed in their relationship.

A Body, Undone: Living On After Great Pain by Christina Crosby. NYU Press, 2016. One month after her fiftieth birthday, the author becomes a quadriplegic after breaking her neck in a bicycle accident. In this memoir, she writes about her changing feelings toward her body, her relationship, and her own sense of self.

Stand By Me: The Forgotten History of Gay Liberation by Jim Downs. Basic Books, 2016. Downs has written an essential historical text on gay life during the “forgotten” time between 1969 and the beginnings of the AIDS crisis. Using documents from large metropolitan LGBT centers, he explores communities like the Metropolitan Community Church and those formed in book stores, proving the ‘70s were more than pride marches, sex, and discos.

Ask a Queer Chick: A Guide to Sex, Love, and Life For Girls Who Dig Girls by Lindsay King-Miller, Plume, 2016. A series of essays about lesbian life based on the advice column of the same name. Topics are written to address both queer and straight readers and include dating, sexual relationships, being out at work, and finding allies.

Boy, Erased: A Memoir by Garrard Conley, Riverhead, 2016. Conley, a son of a pastor, tells how his struggle with his sexuality brought him to checking into an ex-gay conversion therapy program during his late teens in 2004. He gives a stark look into how he survives the abusive program, struggles with his faith, and comes to terms with his sexuality.

The Imitation Game: Alan Turing Decoded by Jim Ottaviani, illustrated by Leland Purvis, Abrams ComicArts, 2016. A realistic, imaginative, well-drawn graphic novel exploring the life and death of the great mathematician and pioneer of artificial intelligence and computer science,  Alan Turing. His incredible feats during and after WWII were overshadowed by prosecution for being homosexual. As Ottaviani notes, “I wish I lived in a world that benefited from decades more of Alan Turing alive and well, thinking and discovering.”