News Archive

2018 Over the Rainbow List Announced

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.

For the top titles in fiction and non-fiction, please see

British Celebrate LGBT Youth Books

This week The Guardian is celebrating books with LGBT characters or themes. More than 55 percent of LGBT youth experience homophobic bullying at school despite legalized same-sex marriage in the country, Tom Daley coming out as bisexual, and Conchita Wurst winning the Eurovision. Almost one-fourth of young LGBT people have tried to commit suicide. Almost all youth (99 percent) hear the word “gay” used as an insult in school.

According to Emily Drabble, “Books have the power the change things for the better because prejudice is all about ignorance. So this week celebrates the mind expanding and conscious raising power books have to make the world a better place and to understand that all love is equal.”

Links for the celebration:

Recommended books with same-sex relationships for younger readers

Something Like SummerBest LGBT books for youth

The importance of LGBT visibility in books for youth

Coming up: Susie Day’s top 10 middle grade books with LGBT characters and Vanda Carter’s top 10 LGBT-friendly picture books for younger children.

Check here.

– Nel Ward, May 15, 2014


Books in the News:

The Torturous Path to LGBT Marriage in California  The court cases surrounding the overthrow of California’s Proposition 8, a state initiative that denied marriage equality, covered almost five years as it went from the U.S. District Court to the U.S. Supreme Court last summer. Jo Becker of the New York Times started with a front-page profile of conservative lawyer Ted Olson, known for helping to appoint George W. Bush to the presidency in 2000 who worked with progressive attorney David Boies to challenge Prop 8. The article led to Becker’s book, Forcing the Spring: Inside the Fight for Marriage Equality, after she doggedly followed the story from court to court. Richard Socarides has written an in-depth review for the New Yorker covering the highlights of the book and an evaluation of Becker’s account. As he pointed out, pre-pub buzz was accelerated by the revelation that Charles Cooper, the opposing lawyer to marriage equality, has now “evolved” to accept same-sex marriage because he discovered that his daughter is a lesbian.

A bonus to the article is the mention of two books about LGBT rights that would add to the reading of Becker’s book. Two others I would recommend are Robert J. Hume’s Courthouse Democracy and Minority Rights: Same-Sex Marriage in the States and Michael J. Klarman’s From the Closet to Altar: Courts, Backlash, and the Struggle for Same-Sex Marriage, both of them from Oxford University Press. LGBT activists Dan Savage and conservative Andrew Sullivan panned the book, but major reviewing publications have starred it.

Gay Books over the Decades Matthew Rettenmund has pulled the gay books off his shelves and listed the first and last sentences of each book along with the cover art. He prefaces his list with ponderings of what makes a “gay book.” Gay theme? No gay theme by gay author? Anti-gay? Rettenmund also discusses the decades that marked the heyday of gay novels and gay bookstores: when they took off during the 1970s and 1980s and when they were a legit, booming business in the 1990s. Not meant to be, “the best gay books, this living post ”so-called because the author wants contributions from others” will take readers back to fond memories or introduce them to reading gaps. Perry Brass describes it as “a living quilt of queer books from 1950s pulpy trashy to High LIt’rature, with lots of stops in between.” He also commented on “the explosion of queer books” as shown by his discussion with a gay bookstore owner, “remembered talking to Craig Rodwell just after he opened Oscar Wilde Bookstore in NY in 1967. He looked around his tiny store, about 300 square feet, and bemoaned the fact that there were not enough books to fill the shelves.” Not a problem any more! For more titles, gay journalist Steve Williams has a list of LGBT classics for summer reading as well as a few bibliographies from other LGBT bibliophiles.

LGBT Graphic Narratives Nominated for the Eisner Awards Named after the great comics innovator and creator of the newspaper comics strip, The Spirit, The Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards honor the best comics and graphic novels published in the previous calendar year. The winners will be announced at a gala presentation ceremony held July 25 at the San Diego Comic-Con International. Nominations this year include two LGBT graphic narratives: Julio’s Day by Gilbert Hernandez (Fantagraphics) and The Fifth Beatle by Vivek J. Tiwary, Andrew C. Robinson, and Kyle Baker (Dark Horse). One of the judges is James Romberger, an illustrator of 7 Miles a Second.

Lambda Wants To Know about Life-Changing Reading

If a book changed the way you think or helped you through rough times or expanded your horizons, Lambda Literary Foundations wants to know about your experiences. You can share these through brief videos or photographs contributed in one of these ways:

  • Join
  • Tweet a vine, a video, a 140-character rant, or a photo using the hashtag #abooksavedmylife and share it with @LambdaLiterary or
  • Write to for more information.

Contributions will become part of the 26th Annual Lambda Literary Awards celebration.

Bywater Books Celebrates a Decade of Publishing
The Raven's  Receiving its 20th prize for literary merit in ten years, the publisher of lesbian fiction, Bywater Books, is owned by Kelly Smith, founder of Bella Books and former owner of A Woman’s Prerogative bookstore in Michigan; award-winning author Marianne K. Martin; and best-selling mystery writer Val McDermid. This year, the publisher commemorates this even by releasing Tangled Roots, the prequel to its first book, Marianne K. Martin’s Under the Witness Tree. Bywater also awards the annual Bywater Prize for Fiction with the winner receiving $1,000 and publication of a novel-length work of merit

Films in the News:

An Unlikely Romance and 16 Other Films

Teenager Quebecois Lake (Pier-Gabriel Lajoie) meets octogenarian Melvyn Peabody (Walter Borden) and on his job at an assisted-care center and starts a romance with the man over sixty years his senior in Canadian film director Bruce LaBruce’s Gerontophilia. The plot follows a road trip with the two men as Lake rescues Peabody from his over-medicated life at the home. Gerontophilia is the term used for a sexual preference for the elderly. The 50-year-old director describes his personal feelings about the subject of the film and the reasons for taking on this project. James Nichols describes the movie as “both polarizing and compelling.” Also in the HuffPo article is a bibliography of LGBT DVDs of films over the past half century that are being released this summer. The ancient Hawaiian tradition of honoring both the male and female spirits in one person is the subject of the new film Kumu Hina, meaning “Teacher Hina.” The premier of the documentary at the Hawaii International Film Festival will launch a global campaign for gender diversity: #APlaceintheMiddle. It traces the change of Collin Wong from a high school boy to Hina Wong-Kalu’s position as the cultural director of a Honolulu school. Now married, Wong-Kalu has found her dream of a fulfilling romantic relationship with a Tongan man.

– Nel Ward,  April 26, 2014




    • Yes, this site is updated with content from the GLBT-RT book reviews committee and I post new reviews as I receive them. There is a new committee starting soon.

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