A few years ago I began my personal tradition of reading only LGBT books during the month of June — gay pride month.
Since I tend to read a lot of gay books not only in June but throughout the year, I try to use June to focus more on the lesbian classics or queer history books. For instance, last summer I read The Well of Loneliness, a real downer by Radclyffe Hall; Odd Girls and Twilight Lovers: A History of Lesbian Life in Twentieth Century America by Lillian Faderman; and Stonewall: The Riots that Sparked the Revolution by David Carter, and I very much enjoyed all of them. (I also read Jodi Picoult’s Sing You Home, which is contemporary and turned out to be rather disappointing.)
So, what’s on my Gay Reading List, you ask?
1. Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown. I am entirely embarrassed about never having read this. It’s The Lesbian Classic, the one everyone has to read in order to receive her Lesbian License (kidding, sort of). In our upcoming issue of the lesbian magazine where I work, one of the topics is favorite lez books. So many people mentioned Rubyfruit Jungle. I have not yet admitted to my coworkers that I haven’t read it. (Although, it is maybe not as bad as one particular coworker not having read Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl.) I plan to knock this one out during the first week.
2. Lesbian Nation: The Feminist Solution by Jill Johnston. I’m really quite interested in this one, not only because the text is not broken into paragraphs, but also because it just sounds gung-ho and radical. Part of me wants to snicker when I read the title, but I suppose that’s not really respectful of the radical lesbian feminist movement. I guess I just have one question, pre-reading: how do they plan to keep the human race alive?
In all seriousness, though, I’m really quite interested in the insights this book will provide regarding the ’70s movement. And I really do admire these womyn.
3. Bastard out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison. This is one of those classics that I just need read. I’m really looking forward to it, as well as finally being introduced to Dorothy Allison as a writer.
4. Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches by Audre Lorde. It’ll probably be July by the time I get to this one. Gay Reading Month often becomes Gay Reading Summer, and I’m okay with that, especially since I’ll be working at various Pride fests all summer.
I might take a stroll down the block to our lesbian library later on. You can find some real gems there.