Pride Month at South Dublin Reads – Part One

As some of you may know, June is Pride Month across the world and here we want to highlight some new LGBTQ+ books. We’ll be highlighting, over a number of Sundays, the winners of the 31st Lambda Literary Awards, as well as the longlists (out 10th June) for the Polari Prizes.

This week, I want to highlight the Lambda winners from the Gay and Lesbian categories. Next week, I’ll do the same for the Bisexual and Trans categories, and the following week I’ll highlight the rest of the categories. Finally, on the last Sunday in June, I’ll highlight the shortlists from the Polari Prizes.

So, first things first – the Lambda Literary Awards!

WINNER – Lesbian Fiction
the tiger flu.jpg
In this visionary novel by Larissa Lai—her first in sixteen years—a community of parthenogenic women, sent into exile by the male-dominated Salt Water City, goes to war against disease, technology, and powerful men that threaten them with extinction.

Kirilow is a doctor apprentice whose lover Peristrophe is a “starfish,” a woman who can regenerate her own limbs and organs, which she uses to help her clone sisters whose organs are failing. When a denizen from Salt Water City suffering from a mysterious flu comes into their midst, Peristrophe becomes infected and dies, prompting Kirilow to travel to Salt Water City, where the flu is now a pandemic, to find a new starfish who will help save her sisters. There, Kirilow meets Kora, a girl-woman desperate to save her family from the epidemic. Kora has everything Kirilow is looking for, except the will to abandon her own family. But before Kirilow can convince her, both are kidnapped by a group of powerful men to serve as test subjects for a new technology that can cure the mind of the body.

Bold, beautiful, and wildly imaginative, The Tiger Flu is at once a female hero’s saga, a cyberpunk thriller, and a convention-breaking cautionary tale—a striking metaphor for our complicated times.

WINNER – Gay Fiction
jonny appleseed.jpg
“You’re gonna need a rock and a whole lotta medicine” is a mantra that Jonny Appleseed, a young Two-Spirit/Indigiqueer, repeats to himself in this vivid and utterly compelling novel. Off the reserve and trying to find ways to live and love in the big city, Jonny becomes a cybersex worker who fetishizes himself in order to make a living. Self-ordained as an NDN glitter princess, Jonny has one week before he must return to the “rez,” and his former life, to attend the funeral of his stepfather. The next seven days are like a fevered dream: stories of love, trauma, sex, kinship, ambition, and the heartbreaking recollection of his beloved kokum (grandmother). Jonny’s world is a series of breakages, appendages, and linkages—and as he goes through the motions of preparing to return home, he learns how to put together the pieces of his life. Jonny Appleseed is a unique, shattering vision of Indigenous life, full of grit, glitter, and dreams.
—-You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here—-
(I’m reading this now, and it’s very interesting, and was delighted to see that it won, and beat out huge hitters in the categories, such as A History of Violence, The House of Impossible Beauties, and Speak No Evil)

WINNER – Lesbian Poetry
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Preoccupied by haunting, poisoned places and bodies, Puro explores the intersections of personal history and social forces, integrating representations of femininity and the body, creating an undercommons, a multiplicity, a “we.”
—-You can reserve a copy on South Dublin Libraries’ online catalogue here—-

WINNER – Gay Poetry
indecency.jpg
Winner of the 2018 National Book Award in Poetry.

Indecency is boldly and carefully executed and perfectly ragged. In these poems, Justin Phillip Reed experiments with language to explore inequity and injustice and to critique and lament the culture of white supremacy and the dominant social order. Political and personal, tender, daring, and insightful―the author unpacks his intimacies, weaponizing poetry to take on masculinity, sexuality, exploitation, and the prison industrial complex and unmask all the failures of the structures into which society sorts us.
—-You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here—-

WINNER – Lesbian Mystery
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A selection in Parade’s roundup of “25 Hottest Books of Summer 2018”
A Paste Magazine’s Most Anticipated 25 books of 2018 pick
A Medium’s Books pick for We Can’t Wait to Read in 2018 list

Set in a near future Washington, D.C., a clever, incisive, and fresh feminist twist on a classic literary icon—Sherlock Holmes—in which Dr. Janet Watson and covert agent Sara Holmes will use espionage, advanced technology, and the power of deduction to unmask a murderer targeting Civil War veterans.

Dr. Janet Watson knows firsthand the horrifying cost of a divided nation. While treating broken soldiers on the battlefields of the New Civil War, a sniper’s bullet shattered her arm and ended her career. Honorably discharged and struggling with the semi-functional mechanical arm that replaced the limb she lost, she returns to the nation’s capital, a bleak, edgy city in the throes of a fraught presidential election. Homeless and jobless, Watson is uncertain of the future when she meets another black and queer woman, Sara Holmes, a mysterious yet playfully challenging covert agent who offers the doctor a place to stay.

Watson’s readjustment to civilian life is complicated by the infuriating antics of her strange new roommate. But the tensions between them dissolve when Watson discovers that soldiers from the New Civil War have begun dying one by one—and that the deaths may be the tip of something far more dangerous, involving the pharmaceutical industry and even the looming election. Joining forces, Watson and Holmes embark on a thrilling investigation to solve the mystery—and secure justice for these fallen soldiers.

WINNER – Gay Mystery
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It’s Thanksgiving, 1992 and Noah Valentine is late picking his mother up from the airport. When he arrives he discovers that she’s made a friend on the flight whose also waiting for her son. When the woman’s son doesn’t show up, they eventually take her home for breakfast with neighbor’s Marc and Louis. Soon after, they learn that her son has overdosed—or has he? Noah and his motley crew investigate over the holiday weekend; which includes a fabulous dinner, a chat with a male stripper, a tiny little burglary and some help from Detective Tall, Dark, and Delicious.

WINNER – Lesbian Memoir/Biography
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Taking as its starting point an ultimately failed attempt to translate a Sesotho short story into English, CHRONOLOGY explores the spaces language occupies in relationships, colonial history, and our postcolonial past. It is a collage of images and documents, folding on words-that-follow-no-chronology, unveiling layers of meaning of queering love, friendship, death, and power. Traveling from Cape Town to the Schomburg Center in New York, Zahra Patterson’s CHRONOLOGY reveals and revels in fragments of the past-personal and the present-political.

WINNER – Gay Memoir/Biography
no ashes
From a leading journalist and activist comes a brave, beautifully wrought memoir.

When Darnell Moore was fourteen, three boys from his neighborhood tried to set him on fire. They cornered him while he was walking home from school, harassed him because they thought he was gay, and poured a jug of gasoline on him. He escaped, but just barely. It wasn’t the last time he would face death.

Three decades later, Moore is an award-winning writer, a leading Black Lives Matter activist, and an advocate for justice and liberation. In No Ashes in the Fire, he shares the journey taken by that scared, bullied teenager who not only survived, but found his calling. Moore’s transcendence over the myriad forces of repression that faced him is a testament to the grace and care of the people who loved him, and to his hometown, Camden, NJ, scarred and ignored but brimming with life. Moore reminds us that liberation is possible if we commit ourselves to fighting for it, and if we dream and create futures where those who survive on society’s edges can thrive.

No Ashes in the Fire is a story of beauty and hope-and an honest reckoning with family, with place, and with what it means to be free.
—-You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here—-

WINNER – Lesbian Romance
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English professor and aspiring novelist, Grace Warner spends her days teaching four sections of “Beowulf for Cretins” to bored and disinterested students at one of New England’s “hidden ivy” colleges. Not long after she is dumped by her longtime girlfriend, Grace meets the engaging and mysterious Abbie on a cross-country flight. Sparks fly on and off the plane as the two strangers give in to one night of reckless passion with no strings attached, and no contact information exchanged.

Back home at St. Albans, the college rocks Grace’s world when it announces the appointment of a new president, the first woman in its 165-year history. Cue Abbie―and cue Grace’s collision course with a neurotic dog named Grendel, a fractious rival for tenure, and a woman called Ochre, in what very well might be Grace’s last real shot at happiness.

This full-length novel reimagines and expands on the short story, “Falling From Grace,” which was originally published in the award-winning story collection, Sidecar by Ann McMan.

WINNER – Gay Romance
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Harper Jones is a professional bike courier, and in his business if you don’t ride fast, you don’t make money. His apartment has mice, he’s barely able to scrape up the rent, but at least he’s living life on his terms and doesn’t depend on anyone.

Sam Foster is the gay son of a wealthy conservative senator. He’s noticed Harper before when he’s dropped off packages at his dad’s company, but he’s never had the nerve to speak to his secret crush.

When Sam accidentally hits Harper with his car, Harper’s bike is destroyed and he’s injured seriously enough that he won’t be delivering packages for a while. Sam decides Harper needs rescuing, and he moves in with Harper to take care of him.

Unfortunately, Sam’s politician dad is convinced Harper’s a con-artist and he’ll do whatever it takes to get him away from his son.

 

 


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