Lesbrary Sneak Peek: Nonfiction

Okay, so yesterday I went to this incredible book sale. People donate their books (it all benefits children’s literacy) and then they are sold for $1 for a mass market, $2 for a trade, and $3 for a hardcover. People camp out in the line, you have to get there at least an hour before to be let in when the doors open, everyone else has to wait until some people leave or it would be packed wall to wall. There was tons of books, and I picked up 14 lesbian ones, but first I have to fill you in on the books I’ve gotten before that.

There’s a reason this blog is about lesbian books and not lesbian fiction (or “lesfic”), and that’s because I’m a fan of nonfiction, too. So here are three more nonfiction lesbian books I got in the mail recently (through Bookmooch).

Although this book does discuss Califia’s transition, it also looks like it covers issues like S/M and same-sex marriage. Flipping through it, Speaking Sex to Power seems really readable and its back cover promises controversy, so I’m excited. The copy I have is actually autographed by the author, saying “2/28/04 To Mandy – Good luck on your path in sexual politics” and it looks like Mandy underlined, starred, and put smiley faces by the sections she particularly enjoyed. I love used books.

I’m Canadian, so I like stumbling on Canadian lesbian/queer books. Despite having a really weird cover, The Regulation of Desire: Sexuality in Canada looks like it’ll be thought-provoking, addressing how we define what sexualities are acceptable and which are unacceptable. This is from 1987, so it’s a little outdated, but I like seeing where we came from. The dedication is: “For the angry and proud faggots and dykes who took over the streets of Toronto to protest the police raids on the gay baths in 1981 and to all those who fight for lesbian and gay liberation everywhere”. The copy I have is a review copy, and has question marks and criticism written in pencil through it… I might have to erase it so I’m not distracted. This is definitely an academic book, though; it won’t be an easy read.

And finally, the classic On Our Backs Guide to Lesbian Sex. On Our Backs is a big part of lesbian history. It was, as Wikipedia says, the “first magazine to feature lesbian erotica for a lesbian audience in the United States.” The book includes the best of the writing on sex and desire from the magazine, illustrated with photos. On Our Backs seems to be the foundation that writing on lesbian sex has built on, so I’m looking forward to reading the original.

Have you read Speaking Sex to Power, The Regulation of Desire, or On Our Backs Guide to Lesbian Sex? What did you think of them? Do you read many lesbian nonfiction books?

Lesbrary Sneak Peek: More New Arrivals!

I’m sorry that I haven’t been updating as much this week. I’m taking some pretty intense courses for the next month and a half (Economics?!), so I’ll probably only be posting once or twice a week. Please send in some guest reviews if you’d like to see the Lesbrary update more!

I have gotten a pile of books in the mail this past week and a half, but I’ll start with one I’ve already mentioned: Pages for You by Sylvia Brownrigg. This book was on the General Recommendations post, but I just bought a new copy; the first time I read it, I got it from the library. I’ve told you why I liked it, but here’s what it’s about: Pages for You follows the narrator, a 17-year-old woman, who falls in love with a teaching assistant 11 years older than her. The title refers to the narrator’s question, “What would happen if I wrote some pages for you? Each day a page…” If you’re wondering why I’m including a book I’ve already read and mentioned on the Lesbrary in a Sneak Peek, it’s because I plan to re-read it and give it its own review at some point (as with all the lesbian books I’ve read but haven’t reviewed).

I got two others about a week ago through Bookmooch. The first is Stage Fright by Ellen Hart. It’s book three in the Jane Lawless mystery series, but I’m hoping that won’t matter. This book involves investigating a murder of an actor at a theater. A description of the book says she has an “uninhibited crony” named Cordelia who helps her. I’ve still never read a lesbian mystery, though I have access to them, but I’m excited about starting!

The next book I got was, embarrassingly, a repeat. It’s called Watchtower by Elizabeth A. Lynn, and it’s book one of the Chronicles of Tornor. I guess I didn’t take it off my wishlist on Bookmooch the first time I got it, so I mooched it again, and now I have a big hardcover ex-library copy and a little slightly beat-up paperback copy. Which do you think I should keep? Watchtower is a fantasy novel about a prince defending a kingdom, but it’s also supposed to have quite a few gay and lesbian characters, both as main characters and as background characters. This seems to have gotten a lot of mixed reviews, so I’m curious to see what it’s like.

Have you read Pages for You, the Jane Lawless series, or the Chronicles of Tornor? What did you think of it/them?

Lesbrary Sneak Peek: More books I got in the mail!

I got a box of books in the mail this week that I’m very excited about. (Thanks Bookmooch!)

This is one of those really specific titles that I always find fascinating. In its defense, this isn’t actually all about lesbian hair (though you probably could write a book about it). It’s a humour book that sounds similar to So You Want to Be a Lesbian?, which I liked despite it being fairly outdated now. The History of Lesbian Hair a slim little book, only a little over 100 pages, so I’ll probably tackle it pretty soon.

As for fiction, I got a well-loved copy of Babyji by Abha Dawesar. It won the 2005 Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Fiction and the 2006 Stonewall Book Award for Fiction, so that’s definitely promising. It’s set in India in the 1980s and has a 16-year-old protagonist with a love for quantum physics who has affairs with three different women while critiquing caste politics. I love reading lesbian books that stray from the usual all-white cast, set in the U.S. norm. Plus, a smart, adventurous heroine? I am completely on board!

And finally, I got Sisters, Sexperts, Queers: Beyond the Lesbian Nation edited by Arlene Stein. I’m really interested in knowing more about not just present lesbian culture and politics, but also what has come before. This book explores the fall from the dream of a “Lesbian Nation–a sisterhood with a shared identity, a common agenda” to a more splintered, multi-faceted culture, split along ideas about marriage, butch/femme dynamics, and class differences. It looks fascinating.

Have you read A History of Lesbian Hair, Babyji, or Sisters, Sexperts, Queers? What did you think of it?

Lesbrary Sneak Peek (or: Stuff I Got In the Mail This Week)

I’ve got one hundred unread lesbian/queer women books I own (one hundred and four, to be exact) and probably about three hundred more at the library I can access at any point, so even the queer women books I have I’m probably not going to read for a while yet. That’s why I have Sneak Peeks: a look at books that I’ll eventually be reviewing, but I haven’t read yet. I got three queer women books in the mail this week (thanks Bookmooch!), so I thought I’d do my first sneak peek post on them.

Stone Butch Blues is a queer classic and it’s one I’ve been meaning to read for ages. It’s by trans activist Leslie Feinberg and is about the character Jess Goldberg who deals with being differently-gendered/butch in a blue-collar town in the 50s, 60s, and 70s. This is said to be one of the first novels that explicitly dealt with transgender issues. I’ve heard this is an incredibly powerful book and I’m very much looking forward to reading it and sharing it at the Lesbrary.

On a completely different note, I also got the book Night Mares in. I haven’t read a lot of mystery… as a matter of fact, I think I’ve only read one mystery, one of the Rita Mae Brown Sneaky Pie Brown ones. I didn’t like it very much, and now that I think about it, that might have been all that it took to turn me off the entire genre. I know that’s ridiculous, so I’ve been searching for queer women mysteries to read and challenge that. This one features a lesbian veterinarian. I doubt I’m the only lesbian that grew up wanting to be a vet, so I figured this would be a great place to start. It’s the second in the series, but I doubt that will make much of a difference.

This one I think speaks for itself. Lesbian feminist science fiction? Sign me up! I haven’t read a lot of scifi, but again, I’m trying to start. This collection is from the 70s and 80s, so it’ll be interesting to get that viewpoint.

Lots of fun new books! Have you gotten any queer women books lately? Are there any you’re particularly excited to read?

Also, have you read The Needle on Full, Night Mares, or Stone Butch Blues? What did you think of them?