Thursday, September 17, 2015

Your Queer Suggestions

                                                                                                                              by Maddie

During Pride week this year, Central Library had an old fashioned suggestion box with paper and pencil laid out encouraging patrons to suggest a LGBTQ book. We thank everyone who took the time to drop a suggestion (or many) into the box. If you missed the box but have suggestions, don’t worry, you can suggest items for purchase through our website at any time. Since this was an old school set up, we actually already have some suggestions in circulation! Check ‘em out today!

Already found in our catalogue, the graphic novel Blue is the Warmest Color by Julie Maroh, is one of my favourite reads of 2013. The novel begins with Emma reading a letter from her recently deceased lover, Clementine, who instructs Emma to read the blue diary she left behind. This intimate blue book contains her adolescent years, including the beginning of the whirlwind love affair between the two women. The bulk of the novel being Clementine’s diary, we are treated to a beautiful coming of age story; and then some. Love stories aren’t usually my thing, but this one feels powerful and genuine, even though the sudden illness and death of a lover teeters on melodramatic, it’s worth it. The illustrations are incredible and the use of color is especially exceptional at moving the plot along. Truly, this is a great work of art.

The film adaptation is also in our collection, though it varies a lot from the book. Maroh herself criticized the film for its unconvincing and pornographic sex scenes. In the English translation of her official response to the film, found on her blog, she wrote "it appears to me that this was what was missing on the set: lesbians.” She’s adamant about criticizing these scenes from her position as a feminist lesbian spectator, not a writer. As for the overall adaptation of her work, Maroh is very gracious of Kechiche’s (the director) interpretation. As a queer feminist spectator it was hard for me to look past the lack of authentic lesbians, and I was greatly disappointed in the film. If you’re looking for explicit sex scenes, this could be your film; just don’t expect to see a faithful version of Maroh’s work brought to screen, or authentic lesbian sex. If you’ve watched or heard about this movie, and that’s dissuaded you from picking up the graphic novel, don’t let it, the book is a real treat.

Also in our catalogue is Bill Konigsberg’s Openly Straight. Wait, what? At first glance this may sound like an anti-gay novel but I think it’s supposed to be clever marketing. Title aside this YA novel has a wide appeal. Rafe has been openly gay since 8th grade, is accepted by his parents and peers and has even travelled to other schools and talked about being gay, tolerance, and related issues. Shockingly Rafe wants to be more than just the gay guy and by transferring schools gave himself the opportunity to become “openly straight.” However, falling in love with a classmate complicates things a bit. This fresh spin on the coming out story is a quick, funny, and endearing read, especially if you’re like me and love stories set in private boarding schools.

Other suggested titles already in our collection include:

Out Proud: Stories of Pride, Courage, and Social Justice by Douglas Gosse,
Fan Art by Sarah Tregay,
Dhalgren by Samuel R. Delany,
  Dancer from the Dance by Andrew Holleran,
Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin,
Call Me by Your Name by André Aciman,
Le coeur découvert: roman d'amours by Michel Tremblay,City of night by John Rechy.

And look for these suggested titles hitting our shelves shortly: Birds on a Wire by Ellen Mulhollandand, Backwards Day by S. Bear Bergman, The Confusions of Young Torless by Robert Musil, The Berlin Stories by Christopher Isherwood, Le Coeur éclaté by Michel Tremblay, The Charioteer by Mary Renault, A Home at the End of the World by Michael Cunningham, Bi: Notes for a Bisexual Revolution by Shiri Eisner, With a Rough Tongue: Femmes Write Porn edited by Amber Dawn and Trish Kelly, Cease by Lynette Loeppky, UnCatholic Conduct by Stevie Mikayne, Janey’s Arcadia by Rachel Zolf, Miss Timmins’ School for Girls by Nayana Currimbhoy, Quicksilver by RJ Anderson, and more by Samuel R. Delany.

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