Just tossing around some ideas for our reading list.
We haven't read any classics lately - Radclyffe Hall's tragic novel of lesbian love called The Well of Loneliness was suggested. HD's HERmione might be another esoteric choice... In 2002, classicist and poet Anne Carson produced If Not, Winter, an exhaustive translation of Sappho's poetry fragments. Her line-by-line translations, complete with brackets where the ancient papyrus sources break off, are meant to capture both the original's lyricism and its present fragmentary nature.
Biography/autobiography was also suggested - there are a few choices I've found. All You Get is Me, a bio of k.d. lang by Victoria Starr or k.d.lang Carrying The Torch by William Robertson. Eight Bullets: One Woman's Story of Surviving Anti-Gay Violence by Claudia Brenner. The End of Innocence by Chastity Bono. Love, Ellen by Betty Degeneres. Michelle Cliff might be a good choice with Claiming an Identity They Taught Me to Despise, in which she mixes poetry and prose, patois and standard English, she considers her position as a light-skinned lesbian, capable of passing as both white and heterosexual. The Stonewall by an author who called herself "Mary Casal" is an early lesbian autobiography. The Talented Miss Highsmith: The Secret Life and Serious Art of Patricia Highsmith, by Joan Schenkar or Mean Little deaf Queer, by Terry Galloway.
Maybe we'll try non-fiction. Lesbian icons Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon wrote non-fiction title Lesbian Love and Liberation.
Side note history lesson: Martin and Lyon became lovers in 1952, and moved in together in an apartment on Castro Street in San Francisco. They had been together for three years when they founded the Daughters of Bilitis in San Francisco in 1955, which became the first social and political organization for lesbians in the United States. On February 12, 2004, Martin and Lyon were issued a marriage license by the City of San Francisco after mayor Gavin Newsom ordered that marriage licenses be given to same-sex couples who requested them. The license, along with those of several thousand other same-sex couples, were voided by the California Supreme Court on August 12, 2004. Phyllis Lyon was quoted "Del is 83 years old and I am 79. After being together for more than 50 years, it is a terrible blow to have the rights and protections of marriage taken away from us. At our age, we do not have the luxury of time." They were married again on June 16, 2008, after the California Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage was legal. Once again they were the first couple married in San Francisco, in fact the only couple married that day by the mayor.
Maybe a non-fiction selection about them would work too, such as Marcia M. Gallo's Different Daughters: A history of the Daughters of Bilitis and the Birth of the Lesbian Rights Movement.
Lambda award winners are always good picks, such as The Creamsickle, by Rhiannon Argo (winner for lesbian debut fiction) or A Field Guide to Deception, by Jill Malone (winner for lesbian fiction). Montreal author and friend to our book club Nairne Holtz has a new novel nominated for a Lammy too, This One’s Going to Last Forever. American author Elana Dykewomon is a bit of an icon, and has a new book, Risk.
Some other suggestions from book club members include Jennifer Levin's The Sea of Light, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg (movie night!), Walk Like a Man (gasp, erotica, I see blushing at this book's discussion) by Laurinda D. Brown, or The Cottage by Gerri Hill. And don't forget, we're looking at reading a manuscript from a local author, Jennifer Hill.
Tell me your choices, your ideas, your votes!