Top 5

Bookish: Top 5 Wednesday – Favourite LGBTQ+ Books

 

LGBT

This week’s Top 5 Wednesday calls for Favourite LGBTQ+ Books. It got even more specific by calling for books that don’t feature (or I’m guessing primarily focus on) Cis M/M relationships.

I came to this topic and realised two things: –

  1. I am woefully under-read on the diversity front especially around LGBTQ+ books
  2. Everything I could think of that I had read contained predominantly M/M relationships

These two realisations made me ask myself some questions. The second point made me ask, “Are M/M relationships more popular in fiction than other pairings? Why? What makes it more popular?”

The first point also made me ask, ‘why.’ “Why am I woefully under-read on LGBTQ+ books? Is it because the books I read don’t tend to feature these relationships? Do I not notice when they do? Does this say anything about me?”

I always think that books have power which is why, when I read books with subject material that is particularly problematic that people love, I get nervous and wonder to myself if we’re conditioning certain social behaviours and attitudes through the power of words. The flip side to that is when subject material is positive and inclusive and strikes a chord, whether that is with people who need to be represented or those who really need to be understanding representation.

A lot of the below are books that I haven’t read but I sure would like to.

One

I’ve included two in one here (I know, I know… cheat!) and have put both Tipping the Velvet and Fingersmith by Sarah Waters as two books that I should read.

Both books feature lesbian protagonists in Victorian society and both books have been made into BBC drama’s which I have not watched but remember the ‘controversy’ over and both books are award winning/ shortlisted for awards with Fingersmith being nominated the Man Booker Prize.

Victorian society? BBC period drama’s? Awards? What’s not to love?!

Two

orlando

I’ve included another historical novel on my list – this one is Orlando by Virginia Woolf. Now I’m cheating again. I haven’t read the book but I have seen the movie which stars the wonderfully androgynous Tilda Swinton in the lead role.

Orlando was a strange movie which I didn’t really ‘get’ when I was 16 and watching it even though I understood that there were more complexities involved than I was able to comprehend. Orlando somehow lives for an incredibly long time, starting off life in the 1500’s and living until the 1920’s. Oh and Orlando starts off the novel as a man and for some unknown reason becomes a woman during the course of the story whilst remaining attracted to women and becoming attracted to men.

The topics of the book are around sexuality and gender fluidity and like I said, was probably something that I didn’t ‘get’ watching the movie aged 16 so I would like to revisit and read the book.

Three

Girls made of snow

Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust is already on my TBR pile. The Goodreads blurb states that this is: Frozen meets The Bloody Chamber in this feminist fantasy re-imagining of the Snow White fairy tale. God this sounds just like my kind of thing.

Cue a whole bunch of excited giggling and clapping in delight from me. I didn’t even know it was considered as part of the LGBTQ+ reads but Goodreads is telling me it is and so I will believe it.

I’m really hyped for this one.

Four

white is for witching

Now it’s a little strange that I’m putting White is for Witching on here because I tried reading a short story collection by Helen Oyeyemi last year called ‘What is Not Yours is Not Yours’ and it was a DNF for me as I just couldn’t get into it. However it seemed like the kind of book that I should have gotten into. It’s possibly one that I may revisit one day. Hey ho.

Considering as Helen (can I call her Helen?) is an author on my DNF pile I feel like I’m taking a chance in adding this one onto my list but I am always about those chances. Maybe it was the book that didn’t work for me and not the author and there is only one way to find out right?

According to Goodreads this contains a F/F relationship so this is on the list. The blurb says this: –

In a vast, mysterious house on the cliffs near Dover, the Silver family is reeling from the hole punched into its heart. Lily is gone and her twins, Miranda and Eliot, and her husband, the gentle Luc, mourn her absence with unspoken intensity. All is not well with the house, either, which creaks and grumbles and malignly confuses visitors in its mazy rooms, forcing winter apples in the garden when the branches should be bare. Generations of women inhabit its walls. And Miranda, with her new appetite for chalk and her keen sense for spirits, is more attuned to them than she is to her brother and father. She is leaving them slowly – slipping away from them – and when one dark night she vanishes entirely, the survivors are left to tell her story.

Apparently this is a ‘Gothic’ tale. Oops sorry about that. That’s just me drooling over my keyboard.

five

carmilla

Jumping back to old school with this 1871 novel Carmilla by J. Sheridan Le Fanu.

In a nutshell – Gothic novella about a lesbian vampire.

Apparently Carmilla has inspired/ influenced numerous works of varying quality- Dracula being one, The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice being another and um… the movie Lesbian Vampire Killers. I did say varying quality.

Fun fact: Carmilla was inspired by a 1797/ 1800 (two-parter) poem called ‘Christabel’ by Samuel Coleridge which was alluded to be about a lesbian vampire called… Geraldine.

No one uses the name Geraldine in anything but I can say that I share my name with a literary lesbian vampire. You can only aspire to reach such levels of coolness.

 

Admittedly my readings of LGBTQ+ books are pitiful but I quite like my choices above. How do they fare? Is there anything you suggest that I read?

Look forward to hearing from you!

#T5W

14 thoughts on “Bookish: Top 5 Wednesday – Favourite LGBTQ+ Books

  1. (My email has been dumping a slew of blog posts into my junk folder and I JUST NOW found out and I realized I missed out on a whole bunch of your posts. So this is going to be the start of a comment spree. Brace yourself! :D)

    I have read only one (Tipping the Velvet) on this list, so yay solidarity! Sarah Waters’ writing is quite lush and gorgeous and I think it’ll be right to your tastes!

    And as for why we see more M/M pairings than F/F in fiction…*Dons theory hat*
    I think there’s a tendency for female readers to fetishize relationships between two men (or boys), and that attracts more women to write M/M, and thus more publishers to pick up books about M/M. And so it turns into this little cycle.

    And I find it forever strange and a little awkward that the majority of M/M romance is dominated by female writers, because you would think that queer male writers would be much more knowledgeable on the ins and outs (erm…no pun intended) of a m/m relationship. But so often, it’s the male writers who get silenced in this genre, which is completely the opposite of, say…adult high fantasy. It’s such a strange phenomena and I guess the best solution as readers would be to read and talk more about other books on the LGBTQ spectrum, and lift up male writers writing m/m.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Please don your theory hat more often as I need all the theories! I also enjoy a pun (intended or not so keep those up! – is there a pun there? I don’t know. Send help).

      I do think its strange that M/M is more female written especially as you point out that it would probably be one genre that would benefit from the insight of a male voice and yet other genres try and silence the female one. I don’t get it and I suppose I don’t get the fetishization either because fetishizing (I don’t know if that’s a word) of relationships is a bit alien to me. I said before and I’ll say it again, for me its characters, plot and writing that makes me drawn to a book and not so much subject matter (although there are some subjects that interest me more than most).

      I keep hearing things about a series called Captive Prince which is M/M but I’m hearing mixed opinions – which is either that it’s very good or that it’s incredibly problematic and has fetishized a M/M slave based relationship to worrying degrees. I almost want to read controversial books because of their controversy just to make my own mind up about them.

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      1. I need a word with WordPress about the way they organize your notifications on your right sidebar thingy, because good LORD, I have missed so many comments. Anywho, enough with my rant!

        I guess the whole fetishization thing has to do with straight women finding men more attractive, so having two of them in an erotic setting is…doubly attractive? Similar to how some men are okay with seeing two girls kiss, but two men kissing is a big NO-NO.

        And now I’m very, VERY curious to see what you’ll think of Captive Prince. The first book is definitely uncomfortable as it kind of glorifies the idea of sexual assault, which I don’t approve of (in both M/F and LGBTQ romance). Things do get a lot better by the third book, but the series has got its fair share of issues.

        And I’m with you! I have preferences for certain subjects (*cough* steampunk) but I’ll read just about anything if the characters and the writing intrigue me.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I take forever to get round to answering comments (as you can probably tell) so no worries there!

          I’ve now added Captive Prince to my TBR as I’m curious but feel as though I’m going into it with my eyes more open. I have a long flight or two to take in November so I may add this to my Kindle for then. Gosh no, sexual assault in any form of fiction makes me extremely uncomfortable even when the narrative is portraying it as awfully and horrifically as it should so it will be interesting (if that’s the right word!) to see how this book portrays the subject.

          I feel like I may be on the rantage though!

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  2. Ah yeah, M/M romances seem to be a lot more prevalent than F/F, and it’s a bit of a shame. I have a few theories as to why this is, but I still scratch my head over it still. 😛 And ooh, I hope you enjoy Girl Made of Snow and Glass! I didn’t develop any huge love for it, but I thought it was a fairly solid read. And thanks for bringing Orlando and Sarah Waters books to my radar! Those synopses sound prettttttty awesome, and I just added ’em to my TBR. 😉 Terrific post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do wonder why M/M is more popular. Part of me wonders if that pairing is more prevalent than F/F in books – it’s more ‘liked’ because there is more of it maybe? Maybe people as a whole *still* prefer reading about men? I’m not sure. It would be good to get your theories! I’ve not read the Sarah Waters books but the series on the books were controversial but received very good critical feedback but then I think the books are quite lauded!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My theries are half-formed, but it might have something to do with women enjoying M/M romances more than men enjoying F/F romances, and considering a lot of book bloggers seem to be female, maybe that has a mark on popularity? Oh, and I feel like even we as women tend to shame females for their questionable actions than vice versa, so people might enjoy male characters more? Ehh, my theories are pretty iffy and I’m still puzzled over this, but basically yeah, I agree with you that it’s to do with there being more of the genre and that people prefer to read about men overall. 😛

        Liked by 1 person

        1. It’s funny that women would enjoy M/M more than F/F isn’t it? Or maybe I think it’s funny because I don’t have a preference to read one more than the other either way. As long as characters and plot are interesting and the writing is solid then I’m there! I didn’t even know there was popularity in the book world for pairings over others.

          I think sadly you are right when you say that women tend to shame females for their actions. I’ve noticed in some fandoms/ comments that female readers hold some female characters up to incredibly harder standards and slate them when they fail or if those female characters have certain traits that are not ‘feminine’ yet when male characters act the same way or have similar traits they are not only accepted but applauded. I’m genuinely interested in females in fiction as I think its such an interesting topic.

          The whole question of M/M vs. F/M popularity has just given me something to think about that I wasn’t aware of before.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I’m a bit guilty of the shaming thing. Like, I want women to be represented in a smart and empathetic way (all the more due to sexism), so I think it makes me angry when there’s rotten apple in the bunch who’s misrepresenting us. Of course, that doesn’t make it right as men totally should be judged on those same standards, but it’s still my instinct to yell, “Ladies, we’re better that this!!” at the top of my lungs. lol, I’m trying to work on this of course. 😂

            And I know, right? I totally would need to research if there’s a study or article on this topic when I have the time myself!

            Liked by 1 person

            1. I know Joss Whedon has his um, problems but I liked the women of Firefly very much as they were all so different but were fully fleshed out characters and had their strengths without falling into the ‘strong female character’ trap. I think my favourite ever thing is that Sigourney Weaver’s character, Ellen Ripley, in Alien was originally intended to be a male character played by a male actor. They changed it at the last minute without changing any of the lines or action and realised that it still worked… like…. yes of course it will. Sigh.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. I don’t watch a lot of movies, but Alien is one I’m curious to watch! I’ve heard Ripley is a strong female character, so it’s very cool they were intending to have this be a male character….like wow, that’s actually really awesome they didn’t change any of those lines.

                As for Firefly, I’ve heard it’s an incredible show, but as it got cancelled after one season, I’m staying away from the heartbreak. I can’t bear cliffhangers. 😂

                Liked by 1 person

                1. Alien is incredibly tense but Ripley is a fabulous character. I keep saying to my partner that next cat we get I am very tempted to call it Sigourney!

                  Firefly is brilliant and was cancelled waay before it should have been. Serenity does a good job of closing off any loose ends though but in some ways hurts more! And that’s all I’m going to say!

                  Liked by 1 person

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