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: –
- I am woefully under-read on the diversity front especially around LGBTQ+ books
- 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.
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?!
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.
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.
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.
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!