Thursday, August 12, 2010

20 Gay Literature Classics: How Many Have You Read?

The LA Times have named the following books gay classics. Maybe one day, I'll make the list (hey! I can dream, can't I?).

Anyway, a lot of these books mean so much to me, as I read them on my long and arduous journey out of the closet. I have read 13 of them and have placed asterisks next to those. The others I need to get to soon.

How many have you read? What books are missing?
*"Giovanni’s Room" by James Baldwin -- a man discovers his sexual identity in Paris
"Nightwood" by Djuna Barnes -- early postmodern fiction of women in Paris in love
"Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic" by Alison Bechdel -- a graphic novel memoir of her troubled gay father and her own coming out
*"Rubyfruit Jungle" by Rita Mae Brown -- the 1973 tale of a young woman’s coming of age
*"Naked Lunch" by William S. Burroughs -- the focus of a breakthrough obscenity trial, a landmark experimental novel
*"Oscar Wilde" by Richard Elmann -- bio of the lively writer whose gay relationship got him sent to prison for “gross indecency”
*"Maurice" by E.M. Forster -- a love story written when homosexuality was illegal in England; published posthumously
"The Well of Loneliness" by Radclyffe Hall -- groundbreaking lesbian novel of the 1920s
"Invisible Life" by E. Lynn Harris -- an African American law student's sexual discovery
*"Howl" by Allen Ginsberg -- the poem was subject to an obscenity trial in part because of its explicit gay themes
*"Our Lady of the Flowers" by Jean Genet -- published in 1944, sexual adventures in Paris' criminal underground
"American Studies" by Mark Marlis -- an aging man looks back; won the LA Times book prize for first fiction
*"Tales of the City" by Armistead Maupin -- in San Francisco, the stories about Michael Tolliver continued in five sequels
*"Borrowed Time: An AIDS Memoir" by Paul Monette. A breathtaking yet matter-of-fact, day by day account of the death of his longtime partner from AIDS.
*"Brokeback Mountain" by Annie Proulx -- a story of cowboys in love, from the collection "Close Range"
*"City of Night" by John Rechy -- a novel of gay street hustlers in the 1950s 
"The Complete Poems" by Sappho -- a woman's love poetry from the seventh century BC
*"The Queen Is Dead" by Hubert Selby Jr. -- a story of a transvestite's death, from the collection "Last Exit to Brooklyn"
"The Master" by Colm Toibin -- an imagining of the life of Henry James
*"Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit" by Jeanette Winterson -- a young woman’s sexual awakening that won the Whitbread Prize for first fiction


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4 comments:

  1. Aha! I've only read 5 so far...I need to catch up!

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  2. The obvious omission (for me, at least)is Jean Genet's "Querelle de Brest". (I think the English translation leaves out "de Brest".) Hot stuff.

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  3. I'm afraid I've only read Maurice and The Well of Loneliness. I've got some catching up to do, too!

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