This Top 5 Wednesday is all about LGBT+ books. I don’t tend to read a lot of contemporary things or non-fiction, so most of these are genre works that concern themselves heavily with LGBT characters or plot-lines. Let’s get started.
5. Skin by Kathe Koja. This one is half thriller and half doomed romance between two women. Both are artists, one a sculptor who does metal work and the other a performance artist most concerned with dance. They fuse their efforts together in live-action art pieces that become an instant hit. Bibi, the dancer, becomes slowly obsessed with the idea of pushing the work farther and farther, until it begins to affect her mental and physical health. It’s a very dark piece, obviously, and that’s why it’s not higher on the list. The tragedy of these two women who are clearly falling in love and the things that keep them apart may prove too much of a downer if you’re looking for something more positive and affirming. But it is a powerful piece of work that is beautifully written and will hit you right in the heart.
4. The Red Tree by Caitlin R. Kiernan. This book’s plot doesn’t center around the fact that our main character is a lesbian, but the fact remains that she is and this is an #ownvoices book to boot. Rather this book is about a tree and the fact that it’s not a tree. It owes a great deal to Lovecraft and those types of cosmic horror stories, with a twisting, strange plot and an unreliable narrator. For my part, it was nice to see a horror novel that presented us with a different protagonist. So often the default is average white guy, but Kiernan did something new here, and it worked perfectly.
3. Biting the Sun by Tanith Lee. This one is less about specific characters who are gay or engage in gay relationships and more about the fluidity of gender. The story is set in a far-flung future where you can change your body at will, be something new whenever you like. It means that every character in this world has been either male or female at some point. They’ve been in all kinds of relationships. Nothing is “taboo” anymore. Our main character even spends a chunk of the book as a man, though she does express preference toward a female body. So much of the book is about exploration of these things, and there’s something very nice about how a world like that has become normal.
2. The Passion of New Eve by Angela Carter. I’ve mentioned this one before as a favorite. I’ve also become aware that it’s controversial to match this book with the transgender community, so I am attempting to tread lightly. Because the plot itself is not about choice or preference. It’s about a man who is forced to become a woman and view the world differently because of it. It’s a feminist piece that involves a lesbian romance and many gender related questions being posed. I think for anyone who wants to explore and study gender and the social constructs that become inevitably embroiled with it, this book is incredible.
1. Sacrament by Clive Barker. Another one that is #ownvoices for certain. This is a fantasy novel wherein the main character is a gay man. The parts of the narrative that deal with Will’s life as a gay man feel incredibly honest and raw. Particularly his watching a close friend die of AIDS. Also, as he navigates clubs and relationships while also grappling with a strange occurrence with magic that began in his childhood. It’s wonderfully constructed and builds to this bizarre and lush ending that you’ll never forget.
If anyone has some recommendations of genre works that deal with these topics, I’m very interested. Leave them in the comments below. And as always, happy geeking!
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