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Celebrate Pride Month 2019 with Suffolk LGBTQ Network's favourite books

Written by · Published Jun 12, 2019

Juliet Takes a Breath, Rubyfruit Jungle, The Sunlight Pilgrims

Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Trans (but were afraid to ask), by Brynn Tannehill

“A trans 101 book that walks readers through hot button issues relating to the transgender community. Leading activist Brynn Tannehill breaks down deeply held misconceptions about trans people across all aspects of life, and sheds light on biased research, bad statistics and bad science.”

Letters For My Sisters: transitional wisdom in retrospect, by Andrea James & Deanne Thornton (eds.)

Letters For My Sisters is an anthology of collected wisdom by and for transgender women. This groundbreaking collection of letters tells raw, heartfelt stories of childhood, transitioning, and becoming women in a world where acceptance is sometimes elusive and costly. Brave, boldly vulnerable and revealing, this collection adds to a growing body of literature where trans people tell their own stories as they lived them.

“Each writer addresses one simple question: If you could write just one letter to someone beginning transition, or to your younger pre-transition self, what would you say? Would you reassure or warn them, or lay your life out in vivid detail for them to draw their own conclusions? Would you have a secret to tell, a hard-won truth or an unexpected triumph to share?”

Letters For My Brothers: transitional wisdom in retrospect, by Megan Rohrer & Zander Keig (eds.)

“In today’s fast paced world, the internet can provide quick answers to personal questions. But when an individual raised by society to live, breathe and look at the world with female eyes transitions to male, some of the most enlightening, helpful and profound advice can only come in retrospect.

Letters For My Brothers features essays from respected transmen mentors who share the wisdom they wish they would have known at the beginning of their journey into manhood.”

Rubyfruit Jungle, by Rita Mae Brown

“Bawdy and moving, the ultimate word-of-mouth bestseller, Ruby-fruit Jungle is about growing up a lesbian in America - and living happily ever after.”

Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, by Fannie Flagg

“The day Idgie Threadgoode and Ruth Jamison opened the Whistle Stop Cafe, the town took a turn for the better. It was the Depression and that cafe was a home from home for many of us. You could get eggs, grits, bacon, ham, coffee and a smile for 25 cents.

“Ruth was just the sweetest girl you ever met. And Idgie? She was a character, all right. You never saw anyone so headstrong. But how anybody could have thought she murdered that man is beyond me.”

The Well of Loneliness, by Radclyffe Hall

“Based on her own life, The Well of Loneliness tells the story of Sir Philip and Lady Gordon and their daughter. It becomes apparent that she is not like other girls, and falls in love with another woman.”

Carol, by Patricia Highsmith

“Therese first glimpses Carol in the New York department store where she is working as a sales assistant. Carol is choosing a present for her daughter. Standing there at the counter, Therese suddenly feels wholly innocent - wholly unprepared for the first shock of love.”

Oranges are not the Only Fruit, by Jeanette Winterson

“This is the story of Jeanette, adopted and brought up by her mother as one of God’s elect. Zealous and passionate, she seems destined for life as a missionary, but then she falls for one of her converts. At 16, Jeanette decides to leave the church, her home and her family for the young woman she loves.”

Orlando, by Virginia Woolf

“Originally published in 1928, this classic story by Virginia Woolf was modelled on her friend Vita Sackville-West’s personality. Orlando chooses her own sexual identity as she lives through three centuries as both a man and a woman.”

Pages For You, by Sylvia Brownrigg

“Haunted by an unspoken passion, a narrator decides to write some pages comprising the beginning and end of a young woman’s intense love affair: ‘Each day a page, to show you that I am finding a story, the story of how we might have been together’.”

Written on the Body, by Jeanette Winterson

“A vulnerable rake, whose gender we are never sure of, tells of often disastrous, often hilarious, always painful amorous adventures, until taken by a ‘great love’.”

Fingersmith, by Sarah Waters

“Set in 1860s London, this is the story of Susan, a pickpocket who is persuaded to pose as a lady’s maid and infiltrate the house of a young heiress. This novel explores the nature of identity and what people do with disguise.”

Tipping the Velvet, by Sarah Waters

Tipping the Velvet is a wonderfully lush, sensous & bawdy novel set in the music halls of the late 19th century. Nan gets to meet her heroine, Kitty, a male impersonator. The two begin a double act, and their affection for each other deepens.”

The Miseducation of Cameron Post, by Emily M. Danforth

“When Cameron Post’s parents die suddenly in a car crash, her shocking first thought is relief. Relief they’ll never know that, hours earlier, she had been kissing a girl. But that relief doesn’t last, and Cam is forced to move in with her conservative aunt Ruth and her well-intentioned but hopelessly old-fashioned grandmother. She knows that from this point on, her life will forever be different.

:Survival in Miles City, Montana, means blending in and leaving well enough alone, and Cam becomes an expert at both. Then Coley Taylor moves to town. Beautiful, pickup-driving Coley is a perfect cowgirl with the perfect boyfriend to match. She and Cam forge an unexpected and intense friendship, one that seems to leave room for something more to emerge. But just as that starts to seem like a real possibility, ultrareligious Aunt Ruth takes drastic action to ‘fix’ her niece.”

Annie on my Mind, by Nancy Garden

“Liza puts aside her feelings for Annie after the disaster at school, but eventually she allows love to triumph over the ignorance of people.”

Juliet Takes a Breath, by Gabby Rivera

“Juliet Milagros Palante is leaving the Bronx and headed to Portland, Oregon. She just came out to her family and isn’t sure if her mom will ever speak to her again. But Juliet has a plan, sort of, one that’s going to help her figure out this whole “Puerto Rican lesbian” thing. She’s interning with the author of her favorite book: Harlowe Brisbane, the ultimate authority on feminism, women’s bodies, and other gay-sounding stuff.

“Will Juliet be able to figure out her life over the course of one magical summer? Is that even possible? Or is she running away from all the problems that seem too big to handle? With more questions than answers, Juliet takes on Portland, Harlowe, and most importantly, herself.”

As I Descended, by Robin Talley

“Maria Lyon and Lily Boiten are their school’s ultimate power couple - but one thing stands between them and their perfect future: campus superstar Delilah Dufrey. Golden child Delilah is a legend at exclusive Acheron Academy, and the presumptive winner of the distinguished Cawdor Kingsley Prize. But Delilah doesn’t know that Lily and Maria are willing to do anything - absolutely anything - to unseat Delilah for the scholarship. After all, it would lock in Maria’s attendance at Stanford - and assure her and Lily four more years in a shared dorm room.

“Together, Maria and Lily harness the dark power long rumoured to be present on the former plantation that houses their school. But when feuds turn to fatalities, and madness begins to blur the distinction between what’s real and what’s imagined, the girls must attempt to put a stop to the chilling series of events they’ve accidentally set in motion.”

Leah on the Offbeat, by Becky Albertalli

“When it comes to drumming, Leah Burke is usually on beat - but real life isn’t always so rhythmic. An anomaly in her friend group, she’s the only child of a young, single mum, and her life is decidedly less privileged. And even though her mom knows she’s bisexual, she hasn’t mustered the courage to tell her friends - not even her openly gay BFF, Simon. So Leah really doesn’t know what to do when her rock-solid friend group starts to fracture in unexpected ways.”

Let’s Talk About Love, by Claire Kann

“Alice is secretly asexual, and that’s the least important thing about her. She’s a college student, has a great job, amazing friends, and is fine being single - nope, that’s a lie. Alice wants a rom com-grade romance: feels, cuddling, kissing and swoons galore - as long as it doesn’t lead to having sex. When her last relationship ends, Alice swears off relationships for good. Stick a fork in her, she’s done.

“Everyone Alice tries to date is so sure love and sex have to go together, and there doesn’t seem to be any way to convince them otherwise. But when Alice meets Takumi, who she can’t stop thinking about, she doesn’t know what to do. If Alice tells him the truth, it can only end in heartache. But there’s something about Takumi that makes him worth the risk.”

What If It’s Us, by Becky Albertalli & Adam Silvera

“Meet Ben and Arthur. Ben is a battered dreamer who’s shipping his ex-boyfriend’s things back to him. Arthur is new to New York and struggling to fit in. After an memorable meet-cute in a New York post office, the boys lose touch only be be brought back together via a ‘missed connection’ advert. Is it fate? It looks like it. But after a series of disastrous first dates, Ben and Arthur may have to accept the universe should’ve minded its own business.”

The Summer of Jordi Perez (and the best burger in Los Angeles), by Amy Spalding

“Seventeen, fashion-obsessed, and gay, Abby Ives has always been content playing the sidekick in other people’’s lives. While her friends and sister have plunged headfirst into the world of dating and romances, Abby’’s been happy to focus on her plus-size style blog and her dreams of taking the fashion industry by storm.

“When she lands a great internship at her favourite boutique, she’’s thrilled to take the first step toward her dream career. Then she falls for her fellow intern, Jordi Perez. Hard. And now she’’s competing against the girl she’s kissing to win the coveted paid job at the end of the internship.”

Sister Outsider: essays and speeches, by Audre Lorde

“Presenting the essential writings of black lesbian poet and feminist writer Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider celebrates an influential voice in twentieth-century literature.

“In this charged collection of fifteen essays and speeches, Lorde takes on sexism, racism, ageism, homophobia, and class, and propounds social difference as a vehicle for action and change. Her prose is incisive, unflinching, and lyrical, reflecting struggle but ultimately offering messages of hope.”

The Life and Death of Sophie Stark, by Anna North

“This is the story of an enigmatic film director, told by the six people who loved her most. Brilliant, infuriating, all-seeing and unknowable, Sophie Stark makes films said to be ‘more like life than life itself’. But her genius comes at a terrible cost: to her husband, to the brother she left behind, and to the actress she can’t quite forget.”

The Rules Do Not Apply, by Ariel Levy

“Ariel Levy picks you up and hurls you through the story of how she lived believing that conventional rules no longer applied - that marriage doesn’t have to mean monogamy, that ageing doesn’t have to mean infertility, that she could be ‘the kind of woman who is free to do whatever she chooses’. But all of her assumptions about what she can control are undone after a string of overwhelming losses.

“‘I thought I had harnessed the power of my own strength and greed and love in a life that could contain it. But it has exploded.’ Levy’s own story of resilience becomes an unforgettable portrait of the shifting forces in our culture, of what has changed - and what never can.”

A Brief History of Seven Killings, by Marlon James

“Set against the backdrop of 1970s reggae culture, disco, sex and excess comes this remarkable re-imagining of the attempted assassination of Bob Marley.”

The Danish Girl, by David Ebershoff

“Greta’s diva subject has cancelled yet another sitting for a portrait. How will she finish it? She calls on her husband Einar. The Danish girl is born, but with her comes a terrible confusion of tortured feelings, and of guilty longings.”

The Sunlight Pilgrims, by Jenni Fagan

“Set in a Scottish caravan park during a freak winter - it is snowing in Jerusalem, the Thames is overflowing, and an iceberg separated from the Fjords in Norway is expected to arrive off the coast of Scotland - The Sunlight Pilgrims tells the story of a small Scottish community living through what people have begun to think is the end of times.

“Bodies are found frozen in the street with their eyes open, euthanasia has become an acceptable response to economic collapse, schooling and health care are run primarily on a voluntary basis. But daily life carries on: Dylan, a refugee from panic-stricken London who is grieving for his mother and his grandmother, arrives in the caravan park in the middle of the night - to begin his life anew.”

Becoming Nicole: the extraordinary transformation of an ordinary family, by Amy Ellis Nutt

“This is the inspiring true story of a transgender girl, her identical twin brother, and an ordinary American family’s extraordinary journey to understand, nurture, and celebrate the uniqueness in us all.”

Sarah Lungley

Sarah Lungley

I'm the mental health and wellbeing coordinator at Suffolk Libraries.