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 Topic: Top 10 gay and lesbian novels
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jbmcfar  



Joined: 06 Feb 2003
Posts: 1
Interests: Literarature, Performance (and, ok, hockey)
Physical Location: Seattle, WA

Posted: 1 Jul 2003, 6:16 pm    Post subject: More Reading Highs Reply with quote

The list is growing in a most interesting way and could serve as a solid curriculum. I'd also add a few titles that combine great stroytelling verve with high literary quality:
The Charioteer by Mary Renault (The damage and yearning of World War II England are vividly portrayed)
The Catholic by David Plante (A tale of obsessive desire taken to the limit -- Boston and Catholicism are featured as obstacles to satisfying connections)
The Story of Night by Colm Toibin (Argentina, the closet and foreign intrigue - terrific!)
The Twyborn Affair by Patrick White (indescribale joys, part 1)
Orlando by Virginia Wolff (indescribable joys, part 2)
The Death of Friends by Michael Nava (One of his best, and certainly most moving, "mysteries")
The Family of Max Desir by Robert Ferro (A great and original novel from the first wave of American gay male novelists -- it sets a standard of imgiantion few have equalled since)
The Temple by Stephen Spender (to be young, gay and on a hike along the Rhine)
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Macdonald  



Joined: 22 Jul 2003
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Interests: Exotic plants, books, fish, birds, dancing, books, film, and books.
Physical Location: Vancouver

Posted: 22 Jul 2003, 6:55 pm    Post subject: Re: Great lists Reply with quote

lhood wrote:
Claude wrote:
These are great lists. It is always interesting to see what lliterary works touch individuals most deeply.

The novels that have probably meant the most to me over the years are Isherwood's A Single Man, Baldwin's Giovanni's Room, Forster's Maurice, and Vidal's The City and the Pillar. I also feel compelled to re-read Terry Andrews's The Story of Harold at least annually.


Claude,

I do agree that it's interesting to see what literary works touch people. While I might disagree with Forster's Maurice, your other picks do resonate with a 70's era gay that sought out some of the scant gay literature available at the time (of course I have a few other suggestions). Of more interest, perhaps, is The Story of Harold. And, I do have a fun story about the novel if you are interested.

Lee


Lee:
A Single Man must be one of the most perfect "novels" in the canon. I don't agree that it is particularly 70's in nature - of all of Isherwood's books, it is the most concise, perfected, and moving ones. Go read it again, and dream, as I do, of being able to convey as much with as little.
Mark.
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Macdonald  



Joined: 22 Jul 2003
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Posted: 22 Jul 2003, 7:38 pm    Post subject: Top ten? Reply with quote

Yo.
I see gay classic novels as being broken up into sections of history: pre and post-AIDS, pre and post-Stonewall, pre and post-Violet Quill, and so on.
While I personally don't relish the VQ years as much as many readers, I am most impressed with novels that surprise/shock/shake me in a visceral way.
I love Genet and Burroughs. I think Dennis Cooper's latest, "My Loose Thread" is incredible. But I also dig the "gentler" kind of book.
A Single Man - Isherwood
Giovanni's Room - Baldwin
Dream Boys - Grimsley
(Scott Heim's Mysterious Skin is better than Dream Boys, but neither qualify for top ten, really). Instead of those two, I'll choose Faggots by Kramer, another difficult read.
Rene's Flesh - Pinera
The Museum of Love - Steven Weiner (who, I'm told, lives across the street from me)
Confessions of a Mask - Mishima
Anything at all by Jane Rule
Cereus Blooms at Night - Shani Mootoo
The Charioteer - Mary Renault
Naked Lunch - Burroughs
This last one is controversial, I know, but go and read it again. I believe it to be one of the finest satires written by an American. Don't think of it as a book by a junkie or wife-shooting misogynist. Read it fresh: It's better and funnier than ever today, with the poor, warped lunatic, Bush in office.

All choices are good. Books move different folks in different ways. There cannot be a simple best ten list that is objective in any way.
My list is my own.
M.
PS, also Flat, by Mark Macdonald, who is very clever.
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Macdonald  



Joined: 22 Jul 2003
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Posted: 22 Jul 2003, 7:54 pm    Post subject: P.S. Reply with quote

Again on the topic of top ten...
Anything at all by Derek Jarman. His books are so good! You may love or hate his films, but please, go and find a book by him!
Chroma, Modern Nature, and At Your Own Risk are all stunning - and ravaging! His last book before his death, Smiling in Slow Motion, is one of the most powerful, important queer books of the last ten years. Difficult, emotionally shattering, but infused with the same damnable optimism and joie de vivre found in all his books.

Very, very good reading.

Mark.
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kyttyn  



Joined: 04 Aug 2003
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Interests: I like writing, reading, and hiking

Posted: 4 Aug 2003, 6:14 pm    Post subject: Re: Top 10 gay and lesbian novels Reply with quote

skraame wrote:
I am on the lookout for good books to read! I would be very pleased to recieve some top 10 rankings of gay and lesbian novels. Not only by English and US writers (but preferrably books that are translated into English).

Best regards,
Børge


I know that it isn't exactly literature, but if you like fantasy, than you might like to try mercerdes lackey's Last Herald Mage trilogy. It is about a gay man who finds his soul mate, loses him, and finds him again, all the while growing spiritualy. It's a nice easy read to get your mind off things. The series deals with many, many aspects of the human heart and soul.

don't know if it's your cup of tea, but thought that i would throw that out.

kyttyn
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kyttyn  



Joined: 04 Aug 2003
Posts: 6
Interests: I like writing, reading, and hiking

Posted: 4 Aug 2003, 6:15 pm    Post subject: Re: Top 10 gay and lesbian novels Reply with quote

skraame wrote:
I am on the lookout for good books to read! I would be very pleased to recieve some top 10 rankings of gay and lesbian novels. Not only by English and US writers (but preferrably books that are translated into English).

Best regards,
Børge


I know that it isn't exactly literature, but if you like fantasy, than you might like to try mercerdes lackey's Last Herald Mage trilogy. It is about a gay man who finds his soul mate, loses him, and finds him again, all the while growing spiritualy. It's a nice easy read to get your mind off things. The series deals with many, many aspects of the human heart and soul.

don't know if it's your cup of tea, but thought that i would throw that out.

kyttyn
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chaste  



Joined: 12 Aug 2003
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Interests: writing, fine arts, theatre
Physical Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Posted: 12 Aug 2003, 5:00 am    Post subject: 10 Best Gay/Lesbian Novels Reply with quote

Dear Kraame/Claude et al,
The works of Neil Bartlett and Alan Hollinghurst merit inclusion in our list.
A writer I've discovered only recently and whose complete output I've read in rapid succession is Noel Virtue.
Two others who may appeal more to British sensibilities, but whose autobiographically charged writings capture wonderfully what it was like to be queer in the early-to-mid-twentieth century are J.R Ackerley and, especially Denton Welch - perfect bliss.

Regards
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bibsinger  



Joined: 21 Sep 2003
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Posted: 21 Sep 2003, 6:52 am    Post subject: Nice thought regarding classical music Reply with quote

This forum is wonderful. In a world that gives us porn sites when we type the web address, "www.nudists.com," it is nice to know there is something a bit more human on the Internet. In a world that thinks with greed and crotch first, it is nice to know that there is a group that actually recognizes that these two things are part of a larger picture and not the ONLY thing that humans must consider (as if we are a bunch of dogs).

Your feature about classical musicians that appears on the home page is nice, indeed. It is more than nice, it is FANTASTIC!

Thanks.

Doug Cornwell
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Murdoch  



Joined: 22 Sep 2003
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Interests: reading gay fiction (erotic, mysteries, etc.) e-mail, chatting on Yahoo Messenger (as timotito_1964), traveling, cooking
Physical Location: Seattle, WA

Posted: 22 Sep 2003, 4:43 pm    Post subject: Re: great books Reply with quote

fpleader wrote:
I would recommend Jamie O'Neal's AT SWIM TWO BOYS, an Irish novel. set during the Irish rebellion Great writing, great plot, great gay characters.


I read this earlier in the year, and found it quite enlightening. I learned a lot about Irish history and especially the Uprising of 1916, while being caught up in the love story of the boys and their families. Of course, as in any good novel, there are some heart-wrenching, tear-jerking moments, as well as some infuriating ones, but you can't avoid those when writing a war story, love or otherwise. O'Neal did a terrific job of taking the reader back to that time and place and making one feel as if s/he's actually there participating in the whole thing. (Notwithstanding that some of my own relatives may have been there!) I still remember scenes where I felt I was actually walking down the streets of Belfast (though I've never been there, so it was entirely imagination) or the small town where the boys lived. I heartily recommend this book to everyone.
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Murdoch  



Joined: 22 Sep 2003
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Interests: reading gay fiction (erotic, mysteries, etc.) e-mail, chatting on Yahoo Messenger (as timotito_1964), traveling, cooking
Physical Location: Seattle, WA

Posted: 22 Sep 2003, 5:09 pm    Post subject: Re: Nice thought regarding classical music Reply with quote

bibsinger wrote:
This forum is wonderful. In a world that gives us porn sites when we type the web address, "www.nudists.com," it is nice to know there is something a bit more human on the Internet. In a world that thinks with greed and crotch first, it is nice to know that there is a group that actually recognizes that these two things are part of a larger picture and not the ONLY thing that humans must consider (as if we are a bunch of dogs).

Your feature about classical musicians that appears on the home page is nice, indeed. It is more than nice, it is FANTASTIC!

Thanks.

Doug Cornwell


LOL Doug! True so true. This wasn't what I expected when I stumbled upon it (was looking for a personals site), but I agree that it's good to get away from the smut & trash and actually stimulate the mind.

Btw: for people like me who don't have money to buy every book they see, I've learned to rely on my local Public Library (if ur in Seattle, go to http://www.spl.org or http://www.kcls.org) for just about any book, of any genre, that I've ever wanted. Very rarely have my purchase/interlibrary loan requests been denied, and those mostly because they couldn't find the title anywhere.

Another place you can look is Lambda Book Report (http://www.lambdalit.org ). They publish a monthly review of gay literature, including profiles of prominent -- and not so -- authors. And quite often, their book reviews are written by peers, that is other well-known gay authors. Also check out the James White Review, which is almost like LBR (and maybe the same publisher, tho I'm not entirely sure of that).

In fact I'm looking at an issue of LBR right now, so let me include a few of their links: Routledge / Taylor & Francis Group (www.routledge-ny.com); University of Illinois Press (http://www.press.uillinois.edu); University of Wisconsin Press (www.wisc.edu/wisconsinpress/books/livingout.htm). There are quite a few other advertisers, but you can go to the website and find even more and link directly to them. Hope this helps.

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septimus  



Joined: 24 Oct 2003
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Posted: 24 Oct 2003, 2:57 am    Post subject: coming out novel Reply with quote

I am writing my phd dissertation on the coming out novel and i would like to know what's your favourite book on that subject.
Thank you for your help
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Tiram  



Joined: 26 Oct 2003
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Interests: cats, history, myth and folklore, herbs, math, politics, things web (esp. standards), literature and good sex.
Physical Location: Oslo, Norway

Posted: 26 Oct 2003, 11:47 am    Post subject: Re: Top 10 gay and lesbian novels Reply with quote

skraame wrote:
Not only by English and US writers (but preferrably books that are translated into English).

Best regards,
Børge


Guessing from your name, it's just possible that you might read Norwegian...? If you do, Gudmund Vindland's "Villskudd" ("Wild Shoots") is practically obligatory reading. It's a half-biographical story of a boy growing up, realising he's gay, falling in love, confronting authority, becoming familiar with the gay sub-culture in Oslo... All very true and well written. I don't know whether it has been translated to English, but there is a short text about the German translation (in English:) on this page:

http://www.swix.ch/spot25/englisch/buchliste.html

Search for the author's name, e.g.
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hubert  



Joined: 26 Oct 2003
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Posted: 26 Oct 2003, 6:05 pm    Post subject: Re: Top 10 gay and lesbian novels Reply with quote

hi Børge

here are my favourites:

Hubert Fichte ( i don't know if he has been translated into english, but if he was, he is one of the best)

Guido Bachmann: Gilgamesh

Josef Winkler: Cemetery Of Bitter Oranges

James Baldwin: Another Country, Just Above My Head

Dale Peck: all his books

Agustin Gomez-Arcos: The Carnivorous Lamb

best wishes
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Cobweb  



Joined: 22 Dec 2003
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Physical Location: Ft. Thomas, Kentucky, United States, North America, Earth

Posted: 22 Dec 2003, 9:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm certainly not able to make a definitive "Top 10" list, but Levithan's Boy Meets Boy would have to be on there somewhere. It's the only gay novel I've ever read that's 1) well-written, 2) optimistic, 3) romatic without being maudlin, and 4) free of pointless and graphically rendered sex. Apparently it's still quite new, so chain bookstores like Borders might not have stopped carrying it yet.
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hannah h.  



Joined: 01 Jan 2004
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Interests: Interest include: Art history, especially gender and GLBT representation in art, film, popular culture, etc.

Posted: 2 Jan 2004, 4:36 pm    Post subject: Re: Top 10 gay and lesbian novels Reply with quote

skraame wrote:
I am on the lookout for good books to read! I would be very pleased to recieve some top 10 rankings of gay and lesbian novels. Not only by English and US writers (but preferrably books that are translated into English).

Best regards,
Børge


My favorite GLBT books are a mixed bag:

Jmaes Badwin. "Giovanni's Room"
Jane Bowles. "Two Serious Ladies"
Emma Donoghue. "Passion"
Henry James. "Turning of the Screw"
Patricia Highsmith, anything she has written
Maud Lavin. "Cut with the Kitchen Knife: the Wiemar Photomontages of
Hannah Hoch."
Joe Orton. "The Entertaining Mr. Sloane" (play)
Patrice Petro. "Joyless Streets: Women and Melodramatic Representation
in Weimar Germany." (mostly gender issues)
Dorothy Porter. "The Monkey's Mask (Noir)
Vito Russo. "The Celluloid Closet"
Christa Winsloe. "The Child Manuela (Madchen in Uniform)"

Note: Lavin and Petro are obviously academic titles but a good read for anyone interested in 1920's Germany.
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