On the evening of June 27,1969, police in New York, New York raided a popular gay bar, and the protests that resulted afterwards launched the LGBT Rights movement that we know today. An integral part of this movement is Pride Month, which is celebrated each year in June. Pride parades, parties, and other events take place all over the country to honor members of the LGBT community and spread the message that love knows no bounds.
Join the LRC’s celebration of Pride Month by adding one of these books to your summer reading list! Each book features a story that centers on LGBT characters. All of these books can be found in our fiction collection.
Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Leuithan
From Publishers Weekly: “In alternating chapters, the authors track two teens, both named Will Grayson, who accidentally meet halfway through the novel, perhaps changing the trajectory of both of their lives. One Will is vintage Green: a smart nerd whose rules to live by include “don’t care too much,” with a scene-stealing sidekick—Tiny Cooper, a large, flamboyantly gay classmate intent on staging an autobiographical musical. The other will (lowercase throughout) is angry and depressed; the one bright spot in his existence is an online friendship with “Isaac.” When will agrees to meet Isaac one night in Chicago, readers know nothing good will happen—and they will be wrong. A well-orchestrated big reveal takes the story in a new direction, one that gives (lowercase) will greater dimension. The ending is laudable but highly implausible. The journey to it is full of comic bits, mostly provided by the irrepressible Tiny, who needs his own novel. Frank sexual language—a shot at a bar “tastes like Satan’s fire cock”—pushes this one to high school, where its message of embracing love in all its forms ought to find a receptive audience.”
The Normal State Of Mind by Susmita Bhattacharya
From Goodreads.com: “Dipali, a young bride, is determined to make her marriage a success story. But her plans are cut short when her husband is killed by a bomb blast in Mumbai. Forced into a life of widowhood, her brother expects her to sacrifice her own independence for the sake of caring for their elderly mother, but Dipali has other ideas.
Moushumi, a school teacher, discovers that her attraction to women is not just a girl crush. As her parents discuss potential husbands, Moushumi escapes to her high-flying lover. But how long can she keep being a lesbian secret beyond the safe walls of glamorous art-crowd parties?
This stirring and important novel brings to the forefront the issue that, in the midst of communal riots and gay rights movements, India too has to make her own decisions about which traditions she must keep, and which she ought to let go.”
A Place At The Table by Susan Rebecca White
From Publishers Weekly: “In this latest from an emerging Southern literary voice, White (A Soft Place to Land) muses on friendship, the connecting power of food, and the effects of a Southern heritage on one’s search for identity. The tale begins with Alice Stone and her brother James, a close-knit pair growing up in 1920’s Negro-owned Emancipation Township, North Carolina. James is sent to New York because of his “uppity” attitude, and the book’s focus abruptly shifts to Bobby, a white boy from a strict religious family in 1970’s Georgia. His later career as a chef in a famous New York restaurant is foreshadowed in his love for cooking with his mother and grandmother, whose pound cakes are legendary. The savings from thousands of sold pound cakes fund Bobby’s escape to New York when his family ostracizes him for being gay. Here he meets renowned chef and cookbook author, Alice Stone. However, their stories don’t truly intersect until Amelia, a wealthy Connecticut woman in a failing marriage, happens upon the scene. Once again, food, prospective cookbooks, and Southern influences link characters before they discover a deeper connection through guarded secrets from the past. White’s prose is graceful and evocative, but the plot stumbles as the disparate characters’ trajectories become muddled in each other’s stories.”
Almost Like Being in Love by Steve Kluger
From Publishers Weekly: “Kluger’s latest epistolary novel (after the well-received Last Days of Summer ) is an engrossing, often laugh-out-loud tale of two unlikely lovers. High school jock Craig McKenna and Broadway musical–obsessed Travis Puckett fall in love during their senior year at the Beckley School in Tarrytown, N.Y., spend a summer in Manhattan, then drift tearfully away to different colleges: Travis to USC, Craig to Harvard. Twenty years later, oddball Travis, now a history professor at his alma mater, is a favorite with students thanks to some unorthodox teaching methods, but he’s laughably unlucky in love. An injury ended Craig’s college football career, and he’s now an upstate New York attorney with activist inclinations and a soft spot for runaways. He’s also about to marry long-term boyfriend Clayton—though he’s never forgotten his first romance. As Travis wades through the dating pool (most of his dates score badly on his “Boyfriend Checklist”) and doles out advice to his straight screenwriter roommate Gordo, Craig takes on the biggest case of his life: a run for the state assembly. When Travis becomes determined to reunite with Craig, he sets off on a wild cross-country adventure, providing perfect fodder for Gordo’s ultimate screenplay. In true fairy-tale fashion, Travis insinuates himself back into Craig’s life, but will the pair end up happily ever after? Though the narrative is overlong, Kluger keeps it absorbing with a parade of newspaper articles, letters, diary entries, checklists, court transcripts and charts, all composed to brilliant comic and dramatic effect.”
All I Love And Know by Judith Frank
From Publishers Weekly: “In Frank’s deeply moving second novel (after Crybaby Butch), Matt Greene and Daniel Rosen, a couple in Northampton, Mass., cope with the deaths of Daniel’s twin brother and his wife—Israeli citizens who are killed in a terrorist bombing in Jerusalem. Their will gives Daniel custody of the couple’s children, Gal and Noam, and Matt, who is used to getting by on good looks and charm, isn’t sure he can handle instant fatherhood. But while Daniel and the rest of the family are paralyzed by grief, Matt jumps in feet first to take charge. The couple is thus dismayed to learn that the Israeli courts, which can override wills for the sake of child welfare (or, in this case, homophobia), may deny custody of the children to them because they are gay. Moreover, Daniel causes controversy after he is interviewed for a newspaper story on the adoption case and, in the course of the interview, expresses sympathy for the Palestinians. As Daniel becomes more immersed in the custody battle, Matt feels increasingly ignored, until he explodes, creating a rift between the men. Frank shows a profound empathy for her characters, making this book heartbreaking, yet jubilantly hopeful.”