Jun 8, 2011
An "on-the-carpet" report from Book Expo America, courtesy of Ann. June is Gay Pride Month, so we've collected recommendations for the best LGBT books to read. And two books we can't wait for you to read!
Ann spent an exhausting yet exhilarating few days at Book Expo America and gives us a quick run down of authors and books that made an impression, including Lisa See, Joan Didion, Harry Belafonte, Margaret Atwood, Erin Morgenstern (author of The Night Circus, a book with huge buzz already), Jennifer Close (a bookseller from Politics and Prose who has her first book, Girls in White Dresses, coming out this Fall). At the HarperCollins Blogger Party, Ann heard about Domestic Violets, by Matthew Norman, a book that is earning comparisons to novels by Jonathan Tropper. Colson Whitehead's Zone One was a big hit (I can vouch for the novel - so good!). Hillary Jordan's When She Woke is a book that Ann read in two sittings and she brought a copy home for me as well. Tayari Jones' Silver Sparrow is another advanced reader's copy that Ann read right away and loved. [Note: BEA is a time to promote books coming out in the Fall, so most of these books won't be out until then, but many of them will be featured here when they are available!]
BOTNS listener Christian asked long ago for a show about LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) Fiction. We coincidentally planned this show for this week, the first week of Gay Pride Month. Ann has long been a fan of Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City series. Two male characters in The Bells, one of my favorite novels of last year, have one of the most loving relationships I've seen portrayed in fiction. Even though they weren't main characters, their love for each other is one of the things I'll always remember about that book. We turned to Twitter for more books and got many wonderful suggestions:
Simon Savidge, awesome book blogger, is a founder and chair of judges for The Green Carnation prize, now in its second year. The prize seeks to recognize quality works written by LGBT writers and published in the UK. In its first year, it honored Paperboy by Christopher Fowler.
Lisa See returns to sisters Pearl and May, the characters she created in Shanghai Girls. In that book's sequel, Dreams of Joy, Pearl's daughter Joy discovers the secrets about her birth long held by her mother and her aunt. Ann raves about The Upright Piano Player by David Abbot. It's the story of Henry Cage, a man dealing with forced retirement and an act of violence that shocks him and has you turning pages right from the start.