Welcome to Smugglivus 2011! Throughout this month, we will have daily guests – authors and bloggers alike – looking back at their favorite reads of 2011, and looking forward to events and upcoming books in 2012.
Who: Cass, of Bonjour, Cass, reader/reviewer of mostly LGBTQ-focused LitFic and non-fiction.
Give it up for Cass, folks!
5 Books by Queer Women I’m Looking Forward to in 2012
With this new book, trans- and queer- activist Kate Bornstein presents her long awaited memoir. You may be able to gather that Bornstein was active within the church of Scientology (serving in the prestigious SeaOrg), but left the organization in 1981. Bornstein is active in the LGBTQ community as an author, activist, and her first book, Gender Outlaw: On Men, Women, and the Rest of Us is used in many gender studies courses across the US. (Side note: I admit, I have a weakness for puns, as well as extremely long subtitles for non-fiction books, so that adds to its charm.)
Astray by Emma Donoghue (Autumn 2012)
I avoided Donoghue’s massively popular 2010 release, ROOM, mostly because it was, uh, massively popular. When I did finally end up reading it, I absolutely adored it, and I cannot wait for AstrayDrift by Rachel Maddow (March 2012)
Okay, yeah, I’ll admit that I know almost nothing about Drift, except that it is non-fiction and probably about the military, but come on now. Maddow’s MSNBC news program, the creatively titled Rachel Maddow Show, is a wonderful combination of nerdy jokes and intelligent reporting, so I’m ready to read whatever she wants to write.
Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson (March 2012)
I see what you did there with that title, Ms. Winterson. Known mostly in the US for her heartbreaking lesbian novel Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, a thinly fictionalized account of a young lesbian growing up in a brutally conservative Evangelical household, Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? is a memoir that seems to be an attempt to get the real facts of Winterson’s life straight (har, har). Also, The Sunday Times (UK) says of the memoir: “Her childhood was ghastly, as bad as Dickens’s stint in the blacking factory, but it was also the crucible for her incendiary talent.”
Why Are Faggots So Afraid of Faggots?: Flaming Challenges to Masculinity, Objectification, and the Desire to Conform by Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore (Februrary 2012)
Quite the title, wouldn’t you say? Don’t be afraid. Bernstein Sycamore is one of my favorite authors who writes of her discontent with the current situation of the struggle for gay rights in the United States, mostly the focus on gay marriage and the marginzalization of gender non-conforming folks within the LGBTQ community (like flamboyant men or butch women). Bernstein Sycamore explores these themes and calls for an expansion of progressive thought and variant gender expressions within a community that is increasingly focused on being as “normal” as possible.
Thank you, Cass!