Oct 3, 2017
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100 of the Best Lesbian books

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100 of the Best Lesbian Books on the market

With the ever-growing acceptance of the LGBTQ community in society today, it may seem like lesbian literature has only sprung to life in the last few decades. How wrong we were when conducting our research. Lesbian books have been available since the late 18th century, and a lot of interesting stories have surfaced, some of the books were banned and described by journalists as ‘work of the devil’. We’ve collated a list of the best lesbian books (Fiction and Non-Fiction) from those that were secretly sold on the underground market to those available for Kindle download today.




Lesbian Fiction Books

Curious Wine by Katherine V.Forrest

One of the best-known lesbian fiction novels ever, having sold over 350,000 copies in its lifetime. This beloved romance is finally back in print. Candid in its eroticism, intensely romantic and remarkably beautiful, this story of two women coming together in an intimate cabin at Lake Tahoe, Nevada, is a journey through the joys and passions of first discovery that will remain in readers’ memories forever.

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Stone Butch Blues by Leslie Feinberg

A novel written by transgender activist Leslie Feinberg. Jess Goldberg, the main character, is aware from a young age that she is different from other girls. She hates wearing dresses, and often received the question – “Are you a boy or a girl?” – from strangers.
The contempt of her parents and the hatred of most of her classmates became so oppressive that she ran away from home shortly before her sixteenth birthday. She finds a new family in the coworkers in the factories where she works, and the butches and femmes who frequent the gay bars of Buffalo, New York.
Throughout her life, Jess is plagued with the feeling of not fitting in. Even when she is allowed to dress in men’s clothing, the rules about how to be a butch don’t always fit. Jess hides underneath a “stone butch” persona, which does not really protect her from trauma and often distances her from intimacy.
Jess learns that she can take male hormones and “pass” as a man. She feels this is the only way she will stop being targeted as an outsider. But “becoming” a man alienates her from the lesbian community and forces her to live a lie in front of everyone else. In the end, Jess decides to stop taking hormones and learns to be comfortable in her own skin, regardless of what anyone else thinks. At the end of the book, she becomes an activist and speaks up for the rights and dignity that every human being deserves.

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The Night Watch by Sarah Waters

A dark, historical fiction novel that was shortlisted for the 2006 Man Booker Prize and shortlisted for the 2006 Orange Prize. The novel, which is told backward through third person narrative, takes place in 1940s London during and after World War II. The storyline follows the fragmented lives and the strange interconnections between Kay, Helen, and Julia, three lesbians, Viv, a straight woman and Duncan, her brother, a gay man – their secrets, shames, and scandals that connect them despite their different experiences. The war, with its never-ending night watches, serves as a horrifying context, backdrop, and metaphor as a constant reminder of the morbidity that surrounds life and love. The central metaphor of the night watch is about the sleepless nights, detonated by war, but more so, by love.

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Keepers of the Cave by Gerri Hill

While the investigations go on in Dallas and Baton Rouge after the disappearance of a senator’s daughter, FBI agents CJ Johnston and Paige Riley are assigned to the sleepy backwoods of East Texas for a dead-end assignment to infiltrate an all-girls school.
Random disappearances dating back fifty years and more raise red flags that point to the tiny, isolated community of Hoganville. But CJ and Paige fear there will be little distraction from the memories of the one-night stand they shared six months ago.
Nevertheless, they integrate themselves into the lives of the teachers and staff, but soon the odd behavior of the townspeople has them convinced something sinister lurks there. Something, perhaps, that even the residents of Hoganville don’t know about.

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The Blue Place by Nicola Griffith

A police lieutenant with the elite “Red Dogs” until she retired at twenty-nine, Aud Torvigen is a rangy six-footer with eyes the color of cement and a tendency to hurt people who get in her way. Born in Norway into the failed marriage between a Scandinavian diplomat and an American businessman, she now makes Atlanta her home, luxuriating in the lush heat and brashness of the New South. She glides easily between the world of silken elegance and that of sleaze and sudden savagery, equally at home in both; functional, deadly, and temporarily quiescent, like a folded razor.
On a humid April evening between storms, out walking just to stay sharp, she turns a corner and collides with a running woman, Catching the scent of clean, rain-soaked hair, Aud nods and silently tells the stranger Today, you are lucky, and moves on—when behind her house explodes, incinerating its sole occupant, a renowned art historian. When Aud turns back, the woman is gone.

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Rage: A Love Story by Julie Anne Peters

A National Book Award Finalist offers an intense portrait of an abusive relationship.
Johanna is steadfast, patient, reliable; the go-to girl, the one everyone can count on. But always being there for others can’t give Johanna everything she needs—it can’t give her Reeve Hartt.
Reeve is fierce, beautiful, wounded, elusive; a flame that draws Johanna’s fluttering moth. Johanna is determined to get her, against all advice, and to help her, against all reason. But love isn’t always reasonable, right?
In the precarious place where attraction and need collide, a teenager experiences the dark side of a first love and struggles to find her way into a new light.

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By the Light of the Moon by Radclyffe

One night during a lunar eclipse, four friends with an Ouija board open a door to another dimension, and two women from different worlds share a night of passion that changes past and future.

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Desert of the Heart by Jane Rule

Two women meet and fall in love in Reno, Nevada. This classic of lesbian eroticism is Jane Rule’s first novel.
Set in the late 1950s, this is the story of Evelyn Hall, an English professor, who goes to Reno to obtain a divorce and put an end to her disastrous 16-year marriage. While staying at a boarding house to establish her six-week residency requirement she meets Ann Childs, a casino worker and fifteen years her junior. Physically, they are remarkably alike and eventually have an affair and begin the struggle to figure out just how a relationship between two women can last. Desert of the Heart examines the conflict between convention and freedom and the ways in which the characters try to resolve the conflict. The book was also made into a 1985 movie, Desert Hearts.

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Far from Xanadu by Julie Anne Peters

In this fresh, poignant novel, Mike is struggling to come to terms with her father’s suicide and her mother’s detachment from the family. Mike (real name: Mary Elizabeth) is gay and likes to pump iron, play softball, and fix plumbing. When a glamorous new girl, Xanadu, arrives in Mike’s small Kansas town, Mike falls in love at first sight. Xanadu is everything Mike is not — cool, confident, feminine, sexy…. straight.
Julie Anne Peters has written a heartbreaking yet ultimately hopeful novel that will speak to anyone who has ever fallen in love with someone who can’t love them back.

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Empress of the World by Sara Ryan

Nicola Lancaster is spending her summer at the Siegel Institute, a hothouse of smart, intense teenagers. She soon falls in with Katrina (Manic Computer Chick), Isaac (Nice-Guy-Despite-Himself), Kevin (Inarticulate Composer) . . . and Battle, a beautiful blond dancer. The two become friends–and then, startlingly, more than friends. What do you do when you think you’re attracted to guys, and then you meet a girl who steals your heart? A trailblazing debut, reissued with an introduction by acclaimed author David Levithan, and copious back matter, including three graphic novel stories by Sara Ryan (and artists Steve Leiber, Dylan Meconis, and Natalie Nourigat) about the characters.

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Two Friends: Nineteenth-century Lesbian Stories by American Women Writers by Susan Koppelman

Koppelman beautifully compiled this anthology book which includes stories by Constance Fenimore, Octave Thanet, Mary E. Wilkins, Kate Chopin and Sarah Orne Jewett, that was originally published in periodicals of their time. The stories range from the ‘explicit’ to the ‘referentially’ lesbian, Koppelman said, “I recognize these stories as stories about women loving women in a variety of romantic ways that we wouldn’t even have to struggle to define if we were talking about man and women loving each other.

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Romancing the Girl by Camryn Eyde

Aimee Turner is a country girl, living and working on her family’s sheep station in rural Australia. Life is easy and full of hard, dusty work, but when her brother Joseph decides to become a contestant on a reality TV dating show, Romancing the Farmer, everything goes to hell.
The station gets overrun by city women and stuck-up producers right in the middle of shearing season. Justine Cason, the ringleader of the circus Aimee instantly detests is an irritating, arrogant presence that she is forced to chaperone around the massive property.
The two women find more in common than trading insults the more time they spend together, sparking an unexpected connection neither was looking for. As Joseph navigates the dating scene, and Aimee’s sister Sally navigates a crumbling marriage, Aimee’s life turns on its head in more ways than one when her blooming connection with Justine is the catalyst to leaving the land she loves.
When the worst fire season in decades strikes their patch of the world, the Turner family must find a way to save themselves and the ones they dearly cherish. Can they put aside their differences to protect each other?

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Fingersmith by Sarah Waters

Based in London 1892, and divided into three parts, the tale is narrated by two orphaned girls whose lives are inextricably linked. It begins in a grimy thieves kitchen in Borough, South London with 17-year-old orphan Susan Trinder. She has been raised by Mrs. Sucksby, a cockney Ma Baker, in a household of fingersmiths (pickpockets), coiners and burglars. One evening Richard “Gentleman” Rivers, a handsome confidence man, arrives. He has an elaborate scheme to defraud Maud Lilly, a wealthy heiress. If Sue will help him she’ll get a share of the “shine”. Duly installed in the Lillys’ country house as Maud’s maid, Sue finds that her mistress is virtually a prisoner. Maud’s eccentric Uncle Christopher, an obsessive collector of erotica (loosely modeled on Henry Spenser Ashbee) controls every aspect of her life. Slowly a curious intimacy develops between the two girls and as Gentleman’s plans take shape, Sue begins to have doubts. The scheme is finally hatched but as Maud commences her narrative it suddenly becomes more than a tad difficult to tell quite who has double-crossed who. Waters’ penchant for Byzantine plotting can get a bit exhausting but even at its densest moments–and remember this is smoggy London circa 1862–it remains mesmerizing. A damning critique of Victorian moral and sexual hypocrisy, a gripping melodrama and a love story to boot, this book ingeniously reworks some truly classic themes. The book was also made into a movie.

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Carol / The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith

Therese is just an ordinary sales assistant working in a New York department store when a beautiful, alluring woman in her thirties walks up to her counter. Standing there, Therese is wholly unprepared for the first shock of love. Therese is an awkward nineteen-year-old with a job she hates and a boyfriend she doesn’t love; Carol is a sophisticated, bored suburban housewife in the throes of a divorce and a custody battle for her only daughter. As Therese becomes irresistibly drawn into Carol’s world, she soon realizes how much they both stand to lose…First published pseudonymously in 1952 as The Price of Salt, Carol is a hauntingly atmospheric love story set against the backdrop of fifties’ New York.
Carol was made into a movie which received critical acclaim and many accolades, including five Golden Globe Award nominations, six Academy Award nominations, and nine BAFTA Award nominations;

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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 sixteen, Jeanette decides to leave the church, her home, and her family, for the young woman she loves. Innovative, punchy and tender,
Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit is a few days ride into the bizarre outposts of religious excess and human obsession.
The book was adapted into a BBC television drama of the same name.

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Sword of the Guardian by Merry Shannon

A shocking assassination creates an unconventional bond between a princess and her guardian in a kingdom filled with political intrigue, danger, and unexpected romance. Princess Shasta Soltranis enjoys a pampered life of court dances, elaborate finery, and the occasional secret fencing match with her twin brother, Daric. But in the midst of a birthday celebration, her world shatters when a mysterious assassin takes her brother’s life. Shasta, the only remaining heir to the throne, narrowly escapes the assassin’s blade thanks to the intervention of a traveling acrobat named Talon.
With the threat of another attempt on Shasta’s life imminent, her father declares that the young hero will become the Princess’s bodyguard. But what Shasta doesn’t know is that her new guardian has a very well-kept secret: he is actually a she.
Talon and Shasta soon grow closer than anyone, especially her father, could have predicted. Will the truth of her guardian’s secret change their relationship forever?

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Starting from Scratch by Georgia Beers

My name is Avery King and I’m probably a lot like you. I’m a 34-year-old single lesbian and my heart belongs to my rescued mutt, Steve. I work as a graphic designer and my life is quiet and comfortable. All in all, I’m a pretty regular girl and for the most part, I lead a pretty regular life. Things I look forward to: baking goodies and then sharing them; spending time with my grandmother; reading anything I can get my hands on; enjoying dinner with my friends; a quiet evening and a glass of wine; hiking new trails and exploring nature with Steve. Things I’d like to avoid at all costs: in-depth discussions with my ex; dealing with children; online dating; babysitting; falling for somebody’s mom; taking my perception of myself all the way back to square one.
Lambda and Golden Crown Literary Award-winning author Georgia Beers brings to you her long-awaited seventh novel, Starting from Scratch, a story where learning, laughing, loving, and baked goods are just a few of life’s basic ingredients.

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Wasted Heart by Lynn Galli

Austy Nunziata has spent two years pining for her married best friend and about the same amount of time berating herself for it. In fact, she’s so adept at trying to stamp out her feelings that she could probably write a How-To guide on the subject. One, move 3,000 miles away from your best friend. Two, get a time-consuming job so you don’t have time to think about your best friend. Three, hang out with new friends who aren’t anywhere as enchanting as your best friend. Four, get involved with a striking woman who is smart, sexy, caring and, most importantly, available, unlike your best friend. Five, hope the new love interest doesn’t find out about your pathetic best friend obsession before you have time to replace it with actual life-altering love. Even following her own step-by-step process, Austy may not be able to redirect all of her misguided feelings. Becoming involved with Elise Bridie helps her realize how pointless her pining has been. But when Elise suspects that she harbors feelings for someone else, will their new found love survive the unrequited infatuation of Austy’s fantasies? (Special Edition includes epilogue never before in print.)

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Set the Stage by Karis Walsh

Emilie Danvers wins a place in the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s company and gets a second chance to launch her acting career. She’s vowed never to repeat the mistakes she made the first time: no following her heart, no putting herself second to someone else, no relationship drama. She won’t let any woman keep her from reconnecting with her dreams.
Arden Philips has stood on the outskirts of the festival for years, tending the gardens of nearby Lithia Park. She’s seen actresses come and go and only allows herself the occasional dalliance. But when she comes across Emilie rehearsing on a mossy riverbank, Arden realizes her heart might not listen to her head.
The stage is set, the house lights dimmed. Is true love merely make-believe or can these two women write it into the script of their lives?

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Echo Point by Virginia Hale

Bron never intended to move back to Australia. Wracked with guilt over her sister Libby’s death, she’s spent three months trying to handle her grief while taking care of Libby’s young daughter, Annie.
Libby’s best friend Ally never had a chance to say goodbye to her dear friend. When she finally returns home, Ally finds Libby’s family open and welcoming…everyone, that is, except Libby’s sister Bron.
For her part, Bron can’t fathom why her family is so enamored with Ally—even offering her a job and a place to live—but grudgingly admires the way Ally and Annie get along.
While Bron contemplates moving Annie to Boston and away from the only home the little girl has ever known, bushfires begin to rage in the nearby mountains, and Bron begins to see that she’s sorely underestimated her sister’s friend.
Soon Ally’s past and Bron’s future collide—with a heat and wonder that neither of them expected.

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Beebo Brinker by Ann Bannon

Designated the “Queen of Lesbian Pulp Fiction” for authoring five landmark novels beginning in 1957, Ann Bannon’s work defined lesbian fiction for the pre-Stonewall generation. Unlike many writers of the period, however, Bannon broke through the shame and isolation typically portrayed in lesbian pulps, offering instead women characters who embrace their sexuality against great odds. With Beebo Brinker, Bannon introduces the title character, a butch 17-year-old farm girl newly arrived in New York after she is driven from her Wisconsin hometown for wearing drag to the State Fair. Befriended by the gay Jack Mann, a father-figure with a weakness for runaways, Beebo sets out to find love. She never knew what she wanted until she came to Greenwich Village and found the love that smolders in the shadows of the twilight world.
Overwhelmed with her discovery, Beebo is infatuated in turn with the vixen Mona Petry, the sweet femme Paula Ash, and the famous actress Venus Bogardus. Sexy, dangerous, and often touching, Beebo Brinker’s search for love takes her from password-protected 1950s lesbian bars to the glamour and ritz of Hollywood and back. Chronicling the reality of 1950s lesbian life through Ann Bannon’s dreamy butch, Beebo Brinker is an astounding and engaging read.

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Delay of Game by Tracey Richardson

Passion and patriotism sizzle on the ice at the Winter Olympics. It’s been a dozen years since two of the world’s best women hockey players, Niki Hartling and Eva Caruso, first competed against each other in the Olympic Games.
The pressure of the intense USA-Canada rivalry forced an end to their love affair, and both women moved on–Niki to coach and to marry, Eva to stretch out a playing career that her ravaged body can barely sustain anymore. The Games are upon them once again. Eva wants one last chance to beat the Canadians and win hockey’s biggest prize. Niki, now a widow and single mother, strives to coach her country to gold, even as the obstacles against her mount. The locker room seems to have ears and there are few people Niki and Eva can trust.
Rivals and former lovers on hockey’s biggest stage, will Niki and Eva feel the same spark that first brought them together? And can they win on–and off–the ice with the whole world watching!

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Mrs. Stevens Hears the Mermaids Singing by May Sarto

First published 1965 and adapted into a movie in 2004. Hilary Stevens – in her 70’s and a renowned poet – is disrupted first by a young poet, then by two journalists seeking the source of her creativity. They help her come to terms with her past, in the first book in which Sarton wrote openly about homosexual love.

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Pages for You by Sylvia Brownrigg

When Flannery Jansen arrives at university, she is totally unprepared for an encounter that will rock her existence. But when she comes across Anne Arden in a local diner, Flannery falls dramatically and desperately in love. Flannery is quickly embarrassed in the face of the older woman’s poise and sophistication, and under the gaze of those impossible green eyes, but slowly their paths intertwine, and soon Flannery becomes Anne’s eager student in life and love.
Pages for You is the story of the beginning, blossoming and falling apart of that delirious love affair.

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Hood by Emma Donoghue

A novel written by Irish author Emma Donoghue in 1995. The book was the recipient of the 1997 Stonewall Book Award and is heavily influenced by James Joyce’s Ulysses. When Cara dies in a car crash, Pen is left to cope with a secret widowhood. ‘Hood’ follows Pen through the week following Cara’s death, through her grief and the ecstasy of nostalgia of their 13-years together, to a point where mourning and making a new life melt into one.

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Diana: A Strange Autobiography by Diana Frederics

This is the unusual and compelling story of Diana, a tantalizingly beautiful woman who sought love in the strange by-paths of Lesbos. Fearless and outspoken, it dares to reveal that hidden world where perfumed caresses and half-whispered endearments constitute the forbidden fruits in a Garden of Eden where men are never accepted.
This is how ‘Diana: A Strange Autobiography’ was described when it was published in paperback in 1952. The original 1939 hardcover edition carried with it a Publisher’s Note: This is the autobiography of a woman who tried to be normal.
In the book, Diana is presented as the unexceptional daughter of an unexceptional plutocratic family. During adolescence, she finds herself drawn with mysterious intensity to a girlfriend. The narrative follows Diana’s progress through college; a trial marriage that proves she is incapable of heterosexuality; intellectual and sexual education in Europe; and a series of lesbian relationships culminating in a final tormented triangular struggle with two other women for the individual salvation to be found in a happy couple.
In her introduction, Julie Abraham argues that Diana is not really an autobiography at all, but a deliberate synthesis of different archetypes of this confessional genre, echoing, as it does, more than a half-dozen novels. Hitting all the high and low points of the lesbian novel, the book, Abraham illustrates, offers a defense of lesbian relationships that was unprecedented in 1939 and radical for decades afterward.

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The Gravity Between Us by Kristen Zimmer

At just 19, Kendall Bettencourt is Hollywood’s hottest young starlet, with the world at her feet – but behind the glamour and designer dresses is a girl who longs for normal. Payton Taylor is Kendall’s best friend since childhood and the one person who reminds her of who she really is – her refuge from the craziness of celebrity life. With her career taking off, Kendall moves Payton to LA to help keep her sane. But Payton is hiding a secret that could make everything ten times worse. Because to her, Kendall is more than a best friend – she is the only girl that she has ever loved.
Just as they need each other more than ever, they’ll have to answer the question of where friendship stops and love begins? And find out whether the feelings they have can survive the mounting pressure of fame…
The Gravity Between Us is a daring, romantic, emotional story about friendship, love, and finding the courage to be yourself in a crazy world.

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Perfect Rhythm by Jae

Pop star Leontyne Blake might sing about love, but she stopped believing in it a long time ago. What women want is her image, not the real her. When her father has a stroke, she flees the spotlight and returns to her tiny Missouri hometown.
In her childhood home, she meets small-town nurse Holly Drummond, who isn’t impressed by Leo’s fame at all. That isn’t the only thing that makes Holly different from other women. She’s also asexual. For her, dating is a minefield of expectations that she has decided to avoid.
Can the tentative friendship between a burned-out pop star and a woman not interested in sex develop into something more despite their diverse expectations?
A lesbian romance about seeking the perfect rhythm between two very different people—and finding happiness where they least expect it.

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Summer Heat: A Lesbian Summer Romance Story by Harper Bliss

When Cat is unceremoniously dumped by her girlfriend right before their holiday, she decides to join her parents on their annual trip to Tuscany. Prepared for two weeks of sun-drenched melancholy, she finds much more than nostalgia in the house where she used to spend her summers as a child.
Summer Heat is a lesbian erotic romance story.

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18 Months by Samantha Boyette

Alissa Reeves came out for Hannah Desarno. Hannah is smart, beautiful, and has just gone missing. Worse, she isn’t Alissa’s first girlfriend to disappear. Eighteen months ago, Alissa was caught kissing bad girl Lana Meyers. Too scared to admit her feelings for Lana, Alissa let her friends blame Lana. Weeks later when Lana disappeared, no one in their small town thought much of it until months later when her body was found.
With Hannah gone, Alissa finds herself following clues that will help her discover what happened to both girls, and the truth will change everything.

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The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth

A coming-of-age teen novel published in 2012. The novel’s protagonist is Cameron Post, a 12-year-old Montana girl who is discovering her own homosexuality. After her parents die in a car crash, she is sent to live with her conservative aunt. She develops a relationship with her best friend and is sent to a “de-gaying” camp.
According to author Emily Danforth, the novel was influenced by the 2005 Zach Stark controversy, where teenager Zach Stark was sent to a de-gaying camp run by Love In Action after coming out to his parents. The story is set in the author’s hometown, Miles City, Montana in the 1990s

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Fated Love by Radclyffe

What do you do when your carefully planned life takes a wrong turn into hell? When Quinn Maguire, a dashing young trauma surgeon, unaccountably accepts a position as an ER physician, her new boss, Honor Blake, suspects that Quinn is hiding a dark secret. While the two declare an uneasy truce in an effort to work together, both struggle with mutual, and unexpected, attraction. Honor, however, has more than one reason to resist her growing feelings for the attractive newcomer–not the least of which is that her heart belongs to the woman whose wedding ring she wears. Amidst the chaos and drama of a busy emergency room, Quinn and Honor must contend not only with the fragile nature of life but also with the mysteries of the heart and the irresistible forces of fate.

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Nothing to Lose by Clare Lydon

Can you find love in a hopeless place?
Nobody would ever describe Scarlet Williams as a ray of sunshine, but that doesn’t mean she deserves the flood that wipes out her basement flat, making her temporarily homeless.
Enter Joy Hudson, local mayor & sunshine specialist, who opens her house to flood refugees and ends up with Scarlet on her doorstep. Two more opposing characters you couldn’t fail to meet, and yet, somehow, they strike up a friendship. But when the rain stops and the sun comes out, could that friendship blossom into something more?
Fans of contemporary lesbian romance will love Scarlet & Joy’s story, bursting with real characters and shot through with British wit. From the international best-selling author of London Calling and This London Love comes a heart-warming tale of love & redemption.

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The Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe Hall

Denounced, banned, and applauded — the ‘strange’ love story of a girl who stood midway between the sexes. Perma Books published controversial novel ‘The Well Of Loneliness’ in 1951. The story centralizes on an upper-class Englishwoman whose “sexual inversion” (i.e. homosexuality) is apparent from childhood. The protagonist, Stephen Gordon (so named because her parents expected a boy), falls in love with Mary Llewellyn while the former is serving as an ambulance driver in World War I. The couple’s relationship ultimately fails because of social isolation and rejection, and the novel closes with Stephen’s plea to God: “Give us also the right to our existence!”. ‘The Well’ came under immediate attack by the editor of ‘The Sunday Express,’ James Douglas, who wrote: “I would rather give a healthy boy or girl a vial of prussic acid than this novel. Poison kills the body, but moral poison kills the soul.
The novel was pulled in the United Kingdom and subsequently banned in France, though it nonetheless became an international bestseller. And, while few claim that ‘The Well’ is a great piece of literature, its early treatment of lesbianism and gender fluidity influenced writers including Ann Bannon and Rita Mae Brown, and the novel continues to inspire study and debate.

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Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown

Published in 1973, the book was described as “The breakthrough lesbian novel” by the Washington Post. It was remarkable in its day for its explicit portrayal of lesbianism. The term “ruby fruit jungle” is a term used in the novel for female genitalia. The story focuses on Molly Bolt, a young lady with a big character. Beautiful, funny and bright, Molly figures out at a young age that she will have to be tough to stay true to herself in 1950s America. In her dealings with boyfriends and girlfriends, in the rocky relationship with her mother and in her determination to pursue her career, she will fight for her right to happiness. Charming, proud and inspiring, Molly is the girl who refuses to be put in a box.

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Symphony In Blue by MJ Duncan

It was just supposed to be a working weekend in Maui and not anything remotely life-altering, but all that changes the moment Gwen Harrison holds a hotel elevator for Dana Ryan. Beautiful and charming, Dana is a breath of fresh air that Gwen is helpless to resist—something she dearly regrets when their whirlwind weekend is over and reality sets back in. The course of true love is notorious for being anything but smooth, but the truths and consequences of an inauspicious beginning such as theirs are enough to put that old adage to the ultimate test.

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Patience and Sarah by Alma Routsong (Isabel Miller)

A 1969 historical fiction novel with strong lesbian themes, using the pen name Isabel Miller. It was originally self-published under the title ‘A Place For Us’ and eventually found a publisher as ‘Patience and Sarah’ in 1971.
Routsong’s novel is based on a real-life painter named Mary Ann Willson who lived with her companion Miss Brundage as a “farmerette” in the early 19th century in Greene County, New York. Routsong said she came upon Willson’s work in a folk art museum in Cooperstown and was inspired to write the story after reading the description of Willson and Brundage. It tells the story of two women in Connecticut in 1816 who fall in love and decide to leave their homes to buy a farm in another state or territory and live in a Boston marriage. The story addresses the limited opportunities and roles of women in early America, gender expression, and the interpretation of religion in everyday life.

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Her Name In The Sky by Kelly Quindlen

Seventeen-year-old Hannah wants to spend her senior year of high school going to football games and Mardi Gras parties. She wants to drive along the oak-lined streets of Louisiana’s Garden District and lie on the hot sand of Florida’s beaches. She wants to spend every night making memories with her tight-knit group of friends. The last thing she wants is to fall in love with a girl, especially when that girl is her best friend, Baker.

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To Have Loved and Lost by Eliza Andrews

Alexis Woods knows who she is, or at least, she thought she did. She’s number 17, point guard, MVP, all-star, co-captain of the Lady Raiders NCAA Division I women’s basketball team. But there’s a darkness growing inside of her, a darkness that started the night her beloved died in her arms, and if she doesn’t turn things around soon, the darkness just might swallow her whole.

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Tropical Storm by Melissa Good

From best-selling author, Melissa Good comes a tale of heartache, longing, family strife, lust for love, and redemption. Tropical Storm took the lesbian reading world by storm when it was first written, and it hasn’t stopped entrancing audiences.
Dar Roberts, corporate raider for a multi-national tech company, is cold, practical, and merciless. She does her job with razor-sharp accuracy. Friends are a luxury she cannot allow herself, and love is something she knows she’ll never attain.
Kerry Stuart left Michigan for Florida in an attempt to get away from her domineering politician father and the constraints of the overly conservative life her family forced upon her. After college she worked her way into supervision at a small tech company, only to have it taken over by Dar Roberts’ organization. Her association with Dar begins in disbelief, hatred, and disappointment, but when Dar unexpectedly hires Kerry as her work assistant, the dynamics of their relationship change. Over time, a bond begins to form. But can Dar overcome years of habit and conditioning to open herself up to the uncertainty of love? And will Kerry escape from the clutches of her powerful father in order to live a better life? The answer to both questions is no – unless these two women can strengthen and cement the tenuous bond that forms between them. First, they must face storms that neither expects . . . and live to tell the tale.

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Affinity by Sarah Waters

The story of unmarried upper-class women, Margaret Prior, who starts visiting the Milibank Prison in 1870 set in Victorian-era England. She is an unhappy person, recovering from her father’s death and a failed suicide attempt. She becomes a ‘Lady Visitor’ of the prison hoping to escape her troubles and be a guiding figure in the lives of the female prisoners. As she peers through a flap in the door, she sees the sight of a young woman with a flower, she is reminded of a Carlo Crivelli painting. Of all the prisoners, she is most fascinated by the inmate with the flower, whom she learns to be Selina Dawes, medium of spirits. There are twists and turns in the story and lots of desire and passion. The book was also turned into a movie.

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Kiss the Girl by Melissa Brayden

Sleeping with the enemy has never been so complicated. Twenty-eight-year-old Brooklyn Campbell is having a bad day. A speeding ticket, a towed car, and a broken heel are all working against her laid-back vibe. To top it all off, her birth mother, whom she’s never met, has requested contact. The only bright spot is an impromptu date with a beautiful and mysterious brunette.
Jessica Lennox is what you would call a high-powered executive. She’s the head of a multimillion-dollar advertising firm in New York City, and it didn’t happen by accident. But when the blonde head turner from the wine bistro turns out to be her number one competitor, her life gets infinitely more complex.
Is New York big enough for both Brooklyn and Jessica? Maybe it’s just time they experienced it together…

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Poppy Jenkins by Clare Ashton

Poppy Jenkins makes everyone smile. She’s the heart of Wells, a beautiful village in mid-Wales, leaving light and laughter in her wake. She has a doting family, an errant dog and a little sister with a nose for mischief. But she’s the only gay in the village and it’s a long time since she kissed a girl: the chance of romance in sleepy Wells is rarer than a barking sheep.
If she doesn’t think too hard, life is cozy, until a smart sports car barrels into town with the last woman Poppy wants to see behind the wheel. Beautiful Rosalyn Thorn was once Poppy’s high school BFF even though she was trouble. Then one day she abandoned Wells and Poppy without explanation. Now the highflier is back and bound to cause fresh havoc in the village and with Poppy’s heart; folk are not happy.
Wells needs to wake up to the 21st century and Rosalyn can help, but old prejudices die hard. If they can be friends it could be the chance to make everyone’s happy ever after. Couldn’t it?

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Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson

Published in 1985, this novel was eventually turned into a BBC television drama of the same name. ‘Oranges are not the only fruit’ is a popular coming-of-age story about a lesbian girl who grows up in an English Pentecostal community. Key themes of the book include the transition from youth to adulthood, complex family relationships, same-sex relationships, and religion.

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The Microcosm by Maureen Duffy

At the House of Shades, Matt, a bar-room philosopher, tries to make sense of the disparate lives which cross here — of Judy who saves herself and her finery for a Saturday night lover, of Steve the gym teacher who dreads a chance encounter with a pupil in this twilight environment, and of Matt herself, who needs these vicarious exchanges despite the security of her relationship with Rae and her sense that this lesbian sanctuary is a prison too, enforcing the guilt and estrangement of the city streets beyond.
Elsewhere there are women such as Marie, trapped within an unwanted marriage and unable to admit her sexuality, and Cathy, for whom the discovery that she is not ‘the only one in the world’ is an affirmation of her existence. With its innovative structure and style, perfectly mirroring the voices and experiences of women forced by society to live on the margins, The Microcosm remains as powerful today as when originally published in 1966.

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Dare Truth or Promise by Paula Boock

Willa and Louie could not be more different. Louie wants to be a lawyer and is an outstanding student. Willa lives in a pub and just wants to get through the year so she can graduate and become a chef. But they are completely attracted to one another when they first meet at a fast-food restaurant. Soon they fall in love fast and furiously, and everything the girls are sure of – their plans, their faith, their families, their identities – is called into question…

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Sudden death by Rita Mae Brown

Outrageous, irrepressible and endlessly entertaining, the bestselling author of ‘Rubyfruit Jungle’ and Bingo, Rita Mae Brown, spins a behind-the-scenes tale of women’s professional tennis that dramatically intertwines the heart-stopping excitement of competition and the lingering heartache of intimate human bonds. Carmen Semanan loves three things passionately: tennis, money, and professor Harriet Rawls. Just twenty-four, Carmen is at her peak as one of the world’s top-seeded tennis champions, determined to win the coveted Grand Slam. She is protected from everything but the grueling demands of her sport by an avaricious agent and her devoted gusty Harriet. All the odds are in her favor. But there are weeds growing in her paradise patch. Carmen’s very latin brother, Miguel, parlays her success into a financial house of cards with deals that include smuggling, forgery, and fraud. Susan Reilly, Carmen’s archrival, and former lover, leaks word of Carmen’s relationship with Harriet to the press–and tennis’s best-kept secret is blown into a front-page scandal. From the French Open to Wimbledon, jealousies, ambitions, and passions are set to explode. Now, with everything she cherishes on the line, Carmen must test the true depths of her feelings-both on and off the court.

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Eating Life by Beth Burnett

Carefree and irrepressible, Casey Wilde has spent her life running. Running from love, running from responsibility, and running from commitment. Megan Woodson, Casey’s best friend, has spent her life building security with a long-term partner and a well-paying, highly respected position in the best ad agency in Memphis. Ben Stagg is a man who has lost everything, including the desire to live. And Brilliant Wilson is a photographer who can’t quite figure out why she keeps dating women who don’t love her. Faced with painful and pressing decisions, the group is forced to confront their own life choices. When their worlds collide and everything starts to fall apart, these friends must learn that the only important decision is the one to follow their hearts.

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It Takes Two by Harper Bliss

Ella and Kay are living happily ever after in Northville, but when Kay asks Ella to marry her, their happiness is threatened by Ella’s past. Will Ella be able to overcome her fear of tying the knot and give Kay what she wants more than anything? Find out in this sequel to Amazon No.1 best-seller At the Water’s Edge.
It Takes Two is a 15.000 words lesbian romance novelette and the sequel to At the Water’s Edge.

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Nightwood by Djuna Barnes

Nightwood was first published in London by Faber and Faber in 1936. The novel is one of the earliest prominent novels to portray explicit homosexuality between women and can be considered lesbian literature.
It is also notable for its intense, gothic prose style. The novel employs modernist techniques such as its unusual form or narrative and can be considered metafiction, and it was praised by other modernist authors including T.S.Eliot, who wrote an introduction included in the 1937 edition published by Harcourt Brace.

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The Chinese Garden by Rosemary Manning

At the Bampford School for Girls, conditions are Spartan, discipline is fierce, and love between students is the ultimate crime. Here, 16-year-old Rachel becomes trapped in a tangle of passions she does not fully understand, caught between a formidable headmistress and a passionate and defiant classmate.

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Keeping You a Secret by Julie Anne Peters

This novel is about a young girl (Holland, aged 17) who is discovering her sexuality and what it is like to experience homophobia. What starts out as a confusing “girl crush” becomes a discovery of Holland’s true feelings and coping with the concept of the attraction to a member of her own sex. Other characters in the novel discover her crush and employ various means of physical and emotional abuse and violence, displaying strong homophobic behaviors.

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Annie On My Mind by Nancy Garden

A 1982 novel about the romantic relationship between two 17-year-old New York City girls, Annie and Liza whose friendship blossoms into love and who, despite pressures from family and school that threaten their relationship, promise to be true to each other and their feelings.

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And Playing the Role of Herself by K.E. Lane

Actress Caidence Harris is living her dream after landing a leading role among the star-studded, veteran cast of 9th Precinct, a hot new police drama shot on location in glitzy Los Angeles. Her sometimes-costar Robyn Ward is magnetic, glamorous, and devastatingly beautiful, the quintessential A-List celebrity on the fast-track to super-stardom. When the two meet on the set of 9th Precinct, Caid is instantly infatuated but settles for friendship, positive that Robyn is both unavailable and uninterested. Soon Caid sees that all is not as it appears, but can she take a chance and risk her heart when the outcome is so uncertain?

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Ash by Melinda Lo

Ash is a teenage girl whose loving father has died, leaving her alone with her cruel and violent stepmother. Ash’s sole source of comfort is reading fairy tales by firelight each night. Ash wishes that fairies will take her away to their world where all her dreams will come true just like she once wished as a little girl. One night, the mysterious and sinister fairy prince Sidhean finds Ash and prepares her to enter fairyland. But shortly thereafter, Ash meets Kaisa—a noblewoman and the King’s Huntress. Ash and Kaisa not only form an immediate and deep friendship, but Ash begins to fall in love with the beautiful, strong woman. Ash’s feelings seem to be reciprocated, but Sidhean returns to claim what he says is rightfully his due, and a battle for Ash’s body and soul pushes Ash to the brink.

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Strawberry Summer by Melissa Brayden

Margaret Beringer didn’t have an easy adolescence. She hated her name, was less than popular in school and was always cast aside as the “farm kid.” However, with the arrival of Courtney Carrington, Margaret’s youth sparked into color. Courtney was smart, beautiful, and everything Margaret wasn’t. Who would have imagined that they’d fit together so perfectly? But first loves can scar. Margaret hasn’t seen Courtney in years and that’s for the best. But when Courtney loses her father and returns to Tanner Peak to take control of the family store, Margaret comes face-to-face with her past and the woman she’s tried desperately to forget. The fact that Courtney has grown up more beautiful than ever certainly doesn’t help matters.

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The Wanderground by Sally Miller Gearhart

Gearhart’s first and most famous novel continues to be used in Women’s Studies classes as a characteristic example of the separatist feminism movement from the 1970s.
The Wanderground is set in the United States, in the future, although no date is given. The stories focus on the hill women, a group of women who have fled from the men-ruled cities to the wilderness, where they live in all-women communities in harmony with each other and the natural world. The hill women have psychic powers that they use to communicate with each other and with animals, and to move through the world. The main narrative that weaves throughout almost all of the stories, is caused by some kind of shift in the cosmic balance between the hill women and the cities. Rumors are whispered, things are getting worse for women in the cities. As the stories build on each other, subtle remarks are made about how things are getting worse, the cities are becoming even more controlling, it is more dangerous for the women underground, men are appearing outside of the cities, even to the point of rapes occurring in the borderlands. Something is changing. The tension finally comes to the foreground when the gentles (gay men, who have the greatest respect for all women, especially the hill women) request a meeting with the hill women. The message is smuggled out of the city, and a great discussion begins. Even though the gentles are considered to be allies of the hill women, they are still men, and this mixed status of ally and enemy causes a great debate.

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The Kiva and the Mosque by Kayt Peck

In a troubled world, answers rarely come from where they are expected. The need for answers to save a troubled humanity forces Kidwell Brown and Aisha Sudda, two total strangers, into roles they could never have anticipated. Kidwell and her life-partner, Anna Montoya, live a quiet life in their mountain home until the day Kidwell is drawn to visit the ceremonial cave at Bandelier National Monument. Hundreds of miles away, Aisha Sudda Fletcher lives another quiet existence, along with her husband, Greg, until the day she is drawn to visit a garden beside a vandalized mosque.
On that day, both Kidwell and Aisha are chosen. These humble women soon learn that the time of prophets has not yet passed. During mystical moments, each woman is given a message – “Desert Lightning has no power” to Kidwell, and “The scimitar has no edge,” to Aisha. They each pass along the message as instructed, neither realizing they have predicted important moments in world history.
Their mystical guides direct the women to “find their allies,” and so the lives of Kidwell, Aisha, Anna, and Greg are forever intertwined. They will face victory and exile, mystery and certainty.
In the end, the very nature of humanity proves to be the world in which they must fight and survive.

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Two Serious Ladies by Jane Bowels

Eccentric, adventurous Christina Goering meets the anxious but equally enterprising Mrs. Copperfield at a party.
Two serious ladies who want to live outside of themselves, they go in search of salvation. Mrs. Copperfield visits Panama with her husband, where she finds solace among the women who live and work in its brothels, while Miss Goering becomes involved with various men. At the end the two women meet again, each changed by her experience.
Mysterious, profound, anarchic and very funny, ‘Two Serious Ladies’ is a daring, original work that defies analysis.

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First Position by Melissa Brayden

Anastasia Mikhelson is the rising star of the New York City Ballet. She’s sacrificed creature comforts, a social life, as well as her own physical well-being for perfection in dance. Even her reputation as The Ice Queen doesn’t faze her. Though Ana’s at the peak of her career, competition from a new and noteworthy dancer puts all she’s worked for in jeopardy.
While Natalie Frederico has shown herself to be a prodigy when it comes to ballet, she much prefers modern dance and living on her own terms. Life is too short for anything else. However, when the opportunity to dance with the New York City Ballet is thrust upon her, it’s not like she could say no. Dealing with the company’s uptight lead is another story, however. When the two are forced to work side-by-side, sparks begin to fly onstage and off.

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All that matters by Susan X. Meagher

Life is going damned well for Blair Spencer. She’s a very successful real estate agent, happily married to a man who encourages her to live the independent life she loves, and they’re actively working to have a baby.
The wrench in the works is that Blair favors adoption, while her husband David desperately wants to have a biological child. The fates are against them, and they finally seek the help of a group of reproductive specialists. One of the doctors, a surgeon named Kylie Mackenzie, eventually becomes a good friend to Blair. And she needs all of the friends she can get when things start to go horribly wrong at home. As her marriage teeters on the brink of collapse, she relies more and more on Kylie’s friendship.
Kylie’s happily gay, Blair’s happily straight. But the way they structure their relationship leads friends and family to privately question whether the pair is setting themselves up for heartache. They eventually come to a crossroads, which could either destroy their friendship or turn it into what each of them has been seeking. The question is whether each woman can change her view of herself and her needs. The answer is all that matters.

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A Heart Well Traveled (edited by Sallyanne Monti)

Discover the many facets of romantic relationships as authors in volume one of, A Heart Well Traveled, unravel the trials and tribulations of long distance love affairs. Each author, with their own unique style of storytelling, will leave the reader begging for more. Go from wild rides to gentle love stories, exploring the twists and turns lovers go through as they work to be together despite the distance between them.
Explore bonds beyond friendship, chance meetings, family drama, gender complexity, longstanding love and unexpected passion as lovers seek their happily ever after.
A Heart Well Traveled is a collection of short stories where women who love woman share the joys and challenges of long distance relationships.
Can love really conquer all?

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Lily’s Fire by Lise Gold

Lily, a heartbroken editor from London, has just learned the hard way that love is unpredictable. After finding her fiancee entangled with another woman, she travels to Bali to recover from her failed relationship. River is a womanizing artist with a troubled past and serious commitment issues. She traded a successful career in L.A. for a quiet, anonymous life in Bali where she works as a tour guide on weekends. After the two meet on an excursion led by River, Lily is shocked to find herself curiously drawn to her new friend. Lily has never been involved with a woman before but she can’t seem to get the charming and persuasive blonde out of her head. Is this newly awakened fire just a moment in time? Or has destiny led them exactly where they needed to be?

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Non-Fiction Lesbian Books

The Girls: Sappho Goes to Hollywood by Diana McLellan

Sappho was an iconic lesbian figure active in the year 630-570 BC. She was an archaic Greek poet from the island of Lesbos writing lyric poetry on love and women, though the book isn’t primarily focused on Sappho herself, it looks at the history of Hollywood and lesbian covering the tightly interwoven lives of Hollywood goddesses, Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, and Tallulah Bankhead. This book lifts the veil from the lives of Hollywood’s most powerful and uninhibited goddesses.

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Natalie and Romaine by Diana Souhami

The Natalie and Romaine book is an account of the life and love of Natalie Clifford Barney and Romain Brooks. Natalie Barney was both a poet and a prose writer, who was famous for her weekly salons, which gathered together many of the twentieth century’s greatest artists and writers from the Western world. She is celebrated for openly living and writing as a lesbian during a time when women’s behavior was closely circumscribed. Barney is also known as “the Amazon,” a nickname given to her by the poet Remy de Gourmont after she made headlines for riding a horse astride, rather than sidesaddle, which was customary. In French, “l’Amazone” means both horse rider and Amazon, the warrior women of Greek mythology.

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The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister

Anne Lister (1791–1840) was a well-off English (Yorkshire) landowner, diarist, mountaineer, and traveler. Throughout her life, she kept diaries that chronicled the details of her daily life, including her lesbian relationships, financial concerns, her industrial activities and her work improving Shibden Hall. Her diaries contain more than 4,000,000 words and about a sixth of them listed the intimate details of her romantic and sexual relationships and were written in code. The code, derived from a combination of algebra and Ancient Greek, was deciphered in the 1980s.
Lister is often called “the first modern lesbian” for her clear self-knowledge and openly lesbian lifestyle. Called “Fred” by her lover and “Gentleman Jack” by Halifax residents, she suffered from harassment for her sexuality and recognized her similarity to the Ladies of Llangollen, whom she visited. Anne died at the aged of 49 of a fever. James Kent directed a movie “The secret diaries of Miss Anne Lister” based on the novel:

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Stonewall: The riots that sparked the gay revolution by David Carter

A revealing account of how the Stonewall riots in New York City changed gay rights forever. David Carter not only gives the definitive examination of the riots but lists an absorbing history of pre-Stonewall America, and how the oppression and pent-up rage of those years finally ignited on a hot New York night.

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The Celluloid Closet by Vito Russo

The Celluloid Closet is a book that was also turned into a documentary back in 1995. This documentary highlights the historical contexts that gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgenders have occupied in cinema history, and shows the evolution of the entertainment industry’s role in shaping perceptions of LGBT figures. The issues addressed include secrecy, which initially defined homosexuality, as well as the demonization of the homosexual community with the advent of AIDS, and finally the shift toward acceptance and positivity in the modern era.

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Chocolates for Breakfast by Pamela Moore

A 1956 American novel written by Pamela Moore. Originally published in 1956 when Moore was eighteen years old, the novel gained notoriety from readers and critics for its frank depiction of teenage sexuality, and its discussion of the taboo topics of homosexuality and gender roles. The plot focuses on fifteen-year-old Courtney Farrell and her destructive upbringing between her father, a wealthy Manhattan publisher, and her mother, a faltering Hollywood actress.

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Empty Without You: The Intimate Letters Of Eleanor Roosevelt And Lorena Hickok by Roger Streitmatter

Eleanor Roosevelt (1884–1962) was not only the longest-serving American First Lady (1933-1945) but she was also as one of history’s most politically impactful, a fierce champion of working women and underprivileged youth. Her personal life has mostly been the subject of lasting controversy.
In the summer of 1928, Roosevelt met journalist Lorena Hickok, whom she would come to refer to as Hick. The thirty-year relationship that ensued has remained the subject of much speculation, from the evening of FDR’s inauguration, when the First Lady was seen wearing a sapphire ring Hickok had given her, to the opening up of her private correspondence archives in 1998. Though many of the most explicit letters had been burned, the 300 published in “Empty Without You: The Intimate Letters Of Eleanor Roosevelt And Lorena Hickok” — at once less unequivocal than history’s most revealing woman-to-woman love letters and more suggestive than those of great female platonic friendships — strongly indicate the relationship between Roosevelt and Hickok had been one of great romantic intensity.

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Zami: A New Spelling of My Name by Audre Lorde

Zami is a fast-moving chronicle. From the author’s vivid childhood memories in Harlem to her coming of age in the late 1950s, the nature of Audre Lorde’s work is cyclical. It especially relates the linkage of women who have shaped her. Lorde brings into play her craft of lush description and characterization. It keeps unfolding page after page.
In this classic autobiography, Audre Lorde combines elements of history, biography, and myth to tell her own story. A young black girl grows up in thirties Harlem, a teenager lives through Pearl Harbour, a young woman experiences McCarthyism in fifties Greenwich Village. In and out of this lyrical chronicle move the women – mothers, lovers, friends – who are zami: ‘Every woman I have ever loved has left her print upon on me, where I loved some invaluable piece of myself apart from me – so different that I had to stretch and grow in order to recognise her’.

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Surviving Madness by Betty Berzon

Eleanor Roosevelt, Anais Nin, Edith Sitwell, Evelyn Hooker, Paul Monette—such luminaries are only some of the fellow trailblazers whose paths intersected with Betty Berzon in this amazing memoir of the life of one of the most vital and fascinating of our LGBT pioneers.
Surviving Madness unveils the dramatic story of an emergence from mental breakdown and suicide attempts to coming out as a lesbian at age forty, followed by the discovery of life-long love, the triumphant rise to becoming a groundbreaking therapist and a courageous, passionate, resolute activist–and the pioneering author of such classic books on lesbian and gay relationships as Permanent Partners and Positively Gay.
Surviving Madness is the transcendent story of a woman central to the reach for LGBT civil rights in the twentieth century, whose drama-charged life changed forever our own lives today.

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The Stone Wall an autobiography by Mary Casal

The Stone Wall is something of a landmark in American LGBT history, perhaps the first autobiography in which the author openly acknowledges her attraction to another woman and their long and happy partnership. Born and raised on a New England farm to a family with deep Puritan roots, Casal recalls having to defend herself from sexual assault from hired hands and other men while still a teen.
She began to realize her feelings towards women early on and had her first physical contact (kisses and hugs) with another woman while in college. She felt great pressure to conform to conventions and even married a man, an entirely unsatisfying experience that ended in divorce after she gave birth to a stillborn child and, in her grief, fled to New York City. There, she came to peace with her feelings for the first time: “My city contact had caused me to look at myself less and less as a sexual monstrosity.” She writes candidly of the practical difficulties of finding ways to spend time with another woman in public, given the rigid social customs of the time, let alone taking the risk to express her feelings. It was not until she was in her thirties that she met her long-term lover, Juno, and they set up house together in an apartment in Greenwich Village.

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The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas by Gertrude Stein

Alice B. Toklas was an American-born member of the Parisian avant-garde of the early 20th century, and the life partner of American writer Gertrude Stein. Although Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas both grew up in California, they met in Paris in 1907. By that time, Stein had been living in Paris with her brother, artist Leo Stein, for four years; their flat at 27 rue de Fleurus had become home to a remarkable collection of modern art, as well as a lively salon. It was during these early years in Paris that Stein began to write, publishing her important early work Three Lives (Dover Thrift Editions)Three Lives (1905).
When Stein and Toklas met, the connection between them was immediate, and Toklas soon moved in and became Stein’s partner. The two presided over one of the most famous salons in Paris, and their home became a gathering place for avant-garde writers and artists. Stein helped to launch the careers of Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso, among others, and she attempted to translate their experiments in art into writing. Much of her work, therefore, rejects traditional linear narrative structure in favor of a more fractured form. Although Stein was a formidable figure among the Paris modernists and highly regarded among the writers who visited her, most critics and audiences found her work too dense and difficult. It was only with the publication in 1933 of The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas that Stein reached a wider audience, and she and Toklas became literary celebrities.
In 1998, Modern Library ranked The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas as one of the 20 greatest English-language nonfiction books of the 20th century.

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Sex Variant Woman: The Life of Jeanette Howard Foster by Joanne Passet

In 1956 a former librarian of the Kinsey Institute published the pioneering bibliography ‘Sex Variant Women in Literature’, listing “2,500 years worth of writings about love and sex between women.” Editions later, Jeannette Foster received a 1974 Stonewall Book Award for what is considered a cornerstone of gay-studies collections. In her detailed biography of Foster, Passet thoroughly explores the circumstances for gays in mid- to late-twentieth-century America, revealing, as may be expected, a not-always-pretty picture. Foster chose the term sex variant consciously, to “help in destigmatizing women who chose to live as bisexuals, cross-dressers, and lesbians,” and as a reaction to the Library of Congress’ policy then of assigning the subject heading sex deviate to works such as hers. (That cataloging policy no longer obtains, and LC’s online database yields no hits, not even from the “old catalog,” for sex deviates as a subject.) As a story of an important figure in gay literary studies as well as librarianship, this is a desirable title for many collections.

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A Woman Like That by Joan Larkin

The act of “coming out” has the power to transform every aspect of a woman’s life: family, friendships, career, sexuality, spirituality. An essential element of self-realization, it is the unabashed acceptance of one’s “outlaw” standing in a predominantly heterosexual world.
These accounts — sometimes heart-wrenching, often exhilarating — encompass a wide breadth of backgrounds and experiences. From a teenager institutionalized for her passion for women to the mother who must come out to her young sons at the risk of losing them — from the cautious academic to the raucous liberated femme — each woman represented here tells of forging a unique path toward the difficult but emancipating recognition of herself. Extending from the 1940s to the present day, these intensely personal stories, in turn, reflect a unique history of the changing social mores that affected each woman’s ability to determine the shape of her own life. Together they form an ornate tapestry of lesbian and bisexual experience in the United States over the past half-century.

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Lesbian Nuns: Breaking Silence by Rosemary Curb and Nancy Manahan

Originally published in 1985, this book brings accounts of 51 lesbian nuns who discuss their lives in and away from the convent and reveal their inner struggle to reconcile an unconventional sexuality with religious devotion and the sanctity of their vows.

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Paris was a Woman by Andrea Weiss

A dazzling portrait of the creative community of women writers, artists, photographers and editors who flocked to Paris in the early decades of the 20th century, when Paris was the undisputed cultural capital of the world. Using groundbreaking research and newly discovered home movies, ‘Paris Was a Woman’ uses intimate storytelling to weave interview with an anecdote. The film recreates the mood and flavor of the female artistic community in the City of Light during its most magical era.
Included in this milieu are authors Colette, Djuna Barnes and Gertrude Stein, poets HD and Natalie Clifford Barney, painters Romaine Brooks and Marie Laurencin, editors Bryher, Alice B. Toklas, Margaret Anderson and Jane Heap, photographers Berenice Abbott and Gisele Freund, booksellers Sylvia Beach and Adrienne Monnier, and journalist Janet Flanner.

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The Lesbian Path by Margaret Cruikshank

For this new edition of her landmark collection of lesbian lives, Margaret Cruikshank has added an interview with May Sarton and texts by Beth Brant, Elsa Gidlow, Judy Grahn and Jane Rule. Praise for the first edition: “The Lesbian Path to self-affirmation is a journey of adventure, excitement, and passion. These stories provide entertainment, escape, reassurance, and a well-marked trail of shared experiences. A most positive, enjoyable anthology of true stories from lesbians’ lives.” – Maida Tilchen, Gay Community News.

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Vampires and Violets: Lesbians in the Cinema by Andrea Weiss

The story of lesbians and the cinema is a love-hate affair in which the invisible becomes visible in fascinating and surprising ways. The lesbian vampire, for instance, cinema’s most persistent lesbian character, acts out male fantasies of sexual challenge and titillation, but she is also an agent of female desire that is both dangerous and excessive. Gossip and camp have enabled the stars, Dietrich, Garbo, Hepburn to hold particular, magical appeal for lesbian filmgoers.
Andrea Weiss follows the lesbian character in Hollywood films, from Dorothy Arzner’s The Wild Party, through The Children’s Hour, Rebecca, Silkwood, and The Color Purple. She explores lesbian sexuality in European art cinema and modern independent work by lesbian filmmakers. With wit, insight, and liberal illustration she brings into her discussion a wide range of films, both popular and forgotten, as well as the work of contemporary directors Chantal Akerman, Su Friedrich, Ulrike Ottinger, and many others.

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Queerly Beloved by Diane & Jacob Anderson-Minshall

Imagine if, after fifteen years as a lesbian couple, your partner turned to you and said, “I think I’m really a man.” What would you do? How would you respond? For Diane and Jacob (née Suzy) Anderson-Minshall this isn’t a hypothetical question. It’s what really happened. Eight years later, the couple not only remains together, they still identify as queer, still work in LGBT media, and remain part of the LGBT community. How did their relationship survive a gender transition? The authors explore this question and delve into their relationship to reveal the trials and tribulations they have faced along the way. In doing so, they paint a portrait of love, not only to each other, but to the San Francisco Bay Area, LGBT publishing, and the queer community. Queerly Beloved is a love story that flies in the face of expectations and raises questions about the true nature of identity, sexuality, and love.

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Here lies the heart by Mercedes De Acosta

Mercedes de Acosta (March 1, 1893 – May 9, 1968) was an American poet, playwright, and novelist. In 1960, when she was diagnosed with a brain tumor and she was in desperate need of money, she published her memoir, Here Lies the Heart. The book was well-received by critics and many close friends praised the book. The book’s implied homosexuality resulted in the severance of several friendships with women who felt she had betrayed their sexuality. Eva Le Gallienne, in particular, was furious, denouncing De Acosta as a liar and stating that she invented the stories for fame. Four of de Acosta’s plays were produced, and she published a novel and three volumes of poetry. She was professionally unsuccessful but is known for her many lesbian affairs with famous Broadway and Hollywood personalities and numerous friendships with prominent artists of the period.

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Leaving Normal: Adventures in Gender by Rae Theodore

A literary memoir that takes an unflinching, humorous and sometimes heartbreaking look at living as a masculine-centered woman in a pink/blue, boy-girl, M/F world. It’s a story for anyone who has ever felt different, especially those living in the gender margins without a rulebook.

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An American Queer by Lee Lynch

This collection of Lee Lynch’s columns chronicles over a quarter century of queer life in the United States, from the last decades of the twentieth century into the twenty-first.
“From the beginning of my writing career, I just wanted to write about lesbian/gay life as I experienced it. Like so many, I came from a place of great isolation. At the same time, being gay filled me with great pride and joy. Writers Jane Rule, Isabelle Miller, Radclyffe Hall, Valerie Taylor, Ann Bannon, and Vin Packer gave me inspiration and even the lesbian companionship I needed as a baby dyke. More than anything, I want to give to gay people what those writers gave me. And I want to do it well enough that my words might someday be considered literature and, as such, might endure because, as open as some societies have become, there are always haters, and cycles of oppression. Our writers strengthen us, offer a sense of solidarity and validation that we are both more than our sexualities and are among the best that humanity offers.”

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An Intimate Wilderness: Lesbian Writers on Sexuality by Judith Barrington

Essays, stories, and poems explore questions of definition, vocabulary, history, possibility, and meaning, bringing together many of the best contemporary lesbian writers. “A refreshingly honest treatment of a complex subject.”–Library Journal “A wide and useful collection.”–Booklist

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Passions Between Women by Emma Donoghue

This book brings stories of lesbian desires, acts, and identities from the Restoration to the beginning of the 19th century. Far from being invisible, the figure of the woman who felt passion for women in this period was a subject of confusion and contradiction: she could be put in a freak show as a ‘hermaphrodite’, denounced as a ‘tribade’ or ‘lesbian’, revered as a ‘romantic friend’, jailed as a ‘female husband’ or gossiped about as a ‘woman-lover’, ‘Tommy’ or ‘Sapphist’.
Through an examination of a wealth of new medical, legal and erotic source material, together with re-readings of classics of English literature, Emma Donoghue uncovers the astonishing range of lesbian and bisexual identities described in British texts between 1668 and 1801. Female pirates and spiritual mentors, chambermaids and queens, poets and prostitutes, country idylls and whipping clubs all take their place in an intriguing panorama of lesbian lives and loves.’Controversial, erotic and radical, Emma Donoghue’s lesbian voyage of exploration outlines an astonishing spectrum of gender rebellion which creates a new map of eighteenth-century sexual territories and identities.

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A Restricted Country by Joan Nestle

A proud working class woman, an “out” lesbian long before the Rainbow revolution, Joan Nestle has stood at the forefront of American freedom struggles from the McCarthy era to the present day. Available for the first time in years, this revised classic collection of personal essays offers an intimate account of the lesbian, feminist, and civil rights movements.

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Sapphistries: A Global History of Love Between Women by Leila J. Rupp

From the ancient poet Sappho to tombois in contemporary Indonesia, women throughout history and around the globe have desired, loved, and had sex with other women. In beautiful prose, Sapphistries tells their stories, capturing the multitude of ways that diverse societies have shaped female same-sex sexuality across time and place.
Leila J. Rupp reveals how, from the time of the very earliest societies, the possibility of love between women has been known, even when it is feared, ignored, or denied. We hear women in the sex-segregated spaces of convents and harems whispering words of love. We see women beginning to find each other on the streets of London and Amsterdam, in the aristocratic circles of Paris, in the factories of Shanghai. We find women’s desire and love for women meeting the light of day as Japanese schoolgirls fall in love, and lesbian bars and clubs spread from 1920s Berlin to 1950s Buffalo. And we encounter a world of difference in the twenty-first century, as transnational concepts and lesbian identities meet local understandings of how two women might love each other.
Giving voice to words from the mouths and pens of women, and from men’s prohibitions, reports, literature, art, imaginings, pornography, and court cases, Rupp also creatively employs fiction to imagine possibilities when there is no historical evidence. Sapphistries combines lyrical narrative with meticulous historical research, providing an eminently readable and uniquely sweeping story of desire, love, and sex between women around the globe from the beginning of time to the present.

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Your Story Matters … (Tell It) by Linda Bunker

In 1958, a girl of sixteen met a woman of twenty-four. Against all odds and self-inflicted restraints, they selfishly allowed themselves to fall passionately in love. Fifty-five years later they find themselves still sharing this “secret” love. They have decided that now is the time to come “out of the closet.”

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Fun Home, A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel

Fun Home, A Family Tragicomic is a 2006 graphic memoir by American cartoonist Alison Bechdel, author of the comic strip ‘Dykes to Watch Out For’. It chronicles Bechdel’s childhood and youth in rural Pennsylvania, United States, focusing on her complex relationship with her father. The book addresses themes of sexual orientation, gender roles, suicide, emotional abuse, dysfunctional family life, and the role of literature in understanding oneself and one’s family. Writing and illustrating ‘Fun Home, A Family Tragicomic’ took seven years, in part because of Bechdel’s laborious artistic process, which includes photographing herself in poses for each human figure.

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The Femme Mystique by Lesléa Newman

A fascinating and insightful look at the world of femme identity within the lesbian community. Written by femmes, former femmes, future femmes, femme wanna-bes, femme admirers, and of course, femmes fatales, The Femme Mystique explores what it means to be a femme and a lesbian in a society that often trivializes the feminine.

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Out: A Courageous Woman’s Journey by Lou Anne Smoot

Lou Anne fell in love with Karen in 1956 when they were both 17 and freshmen at Baylor University. Her parents told her the relationship was sinful and unacceptable. Seeing no other option, she followed their direction, married, and remained faithful to her husband for 37 years.
At age 60, after an incident in her Baptist Sunday School class, Lou Anne could no longer pretend to be straight. Her struggles to reconcile her faith with being gay take her into the depths of depression. After divorcing and coming out, Lou Anne remained in her Baptist church for an additional fifteen years both to be true to her faith tradition and as an example of a gay Christian. She emerges as an outspoken advocate for gay rights.
This story of a retired teacher, mother of four, grandmother of six is told in an unprecedented, brutally honest manner.

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Skin: Talking about Sex, Class and Literature by Dorothy Allison

A fantastic collection of essays, autobiographical narratives, and performance pieces, including updated versions of earlier groundbreaking material with provocative new work by the lifelong feminist activist, controversial sex radical, and Southern expatriate writer with an attitude who brought us Bastard Out of Carolina, Trash, and The Women Who Hate Me. Funny, passionate, and compelling prose on what it means to be queer and happy about it in a world that is still arguing about what it means to be queer.

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Baby, You Are My Religion: Women, Gay Bars, and Theology Before Stonewall by Marie Cartier

‘Baby, You Are My Religion’ argues that American butch-femme bar culture of the mid-20th Century should be interpreted as a sacred space for its community. Before Stonewall — when homosexuals were still deemed mentally ill — these bars were the only place where many could have any community at all.
‘Baby, You are My Religion’ explores this community as a site of a lived corporeal theology and political space. It reveals that religious institutions such as the Metropolitan Community Church were founded in such bars, that traditional and non-traditional religious activities took place there, and religious ceremonies such as marriage were often conducted within the bars by staff. Baby, You are My Religion examines how these bars became not only ecclesiastical sites but also provided the fertile ground for the birth of the struggle for gay and lesbian civil rights before Stonewall.

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Odd Girls and Twilight Lovers: A History of Lesbian Life in Twentieth-Century America by Lillian Faderman

Lillian Faderman tells the compelling story of lesbian life in the 20th century, from the early 1900s to today’s diverse lifestyles. Using journals, unpublished manuscripts, songs, news accounts, novels, medical literature, and numerous interviews, she relates an often surprising narrative of lesbian life. “A key work…the point of reference from which all subsequent studies of 20th-century lesbian life in the United States will begin.”— San Francisco Examiner.

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Boots of Leather, Slippers of Gold: The History of a Lesbian Community by Elizabeth Lapovsky Kennedy, Madeline D. Davis

This ground-breaking book traces the emergence and growth of a lesbian community in Buffalo, New York, from the mid-1930s to the early 1960s. Based on thirteen years of research and drawing upon the oral histories of forty-five women, authors Kennedy and Davis explore butch-femme roles, coming out, women who passed as men, motherhood, aging, racism, and the courage and pride of the working-class lesbians of Buffalo who, by confronting incredible oppression and violence, helped to pave the way for the gay and lesbian liberation movements of the 1970s and 1980s. Boots of Leather, Slippers of Gold captures the full complexity of lesbian culture; it is a compassionate history of real people fighting for respect and a place to love without fear of persecution.

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For Lesbians Only: A Separatist Anthology by Sarah Lucia Hoagland

These essays from more than 70 contributors: novelists, musicians, poets, philosophers, academics and seriously, rowdy dykes document 20 years of lesbian activism.

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Surpassing the Love of Men: Romantic Friendship and Love Between Women from the Renaissance to the Present by Lillian Faderman

A classic of its kind, this fascinating cultural history draws on everything from private correspondence to pornography to explore five hundred years of friendship and love between women. Surpassing the Love of Men throws a new light on shifting theories of female sexuality and the changing status of women over the centuries.

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Tea Leaves by Janet Mason

In this forthright personal memoir, author and poet Janet Mason reflects on the factory-worker lives of her mother and grandmother in working-class Philadelphia while she copes with her mother’s final illness. Her mother’s feminist example and unwavering support of a lesbian daughter become increasingly poignant as Janet explores the choices not open to her mother that she made for herself.
Equally pressing is the sheer labor of dealing with medical misdiagnosis and subsequent treatment of her mother, and the toll it takes on her own relationship as she spends increasing hours in conversation with the woman who gave her life.
Tea Leaves is about daughters, mothers and women, their choices, and the never-ending circles of their entwined lives.

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Just Lucky I Guess: From Closet Lesbian to Radical Dyke by Elaine Mikels

Elaine Mikels is not a professional writer, which makes her wonderful book of memoirs, ‘Just Lucky I Guess’, all the more truthful, unadorned and moving. Mikels lived through crucial epochs in lesbian history: The McCarthy era (in which she lost her job because she was a lesbian) the butch-femme bar scene of the 1950s, the rise of feminism and lesbian-feminism in the 1960s and ’70s and the changes those movements wrought in the ’80s and ’90s. Throughout the last half-century, her lesbianism came together with her life as a social activist and a world traveler. In her seventies, Mikels looked back on her rich and diverse adventures, on her triumphs through adversities, on all that she has learned and as the title of her memories suggests, can characterize her lesbian life as “lucky”. She is truly a hero. Elaine Mikels passed away on Feb 16th, 2004 and these copies of her book will be the last sold.

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Credit to Amazon, Lesbian Movies and Books, GoodReads, Google Books, Bella Books and Bold Stroke Books for synopsis and descriptions. The Amazon links are affiliated which helps support the hosting and resource funding of Round The World Magazine.




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