Lesbian Non-Fiction Books
After lots of research and lots of reading, we have devised a list of the best lesbian non-fiction books we could find.
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.
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. A good lesbian non-fiction for creative art and history.
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. One of the best lesbian books from Britain. James Kent directed a movie “The secret diaries of Miss Anne Lister” based on the novel.
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.
The Celluloid Closet by Vito Russo
The Celluloid Closet is a non-fiction lesbian 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.
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.
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.
The Lillian Trilogy by Mary Meriam
Mary Meriam, found an anchor in The Lillian Trilogy, which combines in one volume her three recently published poetry collections: Word Hot, Conjuring My Leafy Muse, and Girlie Calendar. The poems use a wide variety of poetic forms to capture and command relentless buckets of loss and heartache, revealing the untold horrors of her life and turning them around in a magnificent blossoming of longing, lust, sadness, and wit.
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’.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Lesbian Nuns: Breaking Silence by Rosemary Curb and Nancy Manahan
Originally published in 1985, this lesbian non-fiction 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Paper Cranes by Dinah Dietrich
“I write for those women who do not speak,” said Audre Lorde. But in the case of Paper Cranes, Dinah Dietrich writes as a lesbian speaking for herself, with delicacy and honesty, about her journey from silence to speech. The poems are situated in a diminished present, remembering childhood and family, painful and pleasurable moments, like the red paper crane of the title poem which gave her “the gift of experience / the gift of memory.” With the utmost economy, a small stanza can evoke a lifetime of deprivation: “In my room at home, / I struggle for light. / The plants strangle / at the small window.”
With a fine ear and a light touch, Dietrich courageously charts a course back to life from the brink of death. For those of us who have been to this outsider’s hell, it’s a comfort to hear the voice of a sister traveler.
Published by Headmistress Press.
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.
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.
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.”
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. Described as “a refreshingly honest treatment of a complex subject.” by Library Journal, the reason it made the list of our best lesbian books.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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, making it stand out from others in lesbian non-fiction. 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.
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 wannabes, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 in this lesbian non-fiction classic.
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.
Boots of Leather, Slippers of Gold: The History of a Lesbian Community by Elizabeth Lapovsky Kennedy, Madeline D. Davis
This ground-breaking lesbian non-fiction 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.
For Lesbians Only: A Separatist Anthology by Sarah Lucia Hoagland
One of the best lesbian non-fiction books for real-life activism. These essays from more than 70 contributors: novelists, musicians, poets, philosophers, academics and seriously, rowdy dykes document 20 years of lesbian activism.
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.
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.
My Girl’s Green Jacket
Recalling the sonnets of John Donne and the religious ballads of Christina Rossetti, Meriam’s assured poems pulse with a channeled intensity, leading us as readers through an emotional and intellectual landscape.
A collection as brilliant as it is emotionally nuanced, My Girl’s Green Jacket offers us a complex imaginative mirror to hold up against our current reality.
—Stu Watson editor of Prelude
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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