The 2019 Lambda Literary Awards Long List is here!

What good are awards? Do they really mean anything? Are the winners truly better than other books, or is it just a popularity contest? We’ve known readers who only read award winners, and others who actively avoid them, on the theory that award winning books might be more admirable than enjoyable. But there is definitely one aspect of book awards that is a big help to readers: the full lists of nominees – or long lists.

We regularly pore over the longlisted books for the Booker Prize, the Carnegie Medal, the Edgar Awards, the National Book Awards and others, looking for titles that both passed their judges’ muster and capture our own individual interest. One of the best – and longest – long lists each year is the LAMBDA Literary Awards (or Lammys), now entering its 31st year of recognizing excellence in LGBTQIA literature. Lammy winners will be announced on June 3, but you can enjoy their long list, spanning a vast array of categories, right now! It is hard to imagine a better way to get in touch with some of the most interesting LGBTQIA narratives and talented authors writing today. And for your convenience, we’ve posted extensive lists of the finalists for fiction & poetry, non-fiction and graphic novels, and books for youth, right there in our library catalog. Continue reading “The 2019 Lambda Literary Awards Long List is here!”

2019 Lambda Literary Awards: LGBTQ Titles for Children and Young Adults

The 2019 Lammy Award finalists were announced earlier this month, and there are eight contenders in the LGBTQ Children’s/Young Adult category.  Among them are some of our favorite recent titles, including last year’s National Book Award Winner The Poet X and both(!) of Kheryn Callender’s novels.  We were especially pleased at the diversity of both authors and character voices in this year’s finalists!

Here are the titles being considered for the 31st Annual Lambda Literary Awards for children and teens:

The Poet X by Elizabeth AcevedoThe Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
Navigating the world has become exponentially more difficult now that Xiomara has a woman’s body, but while her physical self has gained attention the rest of her goes unnoticed.  Xiomara has plenty to say, though, and an invite to the school’s poetry slam allows her to kick open a door she never knew existed.  Told in verse, this is a raw and intimate portrait of a young woman finding the courage to use her voice and make herself heard. Continue reading “2019 Lambda Literary Awards: LGBTQ Titles for Children and Young Adults”

Pride Month: Queer Cinema by Queer Directors

“There have never been lesbians or gay men in Hollywood. Only homosexuals.” With this final despairing statement, gay film historian and activist Vito Russo ends The Celluloid Closet, his landmark study of representations of LGBTQ people in film.

When Russo first published The Celluloid Closet in 1981, he could not imagine that over a decade later LGBTQ directors would make movies that depicted the complex and varied experiences of LGBTQ people with respect and pride, and that Hollywood would begin to finance and distribute these films. Nor could he foresee that 35 years later, Barry Jenkins, a black gay director, would win the Best Picture Academy Award for Moonlight, a sensitive, nuanced, and beautifully filmed story of a young gay black man’s coming of age.

Sadly, Russo died of AIDS-related complications in 1990 and did not live long enough to see the blossoming queer cinema that began to emerge shortly thereafter. In 2013, GLAAD created the Vito Russo Test in his honor. Mainstream Hollywood filmmakers still have a way to go in terms of positive portrayals of LGBTQIA characters, but queer filmmakers around the world have been producing excellent films that pass the Vito Russo Test and then some for decades. Here are a few of my favorites: Continue reading “Pride Month: Queer Cinema by Queer Directors”

20 Essential Seattle Books, Part 2: Diversity

Here at the library, we’re often asked by both locals and newcomers, “What books are must reads for Seattleites?” While we’re not much for ‘must’ or ‘should,’ we thought we’d list twenty titles that capture essential aspects of the history and culture of this place. Not a definitive list: a jumping off place. Our first post looked at Seattle’s history, and in today’s post we revisit that history through the lens of diversity.

no-no-boyThere are many excellent books about the Internment of Japanese Americans during the second World War, but one of the earliest – and one that holds special significance for Seattleites – is John Okada’s 1957 novel No-No Boy. After two years in an internment camp and two years in federal prison for declining military service and a loyalty oath, Ichiro Yamada returns home to Seattle to find himself alienated on all sides. For another view of experiences of Seattle’s Japanese Americans before and during the War, check out Monica Sone’s 1953 memoir Nisei Daughter
Continue reading “20 Essential Seattle Books, Part 2: Diversity”

Movie Mondays: Show Your “Pride” this Labor Day

prideAre you looking for a film to celebrate the achievements of unions this Labor Day? Are you still beaming from the recent Supreme Court decision to legalize gay marriage? If so, then Pride is, quite simply, the perfect movie for you.

Pride (nominated for Best Comedy at the 2014 Golden Globes) tells the surprisingly true story of the British Miner’s Strike of 1984. After British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher announced the closing of mines throughout the United Kingdom, miners went on strike for nearly a year, clashing violently with police and being starved of fuel and food. A small group of lesbian and gay activists, in an expression of solidarity, take up the cause and raise money for the miners as LGSM (Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners). Continue reading “Movie Mondays: Show Your “Pride” this Labor Day”