2010 Year in Review: Books

 
 

Memoirs

When country singer Chely Wright came out this year, it came accompanied by an album, Lifted Off the Ground, and memoir, Like Me. The book received fair reviews and was well-received by gay readers, but was also speculated to be one of the reason’s Chely decided to come out, as it garnered her more publicity and more money. But fans stood by her, appreciating her bare-all approach and LGBT activism that has followed.

Stanford University professor/accomplished essayist Terry Castle‘s The Professor and Other Writings was one of Amazon’s Top 10 Gay and Lesbian Books in 2010. The collection of essays includes Castle’s witty reflections on her friendship with Susan Sontag, her tryst with her college professor, and other musings on pop culture.

New York Times food writer Kim Severson published Spoon Fed, a memoir about her life as a lesbian, foodie and recovering alcoholic. The poignant stories include lessons she’s learned from famous female chefs, including Rachael Ray.

And while journalist Helena Andrews is not gay herself, her memoir Bitch is the New Black chronicled her life as a single black woman, including her relationship with her out lesbian mother. The book has been optioned to be made into a film by ShondaLand Productions (production company of Shonda Rhimes) in 2010, and Helena appeared with her mother on CNN to discuss issues related to gay parents and their children.

Several other great memoirs were published this year, including Hammer: Making Movies out of Sex and Life by Barbara Hammer; Girl in Need of a Tourniquet (Merri Lisa Johnson), She Looks Just Like You (Amie Klempnauer Miller), Missed Her by (Ivan Coyote) and From Robe to Robe (Martha E. Bellinger).

Collections

The Seal Press anthology Dear John I Love Jane struck a chord with women of all sexualities this year. The publisher also put out Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation, an updated version of the Kate Bornstein mainfesto but including younger voices and a co-editor, S.Bear Bergman; as well as Let’s Get This Straight: The Ultimate Handbook for Youth with LGBTQ Parents from COLAGE and Tina Fakhrid-Deen. Sadly, that last book was never more desperately needed than in 2010.

And for comic lovers, The Art of Jaime Hernandez: The Secrets of Life and Death gives an inside look at the artist’s conception of  Love & Rockets and its lesbian character Hopey. The intro is provided by Alison Bechdel, who also wrote an essay for Travels in a Gay Nation. The book of travel writing featured several well-known and respected lesbians like Dorothy Allison, Tammy Baldwin, Lillian Faderman and Urvashi Vaid.

In music-related books, Girls to the FrontSara Marcus‘ history of the riot grrrl movement and queer youth’s involvement in it; and Pink Noises, essays from women (including a few lesbians) who work with electronic music and equipment, Todd Oldham‘s book all about Joan Jett and Best Music Writing 2010 including a piece on The Gossip from Michelle Tea

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