2010 Year in Review: Books

Fiction

Malena Watrous‘s debut novel If You Follow Me was on the list of The Guardian‘s Best Books of 2010, and it surely was. The plot followed a lesbian couple who moved to Japan together to teach English in their schools. While their relationship unravels, Watrous’ writing keeps readers engaged and hoping the protagonist can find a way to feel less alone while navigating her way through the small, foreign town.

Best selling author/book reviewer Joyce Manard penned The Good Daughters this year, which featured a lesbian character central to the plot. It’s about families and living parallel lives with others you share small connections with.

Two novels greatly inspired by the writers’ actual lives were also two of the best pieces from gay women this year. Michelle Cliff‘s Into the Interior and Eileen MylesInferno pull from the women’s lives (Michelle as a Jamaican woman who moves to the States and engages in several sexual relationships with women and men; Eileen as a young poet who discovers her lesbianism once she moves to New York City). While their writing couldn’t be more different, both were the most exciting and eccentric pieces of writing from 2010.

Lesbian author Val McDermid‘s Fever of the Bone was her 23rd novel and it did just as well as her previous 22. It became one of the top mystery novels of the year, putting her next to Patricia Cornwell as a dominator in the genre.

In the horror genre, Stephen King put a gay female the center of one of his stories in Full Dark, No Stars. Unfortunately, she turns out to be a little crazed, but aren’t all of his characters?

Monica Nolan‘s Bobby Blanchard, Lesbian Gym Teacher brought pulp back in a big way. The tongue-in-cheek novella was a throw-back to a time when stories of lesbian lust were set in the stereotypical lesbian plotlines.

Other offerings about bisexual/gay women this year include The Big Bang Symphony, Sub Rosa, Days of Grace, Girl Unwrapped, Another Life Together by Elaine Beale, Taking Flight by Laurel Mills, and Homeschooling by Carol Guess.

Looking Forward

In 2011, there are several notable books to keep an eye out for, including Times Two from Antigone Rising‘s Kristen Henderson with musings on falling in love with co-author Sarah Ellis and their journey into joint motherhood. Also, The L Life: Extraordinary Lesbians Making a Difference by Erin McHugh, which celebrates the lives of gay women like cover girls Jane Lynch, Kate Clinton and Alison Bechdel.

Just like in other areas of art and culture, women of all sexualities are interested in good stories and thought-provoking information, penned as entertaining as possible. 2011 can only build from the progress of this year, or else it will be severely lacking in substance just plain good writing.

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