2011 Year in Review: Books



Coming in right before the New Year, Patricia Cornwell‘s Red Mist topped The New York Times Best Seller list in her first week of publication. It will likely continue to stay on the list for weeks to come, as is usual for Cornwell’s thrilling mysteries. Heather Aimee O’Neill reviewed it for us, writing:

Red Mist is packed with intrigue and suspense. A compelling and impressive addition to this popular series.

The Millenium Trilogy continues to be consumed in high numbers, thanks to the new highly-anticipated American film version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Bisexual protagonist Lisbeth Salander captivates readers internationally.

Jodi Picoult‘s Sing You Home was one of this year’s top novels, and it followed a lesbian couple who fought for the rights to a frozen embryo that belonged to one of the women and her former husband. The gay-positive book was well-written and also had a musical component, as well as being a true-to-form Picoult read (in that it was a tear jerker). Ellen DeGeneres has bought the rights to make the book into a film, which is the best possible news that could come after knowing this book was read widely by people of all orientations.

Picoult has also become an LGBT activist of sorts, speaking in interviews how her gay son inspired the book and how important it is to her to include gay characters in her work. She told us in an interview:

I am so proud to do whatever I can in my profession to change even a few minds because that’s how you change the world. You don’t do it all at once. You do it one mind at a time. There are going to be readers who boycott this book because of the subject matter, but there are going to be a lot more readers who pick it up and who maybe for the first time rethink their opinions and maybe are not so quick to judge the next time they encounter someone who is gay or lesbian or transgendered who really want the same things out of life that they do.

Jane Lynch‘s memoir, Happy Accidents, was well-received and also used in a Barnes and Noble Nook campaign. The book was ripe with wit and background on Lynch’s life before acting and insight into why she aspired to take on film roles that were originally written for men. She also wrote about realizing her sexuality and coming to terms with being a lesbian, as well as being a lesbian in Hollywood. From Heather Hogan’s review:

One of the last chapters of the book is dedicated to her relationship with Embry, and it is the sweetest damn thing I have read in ages. Of course, it’s hilarious too. I don’t even want to tell you anything about it because I want you to swoon and giggle when you read it for yourself.

Ellen DeGeneres released a short tome of funny essays, Seriously, I’m Kidding. The humorous collection read much like the monologues on her show, with a few cute tidbits about homelife with wife Portia, who she says owns too many bottles of lotion.

Out chef Gabrielle Hamilton‘s memoir Blood, Bones and Butter topped many year-end best of lists, as well it should. The book will make you salivate, and also want to know more about this brilliant writer who also happens to be amazing in the kitchen and a perplexing lesbian (she was married a man).

Annie Leibovitz‘s Pilgrimage was a passion project that we can all enjoy. The photographer journeyed to the homes, offices and habitats of people who have inspired her and took shots of things like the last dress they wore, the creek they drowned in, or the beds in which they slept. She tells the stories behind each place she visited, and how the shots she chose came to be. Readers learn a lot about Leibovitz herself in addition to the figures she is, herself, transfixed by.

Bisexual author Sapphire released The Kid this year, her follow-up to Push, which was made into the award-winning movie, Precious. The Kid was a continuation of the story, as it focused on Precious’ son as a grown man, dealing with more issues that stemmed from his upbringing and misfortunes.

Haruki Murakami‘s 1Q84 has some scenes of lesbian sexuality, but it was the novelists’s 1987 Norwegian Wood that was challenged this year, as it was on a high school reading list and parents did not find it fit for their children’s curriculum. The book was then removed, although the publicity given to the push to remove it likely garnered the novel several more readers.

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