2011 Year in Review: Books

MEMOIRS

One of the best reads of the year comes from Jeanne Cordova. Her memoir, When We Were Outlaws chronicles a time in the 1970s when she was a young lesbian reporter and activist who was fighting for lesbian visibility and equality in Los Angeles, as well as navigating her love life. The combination of the two, along with some nostalgic waxing on womyn’s music and politics of the times, makes this a must read for every gay woman.

Out author (and Hip Mama publisher) Ariel Gore published a new memoir about her very young years, All the Pretty People: Tales of Carob, Shame, and Barbie-Envy, on a small press with illustrations by Summer Pierre.

The late Jane Rule‘s Taking My Life was published this year, and it was all about her formative years as a young girl growing up in New Jersey. She discusses her sexuality and tomboyish traits, as well as chronicling her ideas and interests in writing. She eventually came to write several novels and stories, including Desert of the Heart, the inspiration for the film Desert Hearts.

Reality show star Tabatha Coffey‘s It’s Not Really About the Hair included stories about her life as a hair stylist and a lesbian. Fans of the self-proclaimed bitch will likely enjoyed her sarcasm in written-form as much as they do on Bravo.

Sarah Ellis and Kristen Henderson penned their book, Times Two, about their struggles to conceive and their subsequent pregnancies. The book was written from both perspectives, which are decidedly different, and make the saying “two sides to every story” very poignant. Kristen, who is a member of the band Antigone Rising, told AfterEllen.com about how writing the book helped her to come out to the public:

For me, personally, the biggest change is the fact that I’m out now. I’m not hiding behind pronouns or conveniently leaving out parts of my life in interviews in an effort to appeal to the middle. I’m telling the truth now, and I’m being honest about my own struggles with coming out, and it seems like people really appreciate it.

Mari Naomi‘s graphic novel, Kiss & Tell, follows the author/illustrator’s love life from ages “0 to 22.” This includes a lot of men, but some women, too, and it’s a fun and beautifully-drawn read.

Elena Azzoni‘s A Year Straight: Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Lesbian Beauty Queen was a disappointing offering from Seal Press. The memoir followed 2007′s Miss Lez as she decided to date and sleep with men, eventually meeting the man of her dreams.

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