The AfterEllen.com Book Club: Choices for March

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Sorry I’m a bit late with posting reading choices for March, book clubbers. Life has been hectic for me lately. And it’s with this fact in mind that I present the theme of this month’s choices: short story collections. Don’t have time to read a whole book? That’s OK! Just read a story or two and you can still jump into the conversation. (All right, maybe you do have time to read a whole book. I’m just talking to myself here.)

All three of these also focus on romance, as you can tell by the fact that each one has the word “love” in the title. It feels like everything I’ve been reading lately is heavy. A book full of lesbian-y love and lust that I’m able to just pick up anytime and temporarily sink into? Sounds like the perfect reading remedy right now. Plus, we all know that this winter has been lo-o-o-ong, and we all deserve a little warmth.

So choose which one sounds best!

1) Love Burns Bright: A Lifetime of Lesbian Romance, edited by Radclyffe (2013)loveburnsbright

A lifetime! Well! That’s quite the way to kick off our list. I’ve heard so much about Radclyffe, one of the most prolific lesbian romance writers out there, that I trust a collection edited by her would be a great introduction to all those contemporary lesbian romance writers out there I haven’t had a chance to check out. Some of the 18 authors included are Andrea Dale, Rebekah Weatherspoon, Chris Paynter, Derek Shannon, and Radclyffe herself, and the stories range from modern love to historical fiction, from erotic to “sweetly sexy.” You can read a more in-depth review at Lambda Literary. (Note: this also appears to be the only selection that has an e-book version.)

2) Love Alters: Lesbian Love Stories, edited by Emma Donoghue (reprint, 2013)lovealters

This is undoubtedly the behemoth of these three choices, clocking in at 624 pages. But of course, that’s the beauty of the short story collection: There’s no pressure to read the whole thing at once! This is also the more classically prestigious collection, including such legendary names as Dorothy Allison, Jane Rule, Tanith Lee, Sara Maitland, Donoghue herself, and many, many more. The diversity of its authors is also impressive, representing countries from Scotland to South Africa to Trinidad to New Zealand. Originally published and nominated for a Lambda Award in 1999, it was just reprinted last year with a sexy new cover.

3) On Loving Women, Diane Obomsawin (2014)on-loving-women

This last one veers sharply away from the first two collections, but I’m so intrigued by it that I have to include it. Firstly, it’s not a collection of stories by different authors, but a new book by one author, full of twelve stories of different women falling in love. Secondly, it’s a graphic novel. A graphic novel where all the characters have lady bodies topped with tiny animal heads. Yep. Weird. But…I like weird. Thirdly, in stark contrast to Donoghue’s collection, it’s sparse, less than 100 pages long. You can read a more detailed review and view an excerpt at NPR.

No matter which one you choose, I believe discussing which stories we hated and which we loved will be great fun. So clicky click below!

Voting will be open until the end of the day Thursday, and I’ll post the winner on Friday.

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