The AfterEllen.com Huddle: Lesbian lit

 
 

In my opinion, you can never get enough reading recommendations, especially when it comes to novels that have queer characters. So it was only right that we dedicated a Huddle to our favorites in hopes that we can all add to our list of "books to read," including the ones you discuss in the comments below.

So, bloggers, what is your favorite piece of fiction with at least one lesbian in its pages?

Lesley Goldberg: I love Written on the Body. While the narrator is never identified by name, gender or sexual orientation, Jeanette Winterson explores lust, seduction and more as she searches for what it means to love. What I truly appreciate about the book — beyond the hot and steamy sex passages — is that I find what ever it is that I turn to it for: It can be the best words of wisdom after a bad breakup; positive affirmation that no matter how much you fight in a relationship, love is still worth it; what relationships are at their purest; and how you know when it’s love and not purely lust.

Plain and simple, the multilayered book is like a best friend at 3 a.m. when your head and heart are a mess. Some choice quotes:

"Why is the mind incapable of deciding its own subject matter? Why when we desperately want to think of one thing do we invariably think of another?"

"A treasure had fallen into our hands and the treasure was each other."

"Unhappiness is selfish, grief is selfish."

"Can love have texture? Is it palpable to me, the feeling between us, I weigh it in my hand the way I weigh your head in my hands."

"I needed no more light than was in her touch, her fingers brushing my skin, bringing up the nerve ends."

And did I mention it’s hot?

Heather Hogan: If I had a time machine, the first thing I would do is drop off a copy of Malinda Lo‘s Ash in my 12-year-old self’s bedroom. Growing up, I always thought fairy tales were history books; I was always in reckless pursuit of adventure; and I always wanted to fall in love with a girl. I just didn’t understand that last thing. Ash would have made it all so clear.

Ash is a fairy tale, wrapped in fairy tales — a retelling of Cinderella, in which Ash’s Prince Charming is actually a huntress named Kaisa.

Malinda nails universal human struggles in very few words — "She wasn’t exactly telling the truth, but she wasn’t entirely lying, either, for she did not believe that wrong was an accurate description of her feelings. Perplexed, yes; uncertain, yes; but beneath it all something as yet unnamed was coming into focus." — and she writes some of my favorite-ever dialogue:

"Have you ever wanted to be a princess?" Ash challenged her.

"That depends," Kaisa said.

"On what?"

"On whether I would have to marry a prince."

Ash is lush and layered. It’s a brilliant love story. And, also, it talks about the smell of magic — which is still my most favorite smell in the whole wide world.

The Linster: What comes to mind first is Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café by Fannie Flag. We now know, of course, that Flag is a lesbian, but at the time, I had no idea that Ruth and Idgie would fall in love.

The story was so sweet — and so Southern — that it completely captivated me. (Say it with me: “You’re just a bee charmer, Idgie Threadgoode, that’s what you are. A bee charmer.”)

Pity that the movie blurred the lesbian relationship. Sure, the food fight was pretty hot, but clarity about the two women in love would’ve been much hotter.

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