Lesbian and bi women are the topic of some top notch books at the moment. Whether it be sapphic characters struggling with mental health and addiction, autobiographies about political revolutionaries, crime fiction featuring lesbian detectives, gay love letters throughout history, or the life of the first Black woman (and lesbian) to have her play taken to broadway, the beginning of 2022 is revealing some gems in both fiction and nonfiction.
Getting Clean with Stevie Green by Swan Huntley
Author of We Could Be Beautiful, Swan Huntley, brings us Getting Clean With Stevie Green in 2022. The book is about mental health, identity, addiction, self-perception, and personal evolution. “I wanted to write about what it means to be struggling with the confusion of identities – as an alcoholic and as a gay woman,” says Swan Huntley.
“A winsome, fast-paced read, Getting Clean With Stevie Green is about coming to terms with who you are, resolving the pain of your past, and accepting the truth of your life in all its messy glory,” according to the synopsis.
Vera Kelly: Lost and Found by Rosalie Knecht
What’s better than a sapphic crime story? Whether it be Killing Eve or Orange is the New Black, lesbians dominate the crime genre with humor and ease. Vera Kelly: Lost and Found takes it one step further: we have a lesbian detective on our hands. Nice!
“Everyone’s favorite sleuth—Vera Kelly—is back and put to the test as she searches for her missing girlfriend…
“It’s spring 1971 and P.I. Vera Kelly and her girlfriend, Max, leave their cozy Brooklyn apartment for an emergency visit to Max’s estranged family in Los Angeles. Max’s parents are divorcing—her father is already engaged to a much younger woman and under the sway of an occultist charlatan; her mother has left their estate in a hurry with no indication of return. Max, who hasn’t seen her family since they threw her out at the age of twenty-two, prepares for the trip with equal parts dread and anger.
“Upon arriving, Vera is shocked by the size and extravagance of the Comstock estate, which reveal a privileged upbringing that, up until this point, Max had only hinted at. That evening, at dinner, Max attempts to navigate her father, who is hostile and controlling, and the occultist, St. James, who is charming but appears to be siphoning family money. Tensions boil over when Max threatens to alert her mother—and her mother’s lawyers—to St. James and her father’s plans to use marital assets. The next morning, when Vera wakes up, Max is gone.”
The Love That Dares Letters of LGBTQ+ Love & Friendship Through History by Rachel Smith and Barbara Vesey
Rachel Smith and Barbara Vesey’s book The Love That Dares Letters of LGBTQ+ Love & Friendship Through History features letters written by some well known lesbian, bisexual and gay people, such as John Cage, Audre Lorde, Lorraine Hansberry, Walt Whitman, Vita Sackville-West, and Radclyffe Hall.
“A good love letter can speak across centuries, and reassure us that the agony and the ecstasy one might feel today have been shared by lovers long gone…Alongside the more famous names coexist beautifully written letters by lesser-known lovers. Together, they weave a narrative…through the centuries, through the romantic, often funny, and always poignant words of those who lived it.”
Lorraine Hansberry: The Life Behind a Raisin in the Sun by Charles J. Shields
Lorraine Hansberry, who wrote A Raisin in the Sun, didn’t come out until half a century after she died. In 2014, her estate examined her diaries and discovered that the first Black woman to have a play performed on Broadway was a lesbian. Charles J. Shields explores Lorraine’s moving story in Lorraine Hansberry: The Life Behind a Raisin in the Sun.
“Charles J. Shields’s authoritative biography of one of the twentieth century’s most admired playwrights examines the parts of Lorraine Hansberry’s life that have escaped public knowledge: the influence of her upper-class background, her fight for peace and nuclear disarmament, the reason why she embraced Communism during the Cold War, and her dependence on her white husband―her best friend, critic, and promoter. Many of the identity issues about class, sexuality, and race that she struggled with are relevant and urgent today.
“This dramatic telling of a passionate life―a very American life through self-reinvention―uses previously unpublished interviews with close friends in politics and theater, privately held correspondence, and deep research to reconcile old mysteries and raise new questions about a life not fully described until now.”
Angela Davis: An Autobiography by Angela Y. Davis
An Autobiography (2022), which was first published and edited by Toni Morrison in 1974, details Davis’ life in the ‘60s, ‘70s, and today. It links the struggles half a century ago to Black Lives Matter today, exploring Angela Davis’ life as an activist and academic throughout the decades.
“An Autobiography is a powerful and commanding account of her early years in struggle. Davis describes her journey from a childhood on Dynamite Hill in Birmingham, Alabama, to one of the most significant political trials of the century: from her political activity in a New York high school to her work with the U.S. Communist Party, the Black Panther Party, and the Soledad Brothers; and from the faculty of the Philosophy Department at UCLA to the FBI’s list of the Ten Most Wanted Fugitives. Told with warmth, brilliance, humor and conviction, Angela Davis’s autobiography is a classic account of a life in struggle with echoes in our own time.”
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