Resources, including Discussion Questions, for Selected LGBTQ+ and General Literature

This Book Resources page features background material, including discussion questions, for selected 🌈LGBTQ+ and general works of literature, both contemporary and classic. Although this website is completely independent, these materials are for two book groups that I’m happy to be part of, one LGBTQ+ and the other general; with thanks to Tash and Beverly for their contributions! Hope this information will be of interest for your own discussion group (tips for starting one). Each of these diverse titles inspired lively conversations. This page will expand frequently to include additional novels, non-fiction, plays, and poetry. Also, I have recommendations for LGBTQ+ Literature, LGBTQ+ Cinema, and general Film. COMING SOON: a blog post with tips for compiling resources for any book, including links to Wikipedia, author’s website, plot summary – perhaps with a “spoilers” warning!, background, video interviews with the author, film/theater adaptations, discussion questions, more. PLEASE NOTE that I do not link to any paywall (paid subscriber-only) articles, even those at the exceptional New York Times; you can find those links at the bottom section of Wikipedia entries.

PLEASE NOTE that I am currently (July 2021) making this ever-growing page more concise, and user-friendly, by integrating the long “http…” link behind the link name, rather than showing it. You can always select the underlying link by right-clicking on the link name and then selecting “copy link.” All established linked resources are retained, and a few new ones added.

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* André Aciman, Call Me By Your Name (🌈LGBTQ+ Novel)

The love affair of two American men in 1950s Italy.

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* John Boyne, The Heart’s Invisible Furies (🌈LGBTQ+ Novel)

70 years of modern Irish history as lived by a gay man.

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* Bill Bryson, A Walk in the Woods (General Non-Fiction)

Memoir about the complicated friendship of two middle-aged men hiking the Appalachian Trail.

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* Bernardine Evaristo, Girl, Woman, Other (🌈LGBTQ+ and General Fiction)

Intersecting lives of a dozen diverse British women of color, of all orientations.

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* Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl (General Fiction)

Brilliantly twisty thriller about marriage, and murder.

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* Yaa Gyasi, Homegoing (General Fiction)

Novel about eight generations of a Black family, from slavery until today; contains a poignant male-male relationship in the early chapter “Quey.”

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* Patricia Highsmith, The Talented Mr. Ripley (🌈LGBTQ+ Fiction)

Thriller about an irresistible sociopath with many talents.

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* Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth (General Fiction)

Children’s fantasy novel; illustrated by Jules Feiffer.

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* Christina Baker Kline, A Piece of the World (General Fiction)

Novel about the secluded, but emotionally eventful, life of the woman who inspired Andrew Wyeth’s iconic 1948 painting, “Christina’s World.”

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* Matthew Lopez, The Inheritance (🌈LGBTQ+ Play)

The experiences of contemporary NYC gay men in an epic two-part play that reimagines Howards End, exploring themes of resilience, class divisions, and the meaning of home.

MATTHEW LOPEZ

THE INHERITANCE

The Inheritance – London (2018)

The Inheritance – Broadway (2019)

NEW! Videos of two key scenes in The Inheritance, from the Broadway production, plus a commemoration for World AIDS Day 2020

  • End of Part 1 on YouTube (5 minutes – example of ‘Page to Stage’ – notice how Stephen Daldry’s direction informs the text, using Leonardo’s “The Last Supper” in the staging, along with the evocative musical underscoring) – https://youtu.be/faqVPafnhpc
  • Henry and Eric connect (4 minutes) – https://youtu.be/9IkiwtA1Nw0
  • The Walter Project – Matthew Lopez & The AIDS Memorial: “to commemorate World AIDS Day, we have taken Walter’s speech at the end of Act 1, divided it into 33 sections, and asked friends, colleagues, and acquaintances to record themselves delivering a short section… In this year of loss [2020], it is vitally important to continue the tradition of remembrance that began with the unveiling of the Quilt back in 1987. And while today we remember those whom we lost to AIDS, we hope this spirit will also extend to those we have lost this year to Covid, to police violence, and to the neglect of government and society….” (15 minutes) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Pd77JOgeNA

*OPTIONAL* Howards End

Discussion focuses on Matthew Lopez’s The Inheritance, but some people might also like to explore its inspiration, one of the most acclaimed, and beloved, novels in English literature, Howards End by E.M. Forster.

HOWARDS END: E.M. Forster’s 1910 Novel, James Ivory’s 1992 Film, and Hettie Macdonald’s 2017 Mini-Series – the Forster masterpiece inspired Matthew Lopez to reimagine it in contemporary terms

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* Audre Lorde, Zami: A New Spelling of My Name (🌈LGBTQ+ Autobiographical Fiction)

Powerful “biomythography” (memoir) of growing up in 1950s Harlem and becoming, in her own words, a “Black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet.”

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* Emily St. John Mandel, The Glass Hotel (General Fiction)

Experimental thriller about two siblings trapped in a pyramid scheme.

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* Paul Monette, Becoming a Man: Half a Life Story (🌈LGBTQ+ Non-Fiction)

Memoir that explores coming out in the 1960s at Yale, and beyond.

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* Cherríe Moraga, Native Country of the Heart, a Memoir (🌈LGBTQ+ Non-Fiction)

The relationship of a lesbian Latina author/activist and her mother who has Alzheimer’s.

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* Chinelo Okparanta, Under the Udala Trees (🌈LGBTQ+ Novel)

A young lesbian comes of age in war-torn 1960s Nigeria.

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* Marcel Proust, In Search of Lost Time (aka Remembrance of Things Past) (🌈LGBTQ+ Novel)

Intimate epic of the narrator’s experiences, of memory and desire, in turn of the 20th century French society.

  • Proust resources (from a discussion group I organized in NYC) – background, book and film links, plus a recipe for madeleines, the tasty treats that set Proust’s intimate epic in motion (they were a hit at the NYC group!)

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* Andy Weir, The Martian (General Fiction)

Realistic science fiction novel about an astronaut marooned on Mars.

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* Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass (1855 “short” first version) (🌈LGBTQ+ Poetry)

The foundation of modern poetry, its visionary inclusiveness remains inspiring.

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NOTE: Additional books and resources will be added frequently.

Begun March 20, 2021 / Revised July 15, 2021

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