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. NEW RESOURCE! Basic Tips for Finding Book & Film Resources for Discussions. PLEASE NOTE that I rarely link to 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. However, some paywall-based resources allow free access for a very small number of articles.
PLEASE NOTE that I am currently (October 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.
- André Aciman, Call Me By Your Name (🌈LGBTQ+ Novel, love affair of two American men in 1950s Italy)
- John Boyne, The Heart’s Invisible Furies (🌈LGBTQ+ Novel, 70 years of modern Irish history through the life of a gay ‘everyman’)
- Bill Bryson, A Walk in the Woods (General Non-Fiction, memoir about the complicated friendship of two middle-aged men hiking the Appalachian Trail)
- Bernardine Evaristo, Girl, Woman, Other (🌈LGBTQ+ and General Fiction, novel about the intersecting lives of a dozen diverse British women of color, of all orientations)
- Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl (General Fiction, a brilliantly twisty thriller about marriage, and murder)
- Yaa Gyasi, Homegoing (General Fiction, about eight generations of a Black family, from slavery until today; contains a poignant male-male relationship in the early chapter “Quey”)
- Patrcia Highsmith, The Talented Mr. Ripley (🌈LGBTQ+ Fiction, thriller about an irresistible sociopath with many talents)
- Alan Hollinghurst, The Sparsholt Affair (🌈LGBTQ+ Fiction, Britain’s evolving LGBTQ+ attitudes from the 1940s to today, through the story of a gay father and son)
- Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth (General Fiction, children’s fantasy adventure novel; illustrated by Jules Feiffer)
- 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”)
- Larry Kramer (🌈LGBTQ+ author & activist)
- Matthew Lopez, The Inheritance (🌈LGBTQ+ Play, experiences of contemporary NYC gay men, a reimagining of Howards End, exploring themes of resilience, class divisions, and the meaning of home)
- Audre Lorde, Zami: A New Spelling of My Name (🌈LGBTQ+ Autobiographical Fiction, growing up in 1950s Harlem and becoming, in her own words, a “Black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet”)
- Emily St. John Mandel, The Glass Hotel (General Fiction, experimental thriller about two siblings trapped in a pyramid scheme)
- Paul Monette, Becoming a Man: Half a Life Story (🌈LGBTQ+ Non-Fiction, memoir that explores coming out in the 1960s at Yale, and beyond)
- Cherríe Moraga, Native Country of the Heart, a Memoir (🌈LGBTQ+ Non-Fiction, relationship of a lesbian Latina author/activist and her mother who has Alzheimer’s)
- NEW! Pauli Murray, Song in a Weary Throat: Memoir of an American Pilgrimage (🌈LGBTQ+ Non-Fiction, from the trailblazing Black nonbinary civil rights activist, lawyer, poet, priest)
- Chinelo Okparanta, Under the Udala Trees (🌈LGBTQ+ Novel, a young lesbian comes of age in war-torn 1960s Nigeria)
- 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)
- NEW! Douglas Stuart, Shuggie Bain (🌈LGBTQ+ Fiction, a young boy grows up with an alcoholic mother in 1980s Glasgow, Scotland)
- Andy Weir, The Martian (General Fiction, realistic SF novel about an astronaut marooned on Mars)
- Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass (1855 “short” first version of 12 poems) (🌈LGBTQ+ Poetry, the foundation of modern verse, its visionary inclusiveness remains inspiring)
- NEW! Virginia Woolf, Orlando (🌈LGBTQ+ Fantasy Novel, the adventures of a young English nobleman who lives for centuries, and changes genders )
* André Aciman, Call Me By Your Name (🌈LGBTQ+ Novel)
The love affair of two American men in 1950s Italy.
- Call Me By Your Name – Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Call_Me_by_Your_Name_(novel)
- André Aciman’s website. https://findmenovel.com/#findme
- André Aciman resources, from his publisher. https://us.macmillan.com/author/andreaciman/
- Atlantic article about Call Me By Your Name (and the sequel, Find Me). https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2019/11/andre-aciman-talks-find-me-and-call-me-your-name/601060/
- Time magazine article about Call Me By Your name and its sequel). https://time.com/5710568/find-me-call-me-by-your-name-sequel/
- Publisher’s Reading Guide and Discussion Questions. https://images.macmillan.com/folio-assets/rgg-guides/9780312426781RGG.pdf
- Thanks, Tash!
* John Boyne, The Heart’s Invisible Furies (🌈LGBTQ+ Novel)
70 years of modern Irish history as lived by a gay man.
- John Boyne’s Website. https://johnboyne.com/
- John Boyne (Wikipedia). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Boyne
- LitLovers guide, including a brief summary. https://www.litlovers.com/reading-guides/fiction/11065-hearts-invisible-furies-boyne
- BookRags detailed summary (free version). http://www.bookrags.com/studyguide-the-hearts-invisible-furies/#gsc.tab=0
- Review from The Guardian (February 18, 2017). https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/feb/18/the-hearts-invisible-furies-by-john-boyne-review-sin-and-torment-in-catholic-ireland
- Ireland (Wikipedia). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ireland
- LGBTQ+ Culture in Ireland (Wikipedia). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_culture_in_Ireland
- Latest LGBTQ+ News from Ireland (IrishCentral). https://www.irishcentral.com/topic/lgbt
- The Heart’s Invisible Furies – Discussion Questions. https://www.litlovers.com/reading-guides/fiction/11065-hearts-invisible-furies-boyne?start=3
- Boyne’s title comes from a quotation by political theorist Hannah Arendt, referring to gay poet W.H. Auden (1970 photo).
- Boyne dedicated this novel to John Irving, author of the in some ways comparable, The World According to Garp (1976). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_World_According_to_Garp
* Bill Bryson, A Walk in the Woods (General Non-Fiction)
Memoir about the complicated friendship of two middle-aged men hiking the Appalachian Trail.
- A Walk in the Woods (book), 1998 book by Bill Bryson – Wikipedia
- A Walk in the Woods (film), 2015 film by Ken Kwapis, based on Bryson’s book – Wikipedia
- Resources (websites, interviews, videos, audio, images), about the Appalachian Trail, Bill Bryson, this book, and more.
- Bill Bryson – Publisher’s website.
- A Walk in the Woods – Discussion Questions.
* Bernardine Evaristo, Girl, Woman, Other (🌈LGBTQ+ and General Fiction)
Intersecting lives of a dozen diverse British women of color, of all orientations.
- Bernardine Evaristo – Wikipedia
- Girl, Woman, Other – Wikipedia
- Bernardine Evaristo’s personal website
- Bernardine Evaristo: The Waterstones Interview (video) from October 17, 2019, after winning the Booker Prize (she refers to her novel as “fusion fiction”). NOTE: For more interviews, search on: Bernardine Evaristo videos
- Girl, Woman, Other – detailed synopsis – BookRags
- Character Map for the novel’s many interconnected relationships by Mona Chalabi, and applauded by Evaristo on Twitter
- Character list with brief descriptions, discussion topics, and additional resources – marmaladeandmustardseed.com.
- Girl, Woman, Other – many readers’ comments – Goodreads
- Girl, Woman, Other review – The Guardian
- Girl, Woman, Other review – NPR
- Girl, Woman, Other – discussion questions – BookBrowse
- Girl, Woman, Other – discussion questions – Review and Book Club Questions
- Girl, Woman, Other (citation from the Booker Prize) – also, the Booker Prize site offers many readers’ guides for the dozens of titles they’ve nominated since 2010, including Girl, Woman, Other guide
- Bernardine Evaristo film and television credits – IMDb.
* Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl (General Fiction)
Brilliantly twisty thriller about marriage, and murder.
- Gone Girl (novel), a 2012 thriller novel by American writer Gillian Flynn – Wikipedia
- Gone Girl (film), a 2014 film based on the novel, from director David Fincher – Wikipedia
- Gillian Flynn’s website.
- Gone Girl – Reading Group Discussion Questions.
- Gillian Flynn film and television credits – IMDb.
* 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.”
- Wikipedia (includes a summary, a genealogy map: the story spans eight generations, and more resources) – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homegoing_(Gyasi_novel)
- Publisher’s website – https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/533857/homegoing-by-yaa-gyasi/9781101947135/
- Reader’s Guide with Discussion Questions – https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/533857/homegoing-by-yaa-gyasi/9781101947135/readers-guide/
- Brief Summary plus a Detailed Summary, Themes, Characters, more (LitCharts) – https://www.litcharts.com/lit/homegoing
- Goodreads (includes readers’ reviews) – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27071490-homegoing
- Review (The New Yorker: it notes that “Homegoing‘s title comes from an old African-American belief that death allowed an enslaved person’s spirit to travel back to Africa) – https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/05/30/yaa-gyasis-homegoing
- Review (NPR) – https://www.npr.org/2016/06/07/480477931/homegoing-is-a-sprawling-epic-brimming-with-compassion
- Homegoing Book Guide, with discussion questions and additional resources. https://www.marmaladeandmustardseed.com/bookguidesblog/homegoing
* Patricia Highsmith, The Talented Mr. Ripley (🌈LGBTQ+ Fiction)
Thriller about an irresistible sociopath with many talents.
- Patricia Highsmith – Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patricia_Highsmith
- The Talented Mr. Ripley – Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Talented_Mr._Ripley
- Tom Ripley character across five novels, 1955 to 1991, and several adaptations for film, television, and radio – Wikipedia
- Patricia Highsmith’s film and television credits – IMDb. https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0383604/
- In-depth article on the novel and 1999 film, by Haley Mlotek in The Ringer, December 23, 2019. https://www.theringer.com/movies/2019/12/23/21034364/talented-mr-ripley-anniversary-20-years
- Discussion questions for the novel – GradeSaver. https://www.gradesaver.com/the-talented-mr-ripley/study-guide/essay-questions
- Discussion questions (for the 1999 film; some also apply to the novel) – GradeSaver. https://www.gradesaver.com/the-talented-mr-ripley-film/study-guide/essay-questions
- Psychopathy / Sociopathy – Wikipedia
- NOTE: Regarding another classic Highsmith thriller – Strangers on a Train (Alfred Hitchcock, 1951) shot-by-shot analysis of a sequence, including a comparison with Patricia Highsmith’s original novel and the screenplay by Raymond Chandler and Czenzi Ormonde. (This page brings together my love for both literature and film.)
- Trailers for the three film versions of The Talented Mr. Ripley:
- Purple Noon (1960, directed by René Clément, starring Alain Delon) – trailer. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tWnvLNTzt-k
- The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999, directed by Anthony Minghella, starring Matt Damon) – trailer. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4e-Si4oGEw
- Naan (“Criminal”) (2012 – Indian Tamil-language adaptation, directed by Jeeva Shankar) – trailer. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AcuqzxS-0VM
- Added August 19, 2021: NOW IN PRODUCTION, a new series entitled Ripley, from Showtime. The first season, of eight episodes, is written and directed by Steven Zaillian (Schindler’s List), and starring Andrew Scott in the title role.
- Video interview with Highsmith (20 minutes) from May 18, 1978, Thames TV.
- BIOGRAPHY: The Talented Miss Highsmith: The Secret Life and Serious Art of Patricia Highsmith, by Joan Schenkar. Winner of the 2010 Lambda Literary Award. From Amazon.com (PLEASE NOTE that my Amazon Associate link is below, bottom/left of the page): “Patricia Highsmith, one of the great writers of twentieth-century American fiction, had a life as darkly compelling as that of her favorite “hero-criminal,” the talented Tom Ripley. Joan Schenkar maps out this richly bizarre life from her birth in Texas to Hitchcock’s filming of her first novel, Strangers on a Train, to her long, strange self-exile in Europe. We see her as a secret writer for the comics [including Marvel], a brilliant creator of disturbing fictions, and an erotic predator with dozens of women (and a few good men) on her love list. The Talented Miss Highsmith is the first literary biography with access to Highsmith’s whole story: her closest friends, her oeuvre, her archives. It’s a compulsive page-turner unlike any other, a book worthy of Highsmith herself.”
- LGBTQ+ Genre Literature – there is a long, fascinating tradition of LGBTQ+ Suspense/Mystery fiction, as well as other major genres: Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror.
*Alan Hollinghurst, The Sparsholt Affair (🌈LGBTQ+ Fiction)
Britain’s evolving LGBTQ+ attitudes from the 1940s to today, through the story of a gay father and son.
- Alan Hollinghurst – from Wikipedia.
- The Sparsholt Affair, including summary – from Wikipedia
- The Sparsholt Affair, review and named “Book of the Day” by Alex Preston, from The Guardian, September 25, 2017.
- The Sparsholt Affair, review by James Lasdun, from The Guardian, October 5, 2017.
- The Sparsholt Affair, review by Heller McAlpin, from NPR, March 17, 2018.
- The Sparsholt Affair, interview with Hollinghurst by Christopher Bollen, from Interview Magazine, March 9, 2018.
- The Sparsholt Affair, readers’ comments from Goodreads.
- The Sparsholt Affair, discussion questions, from the publisher.
- Video (54 mins.) of Alan Hollinghurst discussing The Sparsholt Affair, at Politics and Prose bookstore (Washington DC), March 28, 2018.
- Video (58 mins.) of Alan Hollinghurst discussing The Sparsholt Affair, Shakespeare and Company Bookshop (Paris), November 7, 2017. (This incarnation of Shakespeare and Company, an international literary hub in the early 20th century, is reopened from lesbian savant Sylvia Beach’s original bookstore of the same name, where she debuted James Joyce’s Ulysses in 1922, among many other modernist works.)
- Video (58 mins.) of Alan Hollinghurst discussing The Sparsholt Affar, Talks at Google, March 26, 2018.
* Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth (General Fiction)
Children’s fantasy adventure novel; illustrated by Jules Feiffer.
- The Phantom Tollbooth – from Wikipedia.
- FREE ONLINE, complete text with the original illustrations, of The Phantom Tollbooth (link found at Wikipedia).
- Norton Juster – from Wikipedia.
- “Broken Kingdom: Fifty Years of The Phantom Tollbooth” by Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, October 10, 2011.
- Discussion questions for The Phantom Tollbooth, with links to introduction, summary, characters, main ideas, more – from SparkNotes.
- Resources for The Phantom Tollbooth, including overview, summary, characters, themes, more – from GradeSaver.
- Discussion questions for The Phantom Tollbooth – from Wednesday Book Club.
- Discussion questions for The Phantom Tollbooth – from All Sci Fi.
- Interview article with Juster, March 12, 2001, from Salon.com.
- Video of Juster, from Reading Rockets, YouTube dated April 23, 2014.
* 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.”
- Christina Baker Kline – from Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christina_Baker_Kline
- From the Author’s website. http://christinabakerkline.com/novels/a-piece-of-the-world/
- A Piece of the World summary – BookRags. http://www.bookrags.com/studyguide-a-piece-of-the-world-a-novel/#gsc.tab=0
- A Piece of the World summary in chronological order (the novel is somewhat nonlinear) – SuperSummary. https://www.supersummary.com/a-piece-of-the-world/summary/
- Author’s website – discussion questions. http://christinabakerkline.com/a-piece-of-the-world-discussion-questions/
- LitLovers – discussion questions. https://www.litlovers.com/reading-guides/fiction/10912-piece-of-the-world-kline?start=3
- BookBub – discussion questions. https://www.bookbub.com/blog/a-piece-world-book-club-questions-christina-baker-kline
- Andrew Wyeth – from Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_Wyeth
- Wyeth’s painting “Christina’s World” – from Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_Wyeth
- Large reproduction of the painting “Christina’s World” (1948) with notes, from the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). https://www.moma.org/collection/works/78455
- Article “The Pilgrims Who Visit the House in Andrew Wyeth’s “Christina’s World” – By Shannon Mullen, The New Yorker – May 8, 2019. https://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/the-pilgrims-who-visit-the-house-in-andrew-wyeths-christinas-world
- NOTE: Kline includes a wealth of resources in the afterward to her novel, including the books, articles, videos, and more that she used as research, along with her comments.
* Larry Kramer, provocative gay author and activist (🌈LGBTQ+)
- Larry Kramer – from Wikipedia.
- Larry Kramer Papers at Yale University’s Beineke Rare Book & Manuscript Library.
- Obituary and brief profile of Kramer, “Larry Kramer, Pioneering AIDS Activist And Writer, Dies At 84” (both 4-min. audio and transcript) from NPR / All Things Considered, May 27, 2020.
- Obituary and profile, “The Benevolent Rage of Larry Kramer” by Michael Specter, from The New Yorker, May 28, 2020.
- Obituary, by Ryan Gilbey, from The Guardian, May 28, 2020.
- Yale LGBTS Mourns the Death of Larry Kramer, June 1, 2020.
- Video profile and interview (9 mins.) of Larry Kramer, on his birthday, CBS Sunday Morning, ca. June 25, 2006 (mentions “Kramer turned 71 today”).
- NEW! (added October 21, 2021 – Thanks, Bruce!). “On Loving and Losing Larry Kramer: An Interview With His Husband, David Webster,” by Tim Murphy, Contributing Editor, TheBody (the HIV/AIDS Resource), June 5, 2020.
- NEW! (added October 21, 2021). Fire Island is an important locale in Kramer’s work. The hour-long YouTube video, “Fire Island Pines & Cherry Grove Boardwalks” (that doesn’t reference Kramer), is a real-time walking tour, posted on December 23, 2015.
- Larry Kramer film and television credits – IMDb.
* 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
- Matthew Lopez – from Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matthew_Lopez_(playwright)
– THE INHERITANCE
- The Inheritance – from Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Inheritance_(play)
- In-depth article on Matthew Lopez and The Inheritance – The New Yorker – September 9, 2019. https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/09/09/how-matthew-lopez-transformed-howards-end-into-an-epic-play-about-gay-life
- Official theatrical trailer for The Inheritance. https://theinheritanceplay.com/
- Critical review (the play “will (and should!) invite vigorous debate…” – this critique includes many ‘plot spoilers’) – Slate – December 12, 2019. https://slate.com/culture/2019/12/the-inheritance-play-review-matthew-lopez-gay-broadway.html
The Inheritance – London (2018)
- London production review (provocative, discusses characters, themes, formal elements) – Variety – play opened, reviewed March 28, 2018. https://variety.com/2018/legit/reviews/the-inheritance-review-play-1202739184/
- London production photos – The Guardian – March 19, 2018. https://www.theguardian.com/stage/gallery/2018/mar/19/vanessa-redgrave-the-inheritance-matthew-lopez-young-vic-theatre-london-in-pictures
The Inheritance – Broadway (2019)
- Matthew Lopez – Interview Magazine – November 14, 2019. https://www.interviewmagazine.com/culture/matthew-lopez-the-inheritance-broadway-play-aids-gay-storytelling
- Interview with Matthew Lopez – Entertainment Weekly – November 18, 2019. https://ew.com/theater/2019/11/18/the-inheritance-matthew-lopez-interview/
- Broadway production photos. https://www.broadway.com/shows/the-inheritance/photos/
- Video Interview with Matthew Lopez. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zNK6Rhs5heQ
- Video Interview with Broadway cast of The Inheritance. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8GknujbmljQ
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 , 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
- E.M. Forster’s Howards End (1910) (public domain – FREE in every format: ePub, Kindle, more – or read directly online). https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/2891
- FREE complete audiobook of Howards End, from Librivox (over 15,000 free public domain audiobooks, listen online or download). Librivox offers three different complete Howards End audiobooks; I prefer this version, read by Elizabeth Klett, https://librivox.org/howards-end-by-e-m-forster
- Rooks Nest House (also known as “Howards” and “Rooksnest”) – Wikipedia (In Hertfordshire, Forster grew up there, living with his widowed mother; Rooks Nest’s has a fascinating history in it own right as detailed at Wikipedia – it was the model for the title location of Howards End; article includes photos). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rooks_Nest_House
- Howards End (1910 novel) – Wikipedia (includes plot summary). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Howards_End
- Howards End (novel) – SparkNotes (summary, characters, main ideas, more). https://www.sparknotes.com/lit/howardsend/
- Howards End (1992 film, directed by James Ivory). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Howards_End_(film)
- Howards End (2017 four-part miniseries (four hours), adapted by Kenneth Lonergan & directed by Hettie Macdonald. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Howards_End_(TV_series). The Howards End miniseries is currently free for Amazon Prime members – https://www.amazon.com/Episode-1/dp/B07B8C46Z7 [You can find all of these dramatizations through your local library (likely free), or they may be included on your streaming service, possibly Netflix.]
* 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.”
- Wikipedia entry on Audre Lorde.
- Wikipedia entry on Zami: A New Spelling of My Name.
- Zami: A New Spelling of My Name – Discussion Questions.
- Audre Lorde – selected poems (Poetry Foundation).
- Audre Lorde film and television credits – IMDb.
* Emily St. John Mandel, The Glass Hotel (General Fiction)
Experimental thriller about two siblings trapped in a pyramid scheme.
- Wikipedia entry on The Glass Hotel.
- Emily St. John Mandel’s website.
- The Glass Hotel Reader’s Guide.
- Thanks, Beverly!
* Paul Monette, Becoming a Man: Half a Life Story (🌈LGBTQ+ Non-Fiction)
Memoir that explores coming out in the 1960s at Yale, and beyond.
- Paul Monette – Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Monette
- Becoming a Man – Summary at BookRags. http://www.bookrags.com/studyguide-becoming-a-man/#gsc.tab=0
- Becoming a Man – Summary at eNotes. https://www.enotes.com/topics/becoming-man
- Two poems by Paul Monette – Poetry Foundation. https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/paul-monette
- Paul Monette’s film and television credits – IMDb. https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0597922/
- Paul Monette – Yale AIDS Memorial Project. http://yamp.org/Profiles/PaulMonette
- Paul Monette interviewed by Charlie Rose (17 minutes), May 25, 1994. https://charlierose.com/videos/1287
* 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.
- Cherríe Moraga’s site – books, theater, teaching, people, places and política. https://cherriemoraga.com/
- Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cherríe_Moraga
- Voices of Feminism Oral History Project (Smith College, Sophia Smith Collection of Women’s History) – Interview with Cherríe Moraga, June 6 and 7, 2005 – download PDF. https://tinyurl.com/moragainterview
- From Cherríe Moraga’s Publisher. https://us.macmillan.com/books/9780374219666
* Pauli Murray, Song in a Weary Throat: Memoir of an American Pilgrimage (🌈LGBTQ+ Non-Fiction)
Autobiography of the trailblazing Black nonbinary civil rights activist, lawyer, poet, priest
- Pauli Murray – Wikipedia.
- My Name is Pauli Murray (2021), documentary directed by Julie Cohen & Betsy West – IMDb.
- NEW! (Added November 12, 2021) Wikipedia entry for this documentary.
- Trailer for My Name is Pauli Murray.
- Pauli Murray selected poems with introduction – Poetry Foundation.
- Pauli Murray College at Yale University, New Haven, CT.
- NEW! (Added November 12, 2021) “The Many Lives of Pauli Murray. She was an architect of the civil-rights struggle—and the women’s movement. Why haven’t you heard of her?,” in-depth essay by Kathryn Schulz, The New Yorker, April 10, 2017.
- The Pioneering Pauli Murray: Lawyer, Activist, Scholar and Priest, National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Smithsonian, Washington, DC.
- NEW! (Added November 12, 2021) Pauli Murray Center for History and Social Justice. Located in Durham, North Carolina, anchored by Pauli Murray’s childhood home built by her grandparents in 1898. The Center includes many resources for Pauli Murray.
* Chinelo Okparanta, Under the Udala Trees (🌈LGBTQ+ Novel)
A young lesbian comes of age in war-torn 1960s Nigeria.
- Chinelo Okparanta’s site – bio, reviews, news, more
- Chinelo Okparanta – Wikipedia
- Under the Udala Trees – Wikipedia, includes summary and links
- Under the Udala Trees – discussion guide
- Udala trees (chrysophyllum africanum, commonly known as African star apple) – Wikipedia
* 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!)
* Douglas Stuart, Shuggie Bain (🌈LGBTQ+ Novel)
A young boy grows up with an alcoholic mother in 1980s Glasgow, Scotland.
- Shuggie Bain, including plot summary, awards, more – Wikipedia.
- Douglas Stuart – Wikipedia.
- Shuggie Bain synopsis (free) – BookRags.
- Grove Atlantic – publisher’s website offers many resources, including discussion questions. Scroll down to section Reading Group Guide, and click “keep reading.”
- NEW! (Added November 12, 2021) Booker Prize site offers many readers’ guides for the dozens of titles they’ve nominated since 2010, including Shuggie Bain (reading guide downloads as a PDF).
- Shuggie Bain – Goodreads (70,000+ ratings and 9,000+ reviews).
- “Shuggie Bain Makes It Out” by Matthew Schneier, New York Magazine / Vulture, November 9, 2020.
- NEW! (Added November 12, 2021) “‘Shuggie Bain’ Will Lift You Up — And Tear You Up” by Scott Simon, NPR (Heard on Weekend Edition), November 14, 2020 (includes both transcript and 6-minute audio).
- “Shuggie Bain’s tale tells us that the Booker prize has matured” by Alex Clark, The Guardian, November 22, 2020.
- “Douglas Stuart on writing Shuggie Bain,” by John Self, The Irish Times, November 24, 2020.
- VIDEO (14 mins.) “Douglas Stuart on his new book Shuggie Bain | 5×15,” YouTube, January 21, 2021.
- VIDEO (1 hour) “Douglas Stuart: The Making of Shuggie Bain,” YouTube, Edinburgh International Book Festival, August 26, 2020.
- VIDEO (1 hour) “Shuggie Bain: A Conversation with Author Douglas Stuart,” YouTube, The National Arts Club, April 7, 2021.
- NEW! (Added November 12, 2021) AUDIO (27 minutes) “Douglas Stuart and fashion for change” by Latoya Bowman. Author Douglas Stuart is also a fashion designer. He tells Nawal Al-Maghafi about how fashion changed his life, taking him from his native Glasgow to New York City. BBC World Service, July 23, 2020.
- Glasgow, Scotland – Wikipedia.
- NEW! (Added November 12, 2021) VIDEO (1 hour) “Walking in Glasgow, Scotland” (real-time walking tour with natural street sounds, no voice over), YouTube, POPtravel, November 26, 2019. NOTE that while this video is contemporary, Shuggie Bain is set among 1980s working class Glaswegians.
- “A24, Scott Rudin Productions Option ‘Shuggie Bain’ for TV Adaptation,” by Eli Countryman, Variety, December 3, 2020 (preview of full article that is behind a paywall).
- NEW! (Added November 16, 2021) LITERARY CONTEXT: “10 of the Best Books about Class and Poverty” – from InterestingLiterature.com – ten classics of English and American Lit. (Gaskell, Dickens, Hardy, Forster, Lawrence, Orwell, Steinbeck, more), both novels and non-fiction, that deal with themes of class and poverty.
- NEW! (Added November 16, 2021) LITERARY CONTEXT: “Working class literature: reading guide” (dozens of British, American, international titles) – libcom.org.
* Andy Weir, The Martian (General Fiction)
Realistic science fiction novel about an astronaut marooned on Mars.
- The Martian – Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Martian_(Weir_novel)
- “Diary Of An AssCan: A Mark Watney Short Story” – this is a brief (couple of pages) prequel, by Andy Weir himself, to The Martian, about what the main character, Mark Watney, did just before leaving on his Mars mission. NOTE (quote): “This story includes language that some might find offensive.” https://the-martian.fandom.com/wiki/Diary_Of_An_AssCan:_A_Mark_Watney_Short_Story
- Mars – Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mars
- Interview with Andy Weir about The Martian, from the author’s website. https://www.andyweirauthor.com/books/the-martian-tr
- “How scientifically accurate is ‘The Martian’? Ask W&M’s [the College of William & Mary] budding astrobotanists.” Students recreate the science behind The Martian, and show that it’s accurate. https://www.wm.edu/news/stories/2020/how-scientifically-accurate-is-the-martian-ask-wms-budding-astrobotanists.php
- Readers’ comments on The Martian, from Goodreads. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18007564-the-martian
- The Martian – Shmoop guide, including resources and discussion questions. (Shmoop is always both informative and laugh out loud funny). https://www.shmoop.com/study-guides/literature/the-martian
- The Martian – LitLovers guide. Besides a summary and other resources, there’s a podcast with two reviewers discussing both the novel and movie. https://www.litlovers.com/reading-guides/13-fiction/9666-martian-weir
- Discussion Guide: “Who knew potatoes, duct tape, and ‘70s reruns were the key to space survival?” – From ReadingGroupGuides discussion questions. https://www.readinggroupguides.com/reviews/the-martian/guide
- Discussion questions from Mount Prospect Public Library, of Illinois. https://mppl.org/check_it_out/book-discussion-questions-the-martian-by-andy-weir/
- Film of The Martian – Wikipedia (2015 film directed by Ridley Scott, who also made Alien, Thelma & Louise, Gladiator). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Martian_(film)
- WOW! Mars in 4K ultra high definition, actual video of Mars from three of NASA’s Rovers. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZEyAs3NWH4A
* Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass (1855 “short” first version) (🌈LGBTQ+ Poetry)
The foundation of modern poetry, its visionary inclusiveness remains inspiring.
- Free PDF of the 1855 “short” first version of Leaves of Grass. http://www.rosingsdigitalpublications.com/download.php?file=whitman_walt_leaves_of_grass_1855_ed.pdf
- Walt Whitman – Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walt_Whitman
- Provocative article by Mark Edmundson, about Whitman, from the May 2019 issue of The Atlantic: “Walt Whitman’s Guide to a Thriving Democracy: America had a mind shaped by its Founders, but the country needed the poet to discover its spirit.” https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2019/05/walt-whitman-leaves-of-grass-american-democracy/586045/
- Commentary on the 1855 edition, from the Walt Whitman Archive. https://whitmanarchive.org/criticism/current/encyclopedia/entry_21.html
* Virginia Woolf, Orlando (🌈LGBTQ+ Fantasy Novel)
Adventures of a young English nobleman who lives for centuries, and changes genders.
- Virginia Woolf – Wikipedia.
- Orlando – Wikipedia. This fantasy novel’s full, tongue-in-cheek title is Orlando: A Biography.
- NEW! (Added November 12, 2021) Orlando – at Shmoop, that has a funny name and a wry sense of humor but excellent resources, including an introduction, detailed plot summary, characters, themes (identity, society and class, gender, et al.), analysis, quotes, more.
- NEW! (Added November 14, 2021) Orlando discussion questions – at Shmoop.
- NEW! (Added November 14, 2021) Orlando discussion questions (with “answers”! – NOTE: for many additional questions, at the bottom of the ‘text box’ click on “Questions 11` – 20” PLUS there are many more questions, totaling at least 50, if you keep clicking the ‘more’ links!) – from Course Hero
- NEW! (Added November 12, 2021) “‘Different sex. Same person’: how Woolf’s Orlando became a trans triumph” by Jeanette Winterson, The Guardian, September 3, 2018. Quotes from the essay by WInterson, an acclaimed contemporary author: “Orlando has sometimes been dismissed as a romp. This is to misread it. Its gender politics were way ahead of their time.” Article also includes an excellent sidebar: “Top 10 landmarks in gay and lesbian literature” by Gregory Woods, May 4, 2016.
- NEW! (Added November 12, 2021) “Orlando Is the Virginia Woolf Novel We Need Right Now” by Joanna Scutts, Vulture, October 12, 2018 (NOTE: behind a paywall but you can access a limited number of articles for free).
- NEW! (Added November 12, 2021) “Waves, particles and pronouns – Virginia Woolf’s ‘Orlando'” by Dr. Rachel Crossland, The Royal Society, June 24, 2020. Woolf and particle physics, for general readers (who aren’t also physicists!).
- Orlando (1992), film directed by Sally Potter, starring Tilda Swinton – Wikipedia.
- NEW! (Added November 12, 2021) Virginia Woolf Society of Great Britain – many resources.
- Virginia Woolf film and television credits – IMDb.
- NEW! (Added November 14, 2021) Vita & Virginia (2019) – Wikipedia – biographical film, from director Chanya Button, about how Vita Sackville-West became Virginia’s muse for Orlando; based on the love letters that they wrote to each other for years. Trailer for the film.
- NEW! (Added November 12, 2021) Yale Modernism Lab (aka The Modernism Lab) – collaborative research on literary modernism, resources for about 30 key authors, including Virginia Woolf (jump link). Note from Jim (not their website): LGBTQ+ modernists included are, besides Woolf, D.H. Lawrence, Dorothy Richardson, E.M. Forster, Franz Kafka (arguably), Henry James, Katherine Mansfield, Lytton Strachey, Marcel Proust, Oscar Wilde, T.S. Eliot.
- NEW! (Added November 12, 2021) Bloomsbury Group – Wikipedia. This was one of the most influential modern movements, whose key members included Virginia Woolf, E.M. Forster, economist John Maynard Keynes, biographer Lytton Strachey, painters Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant, and Woolf’s husband, the essayist and publisher Leonard Woolf
- TO LEARN MORE ABOUT VITA SACKVILLE-WEST, Woolf’s lover and the inspiration for Orlando…
- NEW! (Added November 16, 2021) Vita Sackville-West – Wikipedia.
- NEW! (Added November 16, 2021) Where to start reading Vita Sackville-West – from penguin.co.uk.
- NEW! (Added November 16, 2021) FREE public domain books by Sackville-West at Project Gutenberg, including the one title also highlighted above (‘Where to start reading…”), Heritage (1919).
NOTE: Additional books and resources will be added frequently.
Begun March 20, 2021 / Revised November 16, 2021