So it's (the end of, actually, but whatevs) Gay and Lesbian History Month! Very exciting. In general, the Rejectionist feels pretty cranky about Disenfranchised Persons Months (much in line with this stellar post from the ever-brilliant Ari on Black History Month). Like, we would kind of rather have, say, unrestricted access to safe and legal abortion (and when we say UNRESTRICTED we mean FUCKING UNRESTRICTED, LOUISIANA, YOU FUCKERS) in every county of this fair land every day of the year than, say, a bunch of insipid platitudes about Susan B. Anthony for the entirety of March. But, that caveat aside, we really like telling people what to read. So! in honor of Gay and Lesbian History Month, we present the Rejectionist's super-random Big Gay Reading List, which is basically just a completely arbitrary sampling of books we like that have gay people in them.
1. The Book of Salt, Monique Truong
Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas's life as viewed by Binh, their Vietnamese cook. Beautiful and fascinating and will also make you want to get in a time machine and head straight for 1930s Paris.
2. Tipping the Velvet, Sarah Waters
Kind of like if Dickens was slightly more awesome and extremely more gay. Sarah Waters has an amazing knack for turning out steamy and brilliantly plotted Victorian potboilers. Total crack. Also steamy. Did we mention steamy? STEAMY.
3. The Passion, Jeanette Winterson
Genre- and gender-bending story of a doomed love affair from one of the most brilliant writers in the English language.
4. The Complete Sherlock Holmes, Arthur Conan Doyle
Don't even try and argue with us. You'll lose.
5. The Collected Poems of Frank O'Hara, Frank O'Hara
"Have you forgotten what we were like then/when we were still first rate/and the day came fat with an apple in its mouth/it's no use worrying about Time/but we did have a few tricks up our sleeves/and turned some sharp corners/the whole pasture looked like our meal/we didn't need speedometers/we could manage cocktails out of ice and water/I wouldn't want to be faster/or greener than now if you were with me O you/were the best of all my days"
6. Dhalgren, Samuel R. Delany
There's sci-fi and then there's Samuel R. Delany, who we're pretty sure is from an alternate universe of extreme genius. Probably one of the most influential science-fiction books ever written, and deservedly so.
7. Zami, A New Spelling of My Name, Audre Lorde
Amazing autobiography by an amazing, amazing woman.
8. Hotel de Dream, Edmund White
Creepy and sad story of an obsessive love affair in 1890s New York.
9. The Terrible Girls, Rebecca Brown
Out of all her books this is maybe our favorite. Impossibly sinister, gorgeous, and perfect.
10. In the City of Shy Hunters, Tom Spanbauer
You will never look at New York in the same way again.
11. Edward II, Christopher Marlowe
So wacktacular, disturbing, and brilliant. By the guy who wrote all of Shakespeare's plays HA HA HA HA HA THAT WAS AN ENGLISH MAJOR JOKE, DON'T BLAME US IF IT ISN'T FUNNY
12. Kissing the Witch, Emma Donoghue
Fairy tales! but creepy! and gay! and AWESOME! Not that fairy tales aren't creepy and gay to begin with. MORE creepy and gay.
13. Baby Be-Bop, Francesca Lia Block
California pop-punk fable from the high priestess of cool.
14. Edinburgh, Alexander Chee
Sublimely beautiful coming-of-age story.
15. Epistemology of the Closet, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick
You will never think the same way about anything, ever again. Guaranteed.
16. Winterlong, Elizabeth Hand
This book is out of print because there is absolutely no justice in the universe, but hunt it down. One of the most original and gorgeous science fiction novels ever written in the entire history of everything.
17. Cool For You, Eileen Myles
Eileen Myles is a lot fucking cooler than any of us. Hilarious and sharp coming-of-age novel.
18. Someday This Pain Will Be Useful To You, Peter Cameron
More funny and more poignant than anything you will read in this century.
19. Valencia, Michelle Tea
Sex, drugs, rockandroll, San Francisco.
20. Gender Trouble, Judith Butler
OMG JUDITH BUTLER OMG OMG.
NOW YOU TELL US PLEASE, your favorite gay books, in the waning hours of Gay and Lesbian History Month! AND ALSO WE ARE GOING TO READ THESE BOOKS ALL YEAR AND NOT JUST IN JUNE, AREN'T WE, OH YES WE ARE. OKAY? OKAY!