Thursday, July 21, 2011

Historical Fiction With Lesbian Characters

Historical fiction, from ancient times to World War II, definitely deserves a category of its own. And luckily, there are plenty of lesbian authors who specialise in the past and proving that lesbians have always been around (for a bit more about lesbians in different cultures, see this post)

Gay and Lesbian Historical Fiction:
Sexual Mystery and Post-Secular Narrative

Whether you want to escape to the old west or lose yourself in the trappings of Victorian London, tread the boards in Shakespeare's era, take tea in Japan, or visit Sappho herself in Ancient Greece, there's a wide and intriguing selection of lesbian historical fiction to choose from.

Do you want a romantic and unrealistic tale of pirates, cowboys and chivalry; a slightly fantastical story of myths, priestesses and heroes, or a realistic and well researched historical novel full of accurate details? Either way there are plenty of books on the list, set in various places and times, and full of lots of lesbians to read about.

While there is some very good historical fiction written by lesbian authors (e.g. Rita Mae Brown, Fannie Flagg and Jeannette Winterson), only books that actually include lesbian characters (overtly or subtextually) are included here. And as a rule of thumb, the more recently the book was written, the more openly the characters are likely to be gay.

The list is divided into Europe (which is mostly England), North America and the Rest of the World, reflecting to the numbers of books about each region. Most of the books are set in the 18th-20th centuries.

Reviewed titles are bolded.

6th Annual Lambda Literary Awards 1993

6th Annual Lambda Literary Award Winners and Finalists

The Lambda Awards by year:
1988 | 1989 | 1990 | 1991 1992 |1993 1994 | 1995 | 1996 | 1997 | 1998 | 1999 | 2000 | 2001 
2002  2003 | 2004 |2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010

1993 Categories
Overview of yearly categories
  • Lesbian
    • Biography/ Autobiography, Fiction, Mystery, Poetry, Studies
  • General LGBT
    • Anthology, Children's/ Young Adult, Drama, Humour, Science fiction/ Fantasy
  • Gay Men's
    • Biography/ Autobiography, Fiction, Mystery, Poetry, Studies
  • Other Awards
    • Editor's Choice Award, Publisher's Service Award, Small Press Award

Lesbian Biography/ Autobiography

Winner: Marguerite Yourcenar: Inventing a Life by Josyanne Savigneau (University of Chicago)

Marguerite Yourcenar: Inventing a Life

Lesbian Fiction

Winner: Written on the Body by Jeannette Winterson (Knopf)
Written on the BodyNominees:

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Book Review: Adijan and Her Genie by L-J Baker

Adijan and Her Genie
by L-J Baker
Adijan and Her Genie is the third book written by L-J Baker. It's brilliant and definitely my favourite. It also happened to be a review copy (in the interests of openness) and this is especially awesome because I can reread it, something I will definitely be doing. Many times (though I'll warn you upfront that it seems to be the most hit and miss among readers, I know of three people who didn't find it very good).

Everything about this book screams Aladdin when you first pick it up, but it isn't actually just another rehashing of the Aladdin and the Lamp. It contains many of the typical Arabian Nights elements - a poor 'boy', Adijan, who's a drunkard, raised in a brothel, who dabbles in the shadier side of business; a magical object that contains a being constrained to obey their master's commands; a beautiful beloved and a self-interested schemer, even magic carpets... all in a typical Middle Eastern Arabian Night style setting.

But that is where the similarity ends. From there, L-J Baker makes it all her own. For one thing, the main character starts off happily married.

Adijan is perpetually down-on-her-luck and constantly dreaming of her future business empire. She makes a fairly hand-to-mouth-to-wine jug living through messenger jobs and other errands, and is madly in love with her wife, Shalimar. Shalimar is a sweet, happy woman who loves oranges, Adijan and everyone she meets, and, by the sounds of it, has Down's Syndrome. We only meet her at the end of the book, but Adijan constantly thinks about and talks about her, so we get to know her well long before.

LJ Baker, Lesbian Fantasy and Romance Author

Promises, Promises: A Romp with Plenty of Dykes, a Unicorn, an Ogre, an Oracle, a Quest, a Princess, and True Love with a Happily Ever After
If you're looking for some lesbian romance, or just a great fantasy with a lesbian main character, you would be well rewarded by checking out L-J Baker.

L-J Baker is definitely emerging as an author to keep an eye out for - all her books are well written (though Lady Knight had a few issues and felt unfinished), and so far, I've happened to read them all in order - the first book was Broken Wings (review here) and the second was Lady Knight (review here). The third is Adijan and Her Genie (review here), and the fourth is Promises, Promises: A Romp with Plenty of Dykes, a Unicorn, an Ogre, an Oracle, a Quest, a Princess, and True Love with a Happily Ever After (review here).

She has also written a chapter in Lavender Ink - Writing and Selling Lesbian Fiction, along with Fran Walker, Nann Dunne, Sacchi Green, and Andi Marquette.

And they're all very, very different. I can pick out some common threads, but they just demonstrate the range and variety of the stories. 

Saturday, July 16, 2011

List of Yuri Manga ♡

A list of yuri manga published in English. Yuri here meaning about girl/girl relationships, a main lesbian character or strong yuri themes.

Teen yuri manga.

The Last Uniform Vol 1Seven Seas 'Strawberry' Line (Generally PG, fluffy, light hearted)
Hayate X Blade by Shizuru Hayashiya
First Love Sisters by Mako Komana
Girl Friends by Morinaga Milk
The Last Uniform by Mera Hakamada
Strawberry Panic by Sakurako Kimino
Tetragrammaton Labyrinth by Ei Itou
Voiceful by Nawoko

Young adult yuri from other publishers
Kashimashi Omnibus vol. 1Burst Angel by Minoru Murao Gonzo (3 books)
Iono-sama Fanatics by Miyabi Fujieda
Kashimashi (Girl Meets Girl) by Satoru Akahori
Kannazuki No Miko (Destiny of Shrine Maiden) by Kaishaku
Read or Die & R.O.D: Read or Dream by Hideyuki Kurata (shoujo ai/subtext)
Revolutionary Girl Utena  Chiho Saito & Be-Papas (5 books)  (shoujo ai/subtext)
Revolutionary Girl Utena The Adolescence of Utena: The Adolesence of UtenaRevolutionary Girl Utena: The Adolesence of Utena by Chiho Saito & Be-Papas (1 book)
Rica'tte Kanji by Rica Takashima
Sailor Moon by Naoko Takeuchi
Shoujoai Ni Bouken: The Adventures Of Yuriko by Erica Friedman & Kelli Nicely
S.S. Astro by Negi Banno
Steady Beat by Rivkah

Yuri Monogatari 6Yuri Monogatari (Lily Tales) is an annual anthology of yuri manga. The older books are highly variable in quality.
Yuri Monogatari 6 (the best so far)
Yuri Monogatari 5
Yuri Monogatari 4
Yuri Monogatari 3
Yuri Monogatari 2
Yuri Monogatari 1 (not available)

Lesbian manga for older readers

Between the Sheets (v. 3)12 Days by June Kim
Between the Sheets by Erica Sakurazawa
Blue by Kiriko Nananan
Chirality by Satoshi Urushihara
Maka Maka ('friends with benefits') by Kishi Torajiro
Ragnarock City by Satoshi Urushihara
Weather Woman by Tetsu Adachi
Works by Eriko Tadano

Lesbian (or bi) main character, minor yuri content
Lady Snowblood by Kazuo Koike, Kazuo Kamimura
Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex by Masamune Shirow

Related posts: