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As often happens in regularly scheduled diary series at R&BL, this one found itself without a contributor for 3/5 in the middle of last week (for eminently good reasons). Since I had recruited the contributor, I thought it best to take responsibility for this week because I thought I had a book to write about -- a non-fiction work I thought I might have referred to in my diary about Quatrefoil. Then I discovered that Chrislove had covered the subject of this book VERY thoroughly in a diary for Remembering LGBT History, and nothing I had around seemed appropriate. So I figured I'd go back to the list I brough you in a previous diary, but in searching for it I found a newer and probably better list from The Good Men Project on the best LGBT books of all time complied by asking thirty LGBT writers of this here era. Why better? We get to see which five books each of these writers thinks are the best, and then we get to aggregate them. Also better because in the process of reading the responses to his inquiries, the writer of this post, Benoit Denizet-Lewis, found this gem about books from John Waters:

"€œWe need to make books cool again,"€ he said. "If you go home with someone and they don'€™t have books, don'€™t fuck them."€
So indulge me by following me below the great orange bookplate to see what these best books might be.

As you'd expect, there's a LOT of variety in this list, given the fact that there are thirty-one (Denizet-Lewis contributed his own list) LGBT writers involved. Still, several books were mentioned more than once, and one, James Baldwin's Giovanni's Room, was mentioned by seven writers. Baldwin's Another Country, the late John Boswell's magisterial Christianity, Social Tolerance and Homosexuality: Gay People in Western Europe from the beginning of the Christian Era to the Fourteenth Century, Jean Genet's Our Lady of the Flowers and William Maxwell's The Folded Leaf were each mentioned three times. The following books:

A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood
An Arrow's Flight by Mark Merlis
Autobiography of Red by Anne Carson
Billy Budd by Herman Melville
Christopher and His Kind by Christopher Isherwood
City of Night by John Rechy
Dancer From the Dance  by Andrew Holleran
Grief by Andrew Holleran
Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
Stone Butch Blues  by Leslie Feinberg
The Color Purple  by Alice Walker
The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For by Alison Bechdel
The Gifts of the Body by Rebecca Brown
The Swimming-Pool Library  by Alan Hollinghurst
Two Serious Ladies by Jane Bowles
Was by Geoff Ryman
Zami: A New Spelling of My Name by Audre Lorde
were each mentioned twice.

The remaining books?

A Boy'€™s Own Story by Edmund White
A Glass of Blessings by Barbara Pym
Á Rebours by Joris-Karl Huysmans
A Voice Through a Cloud by Denton Welch
All: A James Broughton Reader edited by Jack Foley
Angels in America by Tony Kushner
Any poem by W.H. Auden or Elizabeth Bishop
Aquamarine  by Carol Anshaw
Baker Street by Guy Davis
Becoming a Man: Half a Life Story by Paul Monette,
Bertram Cope'€™s Year by Henry Blake Fuller
Bisexuality and the Eroticism of Everyday Life  by Marjorie Garber
Borrowed Time: An AIDS Memoir by Paul Monette
Breakfast at Tiffany'€™s  by Truman Capote
Brokeback Mountain by Annie Proulx
Brother to Brother: New Writings by Black Gay Men edited by Essex Hemphill
Ceremonies: Prose and Poetry  by Essex Hemphill
Close to the Knives: A Memoir of Disintegration by David Wojnarowicz
Collected Poems by Arthur Rimbaud
Collected Stories by Truman Capote
Complete Poems by Constantine Cavafy
Confessions of a Mask  by Yukio Mishima
Conundrum  by Jan Morris
Cute, Quaint, Hungry, and Romantic: The Aesthetics of Consumerism by Daniel Harris
Dar: A Super Girly Top Secret Comic Diary by Erika Moen
Divine Comedies by James Merrill
Don’t Bite the Sun and Drinking Sapphire Wine by Tanith Lee
Dream Boy by Jim Grimsley
Eminent Maricones: Arenas, Lorca, Puig, and Me  by Jaime Manrique
Falconer  by John Cheever
Funeral Rites by Jean Genet
Gay American History: Lesbians and Gay Men in the U.S.A. by Jonathan Katz
Gay Spirit, Gay Body, and Gay Soul by Mark Thompson
Geography III by Elizabeth Bishop
Good Times, Bad Times by James Kirkwood
Hindoo Holiday: An Indian Journal by J.R. Ackerley
Home Girls: A Black Feminist Anthology  edited by Barbara Smith
I Remember by Joe Brainard
I Should Be Extremely Happy in Your Company by Brian Hall
In Youth Is Pleasure by Denton Welch
Inferno (A Poet'€™s Novel) by Eileen Myles
Koolaids: The Art of War  by Rabih Alameddine
La Batarde  by Violette Leduc
Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
Lesbian Nation: The Feminist Solution  by Jill Johnston
Life Mask by Emma Donoghue
Love and Rockets by Los Bros Hernandez
Macho Sluts by Patrick Califia
Maurice  by E.M. Forster
Memoirs of Hadrian by Marguerite Yourcenar
My Dog Tulip by J.R. Ackerley
My Tender Matador by Pedro Lemebel
Nocturnes for the King of Naples  by Edmund White
Olivia  by Olivia (pseudonym of Dorothy Strachey)
On Being Different: What It Means to Be a Homosexual  by Merle Miller
Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit  by Jeanette Winterson
Original Story By: A Memoir of Broadway and Hollywood by Arthur Laurents
Orlando  by Virginia Woolf
Our Town by Thornton Wilder
Picasso and Dora: A Memoir  by James Lord
Prisoner of Love by Jean Genet
Reflections of a Rock Lobster: A Story about Growing Up Gay by Aaron Fricke
Remembrance of Things Past by Marcel Proust
Saul'€™s Book by Paul T. Rogers
Selected Poems  by James Schuyler
Serious Pleasures: The Life of Stephen Tennant by Philip Hoare
Seven Pillars of Wisdom: A Triumph: The Complete 1922 Text by T.E. Lawrence
Sexing the Body: Gender Politics and the Construction of Sexuality  by Anne Fausto-Sterling
Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde
Tales of the City  by Armistead Maupin
The Ballad of the Sad Cafe by Carson McCullers
The Celluloid Closet: Homosexuality in the Movies by Vito Russo
The Confusions of Young Torlesss by Robert Musil
The Folding Star  by Alan Hollinghurst
The Gay Militants  by Donn Teal
The Greeks and Greek Love by James N. Davidson
The History of Sexuality, Vol. 1 by Michel Foucault
The Hotel Wentley Poems  by John Wieners
The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
The Line of Beauty  by Alan Hollinghurst
The Man of the House by Stephen McCauley
The Man Who Fell in Love With the Moon by Tom Spanbauer
The Marketplace by Laura Antoniou
The Master by Colm Toibin
The Motion of Light in Water: Sex and Science Fiction Writing in the East Village 1960-1965  by Samuel Delany
The New York Diary by Ned Rorem
The Night Listener by Armistead Maupin
The Price of the Ticket: Collected Nonfiction 1948–1985 by James Baldwin
The Professor'€™s House by Willa Cather
The Pure and the Impure (New York Review Books Classics)  by Colette
The Rain God  by Arturo Islas
The Satyricon by Petronius
The Symposium by Plato
The Tricky Part: One Boy'€™s Fall From Trespass Into Grace by Martin Moran,
The Velvet Rage: Overcoming the Pain of Growing Up Gay in a Straight Man’s World by Alan Downs
The Way We Live Now by Susan Sontag
The Wild Boys  by William Burroughs
Transparent by Cris Beam
Travels With Lizbeth: Three Years on the Road and on the Streets by Lars Eighner
Undoing Gender  by Judith Butler
Valencia by Michelle Tea
We Too Are Drifting  by Gale Wilhelm
What the Body Told  by Rafael Campo
What'€™s for Dinner? by James Schuyler
White People by Allan Gurganus
I like this list because it reflects what actual people read and if you go to the actual post (from June 2011) you can see who picked what. I've also linked the diaries we've written about these books, and two diaries are pending: I've ordered The Velvet Rage: Overcoming the Pain of Growing Up Gay in a Straight Man'€™s World because I don't think I have any internalized shame any more, and I'm going to diary it as a fallback (it seems we SHOULD have some of those to avoid open threads like these), and The Man Who Fell in Love With the Moon is already taken by another Kossack who is planning to write about the book and the author when her life is more normal than it is now.

I think this is a much more appealing list than the last one, so if any of these books say "diary me" to you, let us know in the comments, and if you just want to comment, we'll welcome that as well. I should be here to monitor the comments by 9:30 AM Eastern, but since tomorrow is a day that I teach two three-hour classes back to back, I might sleep a little longer than that.

Readers & Book Lovers Series Schedule

DAY TIME (EST/EDT) Series Name Editor(s)
SUN 6:00 PM Young Reader's Pavilion The Book Bear
Sun 9:30 PM SciFi/Fantasy Book Club quarkstomper
Bi-Monthly Sun Midnight Reading Ramblings don mikulecky
MON 8:00 PM Monday Murder Mystery Susan from 29
Mon 11:00 PM My Favorite Books/Authors edrie, MichiganChet
TUES 5:00 PM Indigo Kalliope: Poems from the Left bigjacbigjacbigjac
alternate Tuesdays 8:00 AM LGBT Literature Texdude50, Dave in Northridge
alternate Tuesdays 8:00 AM All Things Bookstore Dave in Northridge
Tue 8:00 PM Contemporary Fiction Views bookgirl
WED 7:30 AM WAYR? plf515
Wed 8:00 PM Bookflurries Bookchat cfk
THU 8:00 PM Write On! SensibleShoes
Thu (first each month) 11:00 AM Monthly Bookpost AdmiralNaismith
Thu (third each month - on hiatus) 11:00 PM Audiobooks Club SoCaliana
FRI 8:00 AM Books That Changed My Life Diana in NoVa
Fri 6:00 PM Books Go Boom! Brecht
SAT (fourth each month) 11:00 AM Windy City Bookworm Chitown Kev
Sat 4:00 PM Daily Kos Political Book Club Freshly Squeezed Cynic
Sat 9:00 PM Books So Bad They're Good Ellid
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