National Coming Out Day was established on Oct. 11, 1988, to commemorate the National Gay & Lesbian March on Washington one year earlier. As I recall, that march was more like a street party for the simple fact that we filled the streets of Washington, DC so that walking anywhere was impossible. We celebrated as strong, vibrant survivors, and the excitement stayed with us as we returned home to continue the fight for rights and recognition.
Sure, you’ve heard of the current bestsellers, but what about books from previous years that you never had a chance to read? Rediscover some great titles you may have missed.
Truevine : Two Brothers, A Kidnapping, and a Mother’s Quest : a true story of the Jim Crow South, by Beth Macy (NY: Little, Brown and Company, 2016)
“Their world was so blindingly white that the brothers had to squint to keep from crying. On a clear day, it hurt just to open their eyes. They blinked constantly, trying to make out the hazy objects in front of them, their brows furrowed and their eyes darting from side to side…”
Pale Rider: the Spanish Flu of 1918 and how it changed the world, by Laura Spinney (NY: Public Affairs, 2017)
Reviewed by Jan Hardy, Library Specialist
Laura Spinney posits the Spanish flu as the most dramatic event of the twentieth century, even over the two world wars. The pandemic swept every country, and probably “resculpted human populations more radically than anything since the Black Death.”
Christmas Reading List: Books Reviewed by Jan Hardy
After all the movie adaptations of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol (and all the arguments over which is best), it’s refreshing to read the original story. You can savor lines of dialogue snarled by George C. Scott and Alastair Sim, or the “God bless us every one” chirped by so many earnest child actors. Reading Dickens is not for everyone, but I enjoy Victorian novels on a dark winter day, and this one’s a gem.
Reaching to catalog Tiffany Midge’s book, I was shocked at the parody of "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee" until I realized Midge was Native American. My reaction proves what Geary Hobson says in his introduction, that white readers assume a writer is white until we learn otherwise, and that whites are largely ignorant of the rich culture of Native humor.
Sex Talks to Girls: a Memoir by Maureen Seaton (Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 2008). Reviewed by Jan Hardy.
I expected Seaton’s memoir to be about her work as a health-care advisor or nurse, but the title is from a 1914 advice book, used just for humor. Given that Seaton dedicates her book to her two daughters, and that she writes of her sexual experiences, I’ll grant her the slightly misleading title.
With the killing of unarmed African American men and women in the news so often, it seems the hashtag and movement of Black Lives Matter just evolved. This memoir shows us the events in the life of Patrisse Khan-Cullors that inspired her, along with Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi, to take action, organize and protest the killings.
The heartbreaking photo is seared into our consciousness: the little boy face down on the sand. At first glance we want to believe he’s sleeping peacefully; then we realize he’s been drowned in his family’s desperate attempt to escape from Syria. Tima Kurdi, the little boy’s aunt, bravely takes us through each agonizing turn until we understand why her brother Abdullah took his wife and their two boys on this dangerous journey.
Caught up in a movie, we gasp when an actor tumbles down steps, crashes a car or jumps off a building.
The Disappearing L: Erasure of Lesbian Spaces and Culture by Bonnie J. Morris