If you’re interested in autobiographical accounts of lesbian life, the always awesome Danika of fuckyeahlesbianliterature has compiled a list of 84 such titles on Goodreads (please note that you do NOT have to be a member of Goodreads to access this fantastic resource). My lesbian lit searches on Amazon have turned up a few books not yet shown on this amazingly comprehensive list; I do plan to add them, but thought I would share them here as well. I have not read these books so cannot personally vouch for them (and therefore the descriptive blurbs have been gleaned from Amazon), but they all look intriguing to me. Here you go:
Hit by a Farm: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Barn by Catherine Friend. When self-confessed “urban bookworm” Catherine Friend’s partner of twelve years decides she wants to fulfill her lifelong dream of owning a farm, Catherine agrees. What ensues is a crash course in both living off and with the land that ultimately allows Catherine to help fulfill Melissa’s dreams while not losing sight of her own. Hit by a Farm is a hilarious recounting of Catherine and Melissa’s trials of “getting back to the land.” It is also a coming-of (middle)-age story of a woman trying to cross the divide between who she is and who she wants to be, and the story of a couple who say “goodbye city life” — and learn more than they ever bargained for about love, land, and yes, sheep sex.
Ghost Wife: A Memoir of Love and Defiance by Michelle Dicinoski. Michelle Dicinoski has found the love of her life, and now she just wants to get married and live happily ever after. The only problem is, she’s in love with an American woman, Heather, and neither Australia nor America recognises same-sex marriage. What to do when love and the law collide? For Michelle, the answer is clear: go to Canada and get hitched there. Ghost Wife is the deep, funny, heartwarming and brave story of that trip. Along the way, Michelle reflects on why anyone would want to get married anyway, on the power of acceptance, and on the startling stories she uncovers in her family’s past. She investigates the hidden worlds of people who live their lives outside social norms, sometimes illegally. Michelle doesn’t want to disappear, not from her family and not from society. But living in Australia, will she always be a ghost wife?
Falling Into Place: An Intimate Geography of Home by Catherine Reid. “It’s not easy,” Catherine Reid writes, “to love a person and a place in equal measure.” Love she does, however, as described in these intimate, lyric essays about the land and people around her. With the inside perspective of a native daughter combined with her outsider status as a lesbian, Reid explores such paradoxes as those that arise from harnessing wild rivers or legalizing same-sex marriage. Her fascination with natural phenomena—whether bird hibernation, the arrival of fishers in suburbia, or the explosion of amphibious life in the wet weeks of spring—is captured in writing that pays as much attention to the sounds of a sentence as to the rhythms of the landscapes she wanders. Ultimately, however, Reid finds herself having to choose between her lover and her home place. Solace comes from companions as varied as a praying mantis, an otter, and her hundred-year-old grandmother, while resilience shows up in the stories of streams recovering from toxic spills and in communities weathering floods and town meetings. In essays both sensuous and provocative, Reid faces the beauty and challenges of our changing world head-on.
Lies About My Family by Amy Hoffman. All of Amy Hoffman’s grandparents came to the United States during the early twentieth century from areas in Poland and Russia that are now Belarus and Ukraine. Like millions of immigrants, they left their homes because of hopeless poverty, looking for better lives or at the least a chance of survival. Because of the luck, hard work, and resourcefulness of the earlier generations, Hoffman and her five siblings grew up in a middle-class home, healthy, well fed, and well educated. An American success story? Not quite—or at least not quite the standard version. Hoffman’s research in the Ellis Island archives along with interviews with family members reveal that the real lives of these relatives were far more complicated and interesting than their documents might suggest. Hoffman and her siblings grew up as observant Jews in a heavily Catholic New Jersey suburb, as political progressives in a town full of Republicans, as readers in a school full of football players and their fans. As a young lesbian, she distanced herself from her parents, who didn’t understand her choice, and from the Jewish community, with its organization around family and unquestioning Zionism. However, both she and her parents changed and evolved, and by the end of this engaging narrative, they have come to new understandings, of themselves and one another.
The Ice Cave: A Woman’s Adventures from the Mojave to the Antarctic by Lucy Jane Bledsoe. For Lucy Jane Bledsoe, wilderness had always been a source of peace. But during one disastrous solo trip in the wintry High Sierra she came face to face with a crisis: the wilderness no longer felt like home. The Ice Cave recounts Bledsoe’s wilderness journeys as she recovers her connection with the wild and discovers the meanings of fear and grace. These are Bledsoe’s gripping tales of fending off wolves in Alaska, encountering UFOs in the Colorado Desert, and searching for mountain lions in Berkeley. Her memorable story “The Breath of Seals” takes readers to Antarctica, the wildest continent on earth, where she camped out with geologists, biologists, and astrophysicists. These fresh and deeply personal narratives remind us what it means to be simply one member of one species, trying to find food and shelter—and moments of grace—on our planet.
In My Skin: My Life On and Off the Basketball Court by Brittney Griner. Hailed by ESPN as the world’s most famous female basketball player, Brittney Griner, the dunking phenom and national sensation who is shattering stereotypes and breaking boundaries, now shares her coming-of-age story, revealing how she found her strength to overcome bullies and to embrace her authentic self. Griner, the No. 1 pick in the 2013 WNBA Draft, is a once-in-a-generation player, possessing a combination of size and athleticism never before seen in the women’s game. But “the sport’s most transformative figure” (Sports Illustrated) is equally famous for making headlines off the court, for speaking out on issues of gender, sexuality, body image and self-esteem. At 6’8”, with an 88-inch wingspan and a size 17 shoe (men’s), the Phoenix Mercury star has heard every vicious insult in the book, enduring years of taunting that began in middle school and continues to this day. Through the highs and lows, Griner has learned to remain true to herself, rising above the haters trying to take her down. In her heartfelt memoir, she reflects on painful episodes in her life and describes how she came to celebrate what makes her unique—inspiring lessons she now shares. Filled with all the humor and personality Griner has become known for, In My Skin is more than a glimpse into one of the most original personalities in sports; it’s also a powerful call to readers to be true to themselves, to love who they are on the inside and out.