Tag: alice walker

15 LGBTQ+ Classics You Need to Read

“Every classic was written by a straight white man!” goes the saying. But in reality, a lot of books we now consider to be “classics” were written by people of color, women, and LGBTQ+ people. Dismissing all classic literature, or every book written before the turn of the millennium, as books written exclusively by old white dudes erases all of the work that people from marginalized groups did. So, because of pride month, and because literature (old and new) by underrepresented voices always deserves a special shout-out, here is a list of LGBTQ+ classics that you should read if you haven’t yet!

Orlando by Virginia Woolf

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As his tale begins, Orlando is a passionate sixteen-year-old nobleman whose days are spent in rowdy revelry, filled with the colorful delights of Queen Elizabeth I’s court. By the close, three centuries have passed, and he will have transformed into a thirty-six-year-old woman in the year 1928. Orlando’s journey is also an internal one—he is an impulsive poet who learns patience in matter of the heart, and a woman who knows what it is to be a man.

Synopsis via Amazon

 

If Not, Winter: Fragments of Sappho by Sappho, translated by Anne carson

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Of the nine books of lyrics the ancient Greek poet Sappho is said to have composed, only one poem has survived complete. The rest are fragments. In this miraculous new translation, acclaimed poet and classicist Anne Carson presents all of Sappho’s fragments, in Greek and in English, as if on the ragged scraps of papyrus that preserve them, inviting a thrill of discovery and conjecture that can be described only as electric—or, to use Sappho’s words, as “thin fire . . . racing under skin.”

Synopsis via Amazon

 

Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters

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Nan King, an oyster girl, is captivated by the music hall phenomenon Kitty Butler, a male impersonator extraordinaire treading the boards in Canterbury. Through a friend at the box office, Nan manages to visit all her shows and finally meet her heroine. Soon after, she becomes Kitty’s dresser and the two head for the bright lights of Leicester Square where they begin a glittering career as music-hall stars in an all-singing and dancing double act. At the same time, behind closed doors, they admit their attraction to each other and their affair begins.

Synopsis via Amazon

 

The Hours by Michael Cunningham

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In The Hours, Michael Cunningham, widely praised as one of the most gifted writers of his generation, draws inventively on the life and work of Virginia Woolf to tell the story of a group of contemporary characters struggling with the conflicting claims of love and inheritance, hope and despair. The narrative of Woolf’s last days before her suicide early in World War II counterpoints the fictional stories of Samuel, a famous poet whose life has been shadowed by his talented and troubled mother, and his lifelong friend Clarissa, who strives to forge a balanced and rewarding life in spite of the demands of friends, lovers, and family.

Synopsis via Amazon

 

The Color Purple by Alice Walker

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A powerful cultural touchstone of modern American literature, The Color Purple depicts the lives of African American women in early twentieth-century rural Georgia. Separated as girls, sisters Celie and Nettie sustain their loyalty to and hope in each other across time, distance and silence. Through a series of letters spanning twenty years, first from Celie to God, then the sisters to each other despite the unknown, the novel draws readers into its rich and memorable portrayals of Celie, Nettie, Shug Avery and Sofia and their experience. The Color Purple broke the silence around domestic and sexual abuse, narrating the lives of women through their pain and struggle, companionship and growth, resilience and bravery. Deeply compassionate and beautifully imagined, Alice Walker’s epic carries readers on a spirit-affirming journey towards redemption and love.

Synopsis via Amazon

 

The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith

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A chance encounter between two lonely women leads to a passionate romance in this lesbian cult classic. Therese, a struggling young sales clerk, and Carol, a homemaker in the midst of a bitter divorce, abandon their oppressive daily routines for the freedom of the open road, where their love can blossom. But their newly discovered bliss is shattered when Carol is forced to choose between her child and her lover.

Synopsis via Amazon

 

Maurice by E.M. Forster

Maurice : E M Forster : 9781444736298
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As Maurice Hall makes his way through a traditional English education, he projects an outer confidence that masks troubling questions about his own identity. Frustrated and unfulfilled, a product of the bourgeoisie he will grow to despise, he has difficulty acknowledging his nascent attraction to men.
At Cambridge he meets Clive, who opens his eyes to a less conventional view of the nature of love. Yet when Maurice is confronted by the societal pressures of life beyond university, self-doubt and heartbreak threaten his quest for happiness.

Synopsis via Amazon

 

Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin

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In the 1950s Paris of American expatriates, liaisons, and violence, a young man finds himself caught between desire and conventional morality. With a sharp, probing imagination, James Baldwin’s now-classic narrative delves into the mystery of loving and creates a moving, highly controversial story of death and passion that reveals the unspoken complexities of the human heart.

Synopsis via Amazon

 

 

Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe Hall

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Stephen is an ideal child of aristocratic parents — a fencer, a horse rider and a keen scholar. Stephen grows to be a war hero, a bestselling writer and a loyal, protective lover. But Stephen is a woman, and her lovers are women. As her ambitions drive her, and society confines her, Stephen is forced into desperate actions.

Synopsis via Amazon

 

Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson

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Winner of the Whitbread Prize for best first fiction, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit is a coming-out novel from Winterson, the acclaimed author of The Passion and Sexing the Cherry. The narrator, Jeanette, cuts her teeth on the knowledge that she is one of God’s elect, but as this budding evangelical comes of age, and comes to terms with her preference for her own sex, the peculiar balance of her God-fearing household crumbles.

Synopsis via Amazon

 

Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown

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In bawdy, moving prose, Rita Mae Brown tells the story of Molly Bolt, the adoptive daughter of a dirt-poor Southern couple who boldly forges her own path in America. With her startling beauty and crackling wit, Molly finds that women are drawn to her wherever she goes—and she refuses to apologize for loving them back. This literary milestone continues to resonate with its message about being true to yourself and, against the odds, living happily ever after.

Synopsis via Amazon

 

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

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Dorian Gray is the subject of a full-length portrait in oil by Basil Hallward, an artist impressed and infatuated by Dorian’s beauty; he believes that Dorian’s beauty is responsible for the new mood in his art as a painter. Through Basil, Dorian meets Lord Henry Wotton, and he soon is enthralled by the aristocrat’s hedonistic world view: that beauty and sensual fulfilment are the only things worth pursuing in life. Newly understanding that his beauty will fade, Dorian expresses the desire to sell his soul, to ensure that the picture, rather than he, will age and fade. The wish is granted, and Dorian pursues a libertine life of varied amoral experiences while staying young and beautiful; all the while, his portrait ages and records every sin.

Synopsis via Amazon

 

The City and the Pillar by Gore Vidal

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Jim, a handsome, all-American athlete, has always been shy around girls. But when he and his best friend, Bob, partake in “awful kid stuff,” the experience forms Jim’s ideal of spiritual completion. Defying his parents’ expectations, Jim strikes out on his own, hoping to find Bob and rekindle their amorous friendship. Along the way he struggles with what he feels is his unique bond with Bob and with his persistent attraction to other men. Upon finally encountering Bob years later, the force of his hopes for a life together leads to a devastating climax.

Synopsis via Amazon

 

Zami by Audre Lorde

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Zami is a fast-moving chronicle. From the author’s vivid childhood memories in Harlem to her coming of age in the late 1950s, the nature of Audre Lorde’s work is cyclical. It especially relates the linkage of women who have shaped her. Lorde brings into play her craft of lush description and characterization. It keeps unfolding page after page.

Synopsis via Amazon

 

City of Night by John Rechy

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Based in part on John Rechy’s own experiences as an itinerant male prostitute in the late 1950’s, City of Night is a powerful evocation of a nameless narrator’s journey through the underside of America’s urban wastelands and a haunting description of the different people he encounters there.

Synopsis via Amazon

 

Featured image via Los Angeles magazine

Book Adaptations on Hulu You Should Definitely Check Out

On July 1st, Hulu added "The Color Purple," "Beloved," and "Mary Shelley" to their ever-increasing catalog of movies. All three are based on either the works or the lives of famous female writers, and all three are recommended for fans of the books, or for people interested in learning more about these great classics.

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Alice Walker Quotes To Inspire Your Wednesday

Alice Walker, the critically acclaimed author of The Color Purple, is certainly an inspiring presence in the literary world. Her moving stories speak to the fragility of the human experience and her colorful writing encourages us to find the beauty in every moment.

This Black History Month, we celebrate the men and women who have greatly shaped history by providing indispensable contributions to countless dimensions of society; Alice Walker’s literary talents and accomplishments are nothing less than extraordinary. Here are seven of her poignant quotes that will inspire you this Wednesday.

image via the new yorker
  1. “No person is your friend who demands your silence, or denies your right to grow.”

2. “I have learned not to worry about love; but to honor its coming with all my heart.” – Revolutionary Petunias

 

 

3. “I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it. People think pleasing God is all God care about. But any fool living in the world can see it always trying to please us back.”    – The Color Purple 

4. “The more I wonder, the more I love.” – The Color Purple 

5. “Part of what existence means to me is knowing the difference between what I am now and what I was then.” – In Search of Our Mothers Gardens 

 

 

6. “Keep in mind always the present you are constructing. It should be the future you want.” – The Temple of My Familiar 

7. “Don’t wait around for other people to be happy for you. Any happiness you get you’ve got to make yourself.”

8. “I believe in movements, collective action to influence the future.” – You Can’t Keep a Good Woman Down 

9. “Expect nothing. Live frugally on surprise.” – Revolutionary Petunias 

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