MyDentity: A New Book/Discussion Club

The GLBT Library is proud to start MyDentity, a new book/discussion club! Every month we’ll have 3-5 recommended books, based on a certain theme, available here at the GLBT Library. After reading as many and as much of the texts you’d like, join us for a general thematic discussion. Snacks will be provided. Our first meeting will be Thursday, October 1 at 7PM. We will be hosting at the GLBT Library (located at the GLBT Student Support Services Office). Folks of all ages and backgrounds are welcome!

How it works: The GLBT Library has placed the recommended books on reserve for the duration of the month. What this means is that you will be able to borrow each book for 3 business days (or read them in the library!) to ensure that as many folks as possible get the chance to check them out!

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Our September theme is: Defining Identity
When did your life become decided by someone else? Are our physical appearances all that determine who we are? Perhaps our identity is determined by our actions? Come explore the many ways in which identities are constructed, including sexuality, gender, race, age, and more!

Recommended reading:
Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg
-Also available at other IU Libraries and Monroe County Public Library
To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
-Also available at other IU Libraries, RPS Libraries, and Monroe County Public Library
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz
-Also available at other IU Libraries, RPS Libraries, and Monroe County Public Library
Annabel by Kathleen Winter
-Also available at other IU Libraries and Monroe County Public Library

Questions or suggestions? Contact Ben at brownbed@umail.iu.edu or Andrew at glbtlib@indiana.edu! Hope to see you at our first meeting!

Asexual Resources

Sometimes called “A Fourth Orientation,” asexuality is a sexual orientation characterized by a persistent lack of sexual attraction toward any gender. Asexuality is not the same as celibacy, as celibacy is a choice. Asexual people have the same emotional needs as everybody else and are just as capable of forming intimate relationships.

We recently just acquired three new books on asexuality: a nonfiction introduction to the subject, a collection of short stories about asexual relationships, and a young adult novel featuring an asexual protagonist!

BookCoverBriefIntroAsexuality: A Brief Introduction
This book explores love, sex, and life, from the asexual point of view. This book is for anyone, regardless of orientation. Whether you’re asexual, think you might be, know someone who is, or just want to learn more about what asexuality is (and isn’t), there’s something inside for you. This is one of the first books exclusively dedicated to the subject of asexuality as a sexual orientation. Written by an asexual, it discusses the topic from the inside, debunking common misconceptions and myths about asexual individuals.

 

 

heartThe Heart of Aces
The heart of aces is where an anomaly lives, where love’s definition takes a deviation from the common rules.
These eleven stories dive into asexual relationships, where couples embrace differences, defy society’s expectations, and find romantic love. In this collection is a full spectrum of asexuality in all its classifications. From contemporary fiction to fantasy, from heteroromantic to homoromantic, join these unique characters on their journey to finding the person that speaks to their hearts.

 

quickQuicksilver by R.J. Anderson
Three months ago, perfect, popular seventeen year-old Tori Beaugrand disappeared into thin air. And then, just as inexplicably, Tori returns home, bloodied and beaten, but alive and whole. Tori’s disappearance is a mystery to the police and her friends, and she claims that she cannot remember anything of her abduction, or the weeks she was gone. More than anything, Tori wants everyone to forget, and to move on with her life as though nothing has happened.
Anderson does a great job of portraying Tori’s asexuality, without making this Tori’s sole defining characteristic.  Tori is a young woman who feels love, and rage, and loneliness–she’s not sexually attracted to anyone, but she feels and yearns for emotional connection.

Outside resources available online:

  • (A)Sexual (2013), a documentary by Angela TuckerFacing a sex obsessed culture, a mountain of stereotypes and misconceptions, as well as a lack of social or scientific research, asexuals struggle to claim their identity. A FilmBuff Presentation.
  • The Asexual Visibility & Education Network (AVEN)
    AVEN hosts the world’s largest online asexual community as well as a large archive of resources on asexuality. AVEN strives to create open, honest discussion among sexual and asexual people alike.
  • Asexuality Archive
    The Asexuality Archive is a collection of all things Ace, striving to provide a comprehensive and uncensored look into what asexuality is, what it means to us and how it shapes our lives.  The intention is to provide information that is approachable and informative, whether or not you’re asexual.
  • Taking the Cake: An Illustrated Primer on Asexuality
    Maisha’s Taking the Cake zine is a beautifully illustrated COLORING BOOK on all-things asexual. Topics include a rundown on the various “flavors” of asexuality, the symbols of asexuality, a look at asexuality in how it pertains to the LGBTQ community, “Tips for Sexuals Dating Asexuals,” a piece on how to be an ally to asexuals, a resource library, and much more!
  • Asexuality Resources
    This blog aims to provide information showing people how and where to learn about asexuality. Whether it be definitions, websites, blog, videos, articles and more. This blog also helps support asexual vis/ed by creating sharable images with meaningful messages or infographs about asexuality to create a better understanding and visibility of this often invisible and misunderstood orientation.
  • Asexuality Awareness Week (October 26-November 1)

Christmas in July: New Books!

new books

Picture it: yesterday afternoon. A big box is delivered full of bright, shiny, new materials for the library.  They all had the new smelling book smell. You know that smell? It was like Christmas came early. At least, I thought so; I might have done a little happy dance in celebration, but that’s neither here nor there.

Anyway, I thought I’d give you a little glimpse of some of the new books I’m most excited about.

InIn One Person by John Irving
Winner of a 2013 Lambda Literary Award, New York Times bestselling novel of desire, secrecy, and sexual identity. In One Person is a story of unfulfilled love. Billy, the bisexual narrator and main character of One Person, tells the tragicomic story of his life as a “sexual suspect.” In One Person is a poignant tribute to Billy’s friends and lovers a theatrical cast of characters who defy category and convention. In One Person is an intimate and unforgettable portrait of the solitariness of a bisexual man who is dedicated to making himself worthwhile.

 

fairylandFairyland: A Memoir of My Father by Alysia Abbott
After his wife dies in a car accident, bisexual writer and activist Steve Abbott moves with his two-year-old daughter to San Francisco. There they discover a city in the midst of revolution, bustling with gay men in search of liberation—few of whom are raising a child.  Steve throws himself into San Francisco’s vibrant cultural scene. He takes Alysia to raucous parties, pushes her in front of the microphone at poetry readings, and introduces her to a world of artists, thinkers, and writers. As a child Alysia views her father as a loving playmate who can transform the ordinary into magic, but as she gets older Alysia wants more than anything to fit in. The world, she learns, is hostile to difference.
Reconstructing their life together from a remarkable cache of her father’s journals, letters, and writings, Alysia Abbott gives us an unforgettable portrait of a tumultuous, historic time in San Francisco as well as an exquisitely moving account of a father’s legacy and a daughter’s love.

silhouetteSilhouette of a Sparrow by Molly Beth Griffin
In the summer of 1926, sixteen-year-old Garnet Richardson is sent to a lake resort to escape the polio epidemic. She dreams of indulging in ornithology and a visit to an amusement park—a summer of fun before she returns to a last year of high school, marriage, and middle-class homemaking. But in the country, Garnet finds herself under supervision of oppressive guardians. Only a job in a hat shop, an intense, secret relationship with a beautiful flapper, and a deep faith in her own heart can save her from the suffocation of traditional femininity. It is the tale of a young woman’s discovery of the science of risk and the art of rebellion, and, of course, the power of unexpected love.

And because I love graphic novels so much…

batwomanBatwoman: Elegy by Greg Rucka
A new era begins as Batwoman is unleashed on Gotham City! Marked by the blood-red bat emblem, Kate Kane is a soldier fighting her own private war – one that began years ago and haunts her every waking moment. In this first tale, Batwoman battles a madwoman known only as Alice, inspired by Alice in Wonderland, who sees her life as a fairy tale and everyone around her as expendable extras! Also, witness the origin of Batwoman in the shocking and tragic story “Go,” in which young Kate Kane and her family are kidnapped by terrorists, and Kate’s life – and the lives of her family – will never be the same!

 

And the book I’m most excited about…

beyond Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out
by Susan Kuklin
Author and photographer Susan Kuklin met and interviewed six transgender or gender-neutral young adults and used her considerable skills to represent them thoughtfully and respectfully before, during, and after their personal acknowledgment of gender preference. Portraits, family photographs, and candid images grace the pages, augmenting the emotional and physical journey each youth has taken. Each honest discussion and disclosure, whether joyful or heartbreaking, is completely different from the other because of family dynamics, living situations, gender, and the transition these teens make in recognition of their true selves.

All of these new materials and more are on display now in the GLBT office, stop by and see what else we got for Christmas in July!

Will Grayson, Will Grayson

High school is a time of changing friendships, shifting identities, and makiWillGraysonng baby steps toward establishing values and goals. Those of us for whom high school has faded into the rear-view mirror often assert that we wouldn’t go back for anything; yet we often find ourselves replaying the same dramas and feeling the same anxieties in our adult lives. This is the pull of young adult fiction for adults who are no longer so young: it reminds us of where we’ve been while simultaneously allowing us to indulge in our youthful emotional excesses through the lives of the characters we read about.

In Will Grayson, Will Grayson, John Green and David Levithan masterfully capture the angst and triumph that fill high school hallways, bringing to life a cast of teenage characters who feel isolated in their uniqueness but who will remind readers of people they’ve met: artists, worriers, loners, romantics, and boys-turned-men who hang all their hopes (and hearts) on their romantic relationships, declaring each new partner to be “the one.”

The teenage years are filled with discoveries that feel earth-shattering to the recipients of these realizations. Such moments are illustrated throughout the story:

“This is why we call people exes, I guess—because the paths that cross in the middle end up separating in the end. It’s too easy to see an X as a cross-out. It’s not, because there’s no way to cross out something like that. The X is a diagram of two paths” (277).

These simple but profound insights will resonate with teenage readers and pull adult readers back to a time when human interaction was filled with more mystery than familiarity, when every song on the radio delivered a new truth that prompted the thought, Yes, that’s exactly how I feel.

DavidLavithanJohnGreen
David Levithan (left) and John Green (right)

But beyond offering insight into human behavior and motivations, the authors tell an entertaining story. Two young men named Will Grayson find their paths crossing. They could simply notice the unlikely possibility of such an encounter, but fate has other plans for them: in each other’s group of friends, they find new romances and rivals, and each man is opened up as he is forced to confront his own assumptions about himself and those around him.

Will Grayson, Will Grayson is ultimately a story of triumph. Feelings are messy; so are relationships, because people’s feelings get tangled up together. But the mess is worth it, and only when we allow others into our lives will we discover our potential for growth.

Written by Jamie, GLBTSSS Office Supervisor

For more information about John Green and other books he’s written, you can check out his website or Wells Reference’s blog post on him, and for more information about David Levithan and his other works, visit his website.  We have two of Levithan’s other works in our collection:

The Full Spectrum
How Beautiful the Ordinary: Twelve Stories of Identity

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

12000020“I bet you could sometimes find all the mysteries of the universe in someone’s hand.”

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz is the story of two friends, Ari and Dante, who meet the summer of 1987 at the pool.  Ari is an angry loner with a father who won’t open up and an older brother in prison; Dante’s a reader, an artist, a philosopher, and a little bit of a crier. Against all odds, it is Dante that is able to break down Ari’s walls as their friendship develops.  This smart, engaging, coming-of-age story is one of family, friendship, love, and self-discovery.

“I wanted to tell them that I’d never had a friend, not ever, not a real one. Until Dante. I wanted to tell them that I never knew that people like Dante existed in the world, people who looked at the stars, and knew the mysteries of water, and knew enough to know that birds belonged to the heavens and weren’t meant to be shot down from their graceful flights by mean and stupid boys. I wanted to tell them that he had changed my life and that I would never be the same, not ever. And that somehow it felt like it was Dante who had saved my life and not the other way around. I wanted to tell them that he was the first human being aside from my mother who had ever made me want to talk about the things that scared me. I wanted to tell them so many things and yet I didn’t have the words. So I just stupidly repeated myself. ‘Dante’s my friend.’”

Publishers Weekly review calls it “a tender, honest exploration of identity and sexuality, and a passionate reminder that love—whether romantic or familial—should be open, free, and without shame.” The book has won numerous awards, including the Lambda Literary Award and Stonewall Book Award for LGBT fiction, an Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award honor, Pura Belpré Author Award for Latino fiction, and Michael L. Printz Award honor for Young Adult fiction.

Also, it looks like there may be a sequel in the works:

Book of the Week – Beautiful Music for Ugly Children

BeautifulMusic“I know this is a radical idea, but people should get to be who they want to be. If you’re going for the top of the charts, all right. A side all the way, go for it. But if I want to play my B side, I should get to play my B side. And only the cool kids listen to B sides” (p. 41).

Beautiful Music for Ugly Children by Kirstin Cronn-Mills (@kirstincm) is a story about Gabe, a transgender high school student. Gabe (whose birth name is Elizabeth) has a cool job as a radio DJ, a supportive best friend and mentor, and big plans after graduation. However, his parents think he’s crazy and his classmates aren’t exactly supportive. Within this story, Kirstin Cronn-Mills creates realistic characters that expose many of the challenges and difficulties faced by transgender individuals. From the first page to the last, readers will cheer on Gabe throughout his journey and look for ways to “let [their own] B sides play”.

For more information about Beautiful Music for Ugly Children check out the author’s website: http://kirstincronn-mills.com

Book of the Week – Geography Club

geography club“‘The first session of the Geography Club will come to order!’  Kevin said in a voice that was a cross between television news anchor and Baptist preacher.  Everyone laughed.  He laughed too, but managed to add, ‘Damn! I knew I couldn’t say that with a straight face!’  No one made the painfully obvious pun about none of us having ‘straight’ faces, and I thought how glad I was to be here, surrounded by smart, funny friends, one of whom happened to be the hottest thing this side of an Old Navy commercial.” –Russel Middlebrook in Brent Hartinger’s Geography Club (p. 73, 2003)

Geography Club (recently adapted as a feature film) is a fun and honest story about friendship, cruelty, and the everyday lives of small-town high school students.  Russel Middlebrook believes he is the only gay kid at his high school but soon discovers that the star of the baseball team and some of his closest friends are more diverse than he thought.  To continue hanging out without drawing attention to themselves, they create the Geography Club, “‘a club that [sounds] so boring, nobody in their right mind would ever in a million years join it.’”  The distinct personalities of each character and the complex portrayals of gay teen life add credibility to this insightful novel.

Book of the Week – Skim

skimThis graphic novel, released in 2008 to overwhelming critically praise, tells the story of Skim, a Japanese-Canadian girl attending a Catholic school in the early ‘90s.  It’s a simultaneously funny and sad coming-of-age tale, full of all the struggles of adolescence; and it does not shy away from difficult and complex subjects, including depression and suicide, teenage sexuality (including homosexuality), cliques, and unhealthy friendships.  The artwork is gorgeously detailed, evocative of its particular time and place, and often cinematic in scope.