Gift Guide 2010: Books

Did you ever notice how the holidays are all about OY?

Oy, as in JOY: a joyous season for family. Oy, as in TOY: what the kids want from Santa. Oy, as in OY, I don’t have my Christmas shopping done so now what am I going to do?

Yeah, and that last one is the toughie. So, why not relax and head to the bookstore. Look for some of these gift ideas and wrap up a book…

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If your giftee loves to read memoirs that empower, then wrap up “A Passionate Engagement” by Ken Harvey. In this slim book, Harvey talks about coming out, meeting his husband and becoming an activist. Politics play an important part in this book, so it might be a good choice for anyone who’s politics-minded, too. I also liked “Pre-Gay L.A.” by C. Todd White. That’s a book about gay rights, starting in Los Angeles some 70 years ago, up to the present day. Filled with interviews, history and some great first-person accounts, this book would make an excellent gift for anybody who wants to know how the fight began.

If there’s a teacher on your gift list, a gasp-worthy gift to give is “And They Were Wonderful Teachers” by Karen L. Graves. This astounding book is the true story of a time in the not-so-distant past when Florida schools systematically fired or ridded itself of dozens of teachers, based on their sexual preference. Painful to read, it’s a can’t-miss for your giftee.

So, your gay or lesbian giftee simply won’t settle for those old, archaic terms? Then wrap up “Gender Outlaw: The Next Generation” by Kate Bornstein and S. Bear Bergman. This new volume, a companion to Bornstein’s earlier work, consists of essays by transpeople, genderqueers, and, yes, gay and lesbian writers.

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Tired of boy-meets-girl novels? Then why not give a girl-meets-girl story: wrap up “I Came Out for This?” by Lisa Gitlin. This cute novel is the story of Not-So-Happily Ever After and what happens when one woman goes looking for her Princess Charming after all. Also look for “All Lost Things”, a mystery by Josh Aterovis. When a newly-minted Private Eye receives a call for help from an ex-boyfriend, he agrees to take the case. But, is the guy really innocent?

If a light romance is more what you’re looking to give, then give “Mirrors” by Marianne K. Martin. Jean Carson is a teacher and a wife, but she’s definitely not a lesbian. She and Shayna Bradley are just good friends. But a bullied student makes Jean think hard about her closeted choice. Also on the light side is “Gaylias: Operation Thunderspell” by Kage Alan. When two wise-cracking friends are assigned to investigate an international terrorist group, they’re just as interested in snarking as they are to solve the case.

If your political animal is hungry for a good book on today’s issues, you’ll want to wrap up “Obama and the Gays: A Political Marriage” by Tracy Baim. This heavy, heavy book is filled with pictures, essays and thoughtful reporting on Barack Obama’s policies, his track record and where he may be going on DADT and other issues that the LGBT community is watching. You’re also going to want to include bookmarks with this book — lots of them — because it’s going to be dog-eared if you don’t.

Here’s a great gift idea: buy two movie vouchers or rental coupons and wrap them up with “50 Years of Queer Cinema” by Darwin Porter and Danforth Prince. There are lots of great suggestions in this book: old classics, new favorites and films your giftee will want to watch again and again and again. Then, just for more fun, wrap up “Bobby Blanchard, Lesbian Gym Teacher” by Monica Nolan. Really, who can resist a novel with a title like that one? :

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