Booksellers contacted by Q&Q point to Taking My Life (Talonbooks) by Jane Rule as a top LGBT title of 2011. Rule, a member of the Order of Canada well known for her lesbian-interest fiction and non-fiction, died in 2007 but left behind a handwritten manuscript detailing her relationships and struggles with socio-cultural politics during the early years of her life. The manuscript, discovered by academic Linda M. Morra, who also edited the book, was published posthumously this summer.
Taking My Life is a sellout at Toronto Women’s Bookstore and has also been a hit at Little Sister’s Book & Art Emporium in Vancouver. “It was certainly a surprise that Jane wrote a book [about her life],” says Little Sister’s manager Janine Fuller. “It’s quite amazing for our culture.”
Both stores have also seen high sales of Persistence: All Ways Butch and Femme (Arsenal Pulp Press), a collection of personal essays on the butch/femme binary and life with an alternate gender identity, edited by Ivan E. Coyote and Zena Sharman.
At Little Sister’s, another popular 2011 title is Hold Me Now (Freehand Books), a novel by Stephen Gauer that explores the role homophobia played in a young man’s murder.
York University professor Sheila L. Cavanagh’s Queering Bathrooms: Gender, Sexuality, and the Hygienic Imagination (University of Toronto Press), a finalist for the 2011 Next Generation GLBT Indie Book Awards, has also garnered lots of positive attention, says Toronto Women’s Bookstore owner Victoria Moreno.
At Glad Day Bookshop in Toronto, manager Prodan Nedev says one of this year’s titles with buzz is Peter Knegt’s About Canada: Queer Rights (Fernwood Publishing). Another hit is Natural Order (Doubleday Canada), a novel about the relationship between a mother and her gay son by Brian Francis, whose YA debut Fruit: A Novel About a Boy and His Nipples (ECW Press) was the CBC Canada Reads runner-up in 2009.
UPDATE: Taking My Life was discovered and edited by Linda M. Morra.