december tbr

For the month of December I’ll continue reading mostly nonfiction, as I did last month for Nonfiction November, but I’m planning to narrow my focus to a set of weekly themes so that I might read more efficiently ahead of an anticipated move sometime in January.

The last two weeks have been a bit erratic for me personally, but I’m looking forward to getting things back on track and starting to read regularly again.

I’ll occasionally read literary fiction this month as well, namely a handful of titles that have come on my radar through blogging over the past few weeks.

My four weekly themes for December are as follows:

(I) LGBT Memoir (Dec. 2 to 8)

 

To Read: Sean Strub’s Body Counts, Sarah McBride’s Tomorrow Will Be DifferentCharles M. Blow’s Fire Shut Up in My Bones, Sarah Krasnostein’s The Trauma Cleaner, and David Sedaris’s Holidays on Ice.

I’ll start off the month by listening to a string of LGBT memoirs. On my commute to Chicago this weekend, I finished the memoirs by Sean Strub and Sarah McBride, both of which seamlessly interweave history, autobiography, and politics. After reading Hannah’s thoughts I’m excited to shift to The Trauma Cleaner, a biography of a trans woman who owns a trauma cleaning business, and I’ll finish the week off with a holiday-themed David Sedaris collection that includes “Santaland Diaries,” which Cat drew my attention to last week.

(II) LGBT History (Dec. 9 to 15)

 

To Read: Robert Fieseler’s TinderboxLillian Faderman’s The Gay RevolutionJohn D’Emilio’s Lost Prophet

I’ll then transition to reading a handful of LGBT history titles. I really love Lillian Faderman’s work, so I have high expectations for her book on gay rights in America. John D’Emilio and Robert Fieseler are both new to me, but I’ve heard positive things about their nonfiction. Both books focus on telling untold stories: a forgotten massacre’s link to gay liberation during the seventies (Tinderbox) and the life of closeted Black civil rights activist Bayard Rustin (Lost Prophet).

(III) Racial Injustice in America (Dec. 16 to 22)

 

To Read: Carol Anderson’s One Person, No VoteNancy MacLean’s Democracy in ChainsRichard Rothstein’s The Color of Law

Ahead of the holidays I’ll focus on reading a few books about racial injustice in America that I added to my TBR list last month. I’m especially looking forward to reading Carol Anderson’s work; if I have time, I might try to track down copies of some of her other books, since they all seem so fascinating.

(IV) The Opioid Epidemic (Dec. 23 to 29)

 

To Read: Beth Macy’s Dopesick and Chris McGreal’s American Overdose

Through Tina and Ren I recently came across Dopesick and American Overdose, two books on the opioid epidemic. This is a topic I’d like to read up on, and the two books seem to complement each other well, in that they both focus on the forces that led to the epidemic as well as the communities most affected by it.

(V) Fiction

 

To Read: Hari Kunzru’s White Tears, Niviaq Korneliussen’s Crimson, Jeanette Winter’s Christmas Days: 12 Stories and 12 Feasts, Maryse Condé’s Victoire, Leslie Feinberg’s Stone Butch Blues

While I’m planning on mostly sticking to fiction in January, I wanted to make time for some novels and short story collections during December, because it’s been a while since I’ve read anything other than nonfiction. The books I have on my list are eclectic, but they all seem interesting.

Lorraine’s recent review of Leslie Feinberg’s Stone Butch Blues makes me think that it would go well with the LGBT memoirs I’m currently reading. I also just found out that the novel is available for free online.

I’d never heard of Niviaq Korneliussen until reading Paula’s review of Crimson, but her work sounds compelling; it, too, should pair nicely with the LGBT nonfiction I’ll be reading during the first half of December.

By contrast I’ve read great things about Hari Kunzru’s fiction, and Cathy’s thoughts on White Tears have convinced me to check the novel out sooner rather than later.

Since finishing Why Be Happy When You Can Be Normal?, I’ve wanted to read some of Jeanette Winterson’s fiction, so I’ll start with her collection of Christmas stories, which Amalia succinctly commented on last month.

Claire has written thoughtfully and extensively on Maryse Condé’s work, and as I’m planning on reading mostly books in translation in January, I’ll end this month by reading her autobiographical novel about her grandmother’s life.

17 thoughts on “december tbr

    1. Glad to know Dopesick is compelling! There have been so many books on the subject published within the past few years, but those two seemed the most promising to me.

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  1. If you want to read some Jeannette Winterson, try The Powerbook. Underrated amongst her novels, clever and playful, strong LGBT themes (so goes with the rest of your month of reading too!)

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  2. If you enjoyed Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?, then you should definitely get to Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, which was Winterson’s first book and largely based on herself as a girl. Oranges really feeds into Normal.

    If you’re looking for some more lighthearted LGBTQ reads, may I recommend anything by Monica Nolan? I’ve read her entire Lesbian Career Girl series and will hit up The Big Book of Lesbian Horse Stories in the new year. I know these books sound silly, but they’re a hoot. https://grabthelapels.com/?s=monica+nolan

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    1. That’s the sense I got while reading Normal. It seems like Winterson toned down how severe her upbringing was for Oranges, since she didn’t feel she could be candid about everything back then.

      I’m always happy to receive lighthearted LGBTQ recs, thanks! The series looks like a lot of fun.

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