Reading Round Up: The Best in LGBTQ Fiction for 2011

Each December I compile my list of favourite books read over the course of the year. Unfortunately, the trend I experienced in 2010 persisted in 2011 and my reading and reviewing time was extremely limited due to the demands of work. As a result, the number of books I did read was less than in previous years and there were a number of new releases by some of my favourite authors, as well as books by new-to-me authors of interest that I wasn’t able to get to. They include, among others, The Abode of Bliss: Ten Stories for Adam by Alex Jeffers, The Palisade and Finding Deaglan by George Seaton, The Visionary: Welcome to the Fold by the writing duo of Reno MacLeod and Jaye Valentine and The German by Lee Thomas. I’ve included these 2011 releases and several others in my reading list for 2012.

Even with less time to read, my reading habits remained consistent and I continued to read across sub-genres. My list of favourites for 2011 includes an eclectic mix of novels, one anthology and short stories from a cross-section of sub-genres including fantasy, horror, the suspense/thriller, erotica, contemporary, historical, indigenous and young adult literature. In addition, my list includes not only gay fiction (as in previous years) but also books and stories that feature lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer characters and themes, something I hope continue in 2012 as I broaden my reading experiences.

Always a thrill for me is the discovery of new authors and there are a number of books that made my list for 2011 written by new-to-me authors, including a debut author, all of whom I look forward to reading in the future. Also listed this year is The Equinox Convergence by Erik Orrantia, a novel that does not feature a prominent LGBTQ theme (there is a lesbian relationship involving secondary characters in the novel) I chose to include all the same because it is an excellent story by this LGBTQ award-winning author. Finally, two of the novels listed are past favourites re-read in 2011.

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Wonder: A Novel by Dan Boyle

Tom Flaherty is a Caltech professor, world-renowned physicist and String theorist. He takes a sabbatical and moves back home to Washington State to help take care of his aging mother who’s been diagnosed with a rare form of dementia. Maude Flaherty’s dementia causes her to journey back in time and relive her memories.

During his sabbatical, Tom is invited to guest lecture at the University of Washington where he begins a series of lectures on space, time and the cosmos. While his return home heralds a rekindling of old friendships and the formation of new ones, it is not an easy family reunion as Tom comes to terms with his mother’s aging and illness, and is forced to face the issues surrounding his painful relationship with his sister. But all these things coalesce and serve as catalysts for Tom’s realization that he’s been hiding from life since the violent death of his lover and partner, and that it’s time to start living again.

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