As you know, I'm an eclectic reader and as such my reading preferences do not remain static. Last year my interests veered towards gay speculative fiction, however although I read spec-fic this year and continue to love it, in the end gay fiction really won the day. Of course I also read romances along with mysteries, thrillers, young adult, and a few erotic tales.
I've read some excellent LGBTQ books throughout 2011, and choosing favorite authors and their works has not been an easy task for me. I am highlighting five authors and their works by categories, however for each category under "Other Favorites" I've also listed the rest of my top choices for 2011.
ALEX JEFFERS- Gay Fiction
Alex Jeffers wrote my absolute favorite gay fiction book this year, The Abode of Bliss: Ten Stories for Adam (Tincture, 2011). This book has everything that I look for in a work of fiction and more. It has plot, purpose, characterization, excellent use of language, literary merit, depth and more, more, more. Reading the book was pleasure that I'll enjoy again and again.Other Favorites:
As I was writing my review of this book, I remember thinking that if I re-read this novel and wrote another review a year later it would probably be totally different because there's just so much there. I know it happened when I re-read Jeffers' fantastic novella in letter form Do You Remember Tulum? (Lethe Press 2011-Kindle Ed.). When a writer has so much to offer a reader each and every time they pick up his works, there's no question as to where he belongs. This year for me that's at the top. You can read my review by clicking on the title of the book above, however I'm also going to direct you to a recent review of this book by the writer George Seaton at the Out in Print blog where he includes quotes and passages. I read it and loved it!
- Kathryn Shay: The Perfect Family (Bold Stroke Books - 2010)*
- Elliott Mackle: Captain Harding's Six Day War (Lethe Press, 2011-Kindle Ed.)
- Timothy Wang: Slant (Tincture, 2011)
I love mysteries and thrillers and in The German (Lethe Press, 2011-Kindle Ed.), Lee Thomas wrote a fantastic mystery and thriller with a touch of horror that just had more to say. This novel hooked me from the moment I read the prologue. I absolutely love how this new-to-me author constructed the story. His multi-layered exploration of deep rooted prejudices and fears taking place against a historical background and in a small town setting gave this thriller depth. The fact that on different levels these same prejudices and fears can be equated to those found in contemporary times makes the story plausible to an certain extent, giving the circumstances a chilling factor. There's no way I'm not reading more works by Lee Thomas if they are all of the same caliber. Excellent, I loved it!Other Favorites:
- Josh Lanyon: Snowball in Hell (Doyle and Spain #1) (Carina Press, 2011)
- Josh Lanyon: Mummy Dearest (XOXO Files #1) (Samhain Publishing, 2011)
I read a few LGBTQ anthologies this year, some better than others. Anthologies are a great way to find new writers. This is a proven method that works for me. The downside of anthologies is that somehow there are almost always highs and lows. Having said that, you'll understand my choice for top pick for LGBTQ Anthology editor in 2011.
This year Steve Berman edited two anthologies that made the grade for me. In the Speaking Out: LGBTQ Youth Stand Up (Bold Stroke Books 2011) anthology I could tell as soon as I began reading each little story and personalized account that both the contributing writers and editor put their hearts and souls into the whole product. In fact, this book meant so much to Mr. Berman, that he started a fundraiser campaign to donate this worthwhile book to school libraries around the country. Wilde Stories 2011: The Year's Best Gay Speculative Fiction (Lethe Press 2011) is the second anthology. Let me tell you, this anthology includes some excellent gay spec-fic short stories. It offers everything that I love about this sub-genre. Plus, again there are excellent new-to-me writers in there that I'll be hunting down throughout next year for new releases. Kudos to Mr. Berman for gathering such excellent writers and stories for both collections.Other Favorites:
- Charles Rice-González and Charlie Vázquez (Editors): From Macho to Mariposa: New Gay Latino Fiction (Tincture, 2011)
CHARLES RICE-GONZÁLEZ - Gay Fiction/Romance
I was first introduced to Charles Rice-González's work this year when I read the From Macho to Mariposa: New Gay Latino Fiction anthology. As a writer, he contributed one of my favorite short stories "Michael Moves to Faile Street." As co-editor, Rice-González together with Charlie Vázquez also gave the reader an excellent overall view of the gay Latino sub-culture. So it shouldn't be surprising that right after I read that book my search for gay fiction novels by some of those same Latino writers began in earnest. That's when I found this author's full-length debut novel Chulito (Magnus Books, September 2011 - Kindle Edition). I love this author's down to earth depiction of his characters, and both his understanding of the Latino culture and the way he approaches issues that affect the gay community from the gay Latino's point of view. I also love the fact that he conveys emotional connection by way of romance, love, angst, yearning, deep friendships, and more. So yes, this is an author that reached me this year and one I'll continue to look for in the future.HARPER FOX - Gay Romance
I read quite a few gay romances in 2011, although you'll find few reviews! For some reason I had a tough time finding gay romances that really hit the spot this year. However, there is one author who stood out for me, and that is Harper Fox. I've read a total of four books by her, two of them this year, Driftwood* (Samhain Publishing, 2010) and The Salisbury Key (Samhain Publishing, 2011). They are all winners. I love her writing style and characterization, as well as the romances. I need to catch up and read The Midwinter Prince and Last Line. However, one thing I know is that I will continue to read her work.Other Favorites:
- Victor J. Banis: Coming Home (MLR Press, 2010)*
- Samantha Kane: Cherry Pie (Loose ID, 2011)
- Xavier Axelson: The Incident (Seven Windows Publications, 2011)
- K.A. Mitchell: Collision Course (Samhain Publishing, Ltd, 2008)*
How about you? Who were your favorite LGBT authors of 2011? How about your favorite books?