If you read Impressions of a Reader, then you know that I absolutely love my LGBT books. Every year I wish that I had more time to read and review all the great books released, but due to time restrictions and other commitments I can never read everything I purchase or in some cases review everything I read. There is never enough time!
From the list of books read and reviewed during 2012, I have chosen 9 top books and authors representing my favorite within each category. They are listed below in no particular order. And because I read so many short stories, this year as my number 10 I'm including a short list of favorite short stories chosen from anthologies and collections read and reviewed in 2012. (Click on book titles to read reviews)
TOM CARDAMONE: Queer Speculative Fiction
Green Thumb (2012 print & digital ed.,BrazenHead)
Green Thumb by Tom Cardamone is an original, creative, queer speculative fiction novella that takes a curve and ends up in that space we refer to as the Weird. It's a favorite combination that Cardamone handles first with subtlety and then with grand beauty, making this novella my favorite speculative fiction read of 2012. In Leaf, Cardamone created an unforgettable character and in Green Thumb a magnificent story.
EDUARDO C. CORRAL: Poetry
Slow Lightning (2012 print ed., Yale University Press)
Slow Lightning won The Yale's Young Poet's Prize in 2012. In the foreword Carl Phillips says: "Corral resists reductivism. Gay, Chicano, 'Illegal-American,' that's all just language, and part of Corral's point is that language, like sex, is fluid and dangerous and thrilling, now a cage, now a window out. In Corral's refusal to think in reductive terms lies his great authority." I don't think anyone can describe Mr. Corral's point better than that! This is one of my favorite books of 2012. I've re-read it and will continue to do so.
JEFF MANN: Erotic Historical Romance
Purgatory: A Novel of the Civil War (2012 print & digital ed., Bear Bones Books)
One of the most memorable reads of 2012 for me, Purgatory: A Novel of the Civil War is an erotic historical romance that reads more like an erotic historical fiction novel containing gorgeous research about the Civil War and a distinct Southern flavor. The talented Jeff Mann integrates graphic violent situations yet shows a loving BDSM relationship in progress between captive and captor. A fantastic love story.
ELLIOTT MACKLE: Historical Fiction/Mystery
Captain Harding and His Men (Captain Harding #2) (2012 print & digital ed., Lethe Press)
Elliott Mackle has become one of my favorite writers within a very short period of time. I absolutely adored Captain Harding and His Men and can't deny that I'm in love with the main character. All of his books (all of them) are worth reading. I'm including the three books I read by Elliott Mackle in 2012 in my favorite list, making him one of my favorite authors this year. That includes: It Takes Two, Book #1, (reprint digital ed., 2012, Lethe Press) and *Only Make Believe (It Takes Two, Book #2) (2012 digital ed., Lethe Press), two magnificent historical fiction/mystery romances set in the South during WWII.
LEE THOMAS: Horror
Torn (2012 hardcover print ed., Cemetery Dance Productions)
Lee Thomas has the ability to make me visualize both the subtle and horrific situations described in his books. I love the way he juxtapositions prosaic events from everyday life with moments of desperation and horror that leave the reader bug-eyed, but always saying more and adding depth to the plot. I loved this horror novella by Mr. Thomas, as well other short stories included in different anthologies. Example: "The House By The Park"(Wilde Stories 2012 Anthology).
MELISSA SCOTT: Fantasy
Point of Knives: A Novella of Astreiant (2012 print & digital ed., Lethe Press)
Point of Knives flawlessly bridges the gap between the two classic fantasy novels Point of Hopes and Point of Dreams originally written by Melissa Scott and Lisa A. Barnett. Ms. Scott further develops the romantic relationship between the two main characters and also gives fans and new readers a fantastic new mystery to solve within a magnificent pseudo-Renaissance fantasy world. I absolutely loved this novella.
MEL BOSSA: Romance
Split (2011 digital ed., Bold Strokes Books)
Split was released in 2011. I am including it with this list because I read it in 2012 and it is also my favorite gay romance. Split has excellent characterization and plotting, plus the emotional connection I need in my romance. This is an author whose other works I followed throughout the year and whose talent I learned to appreciate even more after reading her second novel, also recommended, Franky Gets Real (2012 digital ed., Bold Strokes Books).
LEWIS DESIMONE: Gay Fiction
The Heart's History (2012 print ed., Lethe Press)
Lewis DeSimone's The Heart's History is a story that stayed with me for a long time after I read it. In this novel DeSimone displays a talent for delving into his individual characters so that their portrayals become three-dimensional. The connection DeSimone establishes between those amazing characters is extended to the reader, and that makes them and their inner struggles, unforgettable. I know Edward is the center of this story, but who can read this novel and forget Harlan? I still can't.
ERIK ORRANTIA: Gay Fiction with Romantic Elements
Taxi Rojo (2012 digital ed., Cheyenne Publishing)
Taxi Rojo by Erik Orrantia is a novel where the characters, portrayed as survivors of everyday struggles, are placed in extraordinary circumstances. Their individual stories are so gripping that I couldn't stop talking about them for weeks after I finished the book. Additionally, I found Orrantia's depiction and incorporation of Tijuana, Mexico as almost a secondary character, brilliant. A story that stayed with me.
FAVORITE SHORT STORIES: Miscellaneous categories from Anthologies & Collections
ARTHUR WOOTEN: The "Dear Henry Letters"
(Arthur Wooten's Shorts, 2012 digital ed. Galaxias Prod)
SIMON SHEPPARD: Heaven and Earth
(History's Passion, Richard Labonté, 2011 print ed. Bold Strokes Books)
JOEL LANE & MATT JOINER: Ashes in the Water
(Wilde Stories 2012, Steve Berman, 2012 print ed. Lethe Press)
CHAZ BRECHLEY: Keep the Aspidochelone Floating & VINCENT KOVAR: Wave Boys
(The Touch of the Sea, Steve Berman, 2012 print ed. Lethe Press)
'NATHAN BURGOINE: Leap
(Boys of Summer, Steve Berman, 2012 digital ed. Lethe Press)
That is it for my favorite LGBT reads of the year. What about you? Do you have a favorite LGBT book that you would like to recommend?