Starting July 1st! Online Book Club for Black Lesbians


Passing for black cover art I’m an avid follower of the AfterEllen website because I think it’s a great platform to find out about and discuss queer women in entertainment.  And while it is way better than 95% of the other general LGBT websites at including women of color, there are still some gaps.

So when I came across an AE Forum asking about sites dedicated to African-American lesbians and saw that there was specifically an interest in a book club, I thought “God bless the child that’s got their own” and offered to use my blog to moderate such a club.  After some private messaging between me and Lunakiss, we’ve come up with a format.

Starting July 1st, we will introduce the book for the month.  As you can see from the pic it’s Linda Villarosa’s novel “Passing For Black”.  After the introductory post, there will be subsequent posts every Friday of the month discussing the next part of the book.  We are also looking for book suggestions for the coming months also.  While we like a good erotic novel as much as the next person, we are going to try and steer the club toward a more intellectually substantial slant.  That way we could have deeper and more involved discussions about the books.

So any interested black queer women feel free to leave comments and suggestions below and be sure to check back with us July 1st.

23 comments

  1. denise taylor · · Reply

    I am interested in joining

  2. prof susurro · · Reply

    this is a great idea. will you be reading books by AND about lesbians or also include lesbian authors who may not have written overtly about their sexuality? Example: Lorraine Hansberry. It might be nice to read her bio or even do a queer reading of Raisin in the Sun. or Toni Morrison’s Sula which is homosocial w/latent homoeroticism but not a lesbian novel either as is Nella Larsen’s Passing

    otherwise here are some others that might work:
    Sharon Bridgforth Bluejean Stories
    Jackie Kay Trumpet
    Makeda Silvera The Heart Does Not Bend (Afro-Canadian)
    Ana Maria Lara’s Erzulie’s Skirt (Afra-Latina)
    Lisa C. Moore Does Your Mama Know? Anth of Coming Out Stories
    Audre Lorde Sister Outsider
    Walker Color Purple
    Stacyann Chin The Other Side of Paradise: A Memoir (Afro-Caribbean)
    Penny Mickleberry’s Mystery Novels (pulp)
    Jewell Gomez The Gilda Stories (vampire fiction)
    Cheryl Clarke (poetry)
    Nikki Giovanni (poetry)

    1. I would prefer to keep the books ABOUT lesbians but it also depends on how good the book is. It also will depend on the general concensus of the group.

      I also want to thank you for all the book suggestions. That could take us well into next year.

  3. Christine · · Reply

    I would love to participate. Just so happens I have that book – almost completed it – so now I have a reason to finish it.

    I look forward to the more “intellectually substantive” choices.

  4. Shortypants · · Reply

    Count Me In!

    Is this the space where we leave suggestions for the next book? If so, I’d like to tip my hat early for ‘The Serpent’s Gift’ by Helen Elaine Lee. This is a work of fiction about two black families at the beginning of the 20th century who come together after a tragedy. The two families essentially become one and we follow the children of both families over the course of more than 50 years.

    while not a lesbian story per se, it does prominently feature a black lesbian couple-Zella and Ouida- with Ouida being one of the main characters.

    Helen Elaine Lee’s use of language and prose is astounding and the incredible story she tells of these characters left me reeling for weeks ater I finished reading this book. I recommend this book to anyone who loves fiction and wants a positive reflection of (1) black lesbians and (2) the black family. This is one of the greatest pieces of fiction I have ever read and I highly recommned it for this book club.

  5. Shortypants · · Reply

    One quick thing:

    Sharon Bridgforth wrote ‘The Bull-jean Stories’ not the ‘Bluejean Stories.’

    And yes- we should add it to the list.

    Also, ‘Callaloo and Other Lesbian Love Tales’ by LaShonda K. Barnett. This is a series of short stories about black lesbians. The story Meatloaf’ should get the Brokeback treatment…

    1. The “Brokeback” treatment comment made me smile. Hats off to the women who are making this worthy online experience a viable option for women of color who have always wanted to see our lives reflected in literature.

      All the best,
      LaShonda

  6. prof susurro · · Reply

    I was up all night combing my shelves for 2 books I think might be nice:

    Nancy Rawles Love like Gumbo and Crawfish Dreams

    I picked them up b/c the descriptions were so moving and then got swamped with teaching. Would love to read them as a group. 😀

    PS. sorry about the Bridgforth title mix up. I love Bull Jean Stories for their humor and their pathos. And seconf the LaShonda Barnett suggestion.

    1. prof susurro · · Reply

      FYI – I think Love Like Gumbo is out of print. 😦 But they have very cheap (some for a penny as sad as that is) used copies on amazon.com and powells.com

      I’m trying to get a hold of the author to let her know we are reading it and inquire about whether it is going to go back into print in the future as her other two books are in print and she is still writing.

  7. […] Lesbian Lit June 9, 2009 — prof susurro Swandiver is putting together a reading group on black lesbian literature and asking people to make […]

  8. Stacylee · · Reply

    I was so excited to read about this club. I just read that Passing For Black but I will reread again.I would like to also suggest Water in a Broken Glass by Odessa Rose.

  9. my partner and i are reading erzulie’s skirt right now! i definitely want to be involved in the reading group. will we be emailing? or doing it all here? how can i help promote?

  10. Book suggestion: “The House You Pass On the Way” by Jacqueline Woodson.

    1. Lunakiss · · Reply

      Ooo good one Tara

  11. I’m interested! I don’t have the book (yet?), but I’d like to be updated for future readings.

  12. […] a Review September 5, 2009 — prof susurro This is the second review of books from our Black Lesbian Book Group at Swandiver’s blog. My review for our first book, which I didn’t like, can be found here. As I committed to at […]

  13. […] a Review September 5, 2009 — prof susurro This is the second review of books from our Black Lesbian Book Group at Swandiver’s blog. My review for our first book, which I didn’t like, can be found here. As I committed to at […]

  14. tiffaneydanielle · · Reply

    I’m all in, i think this is a great idea by the way =]

  15. I’m so glad you guys are doing something like this, it’s a project well overdue thank would love to be kept up to date on upcoming events/books etc. So with that I would love to join.

  16. Jasmine · · Reply

    How do you suggest a book. I would like us to read Nik Nicholson’s debut novel about a masculine centered woman… You said you wanted to do something not so erotic. I think it starts around the early 1900’s http://www.amazon.com/Descendants-Hagar-Nik-Nicholson/dp/1481779702/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1376958058&sr=8-1&keywords=Descendants+of+hagar

    1. This is a way old book club and it petered out because I got sick. I’m planning on reviving it but want to do it at a time when I know I can maintain it. But keep checking back or follow the blog to know when that happens.

  17. Check out a book name “The Meeting of a Fantasy” that was put out by Dorrance Publishing company some years ago.

  18. I would like to join your book club.I also have LOTS os Lesbian fiction to kindle share

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