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25 Great Memoirs by Lesbian Women

There are so many great non-fiction books on my list to read, but top of the line is books by Lesbian and Bisexual women.  I always find it interesting to read about other people's experiences, to understand their points of view, but it's particularly interesting to read about other members of the LGBT community.  There's such a variety of experiences now, as some places become more accepting and some more restrictive.  By reading other people's experiences it really helps us to reflect on our own.

    Awkward

    Los Angeles Times Bestseller "Mary Cappello['s] inventive, associative taxonomy of discomfort . . . [is] revelatory indeed." --MARK DOTY, author of Dog Years: A Memoir and Fire to Fire: New and Selected Poems "A wonderful, multi-layered piece of writing, with all the insight of great cultural criticism and all the emotional pull of memoir. A fascinating book." --SARAH WATERS, author of The Night Watch and The Little Stranger Without awkwardness we would not know grace, stability, or balance. Yet no one before Mary Cappello has turned such a penetrating gaze on this misunderstood condition. Fearlessly exploring the ambiguous borders of identity, she mines her own life journeys--from Russia, to Italy, to the far corners of her heart and the depths of a literary or cinematic text--to decipher the powerful messages that awkwardness can transmit. Mary Cappello is the author of four books of literary nonfiction, including Awkward: A Detour, which was a Los Angeles Times bestseller, Called Back: My Reply to Cancer, My Return to Life, which won a ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year Award and an Independent Publishers Prize, and Swallow: Foreign Bodies, Their Ingestion, Inspiration, and the Curious Doctor Who Extracted Them. Professor of English at the University of Rhode Island, she lives in Providence, Rhode Island and Lucerne-in-Maine, Maine.

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    L Is for Lion

    “Annie Lanzillotto, the bard of Bronx Italian butch, is an American original, a performance artist and cultural anthropologist whose work is unique in theme, sound, affect, and effect. This memoir reveals her to be something more: an astonishing writer possessed of an utterly inimitable voice, a voice at once as richly soulful as her mother’s lasagna and as bracingly unsentimental as her father’s Marine masculinity. Lanzillotto’s stories bounce and stretch with the elasticity of her trusted Spaldeen, keeping us just a step ahead of the flying emotional shrapnel of an intensely lived life as we move from the mean streets of 1970s Bronx to the Ivy League, the Memorial Sloan-Kettering cancer ward, the banks of the Nile, and the Italian mezzogiorno. A landmark of ethnic expressivity, L Is for Lion indelibly portrays the iconic Italian American spaces of kitchen, stoop, sidewalk, and street; the body as a site of humor and tragedy; and, above all, the family war zone as an uncanny intermingle of poignancy and brutality.” — John Gennari, author of Blowin’ Hot and Cool: Jazz and Its Critics

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    Don't Get ME Started

    Let's get one thing straight. I'm not. I'm out and proud. When I'm out and it's raining I carry an umbrella. I used to be in but I hate the smell of mothballs. My closet was huge, complete with a foyer, turnstile, a few dead bolts, and a burglar alarm that had to be deactivated before I could even touch the door handle. And then there was the storm door. It wasn't until I had lived and slept with a woman for a year that it occurred to me to ask, "Do you think we're lesbians?" By the way, never come out to your father in a moving vehicle.

    Now I've written a book. It's not as easy as it looks. One night, I was working late on my computer when a little message came up on the screen, "You are almost out of memory." Here are my thoughts and observations on everything from gay marriage (Mad Vow Disease) to my morbid fear of mascots (with the exception of the San Diego Chicken). That's all I'm going to say because I don't want to spoil it for you. That's a job for Jesse Helms.

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    Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around

    As an organizer, writer, publisher, scholar-activist, and elected official, Barbara Smith has played key roles in multiple social justice movements, including Civil Rights, feminism, lesbian and gay liberation, anti-racism, and Black feminism. Her four decades of grassroots activism forged collaborations that introduced the idea that oppression must be fought on a variety of fronts simultaneously, including gender, race, class, and sexuality. By combining hard-to-find historical documents with new unpublished interviews with fellow activists, this book uncovers the deep roots of today's identity politics and intersectionality and serves as an essential primer for practicing solidarity and resistance.

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    Forward

    Abby Wambach has always pushed the limits of what is possible. At age seven she was put on the boys soccer team. At age thirty-five she would become the highest goal scorer male or female in the history of soccer, capturing the nation s heart with her team s 2015 World Cup Championship. Called an inspiration and badass by President Obama, Abby has become a fierce advocate for women s rights and equal opportunity, pushing to translate the success of her team to the real world.

    As she reveals in this searching memoir, Abby s professional success often masked her inner struggle to reconcile the various parts of herself: ferocious competitor, daughter, leader, wife. With stunning candor, Abby shares her inspiring and often brutal journey from girl in Rochester, New York, to world-class athlete. Far more than a sports memoir, Forward is gripping tale of resilience and redemption and a reminder that heroism is, above all, about embracing life s challenges with fearlessness and heart.

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    A Two-Spirit Journey

    A compelling, harrowing, but ultimately uplifting story of resilience and self-discovery. A Two-Spirit Journey is Ma-Nee Chacaby's extraordinary account of her life as an Ojibwa-Cree lesbian. From her early, often harrowing memories of life and abuse in a remote Ojibwa community riven by poverty and alcoholism, Chacaby's story is one of enduring and ultimately overcoming the social, economic, and health legacies of colonialism. As a child, Chacaby learned spiritual and cultural traditions from her Cree grandmother and trapping, hunting, and bush survival skills from her Ojibwa stepfather. She also suffered physical and sexual abuse by different adults, and in her teen years became alcoholic herself. At twenty, Chacaby moved to Thunder Bay with her children to escape an abusive marriage. Abuse, compounded by racism, continued, but Chacaby found supports to help herself and others. Over the following decades, she achieved sobriety; trained and worked as an alcoholism counsellor; raised her children and fostered many others; learned to live with visual impairment; and came out as a lesbian. In 2013, Chacaby led the first gay pride parade in Thunder Bay.Ma-Nee Chacaby has emerged from hardship grounded in faith, compassion, humour, and resilience. Her memoir provides unprecedented insights into the challenges still faced by many Indigenous people.

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    Course Correction

    Course Correction recounts the physical and psychological barriers Gilder overcame as she transformed into an elite athlete who reached the highest echelon of her sport. Set against the backdrop of unprecedented cultural change, Gilder’s story personalizes the impact of Title IX, illustrating the life-changing lessons learned in sports but felt far beyond the athletic arena. Heartfelt and candid, Gilder recounts lessons learned from her journey as it wends its way from her first glimpse of an oar to the Olympic podium in 1984, carries her through family tragedy, strengthens her to accept her true sexual identity, and ultimately frees her to live her life on her terms.

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    Lies About My Family

    This well-crafted family memoir is about the stories that are told and the ones that are not told, and about the ways the meanings of the stories change down the generations. It is about memory and the spaces between memories, and about alienation and reconciliation. All of Amy Hoffman's grandparents came to the United States during the early twentieth century from areas in Poland and Russia that are now Belarus and Ukraine. Like millions of immigrants, they left their homes because of hopeless poverty, looking for better lives or at the least a chance of survival. Because of the luck, hard work, and resourcefulness of the earlier generations, Hoffman and her five siblings grew up in a middle-class home, healthy, well fed, and well educated. An American success story? Not quite - or at least not quite the standard version. Hoffman's research in the Ellis Island archives along with interviews with family members reveal that the real lives of these relatives were far more complicated and interesting than their documents might suggest. Hoffman and her siblings grew up as observant Jews in a heavily Catholic New Jersey suburb, as political progressives in a town full of Republicans, as readers in a school full of football players and their fans. As a young lesbian, she distanced herself from her parents, who didn't understand her choice, and from the Jewish community, with its organization around family and unquestioning Zionism. However, both she and her parents changed and evolved, and by the end of this engaging narrative, they have come to new understandings, of themselves and one another.

    I'm Just a Person

    In the span of four months in 2012, Tig Notaro was hospitalized for a debilitating intestinal disease called C. diff, her mother unexpectedly died, she went through a breakup, and then she was diagnosed with bilateral breast cancer. Hit with this devastating barrage, Tig took her grief onstage. Days after receiving her cancer diagnosis, she broke new comedic ground, opening an unvarnished set with the words: 'Good evening. Hello. I have cancer. How are you? Hi, how are you? Is everybody having a good time? I have cancer.' The set instantly went viral, and was ultimately released as Tig's sophomore album, Live, which sold one hundred thousand units in just six weeks and was later nominated for a Grammy.Now, the wildly popular star takes stock of that no good, very bad year - a difficult yet astonishing period in which tragedy turned into absurdity and despair transformed into joy. An inspired combination of the deadpan silliness of her comedy and the open-hearted vulnerability that has emerged in the wake of that dire time, I'm Just a Person is a moving and often hilarious look at this very brave, very funny woman's journey into the darkness and her thrilling return from it.

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    The Saving Alex

    When Alex Cooper was fifteen years old, life was pretty ordinary in her sleepy suburban town and nice Mormon family. At church and at home, Alex was taught that God had a plan for everyone. But something was gnawing at her that made her feel different. These feelings exploded when she met Yvette, a girl who made Alex feel alive in a new way, and with whom Alex would quickly fall in love.Alex knew she was holding a secret that could shatter her family, her church community, and her life. Yet when this secret couldn't be hidden any longer, she told her parents that she was gay, and the nightmare began. She was driven from her home in Southern California to Utah, where, against her will, her parents handed her over to fellow Mormons who promised to save Alex from her homosexuality.For eight harrowing months, Alex was held captive in an unlicensed "residential treatment program" modeled on the many "therapeutic" boot camps scattered across Utah. Alex was physically and verbally abused, and many days she was forced to stand facing a wall wearing a heavy backpack full of rocks. Her captors used faith to punish and terrorize her. With the help of a dedicated legal team in Salt Lake City, Alex eventually escaped and made legal history in Utah by winning the right to live under the law's protection as an openly gay teenager.Alex is not alone; the headlines continue to splash stories about gay conversion therapy and rehabilitation centers that promise to "save" teenagers from their sexuality. Saving Alex is a courageous memoir that tells Alex's story in the hopes that it will bring awareness and justice to this important issue. A bold, inspiring story of one girl's fight for freedom, acceptance, and truth.

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    I am a Sci-Fi writer. I love drinking whiskey, hanging out with my 2 cats, and kickboxing. Check out Children of RIVA if you're interested in my work. Oh, and in my spare time I work ... Show More