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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.

    Seriously...I'm Kidding

    I've experienced a whole lot the last few years and I have a lot to share. So I hope that you'll take a moment to sit back, relax and enjoy the words I've put together for you in this book. I think you'll find I've left no stone unturned, no door unopened, no window unbroken, no rug unvacuumed, no ivories untickled. What I'm saying is, let us begin, shall we?

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    The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas

    The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas was written in 1933 by Gertrude Stein in the guise of an autobiography authored by Alice B. Toklas, who was her lover. It is a fascinating insight into the art scene in Paris as the couple were friends with Paul Cézanne, Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso. They begin the war years in England but return to France, volunteering for the American Fund for the French Wounded, driving around France, helping the wounded and homeless. After the war Gertrude has an argument with T. S. Eliot after he finds one of her writings inappropriate. They become friends with Sherwood Anderson and Ernest Hemingway. It was written to make money and was indeed a commercial success. However, it attracted criticism, especially from those who appeared in the book and didn't like the way they were depicted.

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    Aimee & Jaguar

    Unique, moving, and true - this radiant love story is set against the horrific backdrop of World War II Nazi Germany. When Lilly "Aimee" Wust, a gentile mother of four and wife of a Nazi officer, met Felice "Jaguar" Schragenheim, a Jew living underground in Berlin, neither could have guessed that their brief initial encounter would develop into a blazing, devoted love. As the Nazi stranglehold closed in on them, Lilly and Felice found themselves fighting insurmountable odds to stay together. Extraordinarily passionate and heartrending, this is a rare and personal look at the love and strength of two women whose commitment to each other defied the brutality of their time.

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    Naked in the Promised Land

    The daughter of an unmarried immigrant Jewish garment worker whose family had perished in the Holocaust, Lillian Faderman dreamed of being an actress. Instead she worked her way through college by posing for nude photographs, and by stripping. She slowly discovered that her deepest erotic and emotional connections were to women. After nearly losing herself in a dangerous underworld of addicts, pimps, and prostitutes, she became a brilliant student, eventually earning a Ph.D. And she became a loving partner, a devoted mother, an influential writer, and a groundbreaking scholar of gay and lesbian studies.

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    Unbearable Lightness

    I didn't decide to become anorexic. It snuck up on me disguised as a healthy diet, a professional attitude. Being as thin as possible was a way to make the job of being an actress easier . . . Portia de Rossi weighed only 82 pounds when she collapsed on the set of the Hollywood film in which she was playing her first leading role. This should have been the culmination of all her years of hard work--first as a child model in Australia, then as a cast member of one of the hottest shows on American television. On the outside she was thin and blond, glamorous and successful. On the inside, she was literally dying. In this searing, unflinchingly honest book, Portia de Rossi captures the complex emotional truth of what it is like when food, weight, and body image take priority over every other human impulse or action. She recounts the elaborate rituals around eating that came to dominate hours of every day, from keeping her daily calorie intake below 300 to eating precisely measured amounts of food out of specific bowls and only with certain utensils. When this wasn't enough, she resorted to purging and compulsive physical exercise, driving her body and spirit to the breaking point. Even as she rose to fame as a cast member of the hit television shows Ally McBeal and Arrested Development, Portia alternately starved herself and binged, all the while terrified that the truth of her sexuality would be exposed in the tabloids. She reveals the heartache and fear that accompany a life lived in the closet, a sense of isolation that was only magnified by her unrelenting desire to be ever thinner. With the storytelling skills of a great novelist and the eye for detail of a poet, Portia makes transparent as never before the behaviors and emotions of someone living with an eating disorder. From her lowest point, Portia began the painful climb back to a life of health and honesty, falling in love with and eventually marrying Ellen DeGeneres, and emerging as an outspoken and articulate advocate for gay rights and women's health issues. In this remarkable and beautifully written work, Portia shines a bright light on a dark subject. A crucial book for all those who might sometimes feel at war with themselves or their bodies, Unbearable Lightness is a story that inspires hope and nourishes the spirit.

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    Happy Accidents

    This is the hilarious and inspiring story of how Jane Lynch changed from a real-life Sue Sylvester to the happy and fulfilled actress she is today.In 1974, a fourteen-year-old girl in Dolton, Illinois, had a dream. A dream to become an actress, like her idols Ron Howard and Vicki Lawrence. But it was a long way from the South Side of Chicago to Hollywood, and it didn't help that she'd recently dropped out of the school play, The Ugly Duckling.But the funny thing is, it all came true. Through a series of happy accidents, Jane Lynch created an improbable - and hilarious - path to success. In those early years, despite her dreams, she was also consumed with anxiety, feeling out of place in both her body and her family. To deal with her worries about her sexuality, she escaped in positive ways - such as joining a high school chorus not unlike the one in Glee - but also found destructive outlets. She started drinking almost every night her freshman year of high school and developed a mean and judgmental streak that turned her into someone similar to her on-screen nemesis, Sue Sylvester.Then, at thirty-one, she started to get her life together. She was finally able to embrace her sexuality, come out to her parents, and quit drinking for good. Soon after, a Frosted Flakes commercial and a chance meeting in a coffee shop led to a role in the Christopher Guest movie Best in Show, which helped her get cast in The 40-Year-Old Virgin. Similar coincidences led to roles in movies starring Will Ferrell, Paul Rudd, and even Meryl Streep in 2009's Julie & Julia. Then, of course, came the two lucky accidents that truly changed her life. Getting lost in a hotel led to an introduction to her future wife, Lara. Then, a series she'd signed up for was abruptly cancelled, making it possible for her to take the role of Sue Sylvester in Glee, which made her a megastar.Today, Jane Lynch has finally found the contentment she thought she'd never have. Part comic memoir and a story of real-life luck, this is a book equally for the rabid Glee fan and for anyone who needs a new perspective on life, love, and success.

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    The Other Side of Paradise

    Staceyann Chin has appeared on television and radio, including The Oprah Winfrey Show, CNN, and PBS, discussing issues of race and sexuality. But it is her extraordinary voice that launched her career as a performer, poet, and activist. Here, she shares her unforgettable story of triumph against all odds in this brave and fiercely candid memoir.. No one knew Staceyann's mother was pregnant until a dangerously small baby was born on the floor of her grandmother's house in Jamaica, on Christmas Day. Staceyann's mother did not want her, and her father was not present. No one, except her grandmother, thought Staceyann would survive. It was her grandmother who nurtured and protected and provided for Staceyann and her older brother in the early years. But when the three were separated, Staceyann was thrust, alone, into an unfamiliar and dysfunctional home in Paradise, Jamaica. . Told with grace, humor, and courage, Chin plumbs tender and unsettling memories as she writes about drifting from one home to the next, coming out as a lesbian, finding the man she believes to be her father, and ultimately, discovering her voice. .

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    From its beginning to its end, poet, essayist and performer Eileen Myles’ chronicle transmits an energy and vividness that will not soon leave its readers. Her story of a young female writer, discovering both her sexuality and her own creative drive in the meditative and raucous environment that was New York City in its punk and indie heyday, is engrossing, poignant, and funny. This is a voice from the underground that redefines the meaning of the word.

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    Meredith Baxter is a beloved and iconic television actress, most well-known for her enormously popular role as hippie mom, Elyse Keaton, on Family Ties. Her warmth, humor, and brilliant smile made her one of the most popular women on television, with millions of viewers following her on the small screen each week. Yet her success masked a tumultuous personal story and a harrowing private life. For the first time, Baxter is ready to share her incredible highs, (working with Robert Redford, Doris Day, Lana Turner, and the cast of Family Ties), and lows (a thorny relationship with her mother, a difficult marriage to David Birney, a bout with breast cancer), finally revealing the woman behind the image.

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    Surviving Madness

    Betty Berzon, renowned psychotherapist and author of the bestselling book Permanent Partners, tells her own incredible story here. Berzon's journey from psychiatric patient on suicide watch - her wrists tethered to the bed rails in a locked hospital ward - to her present role as a groundbreaking therapist and gay pioneer makes for purely compelling reading. Berzon is recognized today as a trailblazing co-founder of a number of important lesbian and gay organizations and as one of the first therapists to focus on means of developing healthy gay relationships and overcoming homophobia. Along her sometimes bumpy road to success she encountered such luminaries as Anais Nin, Eleanor Roosevelt, the Sitwells, Evelyn Hooker, and Paul Monette. It is, however, the intimate story of Berzon's own private passage toward self-discovery - from mental breakdown and suicide attempts, through hospitalization, eventual triumphant recovery, and her own coming out as an open lesbian at the age of forty - that makes this memoir an urgent, insightful, and deeply emotional testament to human survival.

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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