The Bisexual Library: Fiction

Below is a very incomplete list of books which might be of interest to bisexuals

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Love, Sex, and Understanding the Universe by Harrie Farrow

Jim first hears the word bisexual on the same day in the sixth grade that he realizes how intelligent he is. He embraces the label, but soon discovers how difficult his life is going to be. At age sixteen his formerly liberal parents turn born-again Christian. His boyfriend Rick, who is also bi and has a girlfriend, isn’t ready to come out of the closet, and if his parents knew what the two of them were doing in Rick’s basement apartment, they’d never let Jim stay there. In college, Jim takes on hedonistic girlfriend, Amy, but she doesn’t seem to want to know who Jim really is. After a traumatic breakup, Jim moves to San Francisco to finally be out and open but instead everything gets insanely complicated. Struggling to be true to himself in a world where no-one seems to want him to be who he is, Jim spirals into mental chaos, juggling living between two lies. Then he discovers that love finds its own way, and ends up with more than he’s sure he can handle.

Choice by A.J. Walkley

“Haley Fry and her twin sister, Jamie, have been compared to one another since birth. Haley is the quieter twin, a lover of music who prefers solitude to spending time with multiple friends. A prodigy on the saxophone, she dreams of a career as a musician. Jamie, on the other hand, is the athlete of the family who prides herself on her popularity and how many boys are after her.
The twins’ parents, Larry and Maggie, place more trust in Haley because of her calmer nature. They expect the unexpected from Jamie, but not Haley. When Larry and Maggie learn that sixteen-year-old Haley is pregnant, they are shocked. Surprising everyone, but mostly herself, Haley faces a life-changing decision: Does she abort the baby or become a teenage mother?
Choice presents Haley’s dilemma in a unique way. The first half of this novel narrates what happens when Haley chooses an abortion, while the second half reveals Haley’s life when she chooses to keep the baby. Told through the eyes of the entire family, Choice illustrates the tough decisions involved in a teen pregnancy.”

Queer Greer by A.J. Walkley

Greer MacManus is uprooted from her childhood home in South Carolina when her father is determined to fulfill his strange but pressing dream to become a border-crossing coyote.
Her parents take her and her younger sister to Prescott, Arizona to start a new life closer to the border. Greer enters a new school with the hopes of reinventing herself from the wallflower with one friend to speak of, to a social butterfly. She soon finds herself among the company of athletes, a swimmer herself. While Greer tries to get comfortable in her clique under the admiring eye of Cameron Keeting, the most attractive jock in school, she becomes increasingly interested in someone else. Rebecca Wilder, the beautiful swim team captain and infamous lesbian in town, befriends Greer, taking her under her wing. A love triangle soon overtakes Greer’s world, leading to drug experimentation and mental confusion as she comes to grips with her sexuality as her world starts to fall apart. Without anyone to turn to, Greer must find an inner strength and the courage to be herself in a society that doesn’t always understand.

Vuto by A.J. Walkley

Vuto is only 17 when her third child dies, mere days after birth.
Malawian tradition prevents men from considering a child their own until it has survived for two weeks. Frustrated at not being able to speak to her husband, Solomon, about all three of the children she’s had to bury alone, Vuto forces him to acknowledge the dead baby. Her rejection of tradition causes Solomon and the village elders to banish Vuto from the only home she’s ever known. She seeks refuge in the hut of U.S. Peace Corps volunteer Samantha Brennan, where Solomon discovers his wife has not left as she was told.
When Solomon arrives in the night to attack Vuto, Samantha disregards her oath to remain uninvolved in village politics and interjects herself into the center of the conflict, defending Vuto and killing Solomon in the process.
The women go on the run from Vuto’s village and the Peace Corps, encountering physical, ethical and cultural struggles along the way.

Anything That Loves edited by Charles “Zan” Christensen

From confessional, personal accounts to erotic flights of fancy to undersea identity politics, this collection of comics invites the reader to step outside of the categories and explore the wild and wonderful uncharted territory between “gay” and “straight”

Woman on the Edge of Time by Marge Piercy

Connie Ramos, a woman in her mid-thirties, has been declared insane. But Connie is overwhelmingly sane, merely tuned to the future, and able to communicate with the year 2137. As her doctors persuade her to agree to an operation, Connie struggles to force herself to listen to the future and its lessons for today….

Vida by Marge Piercy

Originally published in 1979, this piece of revolutionary fiction is a bestselling author’s classic paean to the 1960s. At the center of the novel stands Vida Asch, who has lived underground for almost a decade. Back in the 1960s she was a political star of the exuberant antiwar movement—a red-haired beauty photographed for the pages of Life magazine—charismatic, passionate, and totally sure she would prevail. Now, a decade later, Vida is on the run, her star-quality replaced by stubborn courage. As counterpoint to the underground 1970s, Marge Piercy tells the extraordinary tale of the optimistic era, the thousands of people who were members of Students Against the War, and of the handful who formed a fierce group called the Little Red Wagon. Piercy’s characters make vivid and comprehensible the desperation, the courage, and the blind rage of a time when action could appear to some to be a more rational choice than the vote.

Summer People by Marge Piercy

Dinah, Willie, and Susan have long outlived the scandal associated with their ten-year-old menage-a-trois. Dinah, an avant-garde composer, treasures her independence. Yet it takes Willie’s kindness and Susan’s fire to sustain her. Willie is a left-wing sculptor in a right-wing age. And Susan, his wife, is a fabric designer who craves glamour, wealth, and the attentions of the summer people who visit Cape Cod every year. Then one summer, the balance shifts. Passions are tested, honesty forsaken, and the trio must face the changes brought by their beautiful visitors . . .

The Fifth Sacred Thing by Starhawk

An epic tale of freedom and slavery, love and war, and the potential futures of humankind tells of a twenty-first century California clan caught between two clashing worlds, one based on tolerance, the other on repression.

The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin

set in the “Hainish” universe, which Le Guin introduced three years earlier in Rocannon’s World, her first novel. The series describes the interplanetary expansion started by the first race of humanity on the planet Hain, leading to the formation of the League of All Worlds, and eventually expanding to the eighty-three world collective called the Ekumen.
This novel takes place many centuries in the future – no date is given, though the year 4870 has been suggested. An envoy, Genly Ai, is on a planet called Winter (“Gethen” in the language of its own people) to convince the citizens to join the Ekumen. Winter is, as its name indicates, a planet that is always cold, and its citizens are “ambisexual,” spending the majority of time as asexual “potentials.” They only adopt gendered attributes once-monthly, during a period of sexual receptivenesss and high fertility, called kemmer, in which individuals can assume male or female attributes, depending on context and relationships. These conditions have affected the development of civilizations on Winter, such that the planet has never known war.

The Mysteries Of Pittsburgh by Michael Chabon

The enthralling debut from bestselling novelist Michael Chabon is a penetrating narrative of complex friendships, father-son conflicts, and the awakening of a young man’s sexualidentity. Chabon masterfully renders the funny,tender, and captivating first-person narrative of Art Bechstein,whose confusion and heartache echo the tones of literary forebears like The Catcher in the Rye’s Holden Caulfield and The Great Gatsby’s Nick Carraway. The Mysteries of Pittsburgh incontrovertibly established Chabon as a powerful force in contemporary fiction, even before his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay set the literary world spinning. An unforgettable story of coming of age in America, it is also an essential milestone in the movement of American fiction, from a novelist who has become one of the most important and enduring voices of this generation.

P.S. Your Cat Is Dead by James Kirkwood

It’s New Year’s Eve in New York City. Your best friend died in September, you’ve been robbed twice, your girlfriend is leaving you, you’ve lost your job…and the only one left to talk to is the gay burglar you’ve got tied up in the kitchen… P.S. your cat is dead.
An instant classic upon its initial publication, P.S. Your Cat is Dead received widespread critical acclaim and near fanatical reader devotion. The stage version of the novel was equally successful and there are still over 200 new productions of it staged every year. Now, for the first time in a decade, James Kirkwood’s much-loved black humor comic novel of manners and escalating disaster returns to bewitch and beguile a new generation.

 A Home at the End of the World by Michael Cunningham

From Michael Cunningham, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Hours, comes this widely praised novel of two boyhood friends: Jonathan, lonely, introspective, and unsure of himself; and Bobby, hip, dark, and inarticulate. In New York after college, Bobby moves in with Jonathan and his roommate, Clare, a veteran of the city’s erotic wars. Bobby and Clare fall in love, scuttling the plans of Jonathan, who is gay, to father Clare’s child. Then, when Clare and Bobby have a baby, the three move to a small house upstate to raise “their” child together and, with an odd friend, Alice, create a new kind of family. A Home at the End of the World masterfully depicts the charged, fragile relationships of urban life today.

Julian by Gore Vidal

The remarkable bestseller about the fourth-century Roman emperor who famously tried to halt the spread of Christianity, Julian is widely regarded as one of Gore Vidal’s finest historical novels. Julian the Apostate, nephew of Constantine the Great, was one of the brightest yet briefest lights in the history of the Roman Empire. A military genius on the level of Julius Caesar and Alexander the Great, a graceful and persuasive essayist, and a philosopher devoted to worshipping the gods of Hellenism, he became embroiled in a fierce intellectual war with Christianity that provoked his murder at the age of thirty-two, only four years into his brilliantly humane and compassionate reign. A marvelously imaginative and insightful novel of classical antiquity, Julian captures the religious and political ferment of a desperate age and restores with blazing wit and vigor the legacy of an impassioned ruler.

Myra Breckinridge/Myron by Gore Vidal

It is a risky (and risque) business becoming ‘Woman Triumphant’ – exercising total power over men like Rusty Godowski. Rusty just wants to be a Hollywood star like everyone else at Buck Loner’s academy, but now that Buck’s niece, Myra Breckinridge, has arrived, the curriculum is taking a wildly strange turn. Willing to risk all to be superb and unique, Myra means to prove to her old friend Dr Montag that it is possible to work out in life all one’s fantasies – and survive. ‘From Myra’s first appearance on the page she was a megastar’, explains her creator, Gore Vidal. Myra caused a second furore when she returned in Myron to battle it out with her eponymous alter ego, a drab little man fallen into marriage and a job in Chinese catering. Theirs is a contest of hormonal roulette, with glorious Myra off on time-travelling missions of mercy back to 1948 to try to change cinema history and to introduce her own radical theories of population control. Meanwhile Myron tries desperately to stay in the present as inconspicuously as Mrya will allow.

In One Person: A Novel by John Irving

an intimate and unforgettable portrait of the solitariness of a bisexual man who is dedicated to making himself “worthwhile.”

Octavia Butler

Female, black, bisexual writer of science fiction, Butler remains a powerful voice in modern literature. “Kindred”, her only novel in the canon of study, is a great place to start. The Parables, which were cut short by her untimely death, tells the story of a very real possible dystopian future. Her major series, The Patternist & Xenogenesis, both tell of power, position, genetics, and of strong Black women fighting for justice. Her last novel, “Fledgling”, is a vampire story with clearly bisexual themes. But, wherever you begin, Octavia Butler is must read!

Young Adult Fiction

Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg

Rafe is a normal teenager from Boulder, Colorado. He plays soccer. He’s won skiing prizes. He likes to write.
And, oh yeah, he’s gay. He’s been out since 8th grade, and he isn’t teased, and he goes to other high schools and talks about tolerance and stuff. And while that’s important, all Rafe really wants is to just be a regular guy. Not that GAY guy. To have it be a part of who he is, but not the headline, every single time.
So when he transfers to an all-boys’ boarding school in New England, he decides to keep his sexuality a secret — not so much going back in the closet as starting over with a clean slate. But then he sees a classmate breaking down. He meets a teacher who challenges him to write his story. And most of all, he falls in love with Ben . . . who doesn’t even know that love is possible.
This witty, smart, coming-out-again story will appeal to gay and straight kids alike as they watch Rafe navigate being different, fitting in, and what it means to be himself.

Wonderland by David-Matthew Barnes

After her mother loses her battle to cancer, fifteen-year-old Destiny Moore moves from Chicago to Avalon Cove, a mysterious island in South Carolina. There, she starts a new life working part-time as a magician’s assistant and living with her eccentric uncle Fred and his hottie husband, Clark. Destiny is soon befriended by two outcasts, Tasha Gordon and Topher McGentry. She accepts their invitation to accompany them to a place called Wonderland, a former boarding house owned by the enigmatic Adrianna Marveaux. It’s there that Destiny meets and falls in love with Dominic, Tasha becomes enamored with Juliet, and Topher gives his heart to Pablo. When Destiny uncovers the reason she and her friends have really been brought to Wonderland, she’s faced with the most crucial choice of her life.

So, what are we missing? Tell us which bi books changed your life in the comments and we’ll add them to the list.

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2 thoughts on “The Bisexual Library: Fiction

  1. Just finished Ariah by B.R. Sanders. The book is the Speculative Fiction winner of the Bisexual Book Award. While I’m on that topic, the Bisexual Book Awards might be worth a look, for both fiction and non-fiction.

    Like

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